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Old 09-01-2010, 05:05 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default I need some networking suggestions...

Hi all:

A couple of months ago, I requested some information on building a proper 1Gbit network, and as it is, I have all parts in place, but I'm not seeing reliable 1Gbit speeds, if those speeds ever. At first, I thought it could have been the fault of the router I'm using (ASUS RT-N16), but since I've been having issues with the LAN ports on my motherboard for some time, I think it's more reasonable to blame those instead.

To rid the issue, I think the best idea is to just get a discrete network card, but I'm not sure which company is known for making the best ones. So of course, I'm looking for suggestions. There's just one sticking point... whatever one I get has to work with Linux, but that's something I can look into with the suggestions I receive.

I have NAS boxes here and other network-related devices to test, and I feel like I'm doing a disservice to them given I don't have an ideal network setup, so I'd like to tackle this as soon as possible.

While I'm at it, are there particular router models / brands that you highly recommend?

Thanks!
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:08 PM   #2
Tharic-Nar
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For a NIC... for anything decent, you're pretty much limited to Intel, especially when it comes to Linux, but most NIC's should work with Linux these days. Something like the Intel PRO/1000 PT, CT or ET (bit of a stretch), PCI-E, single or dual port versions, various offloading features, definitely a significant step up compared to an integrated NIC. CT is the cheap end, still does a good job, PT is the low end server grade and ET is the mid range server. They're not exactly cheap, but they are pretty solid and aren't going to crap out when you try and transfer more than 10GB in one go.... (stares at Realtek). Most of the cheap Gigabit cards out there are just re-branded Marvel and Realtek chips often found on motherboards anyway.

Routers... can't really suggest much, even picking a good brand can lead to poor products, it's pretty hit or miss. I've got my old Linksys WAG354G still going strong after 4 or 5 years, but it does tend to run hot (like most Linksys products... now Cisco). Draytek offer some very robust routers, with all kinds of redundancy and management options. The Asus RT-N16 is supposed to be a really good router, just weak in the WiFi range, so it may just as well be the poor NIC's.
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:09 AM   #3
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Rob,

Tharic hit the nail on the head here. I haven't ever had an issue with Intel NICs and when purchasing parts, always consider them first. I think I have got 3 over the past couple of years. All have been Intel and all are still kicking. I run discreet on my desktop and other high availability machines around the house. When you have things setup, you might want to consider Jumbo Frames but that's a bridge we can cross when we get to it.

For routers, I have been running a Netgear WNDR-3700 and haven't had anything but positive experiences with it. I did have to RMA it but that was due to an electrical storm and the performance hit had nothing to do with the router itself. The options are exhaustive and it's rock solid. That said, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for TrendNET. Their routers are affordable and use the same chipsets as the major players.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:44 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys. I have to admit that since I'm a total noob when it comes to networking, I forgot that Intel even made some of the best NICs out there... *slaps head*.

It's odd, but I've have had bad luck with Netgear in the past, although it's mostly been with wireless. I was wondering about TRENDnet and might consider one of theirs. I like ASUS, but the router I have... I am just not that sure about it. Though it's hard to say that given I'm also having issues with my PC NICs. Last night, I tried to watch a movie through the WD TV Live, and it was lagging like crazy. It was the first time I had that happen, and I know it's not the WD TV Live, so it's either the router or the NICs on my motherboard.

As for Jumbo Frames, that's something I'll consider. I just want to get 1Gbit working in general first
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:35 PM   #5
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So, I settled on a network card... the Intel Server Adapter I340:

http://www.intel.com/Products/Server...0-overview.htm

It's quite beefed up and should last me quite a while. I like the fact that it's PCI Express-based... that's a nice perk. It'll also be good if I need to hook up other networking devices to the same PC, since there are four ports available.

I'm still on the fence about a router... I need to get one in soon. I like the ASUS RT-N16, but I've been finding it to be more and more reliable all the time. Sometimes I'll have the net conk out, and at first, I thought it could have been just the NIC on this PC. But while watching TV shows with the Apple TV, with it plugged straight into the router via a wired connection, I had the same thing happen. The TV shows would stutter, and I'd look over at my PC and see a disconnected NIC. So, there's no question that this router needs to be replaced.

There are SO many options though, it's hard to just choose something.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:01 PM   #6
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Wow, overkill on the NIC much? Hahaha I like it tho. I think I need a new router (or two, sometimes my net is just so fuzzy and has so many problems I wanna replace both) I am also thinking of wireless but I have a 1st gen Xbox downstairs that needs a hookup as well as a PC.
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Old 10-09-2010, 04:50 PM   #7
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It's kind of overkill, but it's a great NIC, and offers four ports which will be nice if I ever want to have four high-speed connections at once. Plus, it's the reliability factor I'm after the most... on-board NICs are ridiculous, and even just the other day, I was scared that both of them on this board died. If that happened, I would have been screwed, given I have no actual NIC cards around.

I've also never used an actual Intel NIC to a great extent, so this will be a good way to kick things off. Can't wait until it gets here.
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