Why does networking take sooooooo long?


A

Art Todesco

I have a W7 desktop hard wire connected to my router. My XP laptop is
connected to the router via a wireless connection. If, on the XP
laptop, I got to My Network Places and select a folder or the desktop on
the W7 desktop, it takes about 30 seconds to get a response on the
laptop. Is this normal? When I had 2 XP machines, desktop and the same
laptop, I don't remember it taking anywhere near that long. Am I doing
something wrong here? Thanks.
 
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P

Philip Herlihy

I have a W7 desktop hard wire connected to my router. My XP laptop is
connected to the router via a wireless connection. If, on the XP
laptop, I got to My Network Places and select a folder or the desktop on
the W7 desktop, it takes about 30 seconds to get a response on the
laptop. Is this normal? When I had 2 XP machines, desktop and the same
laptop, I don't remember it taking anywhere near that long. Am I doing
something wrong here? Thanks.
You're not thinking this through. How does this compare with other
network (eg Internet) access from the laptop? From the desktop? Have
you tried running a cable from the router to the laptop (moving the
laptop as necessary)? Have you tried pinging one from the other?
(command-line usage: ping [address]). Not enough information!
 
P

Paul

Art said:
I have a W7 desktop hard wire connected to my router. My XP laptop is
connected to the router via a wireless connection. If, on the XP
laptop, I got to My Network Places and select a folder or the desktop on
the W7 desktop, it takes about 30 seconds to get a response on the
laptop. Is this normal? When I had 2 XP machines, desktop and the same
laptop, I don't remember it taking anywhere near that long. Am I doing
something wrong here? Thanks.
You can use some basic commands, to check how well lower level networking
is working.

For example, open a command prompt window, by going to the
Start orb and typing in "cmd" without the quotes. That should
help you open a command window. I don't think you need to run
as administrator to run these tests.

Open one on each computer.

Type in

ipconfig

Under IP address, it might say something like this on your
working network interface.

192.168.1.2

The other PC, when you do the same procedure, might say

192.168.1.3

Now, you can issue a ping command. That "bounces" a packet
off the other PC. Say I'm sitting at the 192.168.1.2 machine
and want to test the path to the 192.168.1.3 machine. I do

ping 192.168.1.3

to test from my #2 machine to the #3 machine. The round trip
time will be listed in the results. The ping command in
Windows sends about four packets or so, while in other OSes
the default might be to continuously send packets until the
program is stopped with a control-c.

Anyway, that's a basic test using the lowest layers of networking.
Whether wireless or wired connection, if working properly, the
results should be in the millisecond range.

When you see huge delays in the other layers of the network stack
(like making shares work), that can come from a couple things.

1) Each layer of the protocol stack has a timeout. That prevents
a protocol from getting "stuck". The timeout of one layer,
is twice the timeout of the layer below it, and in some situations,
the delays involved can become really annoying.

2) With respect to network shares, there may be things like protocol options.
Say two OSes aren't compatible with the latest protocol. One OS
tries the "new spiffy" protocol and there is no response. After
a five second timeout, the OS then tries an "old moldy" protocol
as a fallback. Perhaps eventually, after enough futzing around,
a connection is made. Perhaps the actual data phase (moving file from
one machine to another), proceeds at a better pace. Even so, it
would seem from descriptions I've read, that the unit of data
transfer isn't that large, and might still contribute to poor
performance.

Doing the ping test, is not "an answer". It's meant to prove the hardware
is more or less working. If your ping shows lots of "lost packets", then
your wifi could be broken in some way. But if there is 100% success
pinging packets, and the round trip delay is small, then you have to
blame higher layer protocols.

On my Ubuntu virtual machines, when I want to reach a Windows share,
I use an option to connect via IP address and protocol type (it says
"Windows share" in the dialog). That gives me a big speedup getting
to a Windows volume. I might have to wait a minute or two, if I
use the fancy "automatic discovery" features to find the Windows
share. In some cases, there is a chicken and egg problem (it might
not work, if the second machine is booted after the first). But
the method where I specify the IP address of the Windows share,
that cuts out the intermediate steps, and is a hell of a lot better.

Every OS has options like that, hiding somewhere. It's your job
to ferret them out.

If a Windows 7 machine talks to another Windows 7 machine, I bet
that works like gangbusters. I'm sure the staff at Microsoft,
tested that at least once before shipping the product. For any
other OS combinations, we can't really be sure they tried them :)

Paul
 
A

Art Todesco

You can use some basic commands, to check how well lower level networking
is working.

For example, open a command prompt window, by going to the
Start orb and typing in "cmd" without the quotes. That should
help you open a command window. I don't think you need to run
as administrator to run these tests.

Open one on each computer.

Type in

ipconfig

Under IP address, it might say something like this on your
working network interface.

192.168.1.2

The other PC, when you do the same procedure, might say

192.168.1.3

Now, you can issue a ping command. That "bounces" a packet
off the other PC. Say I'm sitting at the 192.168.1.2 machine
and want to test the path to the 192.168.1.3 machine. I do

ping 192.168.1.3

to test from my #2 machine to the #3 machine. The round trip
time will be listed in the results. The ping command in
Windows sends about four packets or so, while in other OSes
the default might be to continuously send packets until the
program is stopped with a control-c.

Anyway, that's a basic test using the lowest layers of networking.
Whether wireless or wired connection, if working properly, the
results should be in the millisecond range.

When you see huge delays in the other layers of the network stack
(like making shares work), that can come from a couple things.

1) Each layer of the protocol stack has a timeout. That prevents
a protocol from getting "stuck". The timeout of one layer,
is twice the timeout of the layer below it, and in some situations,
the delays involved can become really annoying.

2) With respect to network shares, there may be things like protocol
options.
Say two OSes aren't compatible with the latest protocol. One OS
tries the "new spiffy" protocol and there is no response. After
a five second timeout, the OS then tries an "old moldy" protocol
as a fallback. Perhaps eventually, after enough futzing around,
a connection is made. Perhaps the actual data phase (moving file from
one machine to another), proceeds at a better pace. Even so, it
would seem from descriptions I've read, that the unit of data
transfer isn't that large, and might still contribute to poor
performance.

Doing the ping test, is not "an answer". It's meant to prove the hardware
is more or less working. If your ping shows lots of "lost packets", then
your wifi could be broken in some way. But if there is 100% success
pinging packets, and the round trip delay is small, then you have to
blame higher layer protocols.

On my Ubuntu virtual machines, when I want to reach a Windows share,
I use an option to connect via IP address and protocol type (it says
"Windows share" in the dialog). That gives me a big speedup getting
to a Windows volume. I might have to wait a minute or two, if I
use the fancy "automatic discovery" features to find the Windows
share. In some cases, there is a chicken and egg problem (it might
not work, if the second machine is booted after the first). But
the method where I specify the IP address of the Windows share,
that cuts out the intermediate steps, and is a hell of a lot better.

Every OS has options like that, hiding somewhere. It's your job
to ferret them out.

If a Windows 7 machine talks to another Windows 7 machine, I bet
that works like gangbusters. I'm sure the staff at Microsoft,
tested that at least once before shipping the product. For any
other OS combinations, we can't really be sure they tried them :)

Paul
Thanks for all the info. Actually, here's what I found. When I tested
from the XP laptop to the W7 desktop it still took about 30 seconds when
attempting to open "My Network Places", (MNP) whether I used only
wireless or only a cable directly to the router. So, I then started
analyzing what was actually there. Once opened on the laptop, MNP
basically had a bunch of junk in it. I'm not sure where it all came
from, but I know I did it and it happened in only the last 6 months or
so, as it is a complete re-install of XP. Anyway, some of the locations
were not accessible, like "program files" on the W7 desktop. I know why
MS does this but I would really like to, at times get to program files
through the network. So, all of these places apparently each took their
chunk of time, especially those waiting for a time out. Once cleaned,
MNP opens almost instantly. I feel stupid that I didn't check this
before posting. BTW, is there a way to get to program files over the
network?
 
A

Art Todesco

On 1/17/2012 7:37 AM, Paul wrote:
One other question. I'm sure this worked before, but now it doesn't. I
can get from the XP laptop to anywhere on the W7 desktop (except the
previously mentioned no-no directories). But, when I open "Network" on
the W7 desktop, I don't see the XP laptop. All I see is the W7 desktop
shown as 'Computer (1)', 'Media Devices (1)' and 'Other Devices (1)
which is a Dish DVR. The laptop directories are all shared. Any ideas?
 
C

Char Jackson

Thanks for all the info. Actually, here's what I found. When I tested
from the XP laptop to the W7 desktop it still took about 30 seconds when
attempting to open "My Network Places", (MNP) whether I used only
wireless or only a cable directly to the router. So, I then started
analyzing what was actually there. Once opened on the laptop, MNP
basically had a bunch of junk in it. I'm not sure where it all came
from, but I know I did it and it happened in only the last 6 months or
so, as it is a complete re-install of XP. Anyway, some of the locations
were not accessible, like "program files" on the W7 desktop. I know why
MS does this but I would really like to, at times get to program files
through the network. So, all of these places apparently each took their
chunk of time, especially those waiting for a time out. Once cleaned,
MNP opens almost instantly. I feel stupid that I didn't check this
before posting. BTW, is there a way to get to program files over the
network?
I use Remote Desktop to access protected folders over the network.
 
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C

Char Jackson

One other question. I'm sure this worked before, but now it doesn't. I
can get from the XP laptop to anywhere on the W7 desktop (except the
previously mentioned no-no directories). But, when I open "Network" on
the W7 desktop, I don't see the XP laptop. All I see is the W7 desktop
shown as 'Computer (1)', 'Media Devices (1)' and 'Other Devices (1)
which is a Dish DVR. The laptop directories are all shared. Any ideas?
Go to Start, Run, and type \\1.2.3.4 (replacing 1.2.3.4 with the
actual IP address of the target computer.) That should bypass all of
the usual network discovery steps and allow direct access. That
doesn't necessarily fix your problem, but it confirms that the XP PC
can be accessed over the network. The next steps depend on the results
of that test.

In addition, if you accidentally configured the Win 7 PC's Homegroup
feature, disable it. XP doesn't do Homegroups.
 
A

Art Todesco

Go to Start, Run, and type \\1.2.3.4 (replacing 1.2.3.4 with the
actual IP address of the target computer.) That should bypass all of
the usual network discovery steps and allow direct access. That
doesn't necessarily fix your problem, but it confirms that the XP PC
can be accessed over the network. The next steps depend on the results
of that test.

In addition, if you accidentally configured the Win 7 PC's Homegroup
feature, disable it. XP doesn't do Homegroups.
Doing that seems to work. I get all the shared stuff, which includes
the c drive. BTW, in the W7 computer, it says that W7 machine is set
up as MSHOME, which is what I think that I configured it as. I seem
to remember getting rid of Homegroup because I couldn't get anything to
work with it. AND, I just clicked on 'Network' and now the XP machine
magically appeared. Seems like doing the Start, Run .... \\192.168.1 67
did something.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

W7 machine is set up as MSHOME, which is what I think that I configured it
as
That's actually the default on installing Windows or setting up a
network.

It never fails to amaze me when I find that one of the computers in my
house thinks that's the name of the network, when I *know* I changed it
months ago to something that I like :)
 
C

Char Jackson

Doing that seems to work. I get all the shared stuff, which includes
the c drive. BTW, in the W7 computer, it says that W7 machine is set
up as MSHOME, which is what I think that I configured it as. I seem
to remember getting rid of Homegroup because I couldn't get anything to
work with it. AND, I just clicked on 'Network' and now the XP machine
magically appeared. Seems like doing the Start, Run .... \\192.168.1 67
did something.
I don't use Workgroups here, so I forgot to mention that aspect. On
XP, My Network Places is probably limiting itself to searching for and
displaying only computers that have the same Workgroup name, so if
you're using MSHOME on one, then use that same name on the other.

I just find it easier to access networked computers by their IP
address. I'm constantly getting PC's into the shop for repair or
upgrade, and while many just use the default Workgroup name, enough
are different and unique that I long ago learned to ignore Workgroups
and just use IP addresses.

As I'm sure you know, Workgroup and Homegroup are entirely different
things. Don't confuse them.
 
W

W8CCW

Thank you! My cluster had lost its file sharing with the three XP Pro
Machines.

I have had a rash of gremlins in my lash up, some mine, one virus and
things that are yet to be resolved!

In addition, if you accidentally configured the Win 7 PC's Homegroup
feature, disable it. XP doesn't do Homegroups.

John Ferrell W8CCW
 
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J

John Ferrell

That's actually the default on installing Windows or setting up a
network.

It never fails to amaze me when I find that one of the computers in my
house thinks that's the name of the network, when I *know* I changed it
months ago to something that I like :)

Me too!

John Ferrell W8CCW
 
A

Art Todesco

Me too!

John Ferrell W8CCW
Yes, Windows networking is like a crap shoot. You really never know
what's going to happen. I have 3 computers in the house and every time
I try to do networking between 2 of them, something different happens
.... different from the way it worked a week or a month ago. Sad.
 
N

Nil

Yes, Windows networking is like a crap shoot. You really never
know what's going to happen. I have 3 computers in the house and
every time I try to do networking between 2 of them, something
different happens ... different from the way it worked a week or a
month ago. Sad.
I have 4 computers in the house (5, if you want to count the Kindle
Fire) all networked together. The 4 are running Windows XP, Vista, and
7. Everything connects together reliably, there is rarely a problem of
any kind in that regard.

Whatever your problem is, it's not inevitable.
 
Z

Zaphod Beeblebrox

I have 4 computers in the house (5, if you want to count the Kindle
Fire) all networked together. The 4 are running Windows XP, Vista, and
7. Everything connects together reliably, there is rarely a problem of
any kind in that regard.

Whatever your problem is, it's not inevitable.
Agreed. I have a few more systems than you, and at various times I
might have as many as 4 or 5 different MS OS running (not to mention
the non-MS stuff), and it all works reliably. Not just file and
printer sharing either, remote access, remote administration, you name
it. Rarely if ever have a problem, and rarer still that it is a
problem with MS networking, it's usually human screw ups that cause the
problems.
 
C

Char Jackson

Agreed. I have a few more systems than you, and at various times I
might have as many as 4 or 5 different MS OS running (not to mention
the non-MS stuff), and it all works reliably. Not just file and
printer sharing either, remote access, remote administration, you name
it. Rarely if ever have a problem, and rarer still that it is a
problem with MS networking, it's usually human screw ups that cause the
problems.
Add me to the agreement train. It just works, and it's the same from
one day to the next. Once set up, networking is very reliable.
 
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A

Art Todesco

Add me to the agreement train. It just works, and it's the same from
one day to the next. Once set up, networking is very reliable.
That's all true if you wait around for an hour .... well, I exaggerate.
But, just now, I turned on my XP laptop because I needed a file on the
W7 machine that was created and stored on the laptop. I can, over the
network, see the W7 desktop from the XP laptop, with no problems.
However, from the W7 machine, there's nothing on the network except a
Dish DVR. But, I read another news group and after maybe 10 minutes, I
can now see the XP laptop from the W7 machine. I guess I should just
leave the machines on 24/7. To me, that's not acceptable.
 
C

Char Jackson

That's all true if you wait around for an hour .... well, I exaggerate.
But, just now, I turned on my XP laptop because I needed a file on the
W7 machine that was created and stored on the laptop. I can, over the
network, see the W7 desktop from the XP laptop, with no problems.
However, from the W7 machine, there's nothing on the network except a
Dish DVR. But, I read another news group and after maybe 10 minutes, I
can now see the XP laptop from the W7 machine. I guess I should just
leave the machines on 24/7. To me, that's not acceptable.
Instead of waiting around for network discovery, which for some reason
takes longer in your case than seems normal to me, just access the
other computer by it's IP address. Even if you use DHCP, the machines
still probably get the same IP address all the time, so put a shortcut
on your desktop that points to the other machine. The format is
\\1.2.3.4 where 1.2.3.4 needs to be replaced by the actual target IP
address. Or if you prefer, use Windows Explorer to 'map' a drive on
the target machine. That's just as easy.

By the time the laptop finishes booting, it should already be
accessible from other machines on the network.
 
A

Art Todesco

Instead of waiting around for network discovery, which for some reason
takes longer in your case than seems normal to me, just access the
other computer by it's IP address. Even if you use DHCP, the machines
still probably get the same IP address all the time, so put a shortcut
on your desktop that points to the other machine. The format is
\\1.2.3.4 where 1.2.3.4 needs to be replaced by the actual target IP
address. Or if you prefer, use Windows Explorer to 'map' a drive on
the target machine. That's just as easy.

By the time the laptop finishes booting, it should already be
accessible from other machines on the network.
Yup, good idea. I tried that before and it worked even when W7 had yet
to discover it. I just have the remember the IP addresses of my machines.
 
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N

Nil

Instead of waiting around for network discovery, which for some
reason takes longer in your case than seems normal to me, just
access the other computer by it's IP address. Even if you use
DHCP, the machines still probably get the same IP address all the
time, so put a shortcut on your desktop that points to the other
machine. The format is \\1.2.3.4 where 1.2.3.4 needs to be
replaced by the actual target IP address. Or if you prefer, use
Windows Explorer to 'map' a drive on the target machine. That's
just as easy.
This can be made easier by making an entry in the computer's LMHOSTS
file. LMHOSTS is similar to HOSTS in that maps friendly names to IP
addresses, but it's strictly for Windows networking. It's usually not
necessary, and I haven't needed to use it in my LAN for years, but it
might help in this case.

For this to work, you need the computers in question to have a static
IP addresses, of course. That's a good idea for desktop computers on
home networks anyway, IMO, so they doesn't have to waste time getting
addresses from the DHCP server (usually the home router.) Leave DHCP
for portable computers that will be traveling outside the home and for
visitors.

Another thought (maybe it's been mentioned already) - every computer on
the LAN should be set up with the same Workgroup Name. Network
discovery will work without it, but it will take more time when
searching for other computers on non-existing workgroups.
 
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