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  #1  
Old 10-31-2007, 08:56 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Gb NICs inconsistent speed

Searched the forum but could not find...

I have a problem with the 2 Gb NIC adapters on my server. When the server is restarted, it is hit or miss connection of 100 Mb or Gb speed. Restarting can give different results although the actual hardware has not changed.

Environment:
NICs on the mobo
Both plug into Gb switch with CAT5e cables

I looked into BIOS settings with no luck
Unplug and plug in does not work
Disable and repair functions do not work

Also, I plan to have my HDHR connected directly to my server but I have not done that yet. Just affraid to change what works. Any other way you can think of to utilize both the NICs or is that happening already? I have only seen activity on 1. Will the other pick up if the first is saturated.
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2007, 10:31 AM
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Protoman Protoman is offline
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There is a good reason why only 1 Nic is getting used and the other is being ignored. Unless, you have Link Aggregation or NIC Teaming capabilities with your router and/or your computer you will only be able to utilize 1 NIC per network. The switch or router is actually blocking the one NIC to prevent Packet Storms. A Packet Storm is lots of data flowing between the two NICs and does not know where to go, and this will severely degrade overall network performance.

Link Aggregation and/or NIC Teaming allows multiple NICs to work together however. This is a feature typically found is higher end switches. If you got you router/switch at Best Buy or something similiar it more than likely does not have this feature. These switches typically run in the $300+ range for an 8 port switch. NIC teaming is a feature found on server class NICs that have dual or quad NICs integrated on a single card (PCI, PCI-X, PCI-e) and integrated on some Server class motherboards. If your motherboard is geared for home users (most are) then you probably have 2 NICs that are made from separate companies.

Again I am speculating on what you are using, and please feel free to correct me or supply me with specs.

If anyone knows of a way to have two different NICs work together please let us know.


Hope this helps,
Protoman
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2007, 11:24 AM
waltraud waltraud is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protoman View Post
There is a good reason why only 1 Nic is getting used and the other is being ignored. Unless, you have Link Aggregation or NIC Teaming capabilities with your router and/or your computer you will only be able to utilize 1 NIC per network. The switch or router is actually blocking the one NIC to prevent Packet Storms. A Packet Storm is lots of data flowing between the two NICs and does not know where to go, and this will severely degrade overall network performance.
You would need a switch which supports Spanning Tree Protocol for this. A SOHO switch most likely doesnt have SPT.

Quote:
Link Aggregation and/or NIC Teaming allows multiple NICs to work together however. This is a feature typically found is higher end switches. If you got you router/switch at Best Buy or something similiar it more than likely does not have this feature. These switches typically run in the $300+ range for an 8 port switch. NIC teaming is a feature found on server class NICs that have dual or quad NICs integrated on a single card (PCI, PCI-X, PCI-e) and integrated on some Server class motherboards. If your motherboard is geared for home users (most are) then you probably have 2 NICs that are made from separate companies.
You might be able to do Adaptive Load Balacing which runs only on the host and doesnt require switch support. This needs to be supported by the NIC driver, though. It also doesnt make much sense to use ALB in a SOHO enviroment because it only works properly if you are talking to many different machines. Another problem is that most PCs and SOHO NAS devices arnt even able to saturate one GBit link.

I think the problem is a crappy NIC, NIC driver and/or switch/router. My desktop PC is running on a P5B (none deluxe) and has the same problem. After a reboot it might only connect at 100MBit. After disabling and reenabling the NIC it connects with 1GBit. I think this is caused by the Realtek Chip that Asus uses.

Martin
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2007, 11:33 AM
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Can't you turn off autonegotiation and force it to connect at 1000Mbps on the Advanced tab of the NIC device properties?
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2007, 11:38 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
Can't you turn off autonegotiation and force it to connect at 1000Mbps on the Advanced tab of the NIC device properties?
I looked in the device properties and could not find it. I will look again when I am home. Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2007, 11:56 AM
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have the gigabit NICs ever worked?

are there any other working gigabit devices on the network?

answering these questions may help determine whether it is a problem with the router/switch or with the NICs themselves.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2007, 01:19 PM
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kevine kevine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post
have the gigabit NICs ever worked?

are there any other working gigabit devices on the network?

answering these questions may help determine whether it is a problem with the router/switch or with the NICs themselves.
Yes they work and do report "1 GB" in the task manager. The way I can tell quickly if they have connected at GB is the switch NetGear GS605 reports:
Green, Gbps
Amber, 100 Mbps

The problem is Gb connection is not consistent.

I have 1 other Gb item on the network. See attached. You asked. It works fine as far as I have seen but to be honest, I have not looked at it on a regular basis.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Home Network.pdf (225.1 KB, 274 views)
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2007, 01:54 PM
bluenote bluenote is offline
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you will be able to set (probably on both side, but only one should be necessary), whether that port or NIC uses autonegotiation. You can do that on the switch, or in the NIC driver settings/properties. This used to be a really common problem with autonegotiation not always working between different equipment, doesn't surprise me to hear it. As well, it may be that your wiring is a little deficient, and so you are just on the border of being able to support/not support GB during autonegotiation.

Cory

PS. and I echo everything that was said at the top about two ports and two nics. you should really be using only one unless you know both are operating.
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  #9  
Old 10-31-2007, 02:23 PM
waltraud waltraud is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
Can't you turn off autonegotiation and force it to connect at 1000Mbps on the Advanced tab of the NIC device properties?
I tried setting it to fixed speeds but then I lost all network communication. WinXP said 1Gbit link but I was unable to ping anything.
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2007, 02:52 PM
NEOSG NEOSG is offline
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For a reliable GB connection you need all 4 pairs of the network cable to be functional all the time. I have seen cases where a cable rated for GB, works AOK for 100MB, but not at all with GB. Testing showed a bad pair. Perhaps you have cable that is flaking out sometimes.

Try a new cable and see if it helps. Watch out for kinks and such in your cables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabit_Ethernet

"1000BASE-T requires all four pairs to be present and is far less tolerant of poorly installed wiring than 100BASE-TX."
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  #11  
Old 10-31-2007, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEOSG View Post
For a reliable GB connection you need all 4 pairs of the network cable to be functional all the time. I have seen cases where a cable rated for GB, works AOK for 100MB, but not at all with GB. Testing showed a bad pair. Perhaps you have cable that is flaking out sometimes.

Try a new cable and see if it helps. Watch out for kinks and such in your cables.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabit_Ethernet

"1000BASE-T requires all four pairs to be present and is far less tolerant of poorly installed wiring than 100BASE-TX."

reading that article a little further down reveals that auto negotiation is a required part of 1000BaseT:

"Autonegotiation is a requirement for using 1000BASE-T[2] according to the standard"

it includes a link to the IEEE's specification PDF
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  #12  
Old 11-01-2007, 12:50 AM
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Maybe so, but there are various flavors of autonegotiation. My NIC driver includes a setting for "Autonegotiate for 1000FD" as distinct from "Full autonegotiation".

But as others have said, the simplest remedy might be to swap out the cable for a new one and see if that makes a difference.
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  #13  
Old 11-01-2007, 03:00 AM
bluenote bluenote is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
Maybe so, but there are various flavors of autonegotiation. My NIC driver includes a setting for "Autonegotiate for 1000FD" as distinct from "Full autonegotiation".

But as others have said, the simplest remedy might be to swap out the cable for a new one and see if that makes a difference.
+1

if forcing gig speed doesnt work, then you may need to do it on both sides.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2007, 05:41 AM
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kevine kevine is offline
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First, I tried to disable my other lan adapter and then my HDHR stopped working. So it must be using the adapter for something. I did not have time to fool with it anymore as primetime was about to commence.

I checked and there is no option for 1000bt. Only 100bt full/half-duplex, 10bt full/half duplex, and auto. This makes sense given the article mentioned above.
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2007, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKusnick View Post
Maybe so, but there are various flavors of autonegotiation. My NIC driver includes a setting for "Autonegotiate for 1000FD" as distinct from "Full autonegotiation".

But as others have said, the simplest remedy might be to swap out the cable for a new one and see if that makes a difference.
try uninstalling the second NIC and see how it behaves with only one. are these both PCI cards? or is one built-in?
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2007, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandor View Post
try uninstalling the second NIC and see how it behaves with only one. are these both PCI cards? or is one built-in?
Both built into the motherboard. I am going to try disable again first and reboot. I think if it sees there is only 1 available, it will solve the problem. However, I may just wait until I can have the HDHR through the 2nd NIC directly. That was my original intention with the 2 in the first place.
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Old 11-02-2007, 03:52 AM
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Make sure the cable you're using is a Cat 5E or a Cat 6. Cat 5 won't cut it.


Gerry
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Old 11-02-2007, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gplasky View Post
Make sure the cable you're using is a Cat 5E or a Cat 6. Cat 5 won't cut it.


Gerry
They are CAT5e. You can see my network in the PDF I posted.
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2007, 05:43 PM
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Still having this problem. Now I do not have both NICs connected to the switch. 1 is directly connected to the HDHR. The other is connected to the switch. The 1 that is connect to the GigB switch does not always connect at GB speed. Anyone? Thanks.
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  #20  
Old 11-09-2007, 06:00 PM
bluenote bluenote is offline
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Have a look in the switch config to see if you can force (or suggest as noted above) gigabit. Check the driver configuration on your server as well. Then try a known good cable? I'm afraid I don't recall all the steps you've already taken from the last time I read through everything.

Im afraid I dont know what a HDHR is, but I can tell you that generally speaking there are very few situations in which random hardware would work in such a configuration without specialized knowledge and configuration. However, I'm speaking from ignorance about that particular hardware, so perhaps it is designed to support a configuration like you mention in which case, please ignore what I've said. The point being .. that this would seem to introduce a wild card into the equation that would be easier left out completely.
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