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How do I test the speed of my home network?

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  • Laptops
  • Routers
  • Desktops
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
March 10, 2007 8:45:04 PM

I have a small home network consisting of two desktops which are connected directly to a Dlink d-634 router and a laptop which connects wirelessly to the router using a dwl-g650m client card. Id like to test the speed of this network, especially from the wireless laptop to my wired desktops, the speed seems awfully slow. When I send a large file 3gigs from the laptop to my desktop and I goto the networking tab in task manager it only shows about 15% network utilization. This doesn't seem right to me. What kind of speeds should I be expecting on this sort of network? The desktops are fast AMD dual core systems and the laptop is an older Amd Duron 1.2ghz 768mb system. My router/client are supposed to be 108Mbps capable, but I know I will never see anything near this in real world usage. Are there any programs that I can use to test the network speed?? Ive found lots of internet speed tests but cant find one for testing lan speeds. Any ideas.
thanks

More about : test speed home network

March 12, 2007 1:56:22 PM

Your router claims to support D-Link's "AirPlus Xtreme G® series of wireless networking devices... these 802.11g compatible devices are capable of delivering maximum wireless signal rates of up to 108Mbps when used together." Your adapter claims to support D-Link's "Super G® with MIMO" technology. Are these compatible for the supposed increase in data throughput? Beats me, but my guess would be "maybe".

Also, this increased throughput is very problematic. It reduces with distance, and if there are other "normal" 802.11g networks in the area, maintaining an "Xtreme / Super" G connection will be difficult, since these devices are designed to drop down to standard 802.11g for compatibility reasons.

A rule of thumb on "g" wifi throughput is divide the claimed data rate by 3. So your 54Mbps standard g would have a real-world throughput of 18Mbps, and this is for a good performing setup. With attention to setup, distance, physical barriers, etc., you can get a "g" wifi to perform up into the 20-25Mbps range, but don't count on it.

Applying the same rule of thumb to your 108Mbps system (assuming it is actually operating at 108Mbps), you would expect to see real-world throughput in the 36 - 50Mbps range - assuming it is not constantly dropping down to lower speeds, etc. Some users complain that when these 108 devices drop down, they are actually slower than standard 802.11g devices. But, I don't know.... I don't use them.
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March 12, 2007 2:54:46 PM

If you want real LAN performance, use wired, esp. wired gigabit.

Don't get your hopes up about saturating the wireless marketing figures. Since you just can't do "54 Mb/s" or "108 Mb/s" actual data throughput with even full connection speeds over wireless, you're bound to see less than 100% network utilization -- typically much less, which is normal for wireless.

22 Mb/s is a good upper limit for standard 802.11g. If "108 Mb/s" actually doubles, then you'd hope for 44 Mb/s, but again note that the doubling is more hopeful than a practical guarantee.

Note also that wireless performance can vary a lot according to distance, obstructions, local conditions, time of day, wireless phones, microwaves, baby monitors, other wi-fi activity, etc., etc.

iperf (1.7) is a good tool for LAN measurements.

E.g.

server: iperf -s
client: iperf -c server -l 64k -t 12 -i 3 -r

Here are some of my own wireless and wired figures for fun. I reduced the frequency to keep the length down in this post.

Wireless bridge, 802.11g, not optimal (i.e. I've measured better in the same configuration at different times), short to moderate distance, a couple of obstructions, wireless phones in proximity though not active:

Quote:
F:\tools\bench\iperf>iperf -c 192.168.0.144 -l 64k -t 12 -r
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 8.00 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.0.144, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 8.00 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[816] local 192.168.0.141 port 16723 connected with 192.168.0.144 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[816] 0.0-12.0 sec 20.9 MBytes 14.5 Mbits/sec
[852] local 192.168.0.141 port 5001 connected with 192.168.0.144 port 1273
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[852] 0.0-12.1 sec 20.1 MBytes 14.0 Mbits/sec


Wired gigabit, no qualifications needed:

Quote:
F:\tools\bench\iperf>iperf -c 192.168.0.145 -l 64k -t 12 -r
------------------------------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 8.00 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------
Client connecting to 192.168.0.145, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 8.00 KByte (default)
------------------------------------------------------------
[816] local 192.168.0.141 port 16715 connected with 192.168.0.145 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[816] 0.0-12.0 sec 1.32 GBytes 942 Mbits/sec
[784] local 192.168.0.141 port 5001 connected with 192.168.0.145 port 1104
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[784] 0.0-12.0 sec 1.32 GBytes 948 Mbits/sec
March 13, 2007 2:56:43 PM

I bought this router specifically because it offered QOS and offered some of the best performance you could get at the time for wired and wireless. I am very happy when used as a wired router it performs far better then my old Belkin router especially with Utorrent. The Belkin would always freeze up in the middle of large Utorrent download/uploads but the Dlink has been running smooth since I installed it over 6months ago, it hasn't froze on me a single time and it is much faster then the Belkin.

Ok anyways. The router and the client card are made for use together and they are connecting at "108mB/s) so i don't think there is any problems wih compatibility. The laptop is pretty close to the router and I get excellent signal strength. So I downloaded DU-meter to get an idea of what kind of performance im getting when sending files. I sent a 750mb file from my laptop(wireless) to my Desktop(wired and then reversed and tried again. Both times I got similar readings of around 3mB/s on average. This seems awfully slow. Especially since when using the internet from this laptop I can get speeds of 25mB/s, ive verified using a few differant internet speed tests and I have a 30/5 cable connction. If I can get 25mB/s downloading from the net shouldnt I be able to get at least that downloading from my desktop?
March 13, 2007 3:25:01 PM

I just tested my wired connection by sending a 750mb file from one desktop tot he other and DU-meter was showing about 12mb/s. This seems to slow to am I missing something here, could it have something to do with the QOS settings in my router?? Shouldnt I be getting much faster speeds then im getting? The weird thing is that my internet speeds are very fast, faster even then my home network speeds, how can this be??? I tried turning off my software firewall(zone alarm pro) but it didnt help any. Please help.
thanks
March 13, 2007 6:53:41 PM

Quote:
...they are connecting at "108mB/s... I sent a 750mb file ...readings of around 3mB/s on average. ...internet from this laptop I can get speeds of 25mB/s... I have a 30/5 cable connction...25mB/s downloading from the net shouldnt I be able to get at least that downloading from my desktop?
First, I need to clear up your "b's" and your "B's".

"B" = byte
"b" = bit

1B = 8b

Your wireless connection is claiming 108Mbps, which is not what you will actually see in throughput.

Your cable has a bandwidth of 30Mbps download and 5Mbps upload, which makes no difference whatsoever in a file transfer between your two PCs.

I'm assuming the file you used as a test was a 750MB file, since you don't see file sizes indicated in Mb. If you are transferring that file at a rate of 3MB/sec (meaning the transfer took about 4 minutes), that computes to 24Mbps; not bad for a wireless transfer that includes the (probably somewhat slow) sustained transfer rate of your laptop's hard drive, the network throughput performance, and the transfer rate of your desktop's hard drive. fyi... hard drives cannot sustain the raw transfer rate of their controller, either.

If you are running a performance monitoring test on your cable broadband, that will not inlcude the performance impact of your hard drives. A local file copy will. I suspect any difference is related to the performancec of your PCs, rather than your network.

If you really need high-perf file transfers in your LAN, you need to use wires. If you really REALLY need high-perf file transfers, you need to use wires AND upgrade to gigabit AND upgrade to high-perf hard drives.
March 15, 2007 5:55:45 AM

we'll your first mistake was going with d-link. go with buffalo or linksys. if you wanna do large transfer's get a linksys router with a 1g lan conntection. or better yet. get a linksys WRT300N with the 300N wireless card i have been useing them with no problem and can tranfer's large files in matter of minutes or even at that second's. there is a router made by linksys it is a Gaming router with wireless N that has 4x1000mbps ports and the wireless N is awesome. i can d/l play games and play online music. but linksys is on top fo the wireless N sh*t i tried belkin/d-link and they cant touch my linksys router. i even have DD-WRT on the WRT300N see a router has flash memory and memory. flahs memory is for the Fimware and the memory is for the internet data going to computer's which are packet's sorry not saying you are a noob but when i explain something i try to do a good job. See a router with 4mb flash and 32mb is a good router because it can handle large amount's of data at once. and if you have the problem of other people wireless G router's messing with your wireless sh*t the wireless N run's on 2x2.4ghz=5ghz a and you get 40mhz wide channel's which help not to mess with 2.4ghz phones
March 15, 2007 1:34:27 PM

Thanks alot Iceblue, your post really cleared things up for me. So the performance im getting is actually not hat bad afterall all. My laptop is an old Duron 1.2ghz with an equally old and slow 20gig drive, so it is most likely holding things back. And Killz86, I actually prefer Dlinks higher end stuff to Linksys. It has worked flawlessly for me for the past 8months compared to the crappy Belkin and Linksys routers Ive had before which would freeze up when ever I tried to download a large file with Utorrent. It was 8months ago when I bought the DI-634 and I bought it specifically because it offered QOS, very high performance and WASNT "pre-N" . I did alot of research before buying it I didnt just go out and but the first router i saw on the shelf..lol. And as for memory in a router this is not the only thing, and not even the most important part of router performance. The cpu is much more important for overall performance IMO. But anyways thanks for everyones help, kinda wishing I woulda went with the DGL_4300 so I woulda got the gig lan but o well theres always next time I guess.
Thanks
March 15, 2007 4:00:50 PM

Glad it helped.

And, my view on brand names. The brand name (with a few exceptions) is not the whole story.

Belkin makes mostly home-market stuff, meaning they go for cheap and advertized features rather than high-zoot performance. This is actually a good thing if you want a low cost home router. But, don't buy a Belkin if you are looking for high performnace or other stress factors (such as lots of clients machiness, etc.).

Linksys and D-Link (and others) make a wide variety of stuff, some of it aimed at exactly the same market as Belkin, and suffering from most of the same issues. However, those brands also offer various more specialized or targeted devices, such as gaming routers, near commercial grade equipment, etc.

Buffalo I don't know much about their recent stuff, but they seem to pick and choose their targeted market more carefully. They used to have the "preferred" router for high-techie home networkers, but I haven't kept up with their recent offerings. They did just introduce a very nice sounding dual band draft-n router that might be worth investigating for high performance wireless.
March 15, 2007 4:29:36 PM

My next router upgrade will probably be when 802.11N N is officially released. As far as I know non of the draft-N routers are guaranteed to be fully compatible with "N" when it come out? When I bought the Dlink the draft N stuff was just starting to become popular and most of the reveiws at the time weren't very good, mimo routers were pretty much outperforming the draft N stuff. Thats really why I decided to go with the Dlink, it was in the top 2 or 3 in overall performance, it had QOS which I needed since I use VOIP, it usesd Mimo I got a $35 rebate on it so it was an excellent deal. Thanks again for your help, I was getting mixed up with the megabits and megabytes, they should make the abbreviations a but easier to distinguish from each other:)  O and about the internet speed I know it doesnt have anything to do with the speed of the home network, I was just saying that I could download from the internet at speeds which seemed faster then what I could get on the home network, but this was before I figured out the megabit/megabyte thing.
thanks
August 2, 2010 7:11:27 PM

I want to configure my wireless home network in such a way that after certain hours even those authorized should be blocked. Is this possible?