Thursday, March 05, 2009

Goodput - Part 2

So then I thought to myself, "Hey, you have two NICs in each machine. Why don't you try and get double the throughput?" Even though all my NICs are gigabit ethernet, my modem/router/switch is only capable of 10/100 (a gigabit switch is in the post, as I type). Yesterday's tests indicated that I was getting roughly 89Mb/s, so I'd be aiming for 178Mb/s with my current hardware setup. And a glorious (hypothetical) 1.78Gb/s when the parcel arrives from

What would have to change? For starters, the server was binding one socket to System.Net.IPAddress.Any; we'd have to create two sockets and bind each one to its own IP address. Easy enough. The client would also have to connect to one of the the two new server IP addresses.

Wait a minute... there isn't any System.Net.Sockets option on the client side to specify which ethernet adapter to use. You only specify the remote IP address. Oh no! This means we could end up sending/receiving all the data through just one of the client's NICs. Luckily, you can modify the routing table so that all traffic to a particular subnet can be routed via a specific interface. I'm using ubuntu as the client, and my routing table looks like this, which indicates that eth0 would get all the traffic to my LAN:

Destination Gateway Genmask Flags Metric Ref Use Iface * U 1 0 0 eth0 * U 1 0 0 eth1

I want to add a static route, with higher precedence than the LAN subnet, using eth1 for all communication with the remote IP, leaving eth0 with the traffic for the rest of the subnet. I type this command at the console:

sudo route add -net netmask dev eth1

Disaster averted. The routing table now looks like this, and I'm happy to say my diagnostics report that I'm getting around 170Mb/s with my new trick in place. It's not the 178Mb/s I was hoping for (I've lost about 4.5% on each connection), but it's still 190% of the original throughput.

Destination Gateway Genmask Flags Metric Ref Use Iface * UH 0 0 0 eth1 * U 1 0 0 eth0 * U 1 0 0 eth1

Throughput comparison reading a 700MB DivX file:
73Mb/s - Mounted network share using CIFS (although it also appeared to be caching the file on disk, incurring disk write penalties)
89Mb/s - 1x NIC using System.Net.Sockets
170Mb/s - 2x NIC using System.Net.Sockets

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