WAN speed expectations & optimization

We are opening a small remote office and are looking to connect this dierectly to our corporate network over a point to point Metro ethernet.

The remote (Mac OS-X) office will be transferring large image files (totals in the Gb range) to Windows 2003/2008 servers on the corporate domain. This needs to be cost effective so we are looking at limiting the pipe to 5-10Mb at least initially.

1) What kind of transfer speeds can we realistically expect over, let's say a 10Mb pipe (allowing for overhead etc)?
2) What tools/methods could be used to optimize the bandwidth?
3) Any recommendations?

The site is in fairly close proximity to the corporate LAN so I am trying to figure out a cost/benefit analysis before comitting to a new circuit.
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Bill BachPresidentCommented:
The maximum bandwidth you'll be able to get will likely be around 1/2 to 2/3 of the pipe size, depending on the protocols used. I'm not sure how efficient the Macs are, but this would be easy enough to test at your current facility -- lock a Mac down to a 10Mbps LAN connection and see how well it works.

Part of the problem, in addition to bandwidth, is latency over the link. This you cannot easily simulate. Higher latency will likely slow the transfer further. I know there are "fsast copy" solutions for Windows (I'm thinking of the free FastSCP tool), but don't know if they work with Macs or not. These tools work by implementing their own error correction code and by sending packets via UDP to completely fill a link, then controlling the retransmissions themselves. This is one of the few ways to saturate the link, but it also means that multiple users will compete for bandwidth instead of sharing it.

You may be much better off with a replication solution which stores a portion of the data at the remote office, then replicates that data back to the main office. Or, there are caching solutions which are designed to cache files on a server at the remote site for performance reasons, yet still appear to be at the main office.

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jostafewSystems AdministratorCommented:
BillBach makes some good points, I'd like to +1 the replication as that's how we maintain large engineering files between our sites in different provinces.

You mention that the sites are in fairly close proximity; how close is close? Do you have line of site between the two? We've done some shopping for metro ethernet services and it's not cheap, those funds could easily pay off a point to point wireless setup (may have to go to microwave depending on the distance).
agradminAuthor Commented:
hanks for the input. The sites are within 5 miles of each other, but not line of sight. The remote site is actually a photo studio, the desire being to transfer product shots from the sudio to servers at the corporate office.
Also, as there will be a single user at the remote site there would be no competition over bandwidth.

This has to be a cost-effective solution as the productivity gains would not be great (currently transporting DVD's). If you feel there is no feasible solution that would be good to know also.

So at the moment I'm working on the assumtion we could expect ~ 5Mb/s over a 10Mb/s pipe.
Bill BachPresidentCommented:
Right.  Or, since the OS indicates MB for most files, figure less than 1MB/sec, or 50MB/min.  10Mbps should be plenty for infrequent use, especially if you can start the transfer and then go on to doing something else.  

There is a considerable amount of overhead in the file transfer protocols, which is why I recommend FastSCP.
agradminAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help!
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