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Need help speeding up my office network


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#1 LSDC

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 09:22 AM

I have a small dental office with a small network of Windows 7 (32-bit) computers.  In total there are 4 workstations.  One of the workstations is a wireless laptop and the other three are directly wired into a router (each about 25 feet apart in different rooms).  In addition to the workstations, I have 3 wireless printers and a wired in Western Digital MyBookWorld external drive connected to the router.

My router is a Belkin Wireless Play Router (F7D4302).  Also worth mentioning is that my internet service provider is Comcast/Xfinity cable. Each of the workstations has dental office management software that accesses data which is stored on the MyBookWorld external hard drive.  This is the life force of the practice – the data going back and forth between the hard drive and the workstations. My problem is that the connection speed seems quite slow when reading and writing data to and from the workstations.  I do not want to make any changes to the actual workstations.  How can I boost the read/write and data transfer speed to my workstations?  If I need to reconfigure my setup or upgrade my router or external drive, or internet provider - I am up for that.  Please help.

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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 09:55 AM

Your ISP has nothing to do with this issue.  I'd recommend replacing the router.  Maximum PC currently recommends the Asus RT-N66U.  I believe that there was a flaw regarding the FTP configuration that allowed people to access the drive attached to the router.  I do not recall if this was resolved by a firmware update, but I believe if the FTP was disabled it resolved the issue.

 

Another recommendation would be to purchase a Network Attached Storage (NAS) to replace the  MyBookWorld.  Something like the WD My Cloud.  This would be directly attached to the network and should give a performance increase.

 

These two items are both gigabit network as opposed to your current 10/100 network.  The only other possible issue would be if your current workstations support gigabit networking to ensure that it would be an all around upgrade.

 

My only other concern, since this is a business, what do you do for back up?


Edited by RKilroy, 11 April 2014 - 09:56 AM.


#3 LSDC

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:18 AM

Thank you for the prompt reply.  I will look into these hardware devices straight away.  What advantage would the WD MyCloud have over the MyBookWorld?

 

Also - I believe there may be a USB connection on the back of my current router that is not in use.  I connect the WD MBW drive to the router with an ethernet cable.  If I would connect it to the USB port instead, would this significantly improve my read/write data transfer?  Or would it be best just to invest in the Asus router that you recommended?  Thanks.

 

Backup - yes, I have the entire DATA folder (located on the WD MBW) synced automatically to the wireless workstation (laptop) hard drive daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.



#4 zingo156

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:32 AM

I have had good luck with read write speed from RAID 5 or above NAS systems. Synology is what I have used but there are others. These are just the NAS box, you need to purchase the hard drives separately: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108113


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#5 LSDC

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:44 AM

I have had good luck with read write speed from RAID 5 or above NAS systems. Synology is what I have used but there are others. These are just the NAS box, you need to purchase the hard drives separately: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822108113

You're already going WAY over the pricetag of what I am trying to accomplish.  Remember there are only 4 workstations and this is a very small office.  Proper transfer speeds should be able to be accomplished with pretty simple equipment.



#6 Kilroy

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:45 AM

What advantage would the WD MyCloud have over the MyBookWorld?

 

I don't know anything about the MyBookWorld, couldn't find a manual quickly, the MyCloud is two drives which can be used individually, together, or in a RAID 1 (Disk Mirroring) which would protect you against one of the drive failing.  The main advantage would be the gigabit ethernet connection.  My guess is the the MyBookWorld has a 100 megabit connection.

 

Provided your workstations all have gigabit ethernet cards these two items would move your network speed from 100mb to 1000mb.  I would advise keeping the MyBookWorld and use it for an off line back up that you would do monthly or more often if you decide.  Expect to see more of the Cryptolocker style viruses in the future.  If your back up is online it could be encrypted along with the original.



#7 LSDC

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 12:23 PM

That's a good plan.  Upgrade the router to a gigabit (less than $200) and get a faster drive - using the existing one as the backup.

 

Question: If I get a new external drive, is it always faster if I connect it to the USB port of the router - or would the speed be the same using an ethernet cable?



#8 Kilroy

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 02:04 PM

I don't know for sure, but gigabit ethernet should be similar in speed, if not better than USB2.0.



#9 smax013

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:48 PM

That's a good plan.  Upgrade the router to a gigabit (less than $200) and get a faster drive - using the existing one as the backup.
 
Question: If I get a new external drive, is it always faster if I connect it to the USB port of the router - or would the speed be the same using an ethernet cable?


Since the computers have to use the network to the router then to the USB port, you are essentially still using the network either way. So, even if the drive and router both used USB 3.0 ports, you would still be limited by the network speed. Since the drive likely has USB 2.0 and it appear the Asus router definitely does, then the limit would likely be the USB 2.0 speeds rather than Gigabit ethernet speeds (USB 2.0 will in reality not top 400 Mbps even though maximum is theoretically 480 Mbps, while Gigabit ethernet can realistically be up around 900 Mbps).

End result, if you get a good NAS drive that truly handles Gigabit speeds well, then it will be better than hooking a USB drive to the router. As noted by this will also require all ethernet cables to be capable of Gigabit (which means you should use Cat 5e cables to be safe) and any computer that you want to achieve Gigabit speeds will need a Gigabit ethernet adapter/port (and many Windows computers do not come with Gigabit ports, although I believe it is becoming much more common in recent years).

#10 LSDC

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 09:28 AM

I had another idea today with this setup.  My front desk computer (Workstation #1) is located right next to the router and cable modem and external hard drive (WD -MyBookWorld).  What if I switched the function of Workstation #1 and the external Drive - making Workstation #1 essentially the 'server' of the dental management software instead of the Drive.  Thereby making the external Drive simply a data backup drive to be synced on a daily basis.  I could also sync a backup onto the laptop (Workstation #4) for an additional layer of portable backup.

 

My question to you all - after upgrading the modem to the Asus RT-N66U (which arrived today - yey!), and switching the Workstation #1 functionality, would I see the increased speeds that I am looking for across the whole network? (Oh - and yes - upgrading the cables to ethernet 5e)

 

Thanks.



#11 Kilroy

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 09:35 AM

Maybe.  It really depends on what the functions of Workstation #1 already are and how heavily it is used.  Really difficult to say without knowing the specifications of Workstation #1.  Provided Workstation #1 is a newer machine with 8GB or better of RAM you should be okay, but performance will be affected by using Workstation #1.



#12 Sneakycyber

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 05:50 PM

We have a Dental office as a customer of my company. I'm not sure what management software your using, however their site is setup with 4 computers, a Netgear gigabit switch, and AT&T Uverse DSL. Connected as follows: AT&T Uverse in Bridge Mode ---->WRT54G Wan port---->802.11G Wireless(Disabled)----->Lanport to Netgear :10/100/1000 Switch----->"SERVER1",OFFICE1,OFFICE2,DRLAPTOP,BROTHER MFC PRINTER, XRAY MACHINE. SERVER1 is the database server and everything is stored there with nonstop backups to Carbonite. They have had no problems with data transfer speeds. The local network transmits at Gigabit it only drops when leaving for the internet.


Edited by Sneakycyber, 17 April 2014 - 05:50 PM.

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