Ugrading home network - 24port Procurve? Other options?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by najames, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    I am spending some money and upgrading a lot of stuff in my home network. I do a lot of "testing" of Linux and various hardware, sometimes connect to work equipment. At work I am a SAS programmer and work on a Solaris Sunfire V440, IBM Mainframe (thankfully not much now since I migrated our systems to Solaris 2 years ago), and PC. Unfortunately, I DON'T get into networking and am NOT real knolwedgable beyond the basics. I have certainly never done VLANs or trunking, etc.

    I've been doing a LOT of Linux network/NIC testing at home, and am seeing some issues on what has been a very stable system to date. I would like to be able to max out transfer speed to match hard drive speed on my server (will be using WD 640GB drives which do average 90MBps) so I'd like to get at over 60MBps LAN throuput. Its time to upgrade some components. Unless some really fast wireless is available, I'll wire the house for Gigabit LAN & Media sharing soon.

    I have many different NIC cards and several transfer protocols. Cards used include Intel Pro 1000 PCI-e x1 (excellent card), PCI Pro 1000, several Realtek onboard, Realtek PCI, Marvell onboard, Broadcom onboard. All are gigabit, although some will not do frames beyond 7K, but very limited testing has shown jumbo frames has not made any faster transfers so far. Transfer speeds have been 9MBps max using Linux Nautilus (hence the testing), about 29MBps average using smbget commands, about 43MBps average using PureFTP on the "server" and FileZilla on clients. These are maximum averages seen so far.

    Current network setup:

    Netopia DSL modem -> WRT54G wireless router -> SMC 8500T 5port switch -> 7 PCs/Servers
    |_ 2 laptops, Brother 5250DN network printer, VoicePulse VOIP

    Sorry it doesn't display right, the laptops, printer and VOIP are all off the 10/100 ports on the router.

    1) I need a bigger switch, preferabley one so I can see what the heck it is doing. The current switch seems to be having flow control problems going from 0 to max in sine wave patterns during many large file transfers, as described in SmallNetBuilder.com flow control article http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/30212/54/ . I don't think it is NIC cards. I am thinking a Procurve 1800-24G J9028B ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833316089 ) might work well, not sure if I can see what is going on with the 1400 series.

    2) It might be benficial to split off VOIP onto a different VLAN (?), opinions?

    3) is there a better way to set this up? I do NOT want to get into Cisco priced stuff for this system, the Procurve is pushing it now for price.
     
  2. goodcooper

    goodcooper [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    9,771
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    just get a gigabit switch.... that 24-port procurve gigabit? depending on your number of devices maybe just a 16-port gigabit switch would do you just fine...

    and you're right... no really fast wireless is available... i stay away from wireless whenever possible...

    i mean hp makes a good switch, but i don't think you need to spend the money on 24-ports and a managed solution... but its all up to you and your budget and what you want
     
  3. LittleMe

    LittleMe 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    I've got a ProCurve 1800-24G I use at home. Not fully managed, but for what I do at home, it works out great with the web interface.
     
  4. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Wow, thanks for the quick replies. I accidently posted before I was finshed, sorry.

    There is not a 16 port switch in this model of Procurve switch. If I wire the whole house, I'll need a lot of ports anyway.

    Have you had any issues with the Procurve switch? I like the lifetime warranty and the passive cooling = quiet. Says it is gigabit.

    http://www.hp.com/rnd/products/switches/ProCurve_Switch_1800_Series/overview.htm

    There are some Dells that look ok, but short warranty and previous bad experience with Dell ordering gives me the heebie jeebies. I ordered a monitor but they had someone else's name on my account, whouldn't fix it, told me it was MY responsibility to work with their Web tech to fix my account, so I canceled my order and told them to close the account immediately.

    A lot of Netgears seem to die in a year or so for some reason.


    This is some of the testing I have been doing.
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=705431
     
  5. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    11,330
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Love the Procurves...rock solid, great warranty. A bit high end (pricey) for home use..but if you wanna spend the cabbage..more power to ya.
     
  6. LittleMe

    LittleMe 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    I haven't had any issues with my 1800-24G. I run 3 VLAN's and 2 4-port trunks. There isn't much to it, should work great for you
     
  7. Seated

    Seated [H]Lite

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
  8. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    YeOldeStonecat, any other suggestions? I have read some of your posts and like the type of feedback you provide.

    Seated, I did see Provantage price today, also another LAN place that was even cheaper ($325ish?), but the second place only had 11 reviews at resellerratings.com and Provantage seemed to have a lot of unhappy campers. Have you ordered from Provantage? I've been ordering from Newegg forever, 5 pages of history orders, looked up the little SMC switch, got it over 3 years ago. I trust them. In the last year, I've been ordering all my Super Talent memory (good stuff) from Ewiz, sometimes order drives and stuff from ZipZoomFly.

    LittleMe, you've almost got me ready to order it. I feel the itch to learn something new anyway. Time to start reading the HP manuals. Networking is like the last frontier for me I guess. Old dog needs to learn new tricks.

    Would you replace the WRT54G for something to make it all Gigabit? Split off VOIP & LAN Printer?

    All my replaced stuff goes to relatives and the wife is getting ready to make a plane trip soon so I need to make some decisions.

    I asked at work what we use and it is all Cisco, doh!!
     
  9. LittleMe

    LittleMe 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    I'll be honest, there isn't much to learn/play with on the 1800's, it's all an easy webui. It's a really nice, fast, reliable switch that works great for what you'll probably use it for. For all my playing, testing, etc, I have a couple of Cisco 3550's and 2621's. Once I setup my 1800, it's just sat there, going along. It has 3 VLAN's, 1 for my regular network boxes, 1 for my wireless clients that runs into my IPCop box, and a 3rd for my 2 4-port teams. One from my main workstation and the other from the SAN.

    I see no need to replace that WRT54G. Leave it as your router with your wireless clients on it, and just run it into your switch to feed the network. You'll still have 100Mbps from it to the switch, which is more than enough for the 54Mbps wireless + whatever speed internet you have.

    If you wanted to get crazy, you could VLAN it all out, and drop the WRT54G as your router. Throw up an IPCop/m0n0wall/etc box with a bunch of NIC's. Feed them out to the different VLANs. Put your servers on one, wireless on another, voip on another, etc. Then you could setup whatever you wanted as far as what can talk to what, QoS, etc.
     
  10. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    11,330
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    The Linksys/Cisco "SRW" series is an attractively priced basic managed switch...managed through a web browser.

    DLink also makes some similar entry level models.

    May fit your "home budget" a little easier than the HPs.
     
  11. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Thanks for the recommendations for the other switches YeOldeStonecat. I think I'll blow a little extra cabbage and get the HP 1800-24G, gut feeling = good vibes. LittleMe pushed me right over the edge, plus I like the passive cooling + warranty on the HP. Loud fans would = unhappy wife.

    LittleMe, I AM crazy enough to try stuff. I just gotsta know. Life is far too short to not learn something new every single day and I am fairly hardcore. Hmm, that setup actually sounds interesting. Oops, hard core LAN security, another frontier.
     
  12. LittleMe

    LittleMe 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    The network pics thread awaits your post!
     
  13. Seated

    Seated [H]Lite

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    No, I haven't ordered from Provantage. I have ordered from eWiz, TechOnWeb, NewEgg, and MWave. Most recently, eWiz & TechOnWeb. eWiz impressed me with quick shipping and customer support.

    Additionally, if you only need 8 ports, you could get HP's 8-port model if you want to save some money - NewEgg carries it and possibly others.
     
  14. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    DOH, wait until after the HP switch comes and I get it set up. I'm warning you, it ain't gonna be purdy!! I'm moving stuff to an "office bedroom".

    This website seems to have some good information.
    http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/
     
  15. XOR != OR

    XOR != OR [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    11,549
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Just a little note: Seperating VoIP traffic out into it's own vlan is only useful if you plan on doing QoS at the switch on vlans. Otherwise, it's merely a light security measure ( that's easily defeated ).
     
  16. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    I moved my daily use PC to the Linksys 10/100 port so I still have internet access and can isolate the test environment.

    I only have 2 computers and the HP Procuve switch on the test LAN. I have Intel Pro1000 x1 cards in each PC. With the SMC switch, FileZilla took about 10seconds to connect to the server before for some reason, it's almost instantaneous now. Max download transfer speed increased to just over 50MBps using the FileZilla client and PureFTP server, again Ubuntu 8.04 on the server and Mint (Ubuntu 7.10) on the client end. Upload speeds are only about 38MBps. Everything has frame size set to 9000. I have some new WD 640GB drives that I will test with tonight in both PCs to see if drive speed is the limiting factor. With these drives in each PC, if drives are a limiting factor, it should increase because these are supposed to be fast drives.

    Now my question to networking experts!! In the Linux system monitors on both computers, I still see the sine wave type data transfer patterns going from 67-118MBps max to zero, back to max, back to zero, etc. Does this happen on all systems? It would seem that it would be faster to transfer at a more consistent speed, but how the heck do I do it? The docs for the Intel NICs say that I can turn off flow control, but must also shut off auto neg, manually setting speed to 1000 I assume. Any thoughts?

    Update: At noon I went too see the networking guys here at the office. They said they think this sinewave pattern transfer is caused by the software protocol, however I'm contacting another guy who is the buffer size guru also.

    Update2: I got this excellent info below from the buffer guru to try, but initial tests with the put command only showed 42MBps with a "send", still the fastest send I've seen. It looks like there are a LOT of settings behing the PureFTPd that the GUI's not showing. I need to invistigate more.

    To start with, you can eliminate the Disk subsystem from the equation to get an idea if disk read/write rates are perhaps the bottleneck.
    With UNIX/LINUX systems you can accomplish this via FTP like so:

    FTP target system (login etc)
    run the following from within the ftp session:
    bin
    put "|dd if=/dev/zero bs=32k count=10000" /dev/null

    This will generate a file with 10000 32Kbyte blocks (aka about 320MB, and can be adjusted)

    It sends this “File” to the remote system which puts it on the /dev/null device, essentially deleting it as it’s received.
     
  17. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Another update, I have hit network transfer Nirvana.

    Server = ASUS A8N-E, 1GB RAM, Hitachi 80GB SataII drive, Intel Pro1000 9300PT PCI-e x1 card
    Client = Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2H 690G, 2GB RAM, Hitachi 164GB SataII drive, Intel Pro1000 9300PT PCI-e x1 card
    Switch = HP Procurve 1800-24G

    For both the server and client, I disabled onboard LAN and ran the Lunux commands listed on http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/nethub/article.php/3485486
    NOTE: they also have Windows settings listed

    These change the TCP window sizes. After running these commands, I was able to achieve 118-119MBytes/sec every time I ran the put "|dd if=/dev/zero bs=32k count=10000" /dev/null. This does not actually write to the drive and I feel this test has elimitated any possible system hardware bottleneck between the two. I have not researched settings nor have I tweaked them whatsoever.

    Actual physical file transfer throughput tests still revealed under mediocure transfers of actual files to the server, under 50MBytes/sec.

    I found that PureFTP has a LOT of switches behind the GUI that are not seen. I decided to use VSFTPD because it is less configurable and seems to come with "max throughput " as default. I still saw similar under 50MByte/sec throughput.

    Last week, I bought 3 Western Digital 640GB drives because initial reviews show they are quiet and have good speeds. I installed one of these drives in my server and reinstalled Ubuntu 8.04, same Intel Pro1000 drivers, same exact setup.

    Testing here is running VSFTPD on the server, using simple FTP commands to transfer files, like put mint.iso.

    I did a "get" writing to Hitachi 164GB drive in the PC from the WD 640GB server and it took 20.17sec @ 34967.3KBytes/sec.
    I did a "put" writing to the WD 640GB drive in the server from the Hitachi 164GB PC and it took 7.21sec @ 97847.7Kbytes/sec.

    This tells me that the write speeds on the Hitachi are slow, the WD 60GB drives are fast, but the Hitachi must be able to read fast. I replaced the drive in the PC with another WD 640GB drive and achieved these results.

    I did a "get" writing to PC now using a WD 640GB from the WD 640GB Server and it took 9.51sec @ 74113.1KBytes/sec.
    I did a "put" writing to the server WD 640GB drive from the PC WD 640GB and it took 6.89sec @ 102283.4Kbytes/sec.

    As a final test, I used the onboard chip in this PC, a Biostar TA690G, 2GB RAM, Seagate 7200.10 320GB, Realtek 8111b LAN, also running Mint Daryna (Ubuntu Gutsy).
    I am writing the same mint.iso CD file to the server, here's the results.

    ftp> put mint.iso
    local: mint.iso remote: mint.iso
    200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
    150 Ok to send data.
    226 File receive OK.
    722104320 bytes sent in 6.41 secs (109965.8 kB/s)
    ftp> quit

    That's 879Mbits throughput on a 1000Mbit connection, I don't think I can't expect any more and it far exceeds my 60MByte (480Mbps) goal I started with.

    I recommend using the following procedures.

    1) download and use latest drivers for your LAN chips.

    2) used the TCP window settings to eliminate any system bottlenecks, making shure you can get good throughput before writing physical files using the command put "|dd if=/dev/zero bs=32k count=10000" /dev/null.

    3) Use VSFTPD server software as a basis, later you can try other software and use this for a benchmark.

    4) be absolutely sure you have a fast drive(s) on your server.

    5) to a lesser extent make sure you have a good switch. I will be re-inserting my old 5port SMC switch and retesting later, but suspect it won't impact results as much as the rest of the tweaks.

    Now I am ready to set up a LAN server for transferring data!!
     
  18. LittleMe

    LittleMe 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    Thanks for sharing the info and glad to see that switch is working out for you!
     
  19. boostified

    boostified [H]Lite

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    definitely some nice information here. Im about to start wiring my house for network so im aways from setting up my switch, but im saving this page for a bookmark.
     
  20. najames

    najames [H]Lite

    Messages:
    65
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Thanks, it should be a lot of help. Sorry I haven't done more testing with WinXp or something but I want to use Linux (Solaris?) for my server for all my different machines, not enough time. I spent about $400 for the switch, $390 for the three WD 640GB drives, $65 for two Intel Pro1000 PCI-e x1 cards, $25 for a PCI Intel Pro1000 just to help ya'all out, not to mention ~3 weeks of nights/weekends until midnight or later figuring out how to really make it really fly. Lots of reading hardware/software testing to wade through.

    Western Digital 640GB drives were the missing key in the server because they use two 320GB "dense" platters.

    I still have some more work to do testing other slower hardware, but this will get everyone going fast fairly quickly.

    I did it bass ackwards, figured out the hardware and need to wire the house now.