Slow network speeds since not using external switch



  • Hello everybody,
    Until recently I had a gigabit switch connected to my pfSense box which connected all my internal devices. When I downloaded big files from my NAS I used to get speeds of around 25Mbytes per second.

    I recently removed the switch and am using my pfSense box to do all internal data transfers, not just routing to the internet, as it did before. Now the transfer speeds from my NAS have dropped to 5Mbytes per second and I am unsure as to why that is.

    I was wondering if this is related to the processing power of the pfSense box, or if there is a setting I can change in pfSense to make a difference? Details about my setup are below.

    pfSense box:
    Intel Pentium J2900 2.4Ghz
    4GB DDR 3 RAM
    60GB Sata2 SSD
    1x 10/100 ethernet port

    Network before change:
    Router --(Gigabit ethernet to 10/100 port)--> pfSense box --(USB 3 to ethernet gigabit adapter in USB 3 port to Gigabit port)--> Gigabit switch --(Gigabit port to whatever the device supports. )--> Internal devices [Gigabit on the NAS]

    Network after change:
    Router --(Gigabit ethernet to USB 3 to ethernet gigabit adapter in USB 2.0 port)--> pfSense box --(USB 3 to ethernet gigabit adapter in USB 2.0 port to Gigabit ethernet on NAS)--> NAS
    There are also more USB to ethernet adapters in the pfSense box, each as a different interface and bridged.

    I realise that USB 2.0 does not supply full gigabit speeds, but I would expect more throughput that 5Mbytes per second.

    CPU utilisation when copying files from the NAS in the new setup is up to 30%.

    The USB 3 to ethernet adapters definitely support gigabit speeds as I tested them by copying files from our file server at work.

    I hope that's all relevant information.

    Thank you for you input.



  • @mondq said in Slow network speeds since not using external switch:

    Hello everybody,
    Until recently I had a gigabit switch connected to my pfSense box which connected all my internal devices. When I downloaded big files from my NAS I used to get speeds of around 25Mbytes per second.

    This is the right way to do it.

    I recently removed the switch and am using my pfSense box to do all internal data transfers, not just routing to the internet, as it did before. Now the transfer speeds from my NAS have dropped to 5Mbytes per second and I am unsure as to why that is.

    Do you want to segment your LAN, as in routing between different LAN networks then this can make sense, if not this is pretty stupid as pfSense is no switch.

    There are also more USB to ethernet adapters in the pfSense box, each as a different interface and bridged.

    So you are trying to do the stupid thing and turn pfSense into a poor mans switch.

    I realise that USB 2.0 does not supply full gigabit speeds, but I would expect more throughput that 5Mbytes per second.

    Dream on, USB 2.0 on FreeBSD is anything but fast.

    If you want to segment your network and still have decent speed you need good NICs, this means not Realtek and definitely not USB crap. Or even better a layer 3 switch.



  • Why did you drop the switch from your network?

    If your planning on implementing VLANs I would strongly recommend a layer 3 switch.

    This is an excellent layer 3 switch.

    https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/switches/350-series-managed-switches/index.html

    If you are not planning on VLANs then you could get a regular old "dumb" switch, but I would at least get a layer 2 switch. They tend to perform better and have more features than the ability to do vlans and they aren't too much more money than a dumb switch.



  • Thank you for your input Grimson and mhertzfeld.
    The reason for removing the switch was twofold.
    I am trying to minimise energy consumption and I was curious to see what could be achieved using just the pfSense box without a switch. I tend to always try to find ways of improving things, sometimes more successfully than others.
    I might just use the switch again.
    I actually didn't want to implement vlans at all, but the switch is a layer 3 3com/HP switch and perfectly capable of doing that.

    Kind regards