Slow Vista file copy caused by network devices?

Posted on 2010-09-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
One of my clients is a small organization with little resources to test/buy new hardware. They were unlucky to buy computers with Windows Vista a couple of years ago. They have a Small Business Server 2003 and 4 clients. 3 PC's with Vista and one laptop with Win 7.
The laptop is fine but not the file copy and opening of files on network shares.

I have suspected for a long time that switches, routers and other network gear in a LAN is playing a role in how Vista is so much slower than XP for instance.

This client has a HP ProCurve 1400-8G (J9077A) switch and a Dlink DIR-615 WLAN router (acting as access point).
When i wanted to copy a 10mb-file fron the network it took 44,9 secs. This was with the ProCurve as the main hub. I then connected the server straight in the DLink and one same computer i was testing with also straight in the DLink the copy time was 4,4 secs.
I also tested other file transfers and the results was the same.

My conclusion is that some network boxes are not compatible with Vista or how Vista is comunicating.

My question to you is whats the difference in how these two boxes talk and what parameter or feature should one look for to minimize such problems?

Hers product info for the boxes:
HP ProCurve

DLink DIR-615

IS my conclusion correct or is there something i'm missing?

Question by:lurer
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 33745788
Did you try simply plugging the server into a different port on the HP switch?  There is a difference between the way Vista/Win7 and previous OS's like XP communicate when using SMB (i.e., copying files), but it is pretty minor as far as I know (a different version of SMB).  Certainly nothing that would affect the performance of a switch.
Another thing that might logically affect this would be something like a misconfiguration in the NIC settings on the workstations. Check the duplex settings on the workstation NICs - for the HP Procurve switch they should be set to either auto-sense or full duplex.

Author Comment

ID: 33746034
I have tried different ports on the switch.
For this specific computer i have disabled IPv6, disabled offlines files, disabled differential compression, disabled auto tuning, set the NIC to use Auto negotiate on LAN speed and checked that drivers are up to date.
None of these things helped before i removed the ProCurve from the loop.

The reason why i was trying this in the first place is because at home i have a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo. When i bought it i didnt know it would be very picky about which devices it could talk to. The Compatibility list from Netgear clearly says that just a few switches, routers, wlan access points, hard drives etc is supported for expected preformance. My question then was, why would a simple device using TCP/IP and the common network protocols like smb/cifs etc be so picky on network devices it were to communicate with? There has to be something in how devices communicate that just is not compatible in all scenarios even though the protocols are standardized and well known and used by most products.

LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 33746199
I really don't think this is a hardware compatibility issue, and I have never heard of any such issues with HP switches, but I do not routinely use HP switches, so there could be something I'm not up on. What brand of NIC are you using in the workstations and on the server? Is it the same for all workstations that are having this problem? Also, please do an ipconfig /all on the server and one of the workstations that is experiencing this issue and post the results.
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Author Comment

ID: 33746537
Thanks for your help so far hypercat. Im going there on monday to install a new printer so i will try it out.
From connecting through ProCurve and changing to DLink there is no changes made on server or workstation. No ip renewal or anything. It just connects and retain its IP based on leasing policy from DHCP server.
I just change one cat5 cable connecting workstation to either ProCurve or DLink. Server is atm connected to DLink.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 33747118
Could you clarify your last sentence - "Server is atm connected to DLink." Is the server using something other than a standard Ethernet connection to the DLink router? Why is the server connected to the DLink instead of being connected to the Procurve switch? Should normally be the other way around - the server and workstations connected to the switch, and the DLink router also connected to the switch.

Author Comment

ID: 33749115
Normally everything is connected to the ProCurve. Workstations, server, WLAN router (as access point only) and normal broadband router from ISP.
So when you are at a workstation and want a file from the server the traffic passes through the ProCurve.
With this configuration everything is slow between clients and server.

Now, here is the current configuration as of today. For testing purposes that is.
Since the DLink has 4 LAN ports, one is connected to the workstation i've been tested, one to the server and one to the ProCurve, so there is connectivity between all nodes in the network. But since the traffic from the workstation in question only goes to DLink and then straight to server and not through ProCurve, we dont experience slow traffic/file copy.
This change has done a tremendous difference in traffic speed between server and the workstation i have been testing.

This network setup is not how i would want it to be, but it works, so thats why im asking the question. The ProCurve is a realtively dumb box with out any setup or management possibilities. So why is it so slow compared to a basic "entry level" DLink?

Any clearer now? :)
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 33754296
OK - Gotcha. Sorry for the confusion, but I was thinking that what you described first off was the way it was normally. The only hardware setting I can think of that might affect the traffic through the ProCurve switch would be duplex settings. Try setting the NICs of both the workstation and server to full duplex instead of auto sensing and see if that makes any difference. Are you using 100 speed or 1GB speed NICs on the workstation and server?

Author Comment

ID: 33754374
I will go there on monday and have a look at things. Will be back with info then..

Author Comment

ID: 33822719
Changing Duplex setting did not help.
The 3 affected computers will be upgraded to Win 7 on wednesday. Hopefully that will help some. If not, i'll be back. The thread will be open until then.
Thanks for your help so far hypercat.

Author Comment

ID: 33829429
Hi again. When looking for a new potential switch i came across a different ProCurve. It is supporting Jumbo Frames. Since this is a none-configurable switch i guess you cant turn it off?

Anyways, on my ReadyNAS Duo+ it was recommended to turn Jumbo Frames off for better network performance, and when i read about Jumbo Frames on wikipedia, it says "The IEEE 802 standards committee does not recognize jumbo frames, as doing so would remove interoperability with existing Ethernet equipment and other 802 protocols, including 802.5 Token Ring and 802.11 Wireless LAN. The presence of Jumbo frames also has an adverse effect on network latency.
Internet Protocol subnetworks require that all hosts in a subnet have an identical MTU. As a result, interfaces using the standard frame size and interfaces using the jumbo frame size should not be in the same subnet. To reduce interoperability issues, network interface cards capable of jumbo frames require explicit configuration to use jumbo frames."

I read in other places that Jumbo Frames are good for gigabit networks and beyond.

In my opinion the switch has to be the bottleneck here. Is there any other way to see it? I changed switch and WLAN access point at home after my problems with my ReadyNAS Duo and it was solved by this change. I'll buy a switch for my client from my own money and if I'm wrong, then i'll take the loss, but if it works the client will have to take the expenses.

Will be back tomorrow with the results, good or bad...


Accepted Solution

lurer earned 0 total points
ID: 33840435
Just came from the client now. I brought a D-Link switch there to see how it would work. I actually didnt make any difference in network browsing and copying. The switch also supported Jumbo Frames. Guess most gigabit switches does?
Anyways. I reinstalled the three computers thats was running Vista and replaced it with Windows 7. On all computers browsing network folders and opening files are working perfectly. No delays or waiting as in Vista.

Cant really say what caused the problem in the Vista installations, but its fixed now.

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