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October 6, 2006

D-Link DGE-530T PCI Card

So, after I got my slick little D-Link Gigabit DGS-2205 Swtich up and operational, I figured I'd better get my desktop server onto the Gigabit portion of my home LAN. So, I followed the directions of the D-Link Quick Install Guide to the letter. I installed the drivers first, shut down the desktop, shoved in the D-Link card into my last empty PCI slot, closed her up, moved the LAN cable from my old ethernet port to the new one, and booted it back up.

As advertised, it dynamically grabbed an IP address from the DHCP server in the router and I was off to the races. I verified that it had an IP address and I could see the net. Then, went in and set my IP address to be a static IP address, as this is my web server for Peenie Wallie, after all. So, the web site was down for maybe 15 minutes at most. Not bad considering that I host my own web site and I almost never reboot the server. XP really is a rock solid O/S. I don't care what the geeks say. I run XP non-stop for months and have no problems what-so-ever.

For what it's worth, I'm very impressed with the D-Link hardware. They got it on the store shelves before Linksys, it's cheaper, and it's pretty much plug-and-play. No problems at all getting the switch or the card up and running. Slick as snot.

Now, I want to do some speed tests copying files from the server to the Buffalo Terastation over the gigabit network.

I timed how long it took to copy approximately 1.2 GB (1,219 MB)from my C drive to my D drive on the server. It took approximately 1 minute and 25 seconds. So, I did this to get an idea of what the maximum copy speed could possibly be. Presumably, the limiting factor in this copy is the maximum continuous write speed of the drives.

So, now, I'll copy the same data across the Gigabit network to the TeraStation. To copy the same amount of data (approx 1.2 GB) across the network to the TeraStation took four minutes and 55 seconds. So, this is roughly 3 times longer than doing a copy from one drive to another.

I'm trying to figure what the theoretical vs. actual throughput of a Gigabit network is, and this guy points out that I should not be using CAT5 cable. I should be using CAT5E or CAT6, apparently. Who knew?

In theory, a Gigabit network can handle 1Gbps or a billion bits per second. 1,000,000,000 bits/sec = 83,000,000 bytes/sec = 83 MB/sec.

So, according to my calculations, I'm getting speeds equal to 1,219 MB / 295 secs = 4.13 MB/sec. So, my throughput is miserable. Both of the lights on the D-Link Gigabit DGS-2205 Swtich are lit up as green, indicating that each end is a Gigabit card. So, possibly the problem is the CAT5 cabling instead of CAT6 cabling. I hope that's it. This sucks.

As an additional test, I'm going to convert it back to run over the old 10/100 router and see if the speeds are any different. So, I ran the same test using the old 10/100 Mbs router, and it took exactly six minutes. So, my throughput was slower using the old router. 1,219 MB / 360 secs = 3.39 MB/sec. Go figure.

Now, I'm going to just copy the same data from one folder on the TeraStation to another. This will test the max write speed of the TeraStation at RAID Level 5. Oh my. I assume that I'm getting some read/write drive access contention attempting to copy files from one folder to another on the TeraStation. It's configured as RAID Level 5, so I'm not sure what the deal is here. But it took 9 minutes to copy 1,219 MB from one folder to another on the TeraStation. That equates to 1,219 MB / 540 secs = 2.26 MB/sec. Ouch. I assume this is caused by contention in the reading/writing. Yikes.

Well, here's the problem. Now that I've gone and upgraded my network to a Gigabit network, I find out that the TeraStation is slow. Configured as RAID 5, it's only capable of 5 MB/sec input and 11 MB/sec output.

Well, OK. Not a huge deal. I can live with it. It's quiet. And It does what I wanted it to do, basically. It would be nice if it were faster, but I'll survive.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on October 6, 2006 at 1:34 AM


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