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How to speed up a network link which is running slow ?

I have hooked 3 computes together using a router provided by Verizon. The router is rated 10/100mbps. Everything works but slave machines are slow when they have to talk to the box tagged as the server.  The machines have enough horsepower but the link is slow.  I thought of buying a dedicated mini hub, 8 ports, and trying that but unless you get into one of the gigabyte things, it seems they have the same transfer speed as the existing modem, 10/100.
Thus, in my mind I would gain nothing.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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zimmer9
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zimmer9
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giltjrCommented:
Can you define "slow?"  What are you doing?  How long does it take and how long do you think it should take?

Are all of the computers (slave and server) connecting at 100 Mbps or 10 Mbps?
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rochey2009Commented:
Check that you don't have a duplex mismatch between the router and the devices attached to it.
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zimmer9Author Commented:
What I am doing is scanning bottles for a wine bottle inventory system.

I can't really define slow, but when I scan bottles on the slave machine it seems to take 2 or 3 seconds to get the screen to populate.  This doesn't happen on the on the primary machine where the POS software is located.  The modem is supposedly self seeking which would allow it to seek the 100 mbps speed if available but since I'm using a Verizon router to make the connections and I know it's external connection speed is slow, even with the DSL line, it might be handcuffing the transfer rate between the 2 machines.  In any case, I don't want to play with this until after the New Year since store volume is heavy now and the system works, all be it slow.  

Have ordered a giga bit switch, unmanaged since the managed switches are more than I want to spend.  I understand the managed technology is better but with only 3 machines connected, I should be okay. If you could tell me how to determine where I check the transfer speed setting of the modem and the machines, that would be helpful.  
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giltjrCommented:
What model modem did Verizon give you?

Unless something weird is going on the network speed between the two computers is not affected by the DSL speed.  The DSL speed only affects the speed to/from the Internet.

When you are "scanning bottles" of wine, are you just scanning the bar code, or are you scanning an image of the label?  

If scanning a image of the label, what is the size and resolution of the image?

Although the modem and the network cards should be auto sense, there are times where that does not work.

What you can do is while doing the scanning process start task manager on both computers (a slave and the server) and look at the network tab and see what the link speed is and the % utilziation.

You may also want to look at the memory and CPU usage on the slave, since I don't know what the specs are on the slave PC, it could be it does not have the CPU or memory to perform the scanning process quickly.

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zimmer9Author Commented:
The modem is a Verizon Model 7500, which has wireless capability but the computers are plugged in.

I am just scanning the barcode.

How do I tell if the modem and machines are set for auto sensing?

CPU and memory are as follows:
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3.0 GHz in the server with 8 gigs of memory and
2.4 GHz in the slaves with 4 gigs of memory
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giltjrCommented:
The modem is set for auto sensing and you can change it.

As for the computers, you need to look at the network setting for the NIC and check and see what it says.  By default they are set to auto sense, so unless you changed it they should be auto sense also.

Is there a special software package you are using to do this process?

If you copy a fairly large (at least 100 MB) file from one of the slaves to the server how long does does it take?
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giltjrCommented:
Thanks for the points, but did you find out if it was the network or the process that was slow?
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zimmer9Author Commented:
It has to be network that is slow.

The system responds quickly on the machine which acts like the server.  

I ordered an unmanaged giga switch which I'll install after the New Year.  
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giltjrCommented:
You may want to do some more testing then, just swapping out a switch without knowing what is wrong will most likely not work.

A 100 Mbps network can transfer  about 1 MB per second.  Just scanning a bar code should not generate so much traffic that it causes network problems.

Do you copy a large file?  If so how long did it take.

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