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network adapter settings

Discussion in 'Networking' started by jgjulio, Apr 17, 2004.

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  1. jgjulio

    jgjulio Thread Starter

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    I am running a LAN with 7 PC's. 6 are Windows XP Home and one is Pro.
    The Pro computer holds a data folder that all the other computers access with a billing program that is a developers version based on Microsoft Acess.

    I have Cat 5 cable running to each through a 10/100 switch.

    The write function of the "remote pc's" are much slower than when one does the same function on the Pro computer that holds the data.

    I have read on the forum that changing the settings on the network adapter card to force full duplex at 100mbs will speed up the process.

    There are other settings on the adapters such "receive buffer" and transmit settings. Will increasing the number on these settings increase the speed of the write and read funtions on the network? What can I do to speed up the network the best.

    Thanks all
     
  2. plucnik

    plucnik

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    Ah....the question that plagues network admins everywhere....how to speed up your network? There are a gazillon reasons that a network can run slow. A cable could be bad, broken or too close to a source of interference or a NIC could be broadcasting "trash" and flooding the network. The best thing to do is start with the basics. If you have a library nearby, there's usually a book or two regarding basic network troubleshooting. To answer your question, there usually is a setting on the cards for what you are asking. Go to your NETWORK CONNECTIONS and right click on your connection. Click on the card's CONFIGURE button and go to the ADVANCED tab. You can set the SPEED AND DUPLEX manually there.
     
  3. jgjulio

    jgjulio Thread Starter

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    I guess my question is... on the adapter card settings there are other options other than speed. The transmit buffers and receive blocks sound like the higher the number the more memory would be allocated to the receiving and transmitting process and would then run faster. Is that correct?

    Thanks for the previous reply.
     
  4. plucnik

    plucnik

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    I've pasted some settings and recommendations for an Intel NIC card below. I wouldn't recommend changing your NIC's settings to match these but rather use them as examples of what one particular manufacture publishes. Generally, the manufacturer's default settings are the way to go......the settings are matched to the NIC's capabilities. As I mentioned in my previous post, slow networks access can be caused by a lot of things. Changing the settings on the NIC would be way down the list of things that I would look at to correct the problem. You could experiment with the settings on the card but......I work with Access databases and I found that the number one reason that they slow down is not compacting the databases or tables. They "bloat" quickly. Make sure the computer / server that the database resides on is also defragged on a daily basis. That makes a big difference.

    Advanced Adapter Settings
    Click the Advanced button in the Adapter Settings screen to change the Advanced setting.

    Note: The defaults work correctly for most configurations.
    Please use caution when changing these parameters. Use the online help for additional information.

    Coalesce Buffers

    Recommended setting: 8

    Receive Buffers

    Recommended setting: 32

    Transmit Control Blocks

    Recommended setting: 16

    Adaptive Transmit Threshold

    Recommended setting: On

    This parameter dynamically optimizes the point at which early transmit cycles will be executed. This results in higher performance but may generate an occasional underrun. To eliminate underruns, set it to OFF.

    Adaptive Technology

    Recommended setting: On

    Adaptive Technology customizes the EtherExpress PRO/100+ adapter to the respective operating system by downloading microcode to the silicon. This improves performance and minimizes CPU utilization.

    Map Registers

    Recommended settings: 64
     
  5. jgjulio

    jgjulio Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the reply.
    I will go on line for the respective NIC's and see what the manufacture suggests.
    I will check all my connections and cables etc, although other than they "look" ok I dont know how else to check them.
    We do defrag the disk often
    We do compact and optimize the database everyday.
    I have calls into the vendor of the program we use "Office Therapy" from www.quicdoc.com and they dont think it is anything wrong with the program itself. Our problems with slow downs came after a recent upgrade that we downloaded.
    What makes me believe that it is not the program is that when we access the data with the program on the server/computer it does run fine and quick. It is only when we access it with the other computers.

    The data is read, we can bring up a file quickly from any of the computers. The problem is when you modify a file and then write the change in the database then it goes to a crawl. From the server/computer the write process is less than a second. From the other computers it runs from about 8 - 15 seconds each.

    Each computer is XP and have at least 256K of memory each.
    Most are celerons at 1.7 - 2.2 gig in speed. The server is a pent 4. another computer on the network is also a P4 and is a little faster some of the time but also suffers from the slowness.
    I am running the data through a switching hub and all other access such as the internet etc is timely with all the computers.

    Do I need to look into the faster network 10/100/1000 type?


    Thanks again.
    Julio
     
  6. plucnik

    plucnik

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    Well, it sounds like you're doing all the right things. A couple of thoughts about the hardware. A Celeron is basically a P4 without the L2 Cache. Since that memory isn't there, those PC's would tend to be slower when "thinking". I assume that you have your front end and back ends split on the database (meaning, of course, that the queries, forms, macros etc. reside on the PC and the tables reside on the server). Regarding the switch. We just upgraded to a gigabit switch and NIC's for the PC's and that made a significant improvement in the Access database speed.
     
  7. jgjulio

    jgjulio Thread Starter

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    Thanks again.
    Yes the database is split on front and back ends.
    Do you have any advice on the gigabit switch and NICS. Are there any major differences between the major brands available.
    Any links to sites to learn about this type of hardware?
    I really appreciate your time.
    Julio
     
  8. plucnik

    plucnik

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    I guess it depends on what kind of network you're managing. If your looking at a network with heavy use, a lot of workstations and multiple domains, going with a "managed switch" (and a major brand like Cisco, 3Com, Bay Networks etc) is the way to go. For a network of your size, an unmanaged switch (meaning no network management features, just "set it and forget it") should do just fine. I hate to sound like a spokesman for Dell.....but I purchased a Dell gigabit switch w/24 ports for about $400 (for a 20 PC network). It's worked out real well. I went with 3Com gigabit NIC cards (3C2000-T) for the workstations that I upgraded. Dell has those for about $45 per (the server came with a gigabit NIC but I believe the cost for one of those was in the $125 range). This particular customer had one PC that was really "dragging" in Access, no matter what we tried (even more memory and a reformat). Putting a gigabit NIC in it brought it back up to speed. As I implied earlier, increasing network speed can sometimes be a frustrating experience.
     
  9. jgjulio

    jgjulio Thread Starter

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    Again thanks
    I am running twisted pair cat5 cable now. With the new faster network will this wire be ok or do I need different cable? The longest run is less than 50 feet.
    Julio
     
  10. plucnik

    plucnik

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    No need to change that, Cat 5 cable supports gigabit.
     
  11. jgjulio

    jgjulio Thread Starter

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    Well now I have to go shopping and then start setting up the hardware upgrade. I think this is the best next thing to do. This will take me a while. If this fixes our problems our employees will be quite happy. They are complaining about the slowness all the time.
    Thank you for your help. I will post the results when I have done it.
    Julio
     
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