Question Trying to set up a wired home network

robert600

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Hi, can someone give me advice … answer questions about setting up a wired home network. I’m very unknowledgeable about networking so I’ll probably use the wrong terms for things. Is a wired network known as LAN?

Anyway, I’ve been using wireless networking (with virtually no understanding of it) for years and years but recent events (covid) have prompted me to look for quicker connections (home teaching with 19 students using TEAMS) .

So … I’ve been given a huge spool of Cat 5e cable, a bunch of end connectors and a crimper. I’ve made up a bunch of cables and am busy connecting things up. I’ve also picked up a second router and I believe I have it working as a repeater. How do I test that is actually sending out a wifi signal? … I know for sure directly connecting to the ports of this router works but I’m not positive it’s putting out a useable wifi signal. Right now they’re both sitting beside each other (5’ cable between the 2 routers) but of course I will be moving it to a more distant location once I’m convinced it’s working. Directly connecting to either of these routers has resulted in much better internet speeds and virtually all disconnection problems have disappeared when using TEAMS (wifi was a nightmare for this). So that’s good … I can now make a living at home lol.

Where I’m having trouble with is setting up a home network. My primary goal here is to be able to copy files from one laptop to another. I have 5 aging laptops to connect and a UHD Blu-ray player (presumably this list will grow). I’ve tried and tried to use the built in win10 networking but I just can’t get it to work … years ago I remember using workgroups but that seems to be gone now. Last night I got ‘pctrans’ and using this software I can now finally see the other laptops and transfer files. I’m not convinced I’m getting the best speeds however. I tested by transferring a large UHD movie file … it’s 19.41 GB … by wifi it took 1:02 to transfer … by LAN it took just under 33 minutes. Is that a reasonable LAN speed? It was sent from the D: drive (bog standard 5200 rpm 2 ½” laptop HDD) and to the D: drive of the receiving laptop (again a bog standard 5200 rpm 2 ½” laptop HDD). The sending laptop is plugged to the secondary router and the receiving laptop is connected to the primary router. Would it be better if both laptops were plugged into the primary router?

Anyway, I set the receiving laptop up to be a plex server … loaded up that big 4K video file, connected the UHD player to the LAN Network (primary router) , opened the Plex app on it and am playing the movie now … it seems perfect. I had tried this previously via wifi and I was getting lots of stuttering and audio-video desyncronisation. So that looks promising.

What hardware in a laptop is controlling the LAN connection … is it built into the little wifi card or is it more likely to be on the motherboard?

Any comments, suggestions, answers to my questions would be most welcome. Also is there a better software solution to networking than ‘pctrans’?
 
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USAFRet

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I’m not convinced I’m getting the best speeds however. I tested by transferring a large UHD movie file … it’s 19.41 GB … by wifi it took 1:02 to transfer … by LAN it took just under 33 minutes.
One minute, 2 secs to transfer 20GB via WiFi? (that can't happen)
Or 1 hour, 2 mins?

So … I’ve been given a huge spool of Cat 5e cable, a bunch of end connectors and a crimper. I’ve made up a bunch of cables and am busy connecting things up.
Terminating ethernet cable requires a lot of practice.
 

Krotow

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Seems you both are recommending a search for blinker fluid to OP :) Ethernet twisted pair cable termination happen inside attached device. Coaxial Ethernet died already at last century. But he definitely must not mismatch wires in those pesky crimpable RJ45 connectors.
 

robert600

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Thanks for all the help so far.

Ok … I burned the midnight oil last night and hopefully have made some progress – at least in my understanding of networking if not in actual performance. This network stuff gets kinda addictive and the time sure flies when you’re wrapped up in it.

So I copied a couple more movies over and used the task manager to monitor the network speed. Before copying over the first of these, I moved both laptops over to very near the routers so I could use the few short, factory made cables that I have. I connected both to the primary router (10/100/1000). Looking at the network speed while copying this, it jittered around about 92 Mbps (sometimes bounced up to 95 or so and sometimes down to 88. Disappointing I guess but it was what it was.

I then moved the laptops back to their original position and connected both to my hand-made longer cables (about 75’ and 50’) – the other end of these cables I connected to the primary router.

I copied another movie over and task manager showed me the same rate of transfer. This indicates to me that my home-made cables are ok – I guess it doesn’t prove that they’ll work at a Gbps rate but it looks promising.

So …. Thinking of the weakest link notion USA Fret pointed out, I started thinking about the Ethernet controller. I figured out how to get Windows to give me the Ethernet Status and it resulted in this:

“Link speed (Receive/Transmit): 100/100 (Mbps)

Link-local IPv6 address: fe80::5421:4365:3b0c:b223%2

IPv4 address: 192.168.1.39

IPv4 DNS servers: 192.168.1.1

192.168.1.1

Primary DNS suffix: Home

Manufacturer: Realtek

Description: Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller

Driver version: 10.45.928.2020

Physical address (MAC): 38-EA-A7-ED-B4-63”




That first line seems to indicate the controller I have is limited to 100 Mbps thus destroying any chance I have at anywhere near to Gb speed. Am I thinking about this correctly? Both laptops are virtually identical so I’m quite sure the other one has the same controller but I haven’t checked.

This prompted me to do a search on my controller and I found this conversation on a hp chat site (my laptops are old hps … different from the one they’re talking about but quite likely the same issue:

“Yes, I know...most HP consumer notebooks only have 100 MBPS ethernet adapters, which is kind of lousy in this day and age.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to upgrade other than purchasing an external usb to rj-45 gigabit ethernet adapter.

The 10/100 nic in the pc is part of the motherboard so it can't be easily replaced.”




So it seems I have 3 bottlenecks in terms of transferring files at anywhere near GB speed between these 2 laptops. The secondary router (I can get around this by simply plugging into the primary router or by replacing the current secondary router with a Gb speed router ) and the 2 Realtek PCIe FE Family Controllers … presumably 2 external usb to rj-45 gigabit ethernet adapters would solve this. Looking on ebay, these seem reasonably priced (range of prices from $10 to $60) … both laptops have usb 3.0 ports. Has anyone out there had any experience with these? Again I ask, am I thinking about this correctly or am I completely out in Ethernet lala land?
 
Are you really sure the laptops do not have gigabit ports. It is extremely rare to only have 10/100...,especially if they have usb3 ports. The only modern laptops I have seen that do this for some reason in 1 or 2 models from lenovo. Why they do this I have no clue the actual chipset supports gigabit and the hardware costs for the ethernet port itself is about the same. Lenovo sells "value" brand equipment,they sure have gone hill since IBM sold them.

Read the specs for the laptop. A clue is going to be in the setting of the nic. Most can run gigabit have the option to set it manually to that speed. Note this will just make it not work if you have it plugged into 10/100 port. You need to always leave it set on auto. This is more to know that if you were to plug it into a gigabit port the laptop can actually use it.

Maybe your best first test is to buy a small 5 or 8 port gigabit switch. You can get many for under $20. You could then place it in front of your second router you are currently using as a AP to extend the signal. Unless you are unhappy with the second routers wifi performance it is going to be cheaper to do it this way.

A note on cables. There are massive amounts of fake cable on the market. All those flat cables do not meet the standards and you find a lot of cable that is not pure copper but is instead CCA. Be sure the wire you are using to make your own cables is pure copper.
 

Krotow

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I believe you did mean not termination, but connector crimping. Yes, bad connectors or badly crimped connections can and will interfere with transfer speed. OP should try to copy his huge file over proven gigabit capable cable. If speed is as desired, he must redone his custom cabling properly.

By the way OP still didn't tell exact "slow" laptop model. But I don't buy it about 100 Mbps laptop Ethernet adapter. Realtek PCIe FE is 1 Gbps for a decade+ and new ones also 2.5 Gbps. The real problem should be between network adapter settings (check if speed is left to Auto and not 100 Mbps), router or cable and connector quality. If cable length between devices does not exceed 100m, cables and connectors are OK and routers/switches support desired speed and are not set to work slower, there should be no problems with 1 Gbps network data transfer.

Speaking of which seems I should buy another Ethernet cable testing kit for my private use. Will be very useful in my spare change tasks.
 

robert600

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Ok … week of on-line teaching is done – dragging a bit because of last night’s late networking troubleshooting. Happy to say … no lagging or disconnection issues on the ethernet connected laptop I use for teaching. So even at 90 Mbps, I’m way ahead of where I was when I was trying to do this through WiFi.

Anyway … back to the Ethernet speed issues:

Are you really sure the laptops do not have gigabit ports. It is extremely rare to only have 10/100...,especially if they have usb3 ports. The only modern laptops I have seen that do this for some reason in 1 or 2 models from lenovo. Why they do this I have no clue the actual chipset supports gigabit and the hardware costs for the ethernet port itself is about the same. Lenovo sells "value" brand equipment,they sure have gone hill since IBM sold them.


No … I’m not sure about anything to do with Ethernet/wifi/internet lol. I’ve looked and looked for some setting where I could set ‘the nic’ but no luck … perhaps not surprising since I have no idea what a ‘nic’ is. Any way, I was able to find the specs to the laptop doing the sending (like I said earlier, the receiving laptop is virtually the same). Don’t pay attention to cpu, ram, hdd, optical drive etc. … pretty much everything that can be changed has been …original motherboard though. Here’s a link to the specs from the hp site:

https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c03487230

Scrolling down to NETWORK CARD it clearly says “10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector)’. Does that mean that the best that can be done is 100 Mbps with what is in the laptop? This is exactly the issue that the hp forum article I quoted earlier was talking about isn’t it? Their suggested solution was a usb 1G ethernet port. One of the many things I don’t understand is why is it being referred to as a ‘network card’. I mean if it’s soldered into the motherboard somewhere it’s not really a card is it? The only card I can think of is the little pcie wifi/Bluetooth card but that’s totally separate from the Ethernet controller – or am I wrong … is the controller in the wifi card? I really don’t understand these things at all.

I’m waiting to hear from a friend about borrowing some ‘tried and tested’ gig ethernet cables but it really looks to me like the above controller is a bottleneck to gig speed and without getting around it somehow … all other efforts are doomed but … what do I know? … happy to try anything'

ty again for the help!


[l1]
 

Krotow

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Indeed HP Pavilion g6-2249wm? Sigh. No, then you are stuck in 100 Mbps. Sticknet (moving around files on USB 3.0 stick) will be faster large file moving option then.

Funny, but this recalled in memory a thing of past. In my old workplace circa 1995 there was a machine with 486 DX-40 CPU and very slow Maxtor IDE HDD. It was literally 3-4 times faster to work with files shared in network (10 Mbps Coaxial Ethernet) than put them on HDD and work locally.
 

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