Common Causes and Solutions for Slow Network Data Transfer Speeds


Issue:

Transferring data from a computer to a My Cloud takes longer than expected or suffers from poor network transfer speeds.


Cause:

Slow data transfer speeds can be caused by a number of items and not necessarily caused by the My Cloud.
The most common causes of poor network performance are:

  • Computer does not have a Gigabit Ethernet adapter
  • Network or Switch does not support Gigabit and only supports 10/100 Base-T
  • Wi-Fi local network overhead, 2.4 GHz band, radio interference, line of sight between devices and distance
  • A network hub is being used instead of a switch
  • Network traffic in the form of backups, media streaming, etc...
  • Data protection software, Anti-Virus, Malware Protect affecting data transfer speeds
  • Large multi-terabyte data set
  • Deeply nested directory structures or a directory structure containing millions of tiny files
  • My Cloud, DLNA and iTunes media server trans-coding and indexing content while data is simultaneously being written to the drive
  • etc...

Theoretical vs Actual Network Speeds


Real world data transfer rates and network speeds are normally considerably less than theoretical stated maximums.
The content included in this article does not debate the cause of "real speeds" vs "theoretical speeds", but offers the most common causes of poor data transfer speeds and solutions to each.

Name Ethernet Standard Max Theoretical Max Speeds (Mbps) (MB/s) Average Actual Speeds (MB/s)
Standard Ethernet 10 Base-T 10 Mbps 1.25 MB/s .025 MB/s
Fast Ethernet 100 Base-T 100 Mbps 12.5 MB/s 6 - 8 MB/s
Gigabit Ethernet 1000-Base-T 1000 Mbps 125 MB/s 30 - 60 MB/s
Wireless (2.4 GHz) 802.11b 11 Mbps 1.375 MB/s .025 MB/s
Wireless (5 GHz) 802.11a 54 Mbps 5.75 MB/s 2.5 MB/s
Wireless (2.4 GHz) 802.11g 54 Mbps 5.75 MB/s 2.5 MB/s
Wireless (2.4 GHz - 5 GHz) 802.11n 150 Mbps 18.75 MB/s 5 - 6.25 MB/s
Wireless (5 GHz) 802.11ac 1000 Mbps 125 MB/s 8.75 - 12.5 MB/s

 

IMPORTANT Important:

The table above is an example of what is typically seen in a real world home networking scenario. The information presented in this table is not scientific and makes no claims to the meaning of "average". It is only presented to assist with a visual representation of theoretical max vs the average actual network transfer speeds customers may experience.



Solution:

Network Configuration Recommendations

The example below includes the recommended network configuration that offers the best performance for data transfer, network backups, remote access and media streaming with a My Cloud.



Causes and Solutions to Poor Network Performance

Client System (Computer)

  • CPU (32 bit vs 64 bit)

Older 32 bit CPU computers typically used 10/100 Mbps network adapters and may not have the processing power required for today's technology and applications.
Solution: Stopping applications and software that use CPU and memory can improve performance. Replace the 10/100 network adapter with a 1000 Base-T Gigabit network adapter.

  • System Memory

Computers with small amounts of memory may not have enough resources available to process data faster resulting in slow data backups.
Solution: Stop applications and software that use CPU and memory.

  • Computer in use during data transfer

Using the computer during the data transfer process may result in higher than normal CPU and memory.
Solution: Refrain from streaming media, sending email and access the internet.

  • Fragmented Disk

Fragmented disk may result in slow computer disk read capability resulting in slow backups.
Solution: Periodic disk de-fragmentation can improve disk read/write efficiency.

  • Anti-Virus, Malware and End Point Protection Software

Protection software scan incoming TCP/UDP packets causing slower data transfer rates.
Solution: Temporarily stop Protection software when transferring content locally between trusted hardware and behind a firewall.

  • Infected Computer

A computer infected with Virus or Malware may contribute to slow backups.
Solution: Ensuring that your computer is Virus, Trojan, and Malware free.

  • Data Structures (thousands of small files)

The total amount of data on a disk and the relative size of each file can result in slow data transfer speeds.
Information: A large number of files located in a single directory will transfer faster than the same number of files spread across multiple directories. 1 TB of large files will transfer much faster than 1 TB of small files.

  • USB Port and Cable

Connecting to a 2.0 or faulty USB port as well as using a faulty or low quality USB cable can result in slow data transfer rates.
Solution: Use USB 3.0 or higher port with a high quality USB cable.

  • Laptops and Portable Computers

Ensure that laptop and portable computers have at least 75% battery life available and are plugged into a power outlet and charging when transferring data.
Solution: Use an Ethernet cable to connect the computer to one of the Ethernet ports on the router. A direct connection will always deliver better performance and transfer speeds than a wireless connection. If a direct connection is not possible, ensure the laptop or portable computer is in the same physical room and as close to the router as possible to ensure optimum Wi-Fi speeds. Connect to a 5 GHz band when possible. If an Ethernet connection is possible, disable the Wi-Fi network.

  • Sleep and Standby Modes

Computers that go to sleep or standby mode will cause data transfers to stop.
Solution: Preventing the computer from sleeping or going into standby mode will allow the backup process to complete in a timely manner.


Network Layer

  • 10/100 Networks

Data transfer using 10/100 networking equipment will be much slower than using a Gigabit 1000 Base-T network.
Solution: Use Gigabit network adapters, switches, and routers to improve performance.

  • Network Traffic

Network traffic (overhead) can hinder data transfer speeds.
Solution: Turn off media stream devices such as Media Players, Tablets, extra Computers or laptops and Smart TV.

  • Faulty network hardware (router, switch, cable)

Faulty network hardware including the computers network card, network cable, switch, or router can cause performance issues. It can also cause a mismatch in network card speeds by preventing auto-negotiation from working properly.
Solution: Replace faulty and outdated networking equipment.

  • Network Hubs

Network hubs can cause network packet collisions, drop packets and auto-negotiation mismatches.
Solution: Replace network hubs with Gigabit switches.

  • Outdated Firmware

Outdated network equipment firmware can hinder network performance.
Solution: Upgrade network equipment firmware and replace end of life and outdated hardware.

  • Wi-Fi Bands (2.4 and 5 GHz bands)

Data transfer over 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands will be much slower than wired Ethernet.
Solution: Use an Ethernet cable to connect the computer to one of the Ethernet ports on the router. A direct connection will always deliver better performance and transfer speeds than a wireless connection. If an Ethernet connection is not possible, connect using the 5 GHz band.


My Cloud

  • My Cloud Services

Indexing and thumbnail generation occurs when data is written to the My Cloud.
Solution: Turning Off Cloud Access / Remote Access, DLNA Media Server and iTunes Server can help increase data transfer rates. For instructions, please refer to Answer ID 18625 How To Disable and Enable My Cloud Indexing and Media Services

  • 3rd Party Apps

Plex and Anti-Virus Essentials 3rd party apps scan and download content contributing to network traffic and CPU usage.
Solution: Ensure 3rd party applications such as Plex and Anti-Virus Essentials are not indexing or virus scanning.

  • Backups

My Cloud backups to network or attached USB drives consume CPU, memory and disk access resources.
Solution: Stop My Cloud backup functions when transferring content.


My Cloud Home

  • USB Backups

An active USB Backup will result in disk writes, content indexing and thumbnail generation consuming resources which can be allocated to content streaming.
Solution: Ensure that all USB Backups have completed before streaming media content.

  • Desktop Sync

An active WD Sync importation will result in excessive network traffic, disk read/writes, content indexing and thumbnail generation consuming resources which can be allocated to content streaming.
Solution: Ensure there is no content syncing to the My Cloud Home using the Desktop App sync function.

  • Data Transfer

Data Transfers will result in excessive network traffic, disk read/writes, content indexing and thumbnail generation consuming resources which can be allocated to content streaming.
Solution: All data transfer operations should be completed or stopped when streaming media content.



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