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Mac OS X slow network performance to Windows XP

:: Wednesday, September 13th, 2006 @ 11:18:48 am

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My Mac Pro arrived. Victor and Adam came over to help me get things set up, but there really wasn’t much to do because I had already installed a bunch of software. We did, however, do some serious geeking out with Aperture (cool workflow! slow as shit!) and Final Cut Pro Studio, which simply eats up HD streams on the Mac Pro.

However, one thing I noticed immediately is that I could copy files at around 30MB/s across my gigabit network if the Mac Pro was talking to one of my Infrant ReadyNas boxes (AFP), but as soon as I tried to copy to or from Windows XP using SMB, network traffic slowed to a crawl. I was unable to transfer data faster than 4MB/s, which is 1/2 of real-world 100Mbps. Luckily, I found a fix late last night.

I did some investigating online and discovered that some Windows boxes don’t like ACK delay. I also read that the slow network performance might also be an IPv6 compatibility issue. So here’s what I did:

  1. disabled IPv6 on Mac OS X (System Preferences->Network->Configure->Configure IPv6->Off)
  2. uninstalled ipv6 on Windows XP via command line: netsh interface ipv6 uninstall
  3. on MAC OS X, set ACK no delay by adding socket options = TCP_NODELAY IPTOS_LOWDELAY to your /etc/smb.conf file.

Now I’m getting around 30MB/s when copying between MAC OS X and Windows XP boxes, which is good. But man, what a pain in the ass to get these machines talking.

| Oakland, CA | link | trackback | Sep 13, 2006 11:18:48
  • Elliot

    It is going to start sounding like JWZ’s blog around here…

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    I love that Macs are so easy to use. I mean, I use the phrase, “set ACK no delay by adding socket options = TCP_NODELAY IPTOS_LOWDELAY to your /etc/smb.conf file” virtually every day in normal conversation with the general public! It was simply a matter of directing that energy toward my easy-to-use Mac!

  • Adam Nash

    You are still being snippy Eric. The Mac isn’t hard to use – it’s disabling your Mac so that your Windows box will be happy that is hard :)

    Step 1 looks much easier than Step 2 in any case.

    You need to let go of your fear. Fear leads to Anger. Anger leads to Hate. Hate leads to Suffering…

    • Adam
  • http://echeng.com echeng

    Adam — you can’t just selectively ignore step 3… :)

    This is a valid complaint! I want fast network sharing with 90% of the computer world.

  • Ben

    I’ve tried to add the socket option etc line to my etc/smb.conf file and the network is still slow. I assume this is because I have edited the etc/smb file incorrectly.

    Does it matter where the etc/smb.conf file it is typed. In mine it is typed at the top of the “global” section.

  • Anonymous

    God,I hate Macintosh.It’s as slow as hell!

  • corydoras

    Macs have always been bad at networking with other machines IMO. This is one of the reasons that they have made little impact as general office machines at least over here in Europe.

  • Pingback: Life in the Geek Lane » Network speed fix

  • joe

    Thanks for posting this suggestion. Turned out all the macs on our office network had an old series of DNS Server numbers. (our Tech dept. didn’t bother to update them)

    As a result it slowed down these macs on the network while the computer, this whole time I thought it was an anti mac conspiracy.

  • Zahir

    Thanks for the suggestion Eric.. I’m a newbie to mac and loving it thus far.. but my home/small business network is still using a xp pc as my file server.. tried your suggestions but tranfers are still painfully slow.. I’ve edited the smb.conf under the “global” section.. and disabled ipv6 on both systems.. restarted both and still no difference.. any other suggestions? Perhaps more tweaks needed on the xp system? My router is my DNS and WINS server.. and all firewalls are off (I know – bad bad bad).. perhaps a 3rd party transfer utility if there is any?

  • diurnambule

    Thanks a lot. The smb.conf customization worked perfectly for me. Now I can watch my linux smb hosted movies without lag…

  • Wilco

    Wow! While my network speed is not quite up to 30mbs it i back to something that is a bit more managable. My problems starting occurring after I chucked my nasty old WRT54GL router and started using my airport express as my main router. All of a sudden mac to windows speeds were down the tube. Thanks to this – problem solved. AppleTV is streaming like a beauty again from the wintendo file server… Thanks!

  • Dave Ingham

    Hi all. Did it and it worked perfectly. Up from 1MB/sec to ~30MB/s. So, the question is, when will disabling IPv6 on my Mac and XP sytems come back to bite me?

  • Dave

    I’ve put off investigating for months what the cause of this was.. Thanks! Works perfectly.

  • http://www.maxregistrycleaner.com Susan

    I could copy files at around 30MB/s across my gigabyte network.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LEKSYNK2SEIFZVUB2DOBYITDBM Mike

    If one disables IPv6 on the Mac side, why is it necessary to change anything on the Windows machine? Seems like it servers no purpose.

  • Thelovelyrics

    You can see a lot of Mac Tutorial here http://macguider.com

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