Network Speed

I'm looking to obtain the fastest network transfer speeds possible. I have a windows 2003 server with WD hard drives.  Dell Gigabyte switch along with gigabyte network cards.  I have a friend that says he has linked two gigabyte cards and obtaining 2 gigs of transfer.  I have a hard time believing that since my hard drive have a read/write of 120mb second with SISandra.  Can anyone clear this up for me?
P.S.  Users will be opening 10-30 mb Excel files.  
techchoiceAsked:
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thomaswrightCommented:
1. Try configuring  your network card to use FULL DUPLEX mode.
2. There is a method of "BONDING" two nics to use the same IP, although I'm not quite sure how to configure it on your server.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
NIC Teaming and RAID (or multiple disk spindles and/or controllers) can produce performance like that...
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Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
but lets not overlook semantics, OK?
You say your drives are benchmarking at 120 MegaBytes per second.  Unless they are 10,000 plus rpm, I doubt it; though we'll leave that for later....
The network speed is rated in bits per second; 10, 100, or 1000 megabits.  Right off the bat that becomes 125 MegaBytes; but, it is also further degraded because every packet has information for Ip routing, checksum, and more.  In the real world, I get about 6,800 Kilobytes per second across my network with 100 mb NICs.  You should get about 68 MB with the gigabit NIC's.

Moving on, you won't gain anything by Teaming NIC's unless you segment the network and use two switches; one for half of the users, the other for the other half.  This is because you are already at the limit of the gigabit switch and only a second one will increase traffic.
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Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
P.S.  your real boost would come from being able to tell Office to use the user's local drive for temporary files instead of the folder where the file is stored.  I could do it in Office 4 and 95; but, M$ seems to have taken that control away in Office 2K+
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I disagree - you ARE correct, there IS packet overhead... but not 50% packet overhead - 15-20%, yes... so instead of getting 125 MB over a gig link, you'd be likely getting 100 MB -

Further, most QUALITY network switch  es support Multi-Gb backplanes so suggesting you would need two switches doesn't make much sense to me...

But frankly, a 10-30 MB excel file is going to take 1-3 seconds on a 100 Mbit network (or longer, but at least that long to read the ENTIRE file) and .1 to .3 seconds on a gig network - how could he tell he was on a 2 GB network by opening files?  I can't start and stop a stopwatch faster than .15 seconds...
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thomaswrightCommented:
More thoughts
1. Using CAT 6e cabeling rather than CAT 5 would benifit you as well.  
2. Having a high quality "MANAGED" GB Switch goes a long way.
3. Taking avantage of some good Network Monitoring software like Ipswitch's Whatsup Gold
( http://www.ipswitch.com/products/whatsup/index.asp ) is a good approach.

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Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
Lee,
Back in the 1980's, we used to benchmark a network using a batch file that set the time to 0, copied a large (10MB+) file to NUL, and then displayed the elapsed time.  For the last several years I have been using CDCheck which simply reads the specified files or folders, checking for errors.  I was testing my older Win2K "server" when I posted last night; but, here are the results from a 1.2GB folder between 2 XP Pro computers:
Basic statistics
- time elapsed: 00:02:31
- overall transfer [kB/s]: 8,159
- folders processed: 12
- files processed: 163
- source bytes read: 1.17 GB (1,261,616,405 bytes)
The key to the degredation is in the extra information in each packet and the need for an acknowledgement at the receiving end.

If the network has nice, high end switches, you may be correct; but, it seems to me you could easily confuse it with two connections to the same IP address.  Further, unless they are using the same IP address, the server would need duplicate DNS, Wins, yada yada configurations.  Using standard, unmanaged Gigabit switches, the simple solution is to segment the network by using two.
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