Weird internet download speeds issues.

Bright House 200/15 connection.  Line test shows rated speed.

My network:
Gigabit dumb switch and Gigabit SonicWall firewall
All internal wiring is Cat5
DHCP and DNS handled by domain controller.

Using Speedtest.net (and other metrics software)

Local domain workstations (Gigabit NIC) get 60/16

BH tech's laptop connected directly to modem with Cat6 patch cable gets 210/16 with both static and DHCP addresses.

My laptop (Gigabit NIC) connected directly to modem with Cat5 patch cable gets 65/16 with both static and DHCP addresses.
My laptop (Gigabit NIC) connected directly to modem with Cat6 patch cable gets 135/16 with both static and DHCP addresses.

Why would my laptop and its gigabit NIC be so much slower than the techs, when we are using the same Cat6 cable?  Granted, my laptop is pretty old, and has a 1st Gen i7 CPU.  I'm sure his is a 5th Gen i7.  But I didn't know CPU speed would affect a bandwidth test that much.

Also, is Cat5 cable really not able to transfer at 200mp/s?  Do I need to re-cable my entire office with Cat6?
eracerAsked:
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
A CAT5E cable should be good for gigabit speeds. But that's only if all 8 wires are connected.
1000BASE-T standard uses all 4 pairs.

HTH,
Dan
nader alkahtaniConsultantCommented:
CAT 5  doesn't capable of Gigabit speed,  but CAT 5e and upper can

You should use the free tool iperf or jperf to measure bandwidth
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
@Nader: CAT5 definitely supports gigabit speeds, albeit on shorter distances: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_5_cable

It just uses 4 pairs instead of 2.
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Scot HalvorsenCommented:
Internet speed can be influenced by a number of factors. You already found a couple of them.

The quality of the network cables will have a factor in how noisy the network connection is to the next device (most likely your switch).

Inexpensive switches do not necessarily run at line speeds and may actually reduce you maximum throughput.

Routers and Firewalls are in most cases store and forward devices. They have to inspect each packet as they are transmitted.

However I do agree that the drop in throughput you are seeing is far greater than the norm. Yes, cpu performance (or better yet, bus performance) can impact your speed test but that is unlikely if the system is less than 10 years old.

Start your testing the exact same way that your installer did. Do your testing from the modem and make sure that you are getting the same reading (or something close to it.) Make this your baseline. This way you can work forwards and find what part of your network is the bottleneck.

I also suggest that you improve your cabling. Make sure that you standardize on Cat6 and it is from a reputable source.

Also you should not see a difference in speed regardless if you are using DHCP or static addresses. DHCP is a protocol to get an address. In the end it is the same.

Good luck on your search!
akahanCommented:
Is your laptop performing other networking tasks as soon as you connect it to the network that his isn't?  (For example, backing up to server, fetching email, etc.?)

Any difference in the configuration of your NIC vs. the tech's?  For example, does he have jumbo frames enabled and you don't?

Are you offloading NIC processing activities to CPU, but he isn't?

You might want to experiment with NIC configuration (Device Manager, Choose the NIC hardware, go to Advanced.)  You may have GB disabled for power efficiency, or you may have speed and duplex mis-set, or Ethernet Energy Efficiency turned on....all sorts of possibilities.  Unfortunately, you haven't mentioned precisely which NIC you're using, or even what operating system, so it's hard to be specific.

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nader alkahtaniConsultantCommented:
Dan craciun,  yes I  agree with you,  but cat 5 has a poor performance in Gigabit Ethernet
eracerAuthor Commented:
In my original question I did list my results when connected directly to the modem.

It is very puzzling that I was getting different results when connected using a static IP vs. a dynamic IP.

My laptop is running Win7Pro.  Intel® Core™ I7 processor I7-640LM.  I don't have the laptop with me right now, so I can't say what the NIC is.  I know it's an Intel gigabit card.  I'll have to google all the settings to see what the advanced settings do.

My laptop is not running any other tasks when I connect it to the modem.

The switch is a Cisco SG200-50 Gigabit Smart Switch.  Not really a 'cheap' switch.

The SonicWall TZ215 firewall has pretty fast processors - I don't think it's the bottleneck here.

I'll check my NIC settings, and try again with a more modern laptop.

I think it's obvious that I need to replace my network cables.  They were installed many years ago and I suspect the connectors weren't done very well.
eracerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help.  I need to do more testing.  This shouldn't be too hard to figure out, really.  But some things are very puzzling.
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