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Degraded Network Performance Mystery

Filed Under Geek on 2009-11-24, 13:46

I bought a gigabit switch awhile back when I needed to replace an existing switch with something with more ports. I bought the DLink DGS-2208 8-port 10/100/1000mbps switch as it had great reviews for its price point.

Here’s my current network topology:
Internet comes in from Comcast to a Linksys WRT54g v4 (10/100) wireless router running the Tomato Firmware v1.25.
Connected to that Linksys router is an ethernet cable that runs the length of my apartment to a DLink DGS-2208 gigabit switch.
Connected to the DLink:
– Macbook Pro (10/100/1000)
– Xbox 360 (10/100)
– Media Server box running Windows XP (10/100/1000)
Previously the Media Server box was connected to the Linksys router and was doing just fine on all file transfers. When I moved the Media Server to the gigabit switch I started having problems.

The first problem was streaming video to the Xbox 360 through Windows Media Player 11 Media Sharing. Previously I was able to stream 1080p video across the network without any problems whatsoever. After moving to the gigabit switch I was having trouble streaming anything. It would lag, freeze up, and even sometimes the Xbox would tell me that it had lost the network connection to that machine. I found this article which addresses an issue with Windows Media Extender and Windows Vista and resulting poor video quality. Not exactly my issue, but the suggestion of clocking the Media Server NIC down to 100mbps instantly cleared up the video streaming problem. (I tried enabling flow control, but that didn’t work.)

So great, streaming to the Xbox problems solved. Then I tried to move files from my Macbook Pro to my Media Server. Horrendous speeds. Significantly slower than previously when the Media Server was on the 100mbps router. We’re talking 30kB/s. It’s painful. I tried enabling Flow Control (both Rx and Tx) on the Media Server box, no luck. Something’s not right.

I’m at a loss. Anyone have any ideas?

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