Sometimes my so-called husband accuses me of screwing up our home network on purpose just so that I’ll have an excuse to muck about with it. Sometimes he may be right, but not this time, and this time I had to fix a big latency thing that’s affected our online gaming and the TV/Film streaming.
We have a lot of things connected to our WiFi router. Ipads, iPods, phones, laptops and the desktop. In all maybe ten devices use the router. Not at the same time, mind, but often several at once.
Mark can assemble play lists for his iPod while I do homework on the iPad, connecting to the school Intranet to fetch course work and study materials, or just mucking about with one of the tools there. This while playing some online game while Mark streams a film. It takes its toll.
The biggest problem is of course bandwidth use. If both of us do heavy-duty stuff, the network starts to stutter, and we’ll be annoyed and shout at the other to do something else for a bit.
In order to avoid a brewing argument about it, I decided to rearrange the whole network to bring down a creeping latency issue which we’ve had since the last time I did anything with it. That was when I connected my PC desktop to the net.
The latency came from one of the external hard drives which took its time streaming its data to whoever requested anything from it. It did that because our file server is pretty old, and is pretty laden down with crap that remained since the file server was Mark’s desktop PC.
After a couple of hours of work, I’ve now wiped it entirely of anything, and put in a lightweight Linux on it. I put a Debian 7 server version on it, and configured SAMBA (which controls how it shares things to a network). The old thing is flying now. It feels like it’s ten times as fast.
We’ll be able to live with this until we get used to the new speed and start to complain that it takes so long to do anything. As usual.