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Enabling Jumbo Frames On Our LAN

Posted on 2009-07-09
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
Hi there,

I'm not really a networking guy so would like some advice on this please. We have a network of various mixed Dell workstations and servers, connected by Dell Powerconnect 53xx switches. All Windows XP/2003.

I was thinking about enabling Jumbo frames to try and squeeze some speed out of the network for an application we use which uses SMB heavily to access data on a file share.

My questions are:

1. Would increasing the frames size to 9000 bytes give much of a performance boost to clients? What factors would affect this?
2. Inevitably some workstations will have NICs which do not support increased frame sizes. If I increase the frame size on the file server's switch port, will this kill comms to clients that do not support larger frames, or those clients who's switch port I haven't increased the frames size? Or, is there a negotiation which happens between the client/switch/server which brings the size back down in these cases?
3. Is there anything I should be wary about before doing this?

Hope that makes sense. Any help/comments would be greatly appreciated...
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Question by:gcz
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infoseccons earned 500 total points
ID: 24812477
I think this article will answer your questions: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/001232.html
It shows some graphs detailing the difference between normal and jumbo frames.
This article gives some more background: http://sd.wareonearth.com/~phil/jumbo.html as does this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbo_frames

In short:
1) speed increases especially for large file transfers on fast links
2) there is a negotiation process, but that can fail very easily due tue differences in implementation (test it in your situation to be sure)
3) read the articles for pitfalls

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by:gcz
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Thanks for the comments...
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