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Help me improve our network speed please

We have a Dell Power Edge 600SC server that is a 3-4 years old.  It is running Windows Server 2003.  About a year and a half ago, we installed CAT6 cables and went with a Linksys RV0041 router and a Linksys SRW2024 switch.  We also have a Linksys WRT54GL with DHCP off.  We installed Linksys EG1032 v3 NIC in all the computers including the server.  Our network speed did not increase like I thought it would.  Is there a special NIC that would be better for our server?  And is there an easy way for me to check the current speed of our network?  Thanks.
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Cam_Man595
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Cam_Man595
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
how are you testing you network speed?

also, how are you using the switches?
for example, the linksys WRT54GL is only 10/100.  that means anything going through that router/switch will not be Gigabit speed.  you'd need a router/switch capable of 10/100/1000 for that...

so, even though your NIC cards are gigabit...  not all of your network appliances are gigabit...

also, are you chaining any of your switches?  if so, that will add a slight delay because of the added packet processing...
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Cam_Man595Author Commented:
We are not currently testing our network speed.  I would like to, but I don't know how.

The WRT54GL is plugged into the switch and only the 3 wireless computers use it.

We only have 1 switch so there is no chaining.

Would it help if I set everyone up with a static IP?
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abuckheitCommented:
another real common thing i see is having a bunch of comps on 1 switch then sending all that through 1 wire to another switch, instead of wiring all the boxes to the main switch.
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abuckheitCommented:
static ips wouldnt improve network speed..

when you say network speed, how have you decided its slow? downloaded files on the internet/youtube, transfering files between local computers, games, etc??

it is important to know what aspect is slow
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
you can test network speed in a variety of ways.  one way is to get a large download file and place it on a computer in your network and share out that folder.  from another computer, download that file...

Firefox and IE will report the download speed as the file is being downloaded.

this is one way to test speed between 2 computers on your network.

to test speed outside your network, it's easiest to use a speed tester such as the one available here:
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
other things that slow down network speed:
cabling - running many devices off 1 cable (as mentioned above)
cables that are getting interference, or have not been properly terminated (wires are untwisted, for example)
antivirus or filtering products that run on routers/firewalls (packet inspection significantly slows speed)
spyware or viruses on computers (usually the computer is showing other symptoms, too)


if you can give us an example by providing the details of a particular network situation, how you tested the speed, and the speed results, we can probably be more specific in our answers.  for example, maybe test speed between computer A and computer B.  tell us the network equipment between computer A and computer B, how you tested the speed, and what the results were.
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Cam_Man595Author Commented:
I did not say that our network speed was slow.  It just did not improve much when we upgraded to Gigabit equipment.  All the computers (except the 3 wireless) have a run back to the switch.  I like the idea of moving a large file from one computer to another to test the speed, but I don't know how to do it using Firefox or IE.  Could you explain more please?  After some testing I can give you more information.

BTW, I am only talking about our in-house network speed.  I am not talking about internet speed.
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JjcampNRCommented:
You still haven't really said what you think is slow. If you're talking about when your client PCs pull data off of your 3-4 year old server, the speed bottleneck is likely the server and not the network.  While upgrading all your network hardware to Gb is definitely a nice upgrade, if your server is older and the disk access times are slow, it won't be able to serve data up fast enough to use all the bandwidth you have on your network now.

If you check your wired PCs and server, do they all show they're connecting at 1Gbps / 1000mbps?
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lnkevinCommented:
Instead of testing on client/server, just map a drive from clientA to clientB and test it to see if it improves.
Other than upgrading your server, you can create a different vlans on your switch (to split your network into different subnets) to see if the performance improves. You can use web browser to create a vlan, but I recommend to call Linksys for more helpful instruction.

K
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Cam_Man595Author Commented:
I transfered 3 150mb files from a client to the server and from a client to another client.  Both times using the task manager, it only got to 42% of the gigabit bandwidth.  That is obviously better than our old 100Mb network.  Is there a way to improve it and use more of the bandwidth?
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JjcampNRCommented:
No, you're limited by the throughput of the local disks in the server and desktop, they simply can't process and write 1Gbps of data to max out your connection.  Most disks only write about 150MB/s so I think you're doing well right now.
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xyxlorCommented:
Speeds should dramatically increase if writing to flash media or a solid state drive.
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