Slow Wireless Transfer Speed from Desktop (XP) to Laptop (Windows 7)

Hello all,

I have strolled through the forums in search of a solution for my problem, but I have been unsuccessful. If there is another thread in which someone can point me that answers my question without taking up additional time it would be much appreciated.

I recently purchased a new HP Pavilion Laptop running Windows 7. I want to transfer my files from my Desktop running XP and I have done what I feel is a fair amount of research and understand all the different options. I chose to do a transfer from my Desktop to Laptop over a wireless link through my home network, but I am receiving exceptionally slow transfer speeds (600 Kb/s - 1.5Mb/s.)

I was hoping someone could suggest something that might increase this rate of transfer as I am attempting to move around 100Gigs of media data.

Thanks so much in advance for any assistance that can be given,
10 answers Last reply
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  1. To get a more accurate picture of how much of this affected by the network vs. the devices using the network, I suggest testing network performance w/ something like NetCPS or Iperf. This completely eliminates issue regarding hard drive IO (caching, latency, spin up, etc.).

    Realize that using wireless, only two wireless stations can be communicating at the same time. When using a wireless router and two wireless clients, you effectively cut your bandwidth in HALF since one wireless transmission is always waiting for the other to complete (something ppl don't always take into account). Also, wireless is half-duplex meaning it can't send and receive at the same time. In short, while your performance does seem exceptionally slow, wireless certainly isn't helping matters.

    If you really need wireless for those file transfers, one workaround is to consider a separate wireless network using a pair of wireless network adapters in adhoc mode (i.e., direct connection). You’ll instantly double your current performance (as abysmal at it may be).

    Finally, since you provided no specifics at all (router make & model, wireless adapters make & model, not even the wireless protocol (B/G/N)), I have no idea what is even possible within your current configuration.
  2. Thanks for the reply eibgrad.

    I am using a Linksys WRT 300N wireless router, leading me to guess the protocol would be N? As for my wireless adapters, on the laptop (unless I am looking in the wrong location for this information, in which case feel free to roll your eyes at my ignorance) it's Intel(R) WiFi Link 1000 BGN and on the desktop it states Intel(R) Pro/100 VE Network Connection, Linksys NC100 Fast Ethernet Adapter, and RRNet Cap Miniport (though the last has an exclamation mark next to it.)

    I tried both Iperf and NetCPS but couldn't figure out how to run them (that will get me an eye roll!! :) ) If you would like I will give it a shot when I have more time as I am just about to walk out the door.

    If there is another connection method between the two computers which would highly accelerate the transfer rate (such as straight through or crossover cables) I am all for it, I just didn't have any laying around the house to use. I will gladly pick up something up if it would help me out substantially.

    Many thanks.
  3. You run NetCPS from a command line (go to Start->Run, type "cmd" (no quotes), and hit enter). One machine is designated the server, the other the client.

    machine (server)

    c:>netcps -s

    machine (client)


    The best wire will always outperform the best wireless. So if you plan to do a lot of large file transfers, even using wireless N is going to prove a bit painful. Just to give a sense of the difference, here are some approx. transfer times for 100GB (wireless is optimistic imo):

    wireless G (22mbps assumed): 10 hrs, 20 mins
    wireless N (120mbps assumed): 1 hr, 53 mins
    wired 100mbps (70% efficiency assumed): 3 hrs, 15 mins
    wired 1000mbps (Gigabit) (70% efficiency assumed): 19 minutes, 30 secs!
  4. So would a cross over cable be a good purchase at this point and just use it instead for my transfers?

    Would I connect the computers in the same way through file sharing and such? And then access the files the same way (In the run menu I did \\\Ryan to access the files I needed) ?
  5. Based on the networking details you provided earlier, I assume the desktop is already connected to your router via wire (@ 100mbps) and the laptop is connected to the router over wireless. And the wireless router and laptop wireless adapter are using wireless N.

    Given that configuration, I find it puzzling your file transfer performance is so abysmal. I mean, that’s REALLY REALLY bad, as if something is misconfigured or broken. It’s almost as if those transfers were occurring over the Internet rather than locally. That's not to say an ALL WIRE solution for file transfers isn’t ultimately a better solution, but I don't have a good feeling about your general network setup. That's why I wanted to see your performance #'s using from both the desktop and laptop. I’m just a little concerned that something else is amiss and you’ll continue to have problems even if the laptop is connected to the router via wire.

    Anyway, the simplest solution is to run a wire (standard network cable) from the laptop to the router when doing file transfers (again, assuming the desktop is already using wire), making sure to disable the wireless connection when you do. You should see performance in the 70-75mbps range (maybe even a little better). If not, if it’s dramatically less, then that gets back to my earlier concern about your overall network setup.

    At least start there. We’ll consider a direct connection later if it will improve things dramatically and and proves more practical.
  6. I think you're probably right.. I did a connection between my computer, router, and laptop a couple of days ago because I read it was another option, but I only got in the 2-3Mb/s range; I assumed I did it wrong. That points pretty strongly towards a connection error.

    Here are my results for the laptop:

    And for the desktop it is:

    I was wondering if it could be a firewall issue.. I know in the past I've had issues with McAfee (which I am running on the desktop at the moment) and it occurred to me that could hinder something.

    Also, I established a connection with NetCPS on my computers:

    Average CPS: 174653.70 KPS: 170.56 MPS: 017

    Peak CPS: 1536504.38 KPS: 1500.49 MPS: 1.47
  7. Just had an idea.

    Any chance you're running some active malware protection on either of those machines (McAfee, Norton, etc.), anything at all? Sometimes these applications can bring your file transfers to a crawl as they attempt to inspect every packet of data that's transferred from machine to machine. They're often highly inefficient. And probably unnecessary for internal file transfers anyway (presuming any files/content brought in from the Internet have already been scrutinized). And having it at both ends only makes matters worse.

    Anyway, if you do, disable it and try again.
  8. I am running McAfee on the Desktop and Kaspersky on the laptop. I'll disable those and give it another go. I have read that can be the problem for this sort of thing. Thank you very much eibgrad.
  9. I was trying to network my Win 7 laptop to my Vista desktop but could only get 2.5 to 3.0 MB/sec top speed between the 100 mbps NIC card & the 54 mbps wi-fi. I assume my Netgear N450 router (up to 450 mbps/2) could give up to 8 times that speed if I bought a couple Netgear N900 USB dongles (one for each computer) that can stream multiple HD streams. 8 times 3 MB/sec is still only 24 MB/sec, which is very slow USB 2.0 speed, but it's through a router that's never seen more than 2.2 MB/sec from Road Runner in its life.
  10. There's a new generation of routers out there that go over 1 Gbps, and there's probably hookups for 1000+ Mbps NIC cards or USB dongles.
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