August 12, 2014

It’s the Network

I’ve been watching the file transfers in my home cloud a little more closely, and now I can definitively say the bottle neck is the network. Oh sure, the hardware is slow too, but faster hardware won’t make much of a difference. On a very good day I can get about as much as 2 MB/s (roughly 1% of the theoretical max the hardware can do.) On a bad day I may not even get 100 KB/s. More typically I get maybe 300 KB/s.

In retrospect this should have been obvious. I’ve been really cranky with our internet speeds. The lines are so congested here that it’s not uncommon to be without internet all together a few times a week. (I blame both high density housing, and the fact that we’re currently living in Silicon Valley. I’m sure there are at least 3 start-ups within 50 feet of me as I write this blog post.) We’ve even had days were the wireless signal is so saturated our baby monitor – which doesn’t run over the internet – looses it’s signal! Thankfully things have been better, at least in terms of up time, maybe not in terms of speed.

On slow days even accessing my cloud can be painful. If I need to browse the photo directory to find a photo to show grandma? Not going to happen unless I go use the computer physically attached to the hard drive. Our network is just too slow.

My options:

  • Set up a wired connection. Get a large (50 ft? 75 ft?) ethernet cable and plug our cloud computer directly into the modem. I’d also need a shorter cable for my laptop. This will at least cut down on the wireless interference, and help with the weak signal. The fairly obvious con is now we have a cable running the lengthwise of our apartment. We don’t need additional tripping hazards. Believe me, we have plenty as it is.
  • Move the modem. It’s right now in the Living room since it’s cable and internet in one box. I kind of want to pitch cable, but I’m not sure I’m ready to. Besides, then I’d have the opposite problem of having very poor signal in the living room, instead of the office.
  • Purchase a repeater. A repeater can boost the wireless signal, but it can’t do much to combat the saturated line.
  • Live with it. I can avoid backing up my memory card during peek hours. I even joked with Domingo that not having immediate access to my photos might help with my photo separation anxiety.

“Live with it” is the option I’m leaning towards. We’re planning on moving in (hopefully) no more than 9 months, so I’m reluctant to buy a cable or repeater to fix a short term problem. I know, I know, they’re cheap, but so am I!

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