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I'm looking to improve the speed across my home network

By Bertie64 ·
My set up at present is:

OS = Windows 7

Broadband into Linksys WRT54G v5.1 wireless router which then feed:

1. Linksys PAP2-NA Phone adapter for VoIP.
2. Cat5 cable to HTPC
3. Cat5 cable to Desktop
4. Cat5 cable to iOmega NAS
5. Wifi to Laptop (Wireless "G")

Everything works but it seems a bit slow sometimes.

I would also like to extend the range of my Wifi coverage if possible but not essential.

So Questions are:

1. Will a gigabit LAN connection improve things or might this still be limited by other factors - eg hard drive speeds?

2. Will wifi be improved by moving to "N"? Laptop is def "G" but will range improve?

3. Based I guess on the above should I get a new router or stick with what I have and get a gigabit switch?

I have no free ports and this may also be an issue in the not too distant future. For example I would like to have one redundant cable to plug the laptop into occasionally.

Finally, if a new switch is the answer (as I suspect it may be) are there any issues in configuration? e.g. I have read that things like NAS can get "stuck" on the router and route everything through that unless they are reconfigured to get their IP addresses from the switch.

Many thanks and apologies if this is dealt with fully elsewhere - I have read a few answers on this topic but it is my first time on the site and am still trying to find my way around here.

Just checked various speeds for a 232MB file:

2.8MB/sec - NAS to Wifi (Laptop)
2.8MB/sec - Wifi to NAS

8.5MB/sec - NAS to Wired PC
5.5MB/sec - Wired PC to NAS (does this difference seem odd?)

2.5MB/sec - WiredPC to Wifi
2.8MB/sec - Wifi to Wired PC

3.0MB/sec - NAS (drive V) to NAS (drive X) - !?

The NAS is configured as 5 separate drives for Video, Music, etc... seems daft to me.

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All Answers

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Answered in order of asking

by OH Smeg In reply to I'm looking to improve th ...

Will a gigabit LAN connection improve things or might this still be limited by other factors - eg hard drive speeds?

Well it all depends on what is slow here. A Gigabit LAN will not improve the speeds of Downloads from the Web as this relies on your Internet Connections and it's speed as well as how much Traffic your ISP is experiencing at that particular time.

2. Will wifi be improved by moving to "N"? Laptop is def "G" but will range improve?

The speed very well may be but again it all depends on what you are claiming to be slow. WiFi is considerably slower that a Wired Connection and the stronger the Security the Slower that Data Transfer will be. As for Range this will have no effect at all. The Maximum Range is claimed to be around the 500 Meters Mark from the WiFi Access point but this all depends on what is between the WiFi Access Point and the upper limit. Solid Objects will shorten this range, so things like walls will defiantly limit the range. You really need to use a Range Extender to improve the Range.

3. Based I guess on the above should I get a new router or stick with what I have and get a gigabit switch?

This all depends on you and what you feel is slow. Certainly Data Transfers across a Gigabit LAN will be faster than across a 10-100 LAN but things like File Sizes and computer speeds come into play as well. Also the actual Ethernet Adapters in the Computers may not allow the Maximum Speed of a Gigabit LAN to be achieved.

As for the Router this all depends on what you can get but the Internet Speed will still be the same and limited by the constraints listed above switching to Gigabit will just improve internal Transfers and will not have any effect on Download or Uploads.

8.5MB/sec - NAS to Wired PC
5.5MB/sec - Wired PC to NAS (does this difference seem odd?)


No it doesn't Writes to any Drive are always longer than Reads. So if you are transferring from the NAS it will be faster than writing to it.

Col

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Your reply...

by Bertie64 In reply to Answered in order of aski ...

Hi Col. Thanks for this and the other reply about the iOmega NAS.

In the same order as your reply:

1. Sure. I fully get the separation of WAN form the LAN here. Broadband is OK but certainly well below the capabilities of the current set up and I know this will not improve. It is just transfer speeds across my LAN that I am looking to improve.

2. Points taken. I thought the range would be unchanged but am surprised to learn that the speeds might improve. Will consider this.

3. I guess now I get used to it all it doesn't feel that slow. I guess it is just because I am moving around fairly large amounts of data to get everything where I want it to begin with.

I guess the question really was simply this:

If I go out and stick a Gigabit switch on the Router and then connect everything to this (barring the VoIP adapter/printer) will it be of significant benefit compared to 10/100Mbps - or is it likely that hard drives or other hardware issues will mean that the benefits are limited.

PC's are around 1 year old and were reasonably well specced at the time.

I just don't know anything about disk read/write speeds and if this current level of performance (2.5-8.5MB/sec) is likely to be near their max.

It jsut seemed to me like before - just using USB HDD's to shuffle stuff between PC's - things were quite a bit faster.

Thanks.

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OK then I'll try to help

by OH Smeg In reply to Your reply...

But I'll probably only confuse.

2. Points taken. I thought the range would be unchanged but am surprised to learn that the speeds might improve. Will consider this.

The only reason that the speed will improve is because the G Standard for WiFi is faster than the lower Standards like B and so on.

If I go out and stick a Gigabit switch on the Router and then connect everything to this (barring the VOIP adapter/printer) will it be of significant benefit compared to 10/100Mbps - or is it likely that hard drives or other hardware issues will mean that the benefits are limited.

Well in that case the computers with the exception of any Notebooks should all have Gigabit LAN's on them and there will be a faster Data Transfer by using a Gigabit Switch/Hub.

The Internet speeds may be down because of the VOIP sertup which may be eating the bandwidth of the ISP.

It jsut seemed to me like before - just using USB HDD's to shuffle stuff between PC's - things were quite a bit faster.

Data Transfers across a LAN should be considerably faster than writing to a USB Drive and then taking the external drive to another computer/s and copping the data to that/them from the external drive. Even a 10/100 T Base should move data around a lot faster than a USB External Drive can as it should do it in half the time simply because there is no intermediate device being written to.

If it appears slower I would be using something like Wireshark to see what is actually happening on the LAN. There could be a lot of traffic on it from the VOIP or something else.

http://www.wireshark.org/download.html

After all you may have some kind of Infection that is calling home and eating up your Bandwidth.

Col

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So. I bought a 5 port gigabit switch...

by Bertie64 In reply to OK then I'll try to help

And also a gigabit PCI card for my Media PC.

Unfortunately my desktop is a stupid slimline HP with no PCI slots and 10/100 Ethernet so no room for expansion.

Now what I have is as follows:

Internet --> Wireless Router (Wireless "G", 10/100 Ethernet).

Wireless Router --> Gigabit switch

Media PC (gigabit) --> gogabit switch

Desktop PC (10/100) --> gigabit switch

Network Storage (gigabit) --> gigabit switch

Laptop (wireless G) --> Wireless Router (G)

The lights on the switch indicate that the Media PC and the NAS are connected at gigabit speed and that the Router and Desktop are connected at 10/100.

If I transfer a file from one part of the NAS to another using my Desktop speeds have improved from 3.0MBs before the addition of the gig switch to anything from 3.6MBs to 4.5MBs.

If I perform the same task from the gigabit connected Media PC the speed was around 6MBs.

I think I must be fundamentally missing something here... Why should it make a difference which computer issues the command? Surely the data is just going from the NAS back to the NAS?

If I send a file from the NAS to the gigabit connected PC speeds are up from 8.5MBs to around 10.5/11MBs.

This is probably irrelevant but I think I saw a similar unanswered question a while back somwehere else: The IP addresses are still being distributed by the Router. Does this need to be changed in some way and does this mean that traffic is being routed via the 10/100 connection to the router, and bottlenecking there?

I was hoping for a more significant increase than that so I hope it is just me being dumb!

The best I can do for the Desktop (pending an upgrade) is a USB gigabit adapter. Might go there but they are quite pricey and only about 480KBs (MAX) if I understand correctly.

You said:"The Internet speeds may be down because of the VOIP sertup which may be eating the bandwidth of the ISP. wink" (how do you quote - get italics?)

VoIP is pretty stable and partitioned to 164Kbps so should be fine. Anyway I am happy with the speed of my internet connection (well as happy as anyone is really, could always do with more but in rural Spain I'm lucky to have a Wireless ISP delivering reliable broadband in the first place!)

As always, any help greatly appreciated. Not an awful lot of expert assistance around here! Here in Spain I mean, not this site of course.

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As to italics...

by seanferd In reply to So. I bought a 5 port gi ...

Translate the parentheses as angle brackets. This forum and many others also accept square brackets.


(i)Something to be italicized.(/i)
<i>Something to be italicized.</i>

(b)Bold(/b)
<b>And always make sure you close the tags!</b> Or the italics, bold, or whatever will run through the whole thread until fixed. :0

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As to the NAS

by seanferd In reply to So. I bought a 5 port gi ...

If you are transferring files within the NAS itself only, the speed is dependent on the read and write speeds of the disk itself. You may be able to speed that up by defragmenting the drive, if that option is available.

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