Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. 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 appear to be encountering bandwidth limitations on my home network.

In this specific instance, I am streaming videos from an external hard drive connected to a PC (USB), on a laptop wirelessly connected to the same network as that PC.

The USB connection to the PC is on an unshared hub, and so it should be hitting ~320 Mbps no problem. (The enclosure is USB3.0 capable, but when connected to my PCI-Express USB 3.0 card, the hard drive eventually gets randomly 'disconnected' until the PC is rebooted - no idea why.) In any event 40 MBps shouldn't be the bottleneck.

The PC and laptop are both connected wirelessly. The router is rated for 300Mbps but of course I know nothing about channel bonding, so I'm getting closer to 130 Mbps out of it.

I imagine about half of that being used to go from PC to router, and the other half to go from router to laptop - so 65 Mbps appears to be the bottleneck.

Most high quality videos would be tops 6.8Mbps - HD videos might run 28 Mbps. I'm not even getting close to that. I'm trying to stream measly 150 MB episodes from one computer to the next which is typically less than 1 Mbps (150MB/22min = 0.91 Mbps).

If my apparent bottleneck between PC and computer is 65 Mbps, how in the world could these 1 Mbps streams be struggling so much, even with all overhead accounted for? How can I improve / benchmark network performance between my computers?

share|improve this question
Test the speeds between the components in a wired configuration and see if wireless it the problem (which I think is most likely the issue). – martineau Feb 21 '11 at 20:33
Without specifying make and model numbers of all your network adapters and a map of your home network, it will be hard to answer. – Moab Feb 21 '11 at 22:25
I can copy files between machines at 8 MBps when wirelessly connected, about 60 MBps when wired directly to each other. Not sure what that tells me. I'm aware direct Ethernet connections are faster but it doesn't work as a permanent solution. – Alain Feb 22 '11 at 13:16
There are some great points there I hadn't considered. In particular, I should benchmark my wireless signal throughout the house with the router in different positions. – Alain Mar 15 '11 at 12:59

Your Answer


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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.