Question USB Transfer Speeds over Network - seem slow

Mar 15, 2019
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I have been testing transfer speeds of files onto a number of different hard drives across a network.

I notice significant speed loss when copying files onto the drives when compared to when they are plugged directly into the machine; 2-3MB/s over network versus 100-110MB/s directly plugged into my machine.

I expect a speed drop in transfer rates as the connection is over the network instead of direct connection - but I am surprised at the size of the difference. Does anyone know if this is expected?

I have tried a range of hard drives and flash drives too. I have also tried a number of different methods; USB directly into router, drive as a shared folder from a different machine, and direct Ethernet connection to router whilst USB plugged into it.

I always get the same result, so either - that's the type of speed you can expect for USB transfers over a network or I have a setting I need to tweak that I cannot find!

Any suggestions
 

Andrei N

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Feb 22, 2016
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that is a huge difference
What kind of network is it ?
Are you by chance using a household router wifi for this ?

EDIT: I read your post 3 more times.
What is the practical application for a USB over network file transfer ? I am lost.
Did you check the charts for USB speed standards on other equipment ?
 
Last edited:
Mar 15, 2019
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Hi Andrei, thanks for your response. Let me go into a bit more detail.


This is a household router which sits in my home.

The router has a USB port in the back to which I can attach a hard drive or a flash drive. This then allows me to access this drive from any laptop or machine attached to my home network. It's a type of NAS without being actually being a NAS.

So the hard drive has all my media on it and sits under the router. My Plex server (on a standalone machine) uses the files on the hard drive connected to the router to stream my media. There are no issues with playback - so I assume no problems with the read speed. It works an absolute charm!

The issue comes about where I want to add new stuff to the hard drive. Transferring files by copying and pasting to the network drive via Windows explorer takes an absolute age. It rarely makes it past 3MB/s. Quickest thing to do is unplug the hard drive from my router and plug back into my machine, copy the new stuff onto drive and plug back into the router. This defeats the purpose of having it attached to my router in the first place though, so I would obviously like to try and find some sort of fix.

So I went down a whole diagnostic route – tried a different hard drive, then tried a handful of flash drives also. This had no effect on transfer speed – always the same. I thought it was a shortcoming of the hardware itself - oh well, crap router I thought. But then I decided to mount the drives onto my other machine and share the folders across the network - exact same transfer rates as achieved when plugged into the router so it seems to be a network issue?
 
Mar 15, 2019
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Hi - thanks for the responses. If this is simply a shortcoming of the router then that's cool - I'm just keen to rule out any setup issues.

Here is a question though, and I am not sure if it is a silly one: Say I have two machines both connected to the same network. On one machine I have an external drive connected and this is shared on my home network. On my second machine, if I initiate a transfer to the shared drive (e.g. copy and paste an mp4) from Windows explorer - are the transfer rates derived from the USB capability of my router?
 
Mar 15, 2019
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Yeah, that's what I thought.


So considering this issue occurs transferring between 2 PCs on the network - I think that any physical USB limitation on the router wouldn't be an issue here and there would still be an underlying problem?
 

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