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Dreadfully slow across the network


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I have the Windows version Retrospect Backup Desktop Edition 5.6.127 and a 5 client license. I have a 10/100 network with a Mac desktop, an old Windows 98 laptop and a brand new Windows XP laptop. Each client is running the latest client software (5.0.201 for the Mac) and (5.6 for Windows).

 

 

 

Performance is fine for the Mac and the old Windows 98 laptop, but a backup of the new Windows XP laptop is so slow as to be impractical. If I'm reading the dialog box correctly, the estimated time to completion is over six days for less than 3GB of data. To make matters even worse, if I let the backup run for a while, it will fail with error -519.

 

 

 

The problem is not raw network speed since Internet access works fine at cable modem speeds of 1.5Mbps and a Windows file transfer goes quickly at 20Mbps.

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File sharing uses different protocols than Retrospect. You need to check speeds over TCP/IP.

 

 

 

From Configure > Clients, Get Properties on the XP laptop. What does this report?

 

 

 

What speeds do you see over TCP/IP transfers?

 

 

 

Can you connect these two computers with a crossover cable?

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Configure > Clients, Get Properties shows (on the General tab) a Speed of 21, 67, 53, 5, 12 or 34 K Bytes/sec. (It changes each time I do it. Those are the numbers I saw during several Refreshes.) On the Access tab, it shows the Protocol as TCP/IP.

 

 

 

I'm not sure what you want me to say about TCP/IP transfers, but I can download files from the Internet at full cable modem speed, which for me is 1.5Mb/sec.

 

 

 

I suppose I could connect the computers with a crossover cable for testing purposes, but I sure can't run that way in real life.

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Wow! With a crossover cable, the backup flies at about 15-40Mbps as measured by a network speed tool I have. Retrospect reports the overall performance as 172MB/min. Configure > Clients reports the speed as 10909, 9524, 6667 and 5714 (changing every time I hit the Refresh button).

 

 

 

Thinking that the problem could be the standard Ethernet cable, I tried another standard Ethernet cable, but the Retrospect backup was still dreadfully slow. So the problem isn't simply a bad cable.

 

 

 

What next?

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We had similar problems, and still experience problems of this nature. We have a larger network with 600 clients. The problem with performance is that our Switches (ports) are set to fixed 100 MB/s, full duplex, and the Network cards in the clients are set to auto-negotiate by default. The NIC/Switch auto-negotiate mismatch causes a lot of errors on the network interfaces, thus resulting in dramatic network performance decrease. With a client using a 100BaseTX I notice a performance difference from 440 MB/s to 3 MB/s. I cannot convince our Network department to set the Switch ports to Auto, although 1. There is no speed guarantee anyway, 2. The fixed setting is a relict from older days, 3. It makes installations more complex.

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I changed the properties of the client's NIC to be 100Mbps/Full duplex, but Retrospect was as slow as it was before.

 

 

 

I then changed it to100Mbps/Half duplex. Retrospect was a little faster but still way too slow.

 

 

 

I then changed it to10Mbps/Full duplex. Retrospect was reasonably fast (about 4Mbps across the LAN) given its 10Mbps limitation. For now, this was fast enough to complete a backup in about two hours, but I'd still like to get a full 100Mbps. I suppose this is now my problem for sure, but I'd appreciate any suggestions you have about how to get the other 90Mbps.

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You also have to look at the device of the port you plug into. If there is a mismatch or incompatibility it will give you the kind of problems you are describing. I would try to set the port of your network device and the NIC in your computer to auto-negotiate and see if that helps. If not try to set full fixed 100 FD on BOTH devices. It that does not work, replace your NIC, cable, etc.

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John,

 

Have you tried pinging the XP laptop from the Backup server, and vice versa? When you ping either side, check the connection speeds. If speeds match the same both ways, you should be able to rule out a physical-layer network problem. If the speeds are always good and same at different times of the day & night, this should rule out a layer 2 (Data-link) problem as well. Let me know your results or if you need help conducting this simple experiment. Good luck.

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