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Connecting a gigabit network drive to SBS server

I run a number of backups on an SBS 2003 network using a 500GB Freecom NAS/USB drive. I did try setting it up using the Ethernet connection, but the performance was dreadful and I took the USB 2.0 path.

Anyway I now need to replace it with a 2TB external drive, which is both USB 2,0 and ethernet, but this time has a gigabit connection.

My first question would be is the gigabit connection better or worse than a USB 2.0? It's a cheap Seagate drive (£110) but I'm on a budget and USB 2.0 works quite well.

However, if the ethernet solution would be better I would like to make some changes to the network and I need some help here.

The server's old and will be replaced in 12 to 18 months time. It has an internal gigabit (the only NIC on the server) and this connects to a Netgear firewall FVS318 (100Mbps), which in turn connects to a D-Link ethernet ADSL modem.

A 8-port 100Mbps switch connects to the Netgear and another 8-port switch daisy chains from the first one. These serve 10 network devices.

Ideally I would like to take this opportunity to connect the server to the 2TB drive and two PCs using a second gigabit NIC on the server and a 5-port gigabit switch to get the full 1000Mbps. The second NIC on the SBS 2003 server will need a unique IP and this will mess up my SBS settings. I am sure there is a routing method around this, but I'm not sure how.

All the cabling we use is marked "CAT 5e", "Verfied for Gigabit". How much better is CAT 6 and is gigabit noticably faster than 100Mbps?



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1 Solution
Hi There

To achieve what you want and from my understanding it is this>

1. Get the SBS 2003 Server running properly on the 1gb NIC already connected into the box and have all other clients servicing from it.
2. Connect your Seagate NAS via Ethernet into the LAN and run your SBS 03 backups over Ethernet to the NAS device yes

Based on this, from what you have said here are my thoughts on getting this setup

My Solution.

1.  Note all NIC Configuration on the currently connects NIC on the SBS03 serving your LAN - Things like IP, DNS and forwarding DNS (your ISP DNS Servers that is), Gateway etc. Open up network connections on the sbs03 and see what nics are currently enabled and connected. Rename this Lan connection by right clicking on the connection and selecting rename and give it a logical name like 100mb LAN... if you see another connection in there (which you should as it is the 1GB link, rename that connection with a logical name as well like "1GB LAN)

2. Plan Network Outage with staff (after hours etc)

3. When this is done, I would look at connecting the the server up in the following method.
- After getting all the NIC info down from your system, d/c your sbs server active nic. plug in the gigabit link into the server and then to the gigabit switch/hub and ensure it is powered on

- the hub should be connected to the router, so if it is a 5 port hub/switch, it will be connected like this ...
1 port goes to the router
1 port goes to the sbs03 box
1 port goes to the other switch/hub (Daisy chain)
1 port goes to ONE LAN PC ONLY
1.port goes to the NAS Device - segate...

- open network connections and you should only see one NIC that is now connected
disable the othe connection you labeled earlier (referencing for me here 100mb LAN" You should now only see "!GB LAN" connection enabled and connected.

4. With completed. Open the SBS 03 console and run through the "Connect Computer to the Internet Wizard" and during this wizard you will be asked to select the NIC you want to use, you should only see only NIC available - the 1GB LAN NIC as it is the only one connected and enabled

5. You will need to provide the following settings
- IP Address - use the IP from the previous NIC so other machines can continue talking to it
- DNS Use same as Before
- Router IP
- ISP DNS Server Settings

Once these wizard is completed, and finished make sure you can talk to the web
At this point you should be able to talk to the LAN Machines and vice versa
Ensure everything is good

Set your Seagate up with a static IP Address and configure
you can then setup your backup to run to that device

Let me know how you go, or for more insight

Good luck

First of all, I don't think you will notice any performance gain using ethernet UNTIL you upgraded all your component to Gigabit. I believe the bottleneck is at the firewall + switch, which they only support 100Mbps. So until then, USB2.0 should be faster.

Secondly, I think you need to buy a proper gigabit switch (24 ports) to accommodate your clients. Having a switch into a switch is not ideal as all user on the second switch are sharing the speed from one port on the first.

Finally, I don't think what you proposed work. The two NICs in an SBS do not support such intelligence. Beside, when you upgraded and replaced your old server by SBS2008, it only supports one NIC.

If you want to know about the different between Cat5e and Cat6 have a look here :- http://www.broadbandutopia.com/caandcaco.html

Rob WilliamsCommented:
I spent several years troubleshooting network infrastructures and I agree with ormerodrutter, your first step is to clean up the existing chaos. The network is only as good as the weakest link. Place proper gigabit switches with less hops and I would also recommend having the network certified. A network cable that is stretched, kinked, poorly terminated, even has the pairs un-twisted a couple of inches will still work but, may be operating at 20% of capacity. The only way to find out is with network certification equipment.

The next issue as mentioned is your server choice. SBS 2003 only supports 2 configurations 1 NIC or 2 and the latter is specifically to use the SBS as a gateway for the LAN. SBS 2008 only supports 1 NIC. If you want to add backbones for backups you really need server 2008 std, though I don't think you need it.

If you go to SBS 2008 it has USB backup that is extremely efficient. If you want to run it over the LAN you can still use the USB but add a tool from www.fabulatech.com
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mikeabc27Author Commented:
Many thanks for your input.

As you say the bottlenecks are the 100Mbps firewall and switches. To this end I can replace the Netgear FVS318 with a FVS318G. As this is 8 ports of 10/100/1000 I do not need the gigabit swith in this room. This also allows me to bin my dumb idea of the second NIC on the SBS server, as it was only intended to bypass the slow firewall.

That takes care of 2 desktop Windows 7 PCs, server, printer, ASDL modem and link to the floors below.

Rob I appreciate your point of 5 devices sharing one connection, but it's tricky to avoid. It's an old building on 3 floors and only 2/3 PCs per floor. The trunking will only stretch to one cable.

I might just have the faster speed upstairs and keep the other floors on 100Mbps. Would the connection to the slower switch affect the performance of the devices using CAT6/gigabit connections?

I need to replace the server with SBS 2008 in 12 to 18 months (have to work to budgets) and will look to replace the cabling to the other floors then.
Rob WilliamsCommented:
If CAT5E is installed properly it will support Gigabit. The key is the quality of the installation probably more so than CAT5E/CAT6

>>"Would the connection to the slower switch affect the performance of the devices using CAT6/gigabit connections?"
I am not sure I understand the question.

Personal I would have quality switches with a single connection to the router. The router at 100MB is probably fine as the internet is not going to reach that speed anyway, but do not use it as a switch. Then try to keep hops between switches to a minimum for simplicity as much as possible.

I think I understand that question Rob :)

Yes you can have segment of your network at 100mbps and another at 1Gb - as long as they don't cross over you will get the optimum performance.
Rob WilliamsCommented:
Ah. Guess I am dyslexic  :-)
Your answer makes the question clear.
mikeabc27Author Commented:
Thanks ormerodrutter, you got it.

FVS318G (gigabit) acting as both firewall and switch will have the following connections.

Etherbet port: to ASDL modem via 100Mbit CAT5e cable (firewall connector capable of gigabit, modem isn't.
LAN1: to server (gigabit)
LAN2: to backup drive (gigabit) 192.168.20.
LAN3: to pc1 (gigabit):
LAN4: to pc2 (gigabit)
LAN5: to printer (100Mbit)
LAN6: free
LAN7: free
LAN8: to 100Mbit switch
Firewall is

Any probllems?

mikeabc27Author Commented:
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