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USB > Ethernet external Hard drive

Last response: in Networking
April 2, 2012 12:27:30 PM

Hi All,

I have a netgear DGN2200 router with a USB port built in. I also have a WD External Hard drive,
When using the hard drive plugged directly into my laptop I get transfer speeds of roughly 20 mb/s,
However when I plug the hard drive into the router and transfer wireless i only get 1.2 mb/s.
Why is this?

Also I'm looking to get a USB > Ethernet adapter, would this increase transfer speeds wirelessly?
If not how do I go about increase transfer speeds?

Thanks in Advanced.

April 2, 2012 4:18:09 PM

20 megabytes a second is standard for USB 2.0 hard drive.

over 1 gigabit Ethernet the theoretical maximum is 100 megabytes per second... BUT since you are getting bottle-necked at the USB 2.0 its still going ot be 20 megabytes per sec.

Typical wireless tops out at 54 megabits for G type, and 150 megabits for N type.
However most people experience 20-10 megabits with G in the real world, and 100-50 with N.

1.2 megabytes per second DOES sound reasonable for a wireless G link of ~ 15 megabits (8 bits in 1 byte, plus a little network overhead comes out roughly to 1/10)
April 2, 2012 7:16:24 PM


Thanks for the reply,

I have a Wireless N router and Wireless N card, what i;m trying to get at is if I get a USB to Ethernet adapter would I see better speeds than 1.2 mb/s with the hard drive plugged directly into the router?

So the Harddrive would be plugged into one of the 4 gig ports on the route instead of the USB?

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April 2, 2012 8:33:08 PM

Probably... I have no idea how the router that you speak of handles the data from the USB drive. I would assume that it is at 20 megs per sec as a standard PC... but you can never be sure with those appliance devices. Also be aware that your "gigabit" USB adapter cannot be faster then the USB port its plugged into - in this case 480 megabit.

Even if you happen to have a USB 3.0 PC AND get a USB 3.0 adapter... I am fairly certain that the plug in your router is still USB 2.0. This will bottleneck the whole daisy-chain down to USB 2.0 speeds.

The odds of you seeing faster speeds on a wire the over the air are very, very good... Just don't be disappointed if they are not THAT much better.

Best of luck :D 
April 2, 2012 9:08:26 PM

Oh man! I just read you post over again, and I think I didn't read it right the first time!

the above post assumes that you got one of those fancy routes that you CAN plug a USB hard drive directly into...

Now it sounds like you are going to try to use an "adapter" to try and plug the USB drive directly into the router - umm, so far as I know it doesnt work this way.

The USB drive does not natively speak IPv4, which is what networks run on... a simple adapter is not the fix here. Its like plugging an adapter into a gas line, and expecting water to flow out.

You will probably need to use a small-form-factor PC plugged into the router and plug the drive into it, or get a router that allows you to plug a USB drive right in.
April 3, 2012 8:49:04 AM

LOL your last post answers my question, Is it possible to buy something like the pogoplug???

The aim is to simply leave the external hard drive pluged into the router with decent speeds over the air.

Thanks for the advice.

April 3, 2012 3:23:15 PM

maybe... Ive never used that thing before, so I cant really say if it will be fast or not. Why not just leave the drive plugged into your computer? or just plug it in to an always-on machine and access it over the network.