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WLAN data transfer slow


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#1
jchien

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I have two computers connected on a LAN with a Netgear MR814 (802.11b) router. However, whenever I wish to copy files from computer to computer, I notice in the Windows Task Manager that my network utilization peaks out around 20% (either direction).

Particularly annoying is that I store many video files on my desktop and like to watch them on my laptop. However, the videos won't stream across the network smoothly, although I believe it should be able to. Playback is choppy and has an effect as if someone is hitting pause and play 4 times a second. I should note that this behavior is present even when no other non-system processes are running (CPU usage is not maxed), and I'm confident that my computers are spyware free. I assume this choppiness is due to the data not being transferred across the network fast enough.

How do I increase the network utilization?
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#2
Dan

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Hi jchien,
First of all, please restart both of the computers into Safe Mode with Networking, and then try to share files between the two computers -- is it still choppy / does it still peak out at 20%?
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#3
jchien

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I tried booting both computers into safe mode with networking, and the problem still exists.
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#4
Dan

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Have you installed the latest firmware for your router?

Are you trying to transfer the files wirelessly, or wired? If it is wireless, then you should be aware that your speeds will be noticeably decreased. When communicating from a wired device to a wireless device, a good rule of thumb is that you can expect to average roughly a third of the datarate.

For example, suppose you have a desktop computer that is connected by Ethernet cable to a 802.11g "54 Mbps" wireless router. When sending a large file to a wireless laptop, you can expect roughly 18 Mbps of actual throughput. If you can, you should attempt to connect the laptop to the desktop with an Ethernet cable, and see if you still experience the choppy transfer rate.

However, from your description, it sounds to me like the desktop is connected to your router through wires, whilst your laptop is wireless. If your transfer is taking multiple wireless "hops", such as from a wireless computer to an AP, and then again from the AP to your computer, expect to cut the throughput by roughly half again. As you can see, by this stage, your network transfer rate will be getting very choppy indeed. If this is indeed your setup, then there is very little you can do to improve it. However, if this is not how you're setup, then please tell the actual setup.

Thanks,
Dan.
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#5
jchien

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Ah. It is the case that both of my computers are currently using wireless network cards. Unfortunately, I don't currently have extra ethernet cables lying around. Thank you for the information, though it is a bit disappointing to hear, as it seems kinda unfair to claim the 802.11b standard has 11 Mbps transfer rates when in reality transfer speeds are significantly less.
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