Friday, December 16, 2005

Computers suck

Computers suck.

I've spent most of the past two days speed testing a new cable modem/gateway on our lab network. Basically all I'm doing is transferring files from a laptop to and from an FTP server and recording the results. Since we use three kinds of CMTSes (Cisco, Arris, and Motorola), I need to test against each one using several tests:

  • DHCP client with SPI enabled.
  • DHCP client with SPI disabled.
  • Static IP with SPI enabled.
  • Static IP with SPI disabled.

Each of the permutations has to be run with the modems provisioned for 18 Mbps down/3 Mbps up, and 30 Mbps down/10 Mbps up (the latter to simulate an uncapped modem, since our provisioning system doesn't allow truly wide open configs).

What's been frustrating has been very inconsistent results. We're using my Apple G4 iBook, my test Dell D600 running XP, and my coworker's identical Dell. We're also using my D600 booted into SUSE 9.3.

My coworker's Dell allows me to get a much higher speed than my Dell running XP or my iBook. But if I boot my D600 in Linux my results are similar to his running XP.

We're also experiencing intermittent flakiness with the CLI FTP clients we've been using but only when connecting to the FTP server through the new gateway. Sometimes we're unable to get a directory listing. We've been using the standard XP CLI FTP client, ftp under Cygwin, ncftp under Cygwin, ftp on my iBook, and finally ftp under SUSE.

It's enough to make me want to grab a hammer.

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