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Performance issues with my Peer-to-Peer network.

I am not satisfied with the performance of my Peer-to-Peer network. I find moving files from one computer to another (backups) are horribly slow. When I am using the Internet I find the transmission to be quite fast.

I read a few threads and discovered that replacing the hub with a switch can improve performance. The price of a switch does not make that a problem to do. I plan on replacing my Linksys 8-port workgroup hub with a Linksys 16-port 10/100 Mbps Switch (EZXS16W v2) on Monday.

The truth is I still don’t know how much that is going to help. I found several web sites that showed me how to setup a home network. None of them talked about improving or analyzing Peer-to-Peer network performance.

Hardware/software I am currently using:

Windows 2000 SP4 on all machines. I check for viruses and defrag the HDs regularly. Using Linksys 8-port workgroup hub (EFAH08W v2) & Linksys Router (BEFSR41 V.2).

I know that my router has a 4-Port switch. I have several machines and can’t fit them all on the back of the router. This is why I wish to replace the hub and get a Linksys 16-port 10/100 Mbps Switch (EZXS16W v2) on Monday.

Any suggestions, comments or websites you can pass along that would help me better understand the situation would be greatly appreciated!
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Elton Brown
Asked:
Elton Brown
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3 Solutions
 
fettigcj07Commented:
While a switch is a great improvement for larger networks in your example you only have ONE network device.

basically the difference is that a switch is more intelligent about where it sends traffic. I. E. you have PC1 plugged into switch A which is also plugged into switches B and C. now PC1 wants to talk to PC2 which is plugged into switch C. so a switch A is intelligent enough not to bother with switch B because it knows PC2 isn't over there. a hub is less intelligent about traffic control and creates lots of unneccisary noise because it just shouts to everybody trying to get to PC2.

that said since we're only talking about a bunch of computers plugged into one device i don't forsee a huge performance boost due to the switch.

Typically when your browsing the internet your only talking about a few hundred kilobytes so that will seem VERY fast, so the question you need to ask is what size file your handling on your network? I find people trying to shuffle full length films (1.5 hours of NTSC quality video) from one computer to another and expect it to be immediete and that's just not realistic. you said your dealing with backup files, which implies to me roughly 2-8 GB of information. essentially my two recommendations would be to automate your backups and have em' run when nobody is in the office. barring that invest in gigabit networking because there isn't any way your going to get multi-gigabyte files to fly as fast as kilobyte websites.... -=NOTE: wirespeed is measured in BITS and is a rated MAXIMUM, file size in BYTES. so a 100 megabit per second network connection is NOT going to be able to move 100 megabytes per second. at its rated maximum you would need to multiply by 8 to come up with a relevant number to compare to a file size as shown by windows.=-
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stevenlewisCommented:
see if this helps
http://www.tweakxp.com/TweakXP/display.asp?id=1557

Create a text file on the server put this into it:



Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\lanmanserver\parameters]

"SizReqBuf"=dword:0000ffff



Save the file as WHATEVER.REG not WHATEVER.TXT

Then double click on the file to apply the setting (once again on the SERVER not the pc).

What this does is it sets the DIR commad's buffer from 14000 to 65000. This fix works on NT/2000/XP.


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rafael_accCommented:
I'm not going to explaing the difference between Hubs and Switches. However, just trust me! a switch will defenitely improve your network performance. Buy a FastEthernet Switch and you are done! Basically, a switch will reduce packets collisions in your broadcast domain.

Cheers.
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Elton BrownAuthor Commented:
Stevenlewis,

I used your suggestion unfortunately it didn’t help move data from one computer to another any faster. I have been under the weather for the last two days so I have not picked up the switch as I said I would. Thank you for the reassurance Rafael Acc.

BTW, I did find an excellent software package called ViceVersa Plus http://www.tgrmn.com . It can move 1.8GB from one computer to another (peer-to-peer) in 30 mins. Considering using XCOPY or the copy command, which would take HOURS, this product beats them hands down! I think that is worth the thirty bucks.

I do believe that there is information out there that talks about getting the most from ones peer-to-peer network. Where is it?
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stevenlewisCommented:
see if there is anything here you can use
http://www.speedguide.net/
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Elton BrownAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the reality check fettigcj07 ! You have given me a lot to think about.
I have to decide if I want to upgrade to gigabit network, which is expensive, :(  or upgrade to a 10/100 switch and continue using the software I mention above. Either way it appears that I will continue to use ViceVersa.
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Elton BrownAuthor Commented:
Thanks StevenLewis for the website!
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fettigcj07Commented:
D-Link makes a gigabit switch that would probably do the trick for about 70$ and NICs are fairly inexpensive as well. Not all that high end, but fast enough anyway.
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Elton BrownAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info fettigcj07!

I will check out D-Link's product line! BTW will I need to upgrade the router as well?

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Elton BrownAuthor Commented:
Fettigcj07,

I agree with you on all counts. What I find most interesting is that when I connected two of my computers to my Linksys router that is also a switch, the data transfer performance was not that great. When I removed the Linksys hub and installed a Linksys switch connected the two computer to it the results were dramatic.

I have a folder of files (MP3s, word & images 500MB) that took 45 minutes to move from computer one to computer two using the Linksys router/switch. Connecting the two computers to the Linksys switch it took 25 minutes to move that same folder of files. Go figure.

I don’t think that moving to a switch gives one the power to move huge amounts of data but small amounts can be moved painlessly using a switch.

**************************************************************

One thing I have learned is that Gigabit networking is not for all computers. You can get a gigabit NIC card for your server/desktop but not for your laptop.

The following is what I received from a D-link rep:

“Although the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) standard is a modified version of the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) standard developed by Intel it is limited by the physical size of the chipset and the heat dissipation of the notebook.  Currently the gigabit chipsets emit a large amount of heat that can cause adverse effect to a notebook if proper cooling is not implemented.  There are notebooks with gigabit network cards however they are based off of Intel's CSA (Communications Streaming Architecture) that creates a higher speed transfer between the networking chipset and the motherboard.  As well this standard also allows space for proper cooling that a PCMCIA card cannot at this time.  A card may become available if the size of the networking chips and heat generated are reduced however I have not seen one as of yet either.”

I am going out on a limb and say that the gigabit port(s) on Linksys switches are use to connect servers to and maybe desktops to the backbone. I think the same holds true with D-Link switches. Correct me if I am wrong.

So we still have to wait for gigabit development that includes all computer systems desktop >and< laptops.

BTW I have found a wonderful software package called ViceVersa Plus. If anyone has large amounts of data to move from one computer to another check this package out. I have not tested it since I have installed the switch but my guess is that should perform a data transfer faster.

If you’ve ever wonder how fast and how much data is being move from one compute to another check out NetStat Live http://www.analogx.com/contents/download/network/nsl.htm it is free and does a pretty good job providing basic information.

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