I have a box with Gigabit Ethernet, and I'm unable to get past about 200Mbps or 250Mbps in my download tests.

I do the tests like this:

% wget -6 -O /dev/null --progress=dot:mega http://proof.ovh.ca/files/1Gb.dat
--2013-07-25 12:32:08--  http://proof.ovh.ca/files/1Gb.dat
Resolving proof.ovh.ca (proof.ovh.ca)... 2607:5300:60:273a::1
Connecting to proof.ovh.ca (proof.ovh.ca)|2607:5300:60:273a::1|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 125000000 (119M) [application/x-ns-proxy-autoconfig]
Saving to: ‘/dev/null’

     0K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........  2% 5.63M 21s
  3072K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........  5% 13.4M 14s
  6144K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........  7% 15.8M 12s
  9216K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ 10% 19.7M 10s
 12288K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ 12% 18.1M 9s
 15360K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ 15% 19.4M 8s
 18432K ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ ........ 17% 20.1M 7s

With the constraint that I only control one server which I want to test, and not the sites against which I want to perform the tests, how do I do a fair test?

Basically, is there some tool that would let me download a 100MB file in several simultaneous TCP streams over HTTP?

Or download several files at once in one go?

  • What else is in between those servers? Are they connected to the same switch? Are they the only two servers on that switch? Jul 25, 2013 at 16:51
  • No, it's on the internets. E.g., in case of proof.ovh.ca, ping6 -c4 proof.ovh.ca results in a summary of round-trip min/avg/max/std-dev = 23.907/24.165/24.392/0.179 ms.
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 17:08
  • 7
    If there is any connection between you and the server that is slower than 1Gb you will not be able to attain Gb speeds.
    – dbasnett
    Jul 25, 2013 at 17:15
  • Is the source also serving up data to other clients? Also, what is the disk read speed of the server?
    – Bad Dos
    Jul 25, 2013 at 17:26
  • @BadDos, I only control one of the hosts; I dunno about disk read speed, but I would guess they aren't complete idiots to presumably have 10GigE connections, but not have enough RAM in their test-server to cache all the testfiles. An alternative is to download 10MB file multiple times over several TCP connections, which would eliminate disk read speed issue, but I don't know of a tool that does that.
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 18:08

3 Answers 3


Aria2 is command line tool similar to wget that supports multiple simultaneous downloads over http , bittorent, ftp etc.

aria2c -d /dev -o null  --allow-overwrite=true -x 15 url  --file-allocation=none

Download file with 15 connections to /dev/null.

--allow-overwrite prevents aria from trying to rename /dev/nulll.

I prefer not to start allocating space before the download since it takes time for the download to start

  • OK, I'm able to reach 43MiB/s with aria2c -x4 http://proof.ovh.ca/files/1Gb.dat. Having more than 4 connections doesn't seem to improve the speed, but I'm still unsure how to make aria2c write to /dev/null, instead of a filesystem.
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 18:12
  • Nice, @tomodachi, thanks for the edit (why is there a two of you?), I've just got 83MiB/s with aria2c -d /dev -o null --allow-overwrite=true -x 5 http://cachefly.cachefly.net/100mb.test --file-allocation=none, with just wget, I'm only getting about 50MB/s from cachefly, but their server is only 8 or 9ms away, so, that's probably why it's quicker than OVH.CA, which is 24ms away. Basically, I'm now safe in the knowledge that indeed I have a GigE connection to the internets, 50MB/s at 9ms is just about 512KB of BDP, so, no wonder single streams can't do much better than that.
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 21:19
  • I was just able to make my Activity Monitor on OS X display Peak: 99.9 MB/sec when running time aria2c -d /dev -o null --allow-overwrite=true -x 12 http://proof.ovh.ca/files/10Gb.dat --file-allocation=none (1Gbps * 25ms / 256KB is about 12, just to be on the safe side), but my USB 3.0 to GigE adapter dies shortly after starting these tests, and aria2c doesn't seem to display an average speed as it goes. Any way to make it print the speed every XX MB or so, just as wget does with --progress=dot:mega as above?
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 21:46

You will be limited to less then the speed of the slowest link. You could have a 10Gig connection, but if your internet connection is Dialup, you are going to be waiting. Even on a LAN that can support 1GB end to end, you may see a bottlneck with the read speeds of the source server or the write speeds of the destination server.

  • Completely false; you're limited by the network buffers of TCP on both ends in scenarios that involve real broadband connections.
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 17:55
  • 2
    @cnst That's not correct. Slower links don't magically go faster because a bigger pipe said to.
    – Nathan C
    Jul 25, 2013 at 18:03
  • Thanks Nathan. Your answer seems to follow suit with more detail. Completely agree.
    – jmoyer8
    Jul 25, 2013 at 19:47
  • speedtest.net old standard...should give you a rough idea of your internet speed...
    – jmoyer8
    Jul 25, 2013 at 19:47

There are many factors that contribute to this:

For one thing, you're downloading over the Internet. Let's assume you truly have a gigabit down connection at your disposal:

TCP overhead can eat anywhere from 5-10% of your bandwidth - for simplicity's sake let's say 10%. So you're down to 900Mbits/s.

Remote server load is a major factor and you can't control or see it. Many servers can easily pull 200 MB/s read times, but under load it can push the speeds down.

Routing is a factor in speed too. If your route is saturated, speed will suffer.

And finally ...do you really have a gigabit connection to the Internet, or is it just your port speed? Speeds are limited by the slowest link that you cross. Also, if you have a hosted server with a gigabit link, these are often shared by other clients and you don't get a dedicated gigabit link to begin with.

Edit: The reason I didn't recommend a tool is because they're a google search away and there's tons.

  • I indeed don't know if I truly have a Gigabit connection to the Internet, because noone can provide me with an answer of a utility that would open-up several TCP streams, and will start downloading multiple files (potentially from multiple servers), appending the contents to /dev/null.
    – cnst
    Jul 25, 2013 at 18:06
  • @cnst There's an answer with another tool you can use.
    – Nathan C
    Jul 25, 2013 at 18:09

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