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Dual LAN not working as dual LAN

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July 26, 2006 1:24:06 AM

On acquisition of my new rig one of the things I was looking forward to doing was taking advantage of the dual LAN feature and gettin 200mbps speed instead of 100mbps. So on my Belkin Wireless 54g router I have this setup.

Port 1 - Marvell Gigabit LAN
Port 2 - nForce LAN

Both of these are on my motherboard. All the drivers are installed and they work fine on their own. But when plugged in, the Marvell LAN does nothing and only sends and receives 5 or 6 packets while the nForce LAN does all the donkey work. This the case whatever I do, be it firing up IE to go to google, copying and pasting files from another PC wirelessly connected on the network, downloading ISOs or large files using P2P programs or playing HL2 or CS:Source. The Port 1 light stays solidly lit and the port 2 light flashes widly. Each LAN port reports running at 100mbps so they DO work and plugging each one in separately shows that they work properly. And bridging the two network connections leaves me with only 100mbps when it should be 200mbps. :?

My question is how can I get my LAN ports to work together and give me 200mbps of speed rather than this setup of the weaker nForce LAN doing all the work while the big cheese Marvell LAN does sod all!! :roll:

Please help this newb as I am new in this area. :oops:  For my rig see my signature.

Thanks for your help
July 26, 2006 1:32:17 PM

Okay, a couple things here. The biggest misconception is that you think you will have 200 Mbps when you have two network cards. This is not the case. YOu have to look at it as having two pipes, each with 100 Mbps. This is different from having one pipe that is 200 Mbps. I think what you are trying to do is outlined in 802.3ad, link aggregation. The drivers must support link aggregation otherwise you have two ports each with 100 Mbps.
July 26, 2006 2:50:48 PM

Does anyone know whether or not the LAN ports included on the Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe Motherboard support link aggregation so I can get 200mbps. The ports are as follows:

NVIDIA nForce MCP Networking Controller &
Marvell Yukon Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T Adapter, Copper RJ-45

I used the drivers that were originally shipped on the ASUS motherboard driver CD. How can I find out whether or not my LAN ports support this 802.3ad link aggregation, and if not can I obtain drivers for each of these devices which will make them support Link Aggregation.

Also, how easy is it to set up link aggregation
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July 26, 2006 5:51:17 PM

It doesn't really matter if your MB supports link aggregation -- even if it does, you won't get the 2X bandwidth that you're looking for. A single TCP/IP connection can only reliably go through a single port. This means that even if you have dual net / link aggregation / etc., you won't exceed the performance of a single NIC on a single data/file transfer.

Here's an explanation; it's broadly applicable to other vendors.

http://www.alacritech.com/html/teaming.html

Also,

http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=15427

If you want to see it being argued to death here:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/network/Highest-MB-trans...

BTW, don't underestimate on-board nVIDIA networking -- it can easily outperform add-on Marvell networking in some cases. Do internal LAN networking-only measurements using something like PCATTCP to check for yourself.
July 27, 2006 2:20:28 PM

Aggregated links are mostly to support load balancing, which in turn makes it looks like you have more bandwidth. This depends on the capabilities of the scheduler you are using, the queuing algorithm, load balancing algorithm, etc, etc, etc. I've only seen this work on mid to high-end routers and switches. Never on a motherboard.
July 27, 2006 4:07:33 PM

Quote:
I've only seen this work on mid to high-end routers and switches. Never on a motherboard.


Yes, of course it's a property of networking components, not a MB per se. However, many MB's have multiple NICs, and some of those NICs have aggregation capability that is exposed via their software / drivers.

Intel, Broadcom, nVIDIA, SysKonnect/Marvell, Alacritech, among others probably, support link aggregation on some of their NICs.

However, my main point is that this is generally useless for single-user contexts as most of us run most of the time, esp. at home, as none of them are going to speed up a single file transfer.
July 27, 2006 11:01:41 PM

Basically, It doesn't work like that and you dont need both in your situation anyway. A single 100MB network connection is more than you could possibly need for transferring files from a wireless client and internet downloading/gaming.

If you have an internet connection over 100MB I would have to mock you for buying a belkin and then beat you up and steal it... ;) 
July 29, 2006 11:55:11 PM

Well I had a limited budget at the time of setting up the network :cry:  - so what brand would you recommend. Also why would you want my belkin if you are only going to mock me for owning one! :p 

Anyway how can I set up this dual LAN to work as a dual LAN through link aggregation or whatever - I'd rather use both ports and squeeze as much as I can out of it rather than leave one idling there doing sod all - what else could I use this network port for??? :?
July 30, 2006 1:02:32 AM

If you get a gigabit switch, attach that to your router, and then connect your computers via gigabit NICs to that switch, you'll do much better than 200 Mb/s -- you'll have gigabit that can go up to 1000 Mb/s. (Practical throughput gain around 3X, from 10 MB/s to 30 MB/s.)

Experts have pondered the multi-NIC question, and one of their best answers is that: If you get a short enough network cable, dual NIC's can make a convenient carrying handle for your MB.
July 30, 2006 4:42:23 AM

I would have to steal ur internet connection not the beklin ;)  A 100+MB internet connection is crazy talk where I am, lol. I'd take just about anything over belkins network equipment, linksys, netgear, d-link, trendnet, etc.

Simple answer to what to do w/ the other nic is nothing. Just dont use it. Second nics are included for the frequent occurances of people using their computer as the gateway for a network (one nic gets the modem, one gets the local network). Or just to have a spare incase one gets hosed.

If you really have a need for speed on your network go gigabit. Then the only transfer speed limitation will be your hard drives. To make any use of it though all of your computers would need gigabit network cards and be connected to the gigabit switch via wires.

Again, if the other computer you are copying files from is wirelessly connected there is nothing you could possibly do on your wired side to make transfers go faster. No amount of aggregation or gigabit upgrades would make any difference. Even if your internet connection is 10MB or so you could be copying stuff from the wireless PC and downloading from the internet at your maximum rate and not hurt a single 100MB connection at all.
July 31, 2006 5:02:54 PM

One of my network controllers is a Marvell Gigabit LAN controller. I would love to enjoy gigabit speeds but unfortunately my wireless router is preventing that from occuring - the router only supports 100mbit so adding a gigabit switch wont bring me improved performance especially if running off my 10/100 router.

Unless......does anyone know where I can get a gigabit router/switch which has wireless capabilities. Connecting my sister's PC via a wire would be impractical - its upstairs and on the opposite side of the building! :cry:  Otherwise I would have stuck with wires!! Oh the amount of headaches wireless gives me when it packs up. :evil:  On the plus side at least I could enjoy the auto update and internet feature on my PSP out of the box :p 
July 31, 2006 5:29:24 PM

There are wireless routers with gigabit switches, but they're not going to give you any performance improvement. (Loosely speaking, in terms of minute detail there may or may not be some performance improvement).

A gigabit-capable router per se is not going to give you any performance benefit that a gigabit switch connected to a 10/100 router couldn't.

You need to think clearly about the communication paths, and understand that your transfer speed is going to be the minimum of the link speed on both sides.

E.g. With:

1 GbE switch connected to router / switch built-in on router
100 Mb/s WAN port on router
54g wireless on router
3 Mb/s cable/ADSL internet

1000 Mb/s LAN port on computer A
1000 Mb/s LAN port on computer B
100 Mb/s LAN port on computer C
54 Mb/s wireless card on computer D

Nothing is going to download from the Internet any faster than 3 Mb/s -- that's the max cable/ADSL speed in this example.

Typical real throughput numbers are given in parentheses:

File transfers among computers A and B can exceed 100 Mb/s (240 Mb/s)
File transfers among computers A and C cannot exceed 100 Mb/s (80 Mb/s)
File transfers among computers A and D cannot exceed 54 Mb/s (20 Mb/s)

Real throughput with "108 Mb/s" wireless is also going to be under 100 Mb/s -- typically max around 40 Mb/s.
August 2, 2006 11:57:49 PM

OK well how much am I looking to spend for such a switch - and how will I go about setting it up into my current rig. It currently is as follows:

Cable Modem -> WAN Port on Wireless Router

Wireless Router -> LAN Port 1 & 2 -> Main PC Media Centre
Wireless Router -> Wireless Connection -> My Sister's PC or any other Wireless device active at the time (i.e. my PSP or laptop of my pilfering neighbour who cannot quite figure out how to get his own router working! :evil:  )

Where would the switch go here and how do I go about setting it up - is it a simple plug and play affair or do I need to configure Windows and my network adapters to "teach" them to work at a newer speed.
August 3, 2006 12:08:09 AM

If that is your whole network I wouldn't bother with setting up dual network cards or getting any upgrades. What you have right now will be fine with your setup. You dont have any other computers on the wired network so there is no point in upgrading it. I'd read Madwand's post carefully, it completely explains why.
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