Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm at a bit of a loss for trying to figure out how to improve our file sharing with remote users.

The setup is as follows:

  • Cogent Fiber 100 Mb/s Up and Down
  • Sonicwall running SonicOS 5.8.1
  • Dell PowerEdge R310
  • Washington, DC

Remote User:

  • Is running Windows 7 Pro.
  • Has a comcast 50 Mb Dl 12 up speed
  • Denver
  • Experiencing download speeds of 220 Kbs/s

Here's what I've done:

  • Changed my key exchange to 'Group 1' for better network performance. [minor minor improvement.]
  • ISP MTU is set to 1542, I dropped WAN from 1500 to 1460 and the issue got worse.
  • Pings to Fileserver are in the 60-70 milisecond range.

Is this just a potentially poor use of SMB? Should I try to find another way to share files with remote users.

share|improve this question
IMO, SMB over VPN performance is poor and will always be poor. – joeqwerty Dec 10 '13 at 17:34
I've been thinking that this was going to be the issue. Do you happen to have any alternative suggestions? – Grumps Dec 10 '13 at 17:35
If possible on the PowerEdge, setup FTP. Then test throughput from the user via FTP, both with and without the VPN tunnel. This will help identify if SMB is the culprit. – TheCleaner Dec 10 '13 at 18:20
I happen to have a setup able to test the same transfer of FTP vs SMB, using the PfSense firewalls as does phil-lavin. The server is Win2003r2 and the client is Win7Pro. We're both on the same cable provider a few miles apart. I transferred a 180 MB FLAC audio file using both FTP and SMB. FTP averaged 597 KB/sec and SMB ~580 KB/sec. Wow, that's certainly not what I expected, especially since I upvoted joeqwerty's comment above before testing, and now can't undo. – Keith Stokes Dec 11 '13 at 1:29

We have a setup where 2 sites on 50 Mb/s up/down each have an SMB server and are connected via an IPSec VPN (pfSense). Transfer performance of a single large file averages at around 45 Mb/s.

Ping time between the two sites is only 5ms which may make a difference here... though it does show it can work.

Some suggestions below:

  • Naturally SMB is better at 1 large file than it is at many small ones. Test your setup with a single large file, if you're not doing so already
  • Check to ensure the VPN is passing traffic correctly and not dropping packets
  • Try a different protocol (e.g. FTP) to see if the bottleneck is SMB or the VPN
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.