Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Gigabit issues, LAN and gaming

Last response: in Networking
Share
July 15, 2012 4:07:50 PM

I could use a little help figuring this out - and I'm not even 100% sure that the issues are related. 

Let me start of with the system info :
Self-built rig
3 pc's on the wired LAN, all Win 7 64 bit
DGL-4500 router
All equipment gigabit rated

My pc:
ASUS X58 Sabertooth with the Marvell onboard NIC
i7
Plenty of memory

What started the situation was that the 3rd pc added was a HTPC, and I was using my pc to convert our DVDs to files and then move them over the LAN to the HTPC. While doing so I noticed that the network was only being used at 12-15% when transferring files, it was taking 4-5 minutes to move a ~1 gigabyte file over a gigabit LAN. Needless to say I was having a "WTH?" moment. 

So I scoured the web looking for a solution. This appears to be a not uncommon issue with networked W7 machines, and after trying a few solutions the one that seemed to work was do go to my NIC setup and change every setting that had "offload" in the title to "disable". 

Bam, instant 95% LAN usage and my files took only a minute or do to transfer to the HTPC. 

The downside:  I also use the computer for online FPS gaming on occasion, and I seem to have created an increase in lag somehow. My ping to gaming servers hasn't changed, but it seems that I'm not scoring point-blank direct hits.  Or, I'll think I missed, the other player "kills" me, and in my view I'll be dead. The other player takes a step or two and then dies and I get credited for the kill. 

This was rare before I changed these settings, and I usually attributed it to server issues or the other player. But now it seems to be me. 

Any ideas what I might have messed up, if anything?  Any ideas on how to get my gigabit working at rated speed without disabling these settings?  Does anyone think that the gaming issue is related to these settings?  

I'd appreciate any thoughts or solutions!
a b X LAN
July 15, 2012 11:24:30 PM

What specific advice/articles did you use to make your changes? Obviously there's a chance they affected something else, but without the specifics, it's hard to say.

It is often the case that there's an inverse relationship between throughput and response time. For example, let's say your changes increased the block-size of the data (more data returned per request). While that does increase throughput since you're making fewer network requests, those larger blocks of data also "clog up the lines" so to speak, making it more difficult to send new messages from other clients for other services.

That doesn’t necessarily mean your changes weren’t warranted, even preferred. But what may now be happening is that your faster throughput is clogging the network and adversely affecting other computers/processes that are more sensitive to response time (gaming, VOIP, etc.). That’s why if you’re using your network heavily w/ a mix of downloading and gaming, the QoS (Quality of Service) features of your router become that much more important. Until you made these recent changes, perhaps you just never ran into the issue because your high-bandwidth applications were already being “choked off”, by Windows. But now that you’ve “freed them”, you’re finally feeling the effects.

That’s just a guess, I’m merely speculating how something like this *might* happen. I have no way to say for sure w/o further investigation.
July 16, 2012 1:21:14 AM

Those are plausible reasons. Other than undoing everything I've done and cutting my LAN back to 10Mbps, what's the best way to figure this out?

The best thing would be to figure out why Win7 is failing to utilize the network and set the NIC back to normal settings.

FWIW, QOS is still enabled on the NIC and router.
Related resources
July 16, 2012 11:52:26 PM

I don't confuse the two (at least I don't think I do). I'd rather solve the problem rather than just use a workaround, if possible.

Here's the setting currently on my NIC:
  1. Auto Gigabit disable: Disable
  2. Flow Control: Enabled
  3. Interrupt moderation: Enabled
  4. IPv4 Checksum Offload: Disabled
  5. Jumbo Frame: Disabled
  6. Large Send Offload: Disabled
  7. Network Address: ("Not Present" selected)
  8. Priority & VLAN: Enabled
  9. Receive Buffers: 512
  10. Shutdown Wake on LAN: Enabled
  11. Speed and Duplex: 1.0 Gbps Full Duplex
  12. TCP Checksum Offload (IPv4): Disabled
  13. Transmit Buffers: 128
  14. UDP Checksum Offload (IPv4): Disabled
  15. Wake on Magic Packet: Enabled
  16. Wake on Pattern Match: Enabled
  17. WOL & Shutdown Link Speed: 10 Mbps first


That's all the available settings.


July 17, 2012 11:44:15 AM

It's not a work around. I don't think I've ever seen a windows copy get more than 15% of network traffic in the task manager or resource monitor. Windows must use a slow copying scheme. Others do it better, otherwise programs like fast copy would be just as slow as the windows copy - no network settings are changed.
July 17, 2012 2:17:47 PM

Then why have a gigabit LAN if windows can never utilize the capabilities of the network? Seriously, there must be a way to get it to work natively without using a 3rd party app to get it going or making dubious settings changes to the NIC setup.

A second thought - This is an onboard NIC. It's well known that onboard sound and graphics underperform, especially when compared to add-on PCIe sound and graphics cards due to the sharing of motherboard resources.

I'd always figured that a NIC's demands on resources were negligible, but could something as simple as adding a PCI NIC improve issues?
a b X LAN
July 17, 2012 3:50:01 PM

Let's test the network performance directly rather than relying on applications that may introduce other issues (hard disk IO, poor network programming, etc).

Grab a copy of Iperf ( https://publishing.ucf.edu/sites/itr/cst/Pages/IPerf.as... ) and run it as a server on one machine:

iperf -s

Then go to another machine and run Iperf as a client:

iperf <ip-address-of-server>

These numbers more closely represent what your network is capable of, without the possible influences that may come from the application itself, hard disk IO, etc. It's just raw data being dumped from memory buffers. Otherwise, we're dealing w/ performance numbers that are too vague and hard to evaluate.
July 17, 2012 4:15:13 PM

eibgrad said:
Let's test the network performance directly rather than relying on applications that may introduce other issues (hard disk IO, poor network programming, etc).

Grab a copy of Iperf ( https://publishing.ucf.edu/sites/itr/cst/Pages/IPerf.as... ) and run it as a server on one machine:

iperf -s

Then go to another machine and run Iperf as a client:

iperf <ip-address-of-server>

These numbers more closely represent what your network is capable of, without the possible influences that may come from the application itself, hard disk IO, etc. It's just raw data being dumped from memory buffers. Otherwise, we're dealing w/ performance numbers that are too vague and hard to evaluate.


I agree, I used to use a progrm called NetCPS that was basically a data pump, eliminating harware from the equation.
July 17, 2012 4:16:19 PM

klippenwald said:
Then why have a gigabit LAN if windows can never utilize the capabilities of the network? Seriously, there must be a way to get it to work natively without using a 3rd party app to get it going or making dubious settings changes to the NIC setup.

A second thought - This is an onboard NIC. It's well known that onboard sound and graphics underperform, especially when compared to add-on PCIe sound and graphics cards due to the sharing of motherboard resources.

I'd always figured that a NIC's demands on resources were negligible, but could something as simple as adding a PCI NIC improve issues?


New computers have enough horsepower that onboard LAN and audio are not such a drain on resources as compared to older computers.
a b X LAN
July 17, 2012 4:28:30 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
I agree, I used to use a progrm called NetCPS that was basically a data pump, eliminating harware from the equation.


While NetCPS is useful too, it has one serious limitation (which is to be expected given its age); it doesn't support multi-threading. With today’s multi-core processors, multi-threading is very important.

What I ultimately want the OP to do is run a second test using multiple threads, using the Iperf -Px option:

iperf -P4 <ip-address-of-server>

That will use four threads (possibly over each core of a four-core processor) and probably dramatically improve throughput. And if it does, and your application is still showing poor results, it illustrates how the network application itself can often be the cause of performance issues. Of course, some applications, by their very nature, can't support multi-threaded network processes, or are limited by hard disk IO. So even if multi-threading w/ Iperf shows far greater network *potential*, it won't help *that* application.
July 18, 2012 5:57:17 PM

Here are the results to both the above suggested tests. Had to play with the arguments to get it to work, but in the end it gave this:

a b X LAN
July 18, 2012 9:45:25 PM

Are those Iperf results before or after your applied your optimizations? Because you said those optimizations increased your LAN to 95% of capacity, but those numbers are nowhere near gigabit, more like 100Mbps. I’d expect the results to at least match (if not far exceed) anything you tested before, esp. anything that involved hard disk IO (e.g., file transfers).
July 18, 2012 11:36:57 PM

I set everything back to the way it was before I changed the settings. No point in showing the results of an unconventional workaround, unless you'd rather have those too.
July 28, 2012 11:48:48 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
It's not a work around. I don't think I've ever seen a windows copy get more than 15% of network traffic in the task manager or resource monitor. Windows must use a slow copying scheme. Others do it better, otherwise programs like fast copy would be just as slow as the windows copy - no network settings are changed.


What's your definition of slow?




CPU usage


I wish my switch supported jumbo-frames
July 29, 2012 4:58:52 AM

Yes. It's a gigabit network. Once the aforementioned offload settings are disabled, the Gb network functions at Gb speed. With offlloads set to original/default, the network runs at 12-15% of rated capacity. A 1.2GB file takes ~5 minutes to transfer.
July 29, 2012 2:59:33 PM

klippenwald said:
Yes. It's a gigabit network. Once the aforementioned offload settings are disabled, the Gb network functions at Gb speed. With offlloads set to original/default, the network runs at 12-15% of rated capacity. A 1.2GB file takes ~5 minutes to transfer.


Try this. My computers originally came with Vista and when I upgraded to Win7, the network got slow. I changed these settings and my network went back to normal. The interesting thing is when I did a fresh Win7 install, the problem did not occur. This worked for me, mileage may very.

"Yes. It's a gigabit network." - I wasn't asking if you had gigabit parts, but if both devices and the related switch ports are claiming to be connected at Gb speeds. Saying "Yes. It's a gigabit network" is a bit ambiguous because I can have a 100Mb connection on a 1Gb network because of hardware issues.

http://www.sysprobs.com/network-is-very-slow-in-windows...
July 30, 2012 10:45:46 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
I don't see any network utilization charts in that photo. Sure your drive does 125MB/s, but what's the speed of transferring that file across the network?


Because copying from my computer to my wife's computer isn't over the network?

Here's MMC showing my network device. Jumps too near 100% and stays there for the duration of the transfer. Integrated NIC. Computer was worth about $800 5 years ago when I purchased it at BestBuy.



edit: Noticed the bytes sent graph was covered.. Yay, yellow. TY MMC. Tried to change the color, but MMC stopped responding....... :pfff: 

August 1, 2012 1:34:34 AM

Kewlx25 said:


"Yes. It's a gigabit network." - I wasn't asking if you had gigabit parts, but if both devices and the related switch ports are claiming to be connected at Gb speeds. Saying "Yes. It's a gigabit network" is a bit ambiguous because I can have a 100Mb connection on a 1Gb network because of hardware issues.



I guess I was expecting the explanation of the issue to cover this, sorry if it wasn't clear. All parts are Gigabit rated. The computers show that the network speed in the local connection as "1.0 Gbps" The computers WILL connect at Gigabit speeds if I use my workaround, and they will transfer files at that rated speed.

EDIT: Tried the autotuning trick, no increase in speed or utilization.
August 1, 2012 11:33:34 AM

klippenwald said:
I guess I was expecting the explanation of the issue to cover this, sorry if it wasn't clear. All parts are Gigabit rated. The computers show that the network speed in the local connection as "1.0 Gbps" The computers WILL connect at Gigabit speeds if I use my workaround, and they will transfer files at that rated speed.

EDIT: Tried the autotuning trick, no increase in speed or utilization.


It wasn't so much you being ambiguous as my experience of corner-cases making what seems to be strait-forward, ambiguous.

http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/87969-heres-why-tcpwind...

Try setting "chimney" to disabled.


There is also this to try: http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/109326-qos-bandwidth-...


The only other possible thing that I can think of is to try different drivers for your Network Card. Newest aren't always the best, just most of the time.

I forgot to mention, I think the change in my last post and this post will require a reboot to take affect. If you did not reboot for the autotuning changes, you should try again.

Good luck.
August 2, 2012 3:36:00 PM

Tried the aforementioned tweaks after a restart. No luck, still transferring at 11MB/s and utilizing 9% of network capacity. And I tried TeraCopy as well.

August 3, 2012 11:54:17 AM

I'm not sure. I find it *incredibly* interesting that you have almsot a perfectly flat transfer rate of 100Mb/s. It keeps making me think that some device is running at 100Mb and not 1Gb.

65% cpu?! I hope that's not caused by your network transfer. :*(
August 3, 2012 2:04:02 PM

Lol, no. I was encoding a video in the background. The i7 doesn't make any fuss over network transfers.

Re the 100 Mb/s - I know, right? Problem is with the tweaks it does 1 Gb/s, otherwise I'd agree with you.
!