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I have currently 100Mbps router and using a NAS. Unfortunately, seems that the speed is not as I expected. So I planned to change the router to a gigabit router. Is it really worth it?

UPDATE: The network is in my house and pretty simple. So I have a NAS connected directly to broadband wireless router 100Mbps and a desktop connected directly also to the same router. The NAS system is pretty new and I try to move all of my files from desktop to the NAS. The transfer speed is around 0.6 GB per minutes. I'm pretty blind about networking, just know the basic stuff and so will be glad for any assistance.

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migrated from serverfault.com Jul 7 '10 at 21:16

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Does traffic between your clients and your NAS actually pass through the router? What analysis have you done to ensure that the router is actually the bottleneck and not some other part of the network (or the NAS itself)? –  EEAA Jul 7 '10 at 20:45
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Can you provide more detail on the configuration of the network? –  Dave M Jul 7 '10 at 20:45
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Before upgrading anything, I'd make sure that the router (well actually the switch within the router) is the problem. Connect directly to the NAS and try some file transfers. If you see higher bandwidth when directly connected, then yes, the router is a bottleneck. I'd recommend purchasing a GigE switch (I prefer smart "managed" switches, but since this is for a home network, a dumb switch like the one BhmJeep recommended should be okay), and use that to connect all of your wired devices. The end result would look something like this:

simple network diagram

This will allow your devices to communicate at (near) gigabit speeds, while not necessitating a full (read: expensive) router upgrade.

I would not be all that surprised, though, if you didn't see a significant performance increase when connecting directly to the NAS. Many consumer-level NAS products are horribly underpowered and are just plain not built for performance.

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Thanks ErikA! I just curious about one thing. Is there any advantage of using switch instead of upgrading the router beside price? –  nanda Jul 8 '10 at 5:32
    
Well, first of all, you don't need to upgrade the router. Your router's main purpose is to route traffic between your LAN and the internet. Your existing router is doing that just fine. In addition, the switch will give you a few more ports for future expansion, adds flexibility and will likely perform better than the built-in switch on the router. Additionally, a switch purchase will most likely be the cheapest solution. –  EEAA Jul 8 '10 at 5:37
    
that's just what I want to hear. Thanks... I'm going to try your suggestion. –  nanda Jul 8 '10 at 5:39
    
Wow... connecting the NAS directly give me 2GB per minute. So I know the answer now :) –  nanda Jul 8 '10 at 5:51
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To upgrade a "Router" no, not worth it. If you are really talking about a switch or a hub then yes it can be worth it as long as all of your other systems in the network (that connect to the NAS anywhay) can support gigabit (GB).

I would just add an inexpensive gigabit switch to your already existing network. They are around $30-$40 USD for something to use at home.

NewEgg example: D-Link GB Switch

This is nice and simple and cheap.

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...unless the traffic actually does pass through the router. At this point, nanda hasn't provided enough information for anyone to give an accurate answer. –  EEAA Jul 7 '10 at 21:05
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Also, can I please try to influence people into buying intelligent switches? Dumb switches are all well and good until you need to debug something (like this!) and you need statistics. Friends don't let friends buy switches without SNMP –  Matt Simmons Jul 7 '10 at 21:11
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Ive made this change in the last 2 weeks and for us it made a big difference. A 600MB transfer used to take about 45-50 seconds and now takes 6, but then we also moved to raid from a one disk setup at the same time.

That said, it depends what your sending, and how many users are using it. Big files, few users you'll notice a difference, but small transfers or situations where the disk drives may be jumping between read and write jobs from multiple users and cant provide a solid stream of data you wont see as much of a difference.

I'd say firstly get a handle on what throughput your drives can give, and what usage you typically see.

edit: and like the comment above, do you actually mean a router ? - we upgraded a switch to a cisco 8 port one and moved to mostly cat6 cables - with the odd cat5e here and there.

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