Streaming and switching performance with Tomato

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by LeSilverFox, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. LeSilverFox

    LeSilverFox Network Guru Member

    Hello All,

    just a very generic question re:performance with Tomato on Cisco e4200
    I have a Cisco 4200 V1 running 1.28.501 from Toastman and I am very content with all the extra functionality offered by the third party firmware.

    I am not looking for more functionality, I am wondering which firmware would be the fastest in terms of switching performance. The other day I was streaming 1080p video to multiple endpoints where each endpoint was plugged into the 1Gb LAN ports of my router. The content source (NAS drive) was also using one of the 1Gb LAN ports of the router. Long story short, I had performance issues where the video was stuttering and buffering when I had 2+ concurrent sessions running (only with full 1080 format). To overcome the issue I simply moved the endpoints onto a 5 port 1Gb switch(D-link) , including the NAS drive. The uplink from the switch goes into the router (the router is simply the DHCP server) and everything is dandy now !! No performance issues at all. This leads me to believe that my e4200 has 'sluggish' switching performance on its LAN ports. Back to me questions: Is this a know issue ? Is there a difference between the many versions of Tomato/Shibby/etc and if yes, is there a version that's more optimized towards what I am trying to do?

    Thank you in advance for any help/suggestion you may be able to offer.
  2. LeSilverFox

    LeSilverFox Network Guru Member

    well, the fact that my question generated no response is either not a widely experienced problem, I didn't give enough info or simply this is a unique case - maybe my router has a hardware issue..

    Thanks anyways..
  3. humba

    humba Network Guru Member

    Unless you have a very special build where switching is done through the OS (I'm thinking ebtables - which afaik needs to be activated though, but it's present in shibby's builds for instance), switching is done in hardware. It's not much different from routing in software vs hardware - recent routers can route almost up to a gigabit connection, but only when done in hardware.

    Were all your ports really running at 1GB/s? Did you use the same endpoint, cable, files? NAS' performance may not always be sufficient to stream multiple HD streams concurrently, especially if the files are located so that the harddisks need to move heads all the time to keep up with the data stream. So unless you have the exact same settings, there might be other reasons for what you've experienced.
  4. LeSilverFox

    LeSilverFox Network Guru Member

    Thanks 'Humba' for your feedback. You mentioned / confirmed an important point - switching is done at hardware level. I will try to see if the performance varies between when the router is cold (immediately after turning on) and when it's hot (after many hours of operation). I suspect my router is having a heat related performance issue. I'll give it a try.
  5. bortle

    bortle Networkin' Nut Member

    If you're running Tomato, use the Status:Overview page with a one-second refresh and watch the CPU on the router while you stream. If it goes up and stays up during the streaming, then it's doing some processing of the traffic and not just switching it.

    This is sort of drastic, but you could back up your configuration, reset to defaults. Then you minimally configure and compare performance. That will make it more evident if it's the configuration or the hardware.

    I have an E4200 and I've seen similar problems but it's always when an endpoint is using 100 megabit instead of 1 gigabit. That means about 12.5 MB/sec theoretical maximum, and some 1080p streams will exceed that by 100% or more.
  6. jerrm

    jerrm Network Guru Member

    From what kind of sources? Blu-ray's max out at about 50megabits/sec. Something really, really poorly encoded could exceed that I guess, but a 100mbps link should be able to handle most any non-4K video.
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