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Home network speeds? Hardware?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by Stayfair11, Feb 22, 2004.

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  1. Stayfair11

    Stayfair11 Thread Starter

    Nov 1, 2003
    Hi there. I'm a home networking novice, learning on the fly. I have a Dell 3.2GHz P4 running WinXP home and a Dell 600MHz PIII running Win98SE that I successfully networked together (Ethernet) this past weekend.

    The network card in the PIII is the one it shipped with from Dell 4 or so years ago (it occupies a PCI slot), the network card in the P4 is an onboard (Intel PRO/100 VE?) model, and I bought a Linksys EtherFast cable/dsl router with 4 port switch.

    In the Local Area Connection box on my P4 machine I see a connection speed of 100Mbps. Is this the theoretical max I can expect with my hardware set up?

    Will I not be capable of reaching my max speed because of a basic onboard NIC in one machine and an old NIC in the other machine?

    In short, should I buy two new Fast Ethernet NIC's and install them to get my best performance? I'll be using the network to transfer files between machines, share the internet, share printers and a little gaming.

    After installing my network, I copied (from the P3 to the P4) 225MB of picture files in roughly 5 minutes. Does this speed sound appropriate considering my machines and hardware set up? I don't know what to expect.

    Thanks for the help.


    As an aside, I've install Cat5e throughout my entire house to a central point downstairs...if I were to buy a gigabit router/switch and install gigabit Ethernet cards in both machines, having installed Cat5e I should be able to have gigabit Ethernet in my house correct?

    Sorry for some simple and maybe overly simple questions...I'm only a weekend warrior when it comes to computers. Thanks again.
  2. coulterp


    Oct 20, 2003
    You might be happy to get ca. 50-60 Mbps on a theoretical 100Mbps connection. See http://www.hawaii.edu/brownbags/networks/network.opt.pdf for a summarised presentation.

    If both NICs claim to be 100 Mbps that is what you'll get - after the allowances made above, then maybe a max of 60Mbps. Obviously, if one card is 10Mbps, or the hub/router is 10 Mbps then that rather puts a cap on expected throughput!

    In answer to your last question yes, if you install gigabit hardware all round then expect gigabit performance (allowing for all the protocol overheads, collisions, re-trying, etc as per the above paper).
  3. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

    Oct 19, 2002
    Even though you install gigabit adapters in the machines, don't expect huge gains in file read/write speeds across the LAN. I have gigabit hardware in some machines here, as well as a 5 port gigabit switch. Writing to a remote workstation is about 20-25% faster, though reading from the remote workstation is about double the speed. With 32 bit PCI adapters, you'll get around 500mbit of throughput from the typical gigabit adapter. I get 433mbit with AOpen adapters, and around 550mbit with Intel Pro/1000 MT adapters. If you have a real server O/S, you can expect write performance to increase significantly, but that's probably overkill for a home network. :)
  4. stevepr


    Feb 16, 2004
    You are more than fine with your current connection. You limitation sits at this point on your hard drives and internal components of your machines.
    The windows copy utility is not the best to copy large files between computer anyways. Set up an FTP server on the machine where you keep your large files or both if you want. And that will give you much better performance.

    As it stand you mentioned you have a PIII my guess that machine has a very slow hard drive. It can only transfer as fast as it can copy.

    I would suggest server U for an FTP server (Its Free)
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