Measuring Home Network Bandwidth/Performance

If you have setup your home network for  sharing, backing up files and streaming media from one location to other within the home, then your must have good network data bandwidth between two devices.

For DLNA High Definition Media streaming using PS3 or xbox your network bandwidth must be in order to 15-20 Mbps.  

After setting up your network you must be interested in knowing your network performance or kind of throughput  you are getting between your connected devices. In this section we will see how to measure network data speed between two nodes (or connected devices) in home using free tools.

Easiest way to guess the quality of your network bandwidth is video streaming through DLNA. If you create lot of home videos, your camcorder will let you record video in some set bit rates.  Record some videos of  different bit rates and see how smooth your stream experience is. You can also use good quality DVD content to stream.

Alternatively you can use network bandwidth monitoring, measuring software like ttcp which is freely available. You can download it from pcusa site or get the windows binaries here.

How to use ttcp to measure network bandwidth between two machines.

Unzip/copy ttcp files to some location like c:\ttcp on all the machines between which you want measure the connection speed.  Its a good idea to install it on a notebook computer and take it around the house and connect it various nodes in the home. See the demonstration pictures below.

Wired-Wired (LAN) Link

home_network_bwtest

Follow the series if instructions below to run ttcp.

  1. Open dos or command window on both the machines. Start->Run-cmd enter.
  2. run ipconfig on both the machines to get their ip address.
  3. go to c:\ttcp directory or the dir where you unzipped ttcp binary
  4. On the receiver run pcattcp -r
  5. On the transmitter side run pcattcp -t <ip address of the reciver>

Command Log for Receiver

C:\ttcp>pcattcp -r
PCAUSA Test TCP Utility V2.01.01.08
TCP Receive Test
Local Host  : home
**************
Listening…: On port 5001

Accept      : TCP <- 192.168.1.102:1933
Buffer Size : 8192; Alignment: 16384/0
Receive Mode: Sinking (discarding) Data
Statistics  : TCP <- 192.168.1.102:1933
16777216 bytes in 1.44 real seconds = 11362.00 KB/sec +++
numCalls: 2991; msec/call: 0.49; calls/sec: 2074.20

Command Log for Transmitter

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\>ipconfig

C:\>cd ttcp

C:\ttcp>pcattcp -t 192.168.1.102
PCAUSA Test TCP Utility V2.01.01.08
TCP Transmit Test
Transmit    : TCP -> 192.168.1.102:5001
Buffer Size : 8192; Alignment: 16384/0
TCP_NODELAY : DISABLED (0)
Connect     : Connected to 192.168.1.102:5001
Send Mode   : Send Pattern; Number of Buffers: 2048
Statistics  : TCP -> 192.168.1.102:5001
16777216 bytes in 1.44 real seconds = 11362.00 KB/sec +++
numCalls: 2991; msec/call: 0.49; calls/sec: 2074.20

In this case we have achieved total bandwidth of 11362*8=90896 Kbps ~90Mpbs which good speed for 100Mbps connection.

Follow the instructions above to test performance of each of the configurations.

Wired-Wireless-Wireless Link

home-network-bwtest-wired-wireless

Wired-Wireless-Wireless-Wired

home-network-bwtest-wired-wireless

If all of the routers are 802.11N capable and good signal strength between Gateway router and Wireless Bridge Routers speeds in excess of 20Mbps is possible. This much bandwidth is good enough for streaming of very high quality of HD video.

If you are not getting good bandwidth , you many want to consider using other technologies like Powerline Ethernet or MOCA for wired connection between all of your machines.

I will add more informative articles on the subject in future on this site, so stay tuned. You may want to checkout Improving Wireless Performance with Multiple Routers

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