VOGONS


First post, by Maf

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Hi guys, I'm trying to speed up the network connection on my retro rig (Athlon 1 GHz, Asus K7V-T, 512 DDR). When I download files from another machine in my network, all I get is about 4000 KB/s in the beginning and then after seconds if falls down to 1200-1500 KB/s. The expected speed should be about ~ 12500 KB/s (100 Mbps). I thought first, that my cheesy SiS 900 may be the problem, so I tested 3Com 905B-TX today and I got the same speeds. Do you know what may be the problem? Are these kinds of old machines unable to achieve full 100 Mbps range of speed?

P.S. My LAN is 100 Mbps capable.

Reply 1 of 20, by elianda

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These performance values are measured in an Windows NT OS environment?

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Reply 3 of 20, by mr_bigmouth_502

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This may sound like a dumb question, but what kind of network cabling are you using? If you're using an older/cheaper kind that doesn't have good insulation, it may not be rated for 100mbps connections.

Also, using a web browser for file transfers might have an impact on your download speed.

Reply 4 of 20, by Maf

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mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

This may sound like a dumb question, but what kind of network cabling are you using? If you're using an older/cheaper kind that doesn't have good insulation, it may not be rated for 100mbps connections.

It's a SFTP 300 Cat 5e cable, should be fine.

mr_bigmouth_502 wrote:

Also, using a web browser for file transfers might have an impact on your download speed.

I wouldn't expect here any noticable impact here, really.

Reply 5 of 20, by RogueTrip2012

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I don't think you will get a full 12.5MB/s speeds (think there is tcp overhead) but should be able to get higher TX rate.

Are both systems on Win98SE? Next are computers connected by router/switch/hub or pc-2-pc with crossover cable?

Are the nics tweaked to obtain better speed? I think tcp optimizer still works well for Win9x. The 9x OS'es were more dial-up modem biased by default. Also make sure the NIC properties are setup and capable of 100mbps full duplex.

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Reply 6 of 20, by Maf

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RogueTrip2012 wrote:

I don't think you will get a full 12.5MB/s speeds (think there is tcp overhead) but should be able to get higher TX rate.

Are both systems on Win98SE? Next are computers connected by router/switch/hub or pc-2-pc with crossover cable?

Are the nics tweaked to obtain better speed? I think tcp optimizer still works well for Win9x. The 9x OS'es were more dial-up modem biased by default. Also make sure the NIC properties are setup and capable of 100mbps full duplex.

But I would expect something like ~11 MB/s (which I get in WAN connections).
Both computers are connected via 100 Mbps capable router/switch.
The server is modern i7 machine running Linux + Apache.
The 3Com card in the retro rig is set to defaults. There are some options but changing them didn't seem to help.

Reply 7 of 20, by SquallStrife

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Maf wrote:

It's a SFTP 300 Cat 5e cable, should be fine.

I hope that shielded cable has properly installed shielded terminations, otherwise the shielding acts as an antenna, and makes things worse rather than better.

The plugs on computer network interfaces and switches are unshielded, if you are running this shielded cable directly between a PC and switch, then it's not grounded properly.

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Reply 8 of 20, by elianda

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From my experience network drivers in Win9x show a quite lousy performance. You should try to boot up a Knoppix Live Linux (or similar) and retest to see if it's a hardware or software related problem.

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Reply 9 of 20, by MatthewBrian

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The real speed of LAN transfer on an 10/100Mbps network is around ~10,5 Mbytes/sec.
So you might not get a full 12.5Mbps transfer rate.

Have you tried another protocol other than HTTP download, such as FTP or SMB (or even trying to download using HTTP with a download manager like Free Download Manager)?

elianda wrote:

From my experience network drivers in Win9x show a quite lousy performance. You should try to boot up a Knoppix Live Linux (or similar) and retest to see if it's a hardware or software related problem.

Besides Knoppix, try Damn Small Linux (www.damnsmalllinux.org) or Puppy Linux (puppylinux.org). Puppy is around 120MB (it fits perfectly on my 128MB USB leaving ~2MB space), and Damn Small Linux is just around 50MB.

Reply 10 of 20, by feipoa

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1500 KB/s is pretty unacceptable for a retro rig, especially a 1 GHz unit. The last time I net benchedmy dual 850 MHz box, I got above 9 MB/s using a stop watch. This was in XP Pro.

Even my 486 super server gets 2500-3000 KB/s in Windows NT 4.0 using a 3Com 3c905C-TX-M 10/100Base-TX PCI card.

If I were you, I would isolate the problem and test even the less obvious ideas. Here are some suggestions:

1) If you are on a dual-boot machine, test the network through-put in NT/W2k/XP.

2) On slower machines, I have noticed up to a 50% speed difference depending on which of the two computer's initiates transfer. For example, looking at a 486-to-1GHz transfer, the transfer will go much quicker when the 1GHz box initialises transfer compared to the 486. Have you tried having the XP box initialise transfer?

3) Check for shared IRQ's with the network card. Non-NT Windows operating systems do not do a very good job with IRQ sharing. If there is sharing, try changing the IRQ order in the BIOS to change the IRQs.

4) Throw in a different style network card, such as an Intel, Linksys, or Netgear PCI network card.

5) Another user mentioned cable shielding. I always just assumed that the NIC side grounded the shield. If both ends are, for some bad reason, grounded and you have a long-ish cable, then you will have a nasty ground loop. You should check for this with a multi-meter. Very very funny things can happen in ground loop situations. If you do not have a shielded cable, use as short of a cable as possible to minimise the question of interference.

6) If you are still using the Linksys firmware on a Linksys router, try a full reset of the router, not just a reboot reset. You'll need to re-enter all your settings, but I have noticed that Linksys routers just start acting wonky after some time. I recommend switching to OpenWRT or Tomato for your router's firmware.

7) Ensure that you don't have any ports forwarded on the router which are the same for more than one IP address. Funny things will happen in this case. Also ensure that you aren't trying to forward a reserved port.

8) The 3Com cards have a Windows GUI utility which lets you change various options like network booting, IRQ's, addresses, etc. Have you played with this?

9) Try using Windows Explorer to transfer files. If that works fine, then you have an HTTP and/or Firefox issue.

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Reply 11 of 20, by Maf

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feipoa, thanks for lengthy reply.

I did some further testing: I swapped the 3c905b-tx with brand new 3c905c-tx-m and booted linux first - http speed was 11.2 MB/s and scp speed was 9.1 MB/s - nice 😀 Then I booted back to win98 and the speeds were 1.2 MB/s for http and 1.3 MB/s for scp. Well, at least the card and the network are fine. Something is wrong with the configuration. Do you have any ideas?

P.S. The drivers that I use come from bundled EtherCD Version 5.1.

Reply 12 of 20, by feipoa

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Revisit point #3 above. Also re-check point #4 to see if 3Com doesn't know what they are doing with Win98 drivers. This will establish if the issue is driver related, IRQ related, or Win98SE related.

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Reply 14 of 20, by keropi

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I could never get more than 1500-1700kb/sec from my 1.4 tualatin running winME with a rtl8139 network card and i815 chipset... same cables/setup on a pc running XP for example give the expected 9-10mb/sec ... I think it's a 9x "problem" because I get ~1200kb/sec on my p200mmx/98SE machine

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Reply 15 of 20, by feipoa

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I just tested out the Win9x slow transfer phenomenum on my Cyrix 5x86-133 (2x66) test box.

For a 31 MB executable installer file (*.exe) I got 1.0 MB/s transferring the file from WinXP to Win98.

For a 127 MB Linux ISO image file, I got 1.0 MB/s transferring the file from WinXP to Win98.

This is awefully slow. I recall getting a similar transfer speed using an ISA network card. So it seems as if there isn't much purpose in using a PCI network card in Win9x. This should free up a PCI slot for all those 3-PCI motherboards. For 486 boxes, that means a USB card!

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Reply 16 of 20, by keropi

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ever tried usb on a 486 or p1 system? it has lower speeds 🤣

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Reply 17 of 20, by Maf

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feipoa wrote:

Revisit point #3 above. Also re-check point #4 to see if 3Com doesn't know what they are doing with Win98 drivers. This will establish if the issue is driver related, IRQ related, or Win98SE related.

#3 According to my manual, I use PCI slots which doesn't share IRQ.

#4 I think, I got ~ 4.5 MB/s in http with SiS900 or Realtek8139. It wasn't satisfying, so I wanted to use a "real" card, like 3Com 😉 I think I'll try with Intel now.

Reply 19 of 20, by luckybob

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I remember using a TCP optimizer back in my windows 98 days.

I think it was this one:
http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.