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I just bought an Ethernet hard drive. Everything works, but not as I expected.

When I copy a file with this hard drive, only 50% of the network bandwidth is used. As my computer only handles 100 Mbps network speed, the transfer speed is about 5.5 M/s. It could be twice more with a better usage of my bandwidth.

My computer is running windows 7. The drive is connected via a router (which provides internet access).

Where could be the bottleneck in this installation?

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Are you sure you've got a 100Mbit cable and not only 10Mbit? The faster ones are a bit more expensive but look exactly the same. – Georg Schölly Dec 12 '09 at 15:03
up vote 2 down vote accepted

According to your description, it can be either: router, hard disk, external disk, network card.

You could try to connect directly to your external disk, to find out if the bottleneck is the hard disk or the external disk. If it isn't, then you could connect directly thru ethernet to another computer to find out if it's the network card.


If the other computer is connected by wifi to the router, 5.5 MB is very respectable speed, close to the theoretical maximum (which is 6.75MB/s).

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It could also be the controller in the Ethernet drive enclosure. I'd guess that's the most likely culprit as those things usually are pretty slow. – Joey Dec 12 '09 at 12:28
@Johannes Rössel: for me this is part of the external disk, since it's irreplaceable. – harrymc Dec 12 '09 at 13:04
Ok, I achieved 80% bandwidth through a direct connection between the hard drive and the computer. I have to assume the router is the bottleneck, right? – Savageman Dec 12 '09 at 15:49
edit My computer is not connected by Wifi. – Savageman Dec 12 '09 at 16:06
It's either the router or the network card (but most probably the router). – harrymc Dec 12 '09 at 16:20

Low end network drives sometimes are the bottleneck. Have a look here to see if this could apply in you case.

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I selected my hard drive and it shows as a slow one through Ethernet. The test says read speed = 7.3 M/s, but I achieved more (> 8M/s), so I don't know if I should trust it or not... – Savageman Dec 12 '09 at 16:05

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