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Today I tried to connect two laptop computers, both having Gigabit Ethernet NICs, both with Windows 7, with straight cable cat 5e. The cable is ca 50 cm long so the category 5e should be enough.

I've set static IP addresses for both and tested them through SMB, HTTP and FTP.

The response of HTTP and FTP is instant, but going to SMB share takes too long. Each folder change takes ca 2 minutes.

And finally, the real speed of FTP (Microsoft IIS to FAR manager) was ca 219 mbit/s (4053265652 bytes file has been transfered in 141 sec).

Why the connection is so slow and why it takes forever to browse through SMB share?

Update especially for mrdenny

Copying of the file over 100 Mbit/s LAN with router didn't show any significant difference between SMB and FTP download speed:

SMB: 349 seconds (88,6 Mbit/s) FTP: 345 seconds (89,6 Mbit/s)

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Two minutes to change folders indicates a problem, but probably not on the network. You might want to troubleshoot that issue anyway, even if it's not killing your transfer speeds. –  HopelessN00b Aug 14 '12 at 20:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

My first guess with SMB is that because you don't have a domain there's a lot of authentication that needs to happen. Granted 2 minutes is a really long time. That could be do to disk IO issues on the machine you are browsing, or CPU pressure, or memory pressure.

Even when SMB is responding very quickly SMB will always be slower than HTTP/FTP as SMB is a very chatty protocol.

As for the FTP transfer speed, that's probably the maximum write speed of your laptops hard drive.

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You are probably right about max HDD write speed. Copying of the file into the same folder took even more time than over network. So, what's the use of Gigabit Ethernet on these laptops if they have 5400 rpm hard drives? What about disk issues etc - if I connect these computers through 100 mbps router, everything responds very quick. –  Paul Aug 10 '12 at 19:49
Sounds like the machines may be having problems finding each other over the cross connect. Maybe arp isn't working correctly over the cross connect but the router is handling that better. As to what's the point? The point is that 1Gig is faster than 100 Meg. The vendor doesn't care if you can't use it, it looks better in the marketing material if its 1 Gig as all the other laptops offer it as well. –  mrdenny Aug 10 '12 at 20:16

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