Local Area Nutwork

It should come as a surprise for you guys, we been operating as a studio for a month now without a proper network. We been using the router that came along with our Internet Service Provider (ISP) connection, it served our basic purpose with 4 LAN ports and wifi, well that’s not good enough with 54Mbps connections on wifi and 100Mbps on LAN ports. Before I go any further, I need to stop and educate people on bits and bytes, this could have been one of the greatest misconception of our times.

Mbps is different from MBps, note that small ‘b’ and big ‘B’, even in data transfers size matters. b – bits and B – Bytes, 8 bits = 1 Byte. I have seen people lose their shirts and say I have a 8Mbps connection and I get only 1MB of download rate. It makes perfect sense to get that speed 8000 / 8  = 1000 Bytes, which is 0.976 MB/per second. Use a bit calculator if you hate math. Usually, computer transfer rates are denoted in bits and computer storage sizes are denoted in Bytes, since people are familiar with storage more than transfer. Here are some quick speed conversions.

USB 2.0 – 480Mbps = 60MB/sec (Means the fastest transfer your pen drive can ever make)

USB 3.0 – 5000Mbps/5Gbps = 625MB/sec (Get a SSD and a USB 3.0 enclosure, you’ll be copying your YIFY movie in less than 4 seconds)

Thunderbolt – 10000Mbps/10Gbps = 1.25GB/sec (Copy a 4.7GB DVD in 5 seconds or better you can connect your graphics card externally.)

SATA 2.0 – 3Gbps = 375MB/sec ( Your internal 7200 RPM Hard Disk Drive runs at 60MB/sec – 100MB/sec)

SATA 3.0 – 6Gbps = 750MB/sec (Recent computers ships with this, plug in a SSD for your boot OS and you should load your OS in less than 10 seconds after switching on your computer)

Sadly, Network connections are much slower unless you have an expense fiber network. Wireless network is pretty much useless when you mean serious business, here are some speeds to Bytes.

54Mbps (Normal wifi) – 6.75MB/sec (This could be only okay for internet browsing)

100Mbps (Normal LAN) – 12.5 MB/sec (Seriously? that is slower than a pen drive we get now a days)

108Mbps (Recent wifi, you need a good router for this) – 13.5 MB/sec ( Okay, some file transfer but still routers come with a 1Gbps bandwidth and can handle more than 10 connections including phones)

1Gbps (Gigabit Ethernet) – 125MB/sec (phew, finally we’re talking some speeds now, this is the best value for money you can go right now, anything beyond this is expensive)

Now that we got some perspective, let’s get back on actually doing some work. So we asked the professionals to layout cables for our office, turns out it costed a little more expensive than it should. You know what that means, DIY! we’re nerds after all and we know how to watch YouTube videos, we can pull something together. We asked the local electrician to put the casing and lay the cables besides he knew the interiors better than us, also we’re pretty bad with handyman stuff. So if you’re following along this far, we’ll go through how we got the connections done for our office.

Things you need to start off

  1. Cat5E/Cat6E cable – Get a box, it has 305 meters, you can always share among friends, buying loose costs more.
  2. RJ45 jacks, literally costed us Rs. 3 per piece.
  3. RJ45 keystones, wall panels and wall box.  Costs around Rs. 100-150 as a set.
  4. Wall casing, try to leave this to the electrician and trust he doesn’t rip you off.
  5. RJ59/45 wire stripper, this is true life saver.
  6. RJ45 jack crimping tool.
  7. RJ45 keystone impact tool, also known as crimping tool.
  8. Multimeter or any continuity checker.
  9. LAN tester – costed only Rs. 120. This is a must, this will save you a hell lot of time.

There’s a lot of videos in YouTube on how to crimp a RJ45 jack or use an impact tool on a keystone.

So after some hard work. Here are some speed test results. We did a iperf network bandwidth test from one of our computers to NAS server.

So theoretically speaking we should have got 1000 Mbits/sec but life is not perfect, deal with it. We can live with 940 Mbits/sec. What surprised us is the disk to disk speed test, Here’s the result using the Blackmagic Speed Test tool.

The NAS runs a RAID-1 ZFS configuration on enterprise drives which should give the same results when connected internally.

Here’s a photo of our state of the art server room. Overall it was fun doing this project and we learned so much in the process.

Thanks guys, we’ll continue to post our fun projects when we get time. Stay classy!