Upgrading a LAN

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Upgrading a LAN

Postby AnneW » Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:47 pm

With ISPs already offering us higher speeds, and much more promised before the end of the year, will we need to upgrade our routers, etc., to take full advantage?

This extended family LAN is mixed Windows/Linux. All the hardware is 10/100Mbit, with cat5 cabling and 802.11g wireless. The building is physically difficult to wire, so the router connects to two switches, one of which also feeds a D-Link 624+ which adds wireless to a difficult area.

If we replace the first router on the chain with a faster one - does such a thing exist in smaller configurations? - would it be reasonable to expect that each of the switched branches would get a better share of the bandwidth?

It is particularly noticeable at the moment that if any one person downloads a torrent, all other users on the LAN get timeout problems for just about all other connections.

I'd really appreciate any advice, as I think we have outgrown what we have.

Anne
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RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby alloydog » Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:11 pm

Considering a cabled connection from router to PC is about 100 MB/s and wireless around 20 MB/s (supposedly 54 MB/s..., the ISP connection is gong to be what? 10 MB/s? 24? I seriously doubt it will be your hardware that is the bottle neck.
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RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby AnneW » Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:46 pm

alloydog wrote:Considering a cabled connection from router to PC is about 100 MB/s and wireless around 20 MB/s (supposedly 54 MB/s..., the ISP connection is gong to be what? 10 MB/s? 24? I seriously doubt it will be your hardware that is the bottle neck.
I do tend to forget which are MB/s and which are Mb/s. OK - if not the hardware, do you have any idea where I should start looking? I know this is going OT, but just a pointer would help me get started. Thanks

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RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:37 pm

You should start by making anyone downloading torrents limit their global download and upload speeds :-) (but don't expect them to like it)
Most routers will handle ADSL speeds up to 10Mb without modification.
Some cable modems are limited to 1Mb (usually set-top boxes)
I use cable, and we get 4Mb/s, yet a Bitorrent client on one PC can quickly degrade that if allowed to.
Some routers allow bandwidth throttling, so you can set how much of the shared bandwidth each client gets, (of course giving yourself the most ;-) any solution is a tradeoff between fair sharing and popularity :-(

The only other alternative is to install another ADSL line.
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RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby Vanders » Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:02 am

Are you certain that your switches are actually switches, and not hubs? If you're using really low-end or older consumer switches you might get better performance if you replace them. You might have damaged wiring someplace, or if you're using long runs of UTP you might be picking up interference, but without paying for an expensive cable tester those sorts of fault may be hard to find. Have you checked that all of the network cards and switches are actually in 100BaseT full duplex mode? I can't count the number of times I've seen cards fail to auto-negotiate with the switch and end up in 10Base half-duplex.

If the physical network isn't at fault, your last resort would probably involve replacing your current router with a Linux machine and doing traffic shaping so that BitTorrent doesn't suck up all of the available bandwidth! A low-tech solution may to create some way for people to queue BitTorrent downloads on a central machine and then only starting the downloads during quiet periods (E.g. at night) That wouldn't be too hard to do with a spare Linux machine and a bit of scripting.
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Re: RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby AnneW » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:33 am

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:You should start by making anyone downloading torrents limit their global download and upload speeds :-) (but don't expect them to like it)
Most routers will handle ADSL speeds up to 10Mb without modification.


Maybe our experiments of throttling didn't go low enough. I know I checked at 15Mb, but maybe not at 1-.

Some routers allow bandwidth throttling, so you can set how much of the shared bandwidth each client gets, (of course giving yourself the most ;-) any solution is a tradeoff between fair sharing and popularity :-(

The only other alternative is to install another ADSL line.


Definitely not worth that. Some compromise will have to be reached ;-)

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Re: RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby AnneW » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:37 am

Vanders wrote:Are you certain that your switches are actually switches, and not hubs? If you're using really low-end or older consumer switches you might get better performance if you replace them. {/quote]

They are not old, but not expensive models either. Both were sold as 'switching hubs'.

{quote]You might have damaged wiring someplace, or if you're using long runs of UTP you might be picking up interference, but without paying for an expensive cable tester those sorts of fault may be hard to find. Have you checked that all of the network cards and switches are actually in 100BaseT full duplex mode? I can't count the number of times I've seen cards fail to auto-negotiate with the switch and end up in 10Base half-duplex.


I'm pretty sure the cards are good, but I will check duplexing. As for cabling, with this difficult layout it's entirely possible that there is some damage.

If the physical network isn't at fault, your last resort would probably involve replacing your current router with a Linux machine and doing traffic shaping so that BitTorrent doesn't suck up all of the available bandwidth! A low-tech solution may to create some way for people to queue BitTorrent downloads on a central machine and then only starting the downloads during quiet periods (E.g. at night) That wouldn't be too hard to do with a spare Linux machine and a bit of scripting.


There is going to have to be some negotiation, here ;-)

Thanks to all for the advice

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RE: Re: RE: Upgrading a LAN

Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:16 pm

I would set a GLOBAL download on a bittorrent client to about 30 Kbps max, and a GLOBAL upload somewhere around 10Kbps.(these might still be too generous)
A 1 Mbps ADSL connection might be able to share that with 2 or maybe 3 users with those settings.
Remember that the upload on ADSL is much lower (about 30%) than the download speed, and high uploads can saturate your connection.
Your existing network configuration should be more than capable of supplying several users, as long as you control bitorrent or other bandwidth hogs.

A simple way to show the bitorrent users the error of their ways is to run a bitorrent download of a large file (e.g. suse 10.1 DVD, 32 bit, 64 bit and non OSS) with unlimited download speed, for several days, starting before they get online,in the morning, and continuing 24/7, so that they can't even start their torrents. Worked for me :-)


The thing is that once a hog BT download is in progress, it takes all the bandwidth it can get. Often no-one else will be able to do anything, or it will be at dialup speeds. .

I can get 270Kbps on BT, but No-one else can even download their email.
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Re: Upgrading a LAN

Postby johndough » Fri Jul 07, 2006 8:26 am

hiya

well the router is only routing ISP traffic.

make and model may yield some clues.

does it have a built in switch?
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