Monthly Archives: July 2010

Verizon FIOS: MoCA, Actiontech Router, Ethernet Tested

I have long wondered why my FIOS seemed so slow at home compared with the FIOS that I was used to in the workplace. We recently had Verizon out and I had them switch our programming over to allow us to use the Ethernet port instead of having the Actiontech router get the WAN over MoCA. I did a little test and it seemed like my latency went down about 2-3 ms by going with direct Ethernet instead of using the MoCA. It was an improvement, but it didn’t seem like much.

I downloaded and installed the software from Apple that updates your ethernet settings for high latency connections. I understand it makes your tcp window settings larger which may seem to reduce the effect of the latency. I didn’t save my test results from before and after this, but I did some further testing.

I was concerned that the poor Actiontech router might be slowing things down a bit too. Obviously, any device in the chain is going to impact your performance in some way. For my test I performed a simple test of pinging google.com and apple.com through terminal. I performed about 10 pings each and will report the data as min/avg/max/stddev as reported by terminal. (I should have restricted it to 10 pings each time, but this was an impromptu  test and I didn’t plan it out very well.) I also performed a test on speedtest.net. We are on the 25/25 FIOS plan.

First off was my test of my computer (a MacPro) plugged into the Actiontech/FIOS router. In all tests the Aciontech was connected to the ONT via cat5e/ethernet. Terminal reported 16.401/19.388/21.840/1.818 ms to google.com and 21.259/22.547/24.383/1.340 ms to apple.com. Speedtest reported 25.46 Mb/s down, 19.19 Mb/s up and a ping time of 29 ms.

Secondly, I tested the computer connected directly to the ONT without a router. I first got results of: 19.374/21.092/22.507/1.308 ms to google.com and 23.638/24.259/24.817/0.361 ms to apple. Something had to be wrong! We realized that my DNS settings had changed. I had been using openDNS through the router and the computer was getting the DNS via DHCP and using the router. I manually changed the DNS settings to use OpenDNS directly and immediately noticed an improvement: 18.740/19.428/21.589/0.912 ms to google.com. I must have annoyed the traffic police at apple, as they stopped responding to my icmp requests/pings. Speedtest.net reported 25.47 Mb/s down, 19.92 Mb/s up and 24 ms ping time.

Finally, I tested the computer connected to a NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router with USB WNR3500L (Amazon affiliate link). Terminal reported 18.743/19.741/21.669/0.918 ms to google.com. Speedtest.net reported 26.10 Mb/s down, 19.55 Mb/s up and a ping time of 26 ms.

All speedtest.net tests were reported as if going to the same server in San Diego, CA. Obviously the data was close enough to show that it doesn’t make a difference on the speed, but potentially does on the latency reported through the ping time.

In the end I went back to the Actiontech router since it was free and I didn’t want to pay currently for the Netgear. (I had it here to setup for a customer and figured a quick test wouldn’t hurt anything.) Maybe someday I’ll test a real (Cisco) router in line and see if that changes anything.

Dropbox

If you aren’t using Dropbox yet, you’re missing out.

Dropbox is a great utility you can install on your Mac or Windows machine to share files between computers, your iPad, iPhone and any web browser. If that doesn’t cover you, I don’t know what else would. A friend turned me on to it as an alternative to iDisk (Apple’s MobileMe cloud based folder storage) and I’ve been loving it for a few months now. It’s free for two gigs of storage and if you sign up with the link below, we both will get an extra 250 mb of storage.

You can even share folders from your dropbox with other users who can access those files in a shared folder in their dropbox or via a web browser. It’s a great way to get files onto your iPad and to access them on your iPhone as well. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve used it to access a file on my iPad and even to share it from there. Since I’m constantly switching between my dekstop and laptop, Dropbox is invaluable to me as a central resource for files too that doesn’t involve the hassle of connecting to a server.

If you need more than two gigs of storage, you can purchase moderately priced plans for additional storage needs.

So there you have it. That’s my recommendation for Dropbox. Please go ahead and signup with this referral link:

Sign up for Dropbox now!

By using this link we will each get 250 mb of free additional storage.

Have you found dropbox useful? If so, how? If not, what are you using now to accomplish these features?

How to Determine Airport Speed on a Mac

I always use MenuMeters which is a great plugin that will allow you to see your network activity, cpu usage and so forth. I don’t know if my wife would find is so useful though, so it isn’t installed on her MacBook Pro (Amazon Affiliate Link) as it is on all of my machines.

Anyways, we just signed up for a new Verizon FIOS account and got the new Actiontech router to go with it. She’s the only one of us lucky enough to really take advantage of the new 802.11n features built-in though and I wanted to see if it was actually working. I was suprised that the Mac doesn’t show you the speed of your airport connection anywhere, so I had to search and found this great tip to just push the option button while clicking on the airport menu icon.

I hope you will find this useful as I do.