With the advent of some complications I had with the FreeNAS system that I constructed, I was reluctant to stick with this option for a fileserver/NAS unit. Thankfully, it panned out well in the end!

Playing around with the FA312 network card that I mentioned in my last post, I found that I didn’t have any issues transferring to the NAS box with it installed. Unfortunately, transfers running over that NIC took significantly longer. Transfer rates were capped at roughly 10-12MB/sec, while I was bursting transfer rates upwards of 30-40MB/sec on the GA311 NIC. I really did not want to have to settle for those less than ideal transfer rates, but if I had to I was going to. I was contemplating the possibility of issues with my GS105 network switch, because lord knows I know jack about troubleshooting network connections.

Removing the GS105 from the network arrangement and running everything through my Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS), everything still worked fine on the FA312 NIC. Swapping the network back over to the GA311 NIC, and I started pulling consistent and uninterrupted transfers. This was a little bizarre to expect, but I could move nigh terabyte quantities of data to the NAS without a hitch1. I got a couple re0 watchdog timeout errors, but the connection would restart just fine and I wouldn’t have any data corruption either. I really didn’t want to stress the AEBS with the extra workload from managing these large transfers (it already feels like it runs pretty warm on the top), but the network setup apparently fared better without the GS105 in the mix.

As a matter of fact, everything worked better without the GS105 in the mix. I was able to restart the BitTorrent server and have it run without a hitch as well. Unfortunately, I had no such luck configuring the UPnP server, but I can live without that for now2. Upon researching a little more, some of the older models of the GS105 did not support jumbo packets, although mine was supposed to be in the clear. I was completely bewildered as to why this switch was killing my connections with the GA311 connected until I stumbled across this random post.

Apparently the GS105 has issues operating with Intel’s line of PRO/1000 chipsets. I’m running a Mac Pro; why do I give a shit about this? If one pays attention either to the verbose startup or the network drivers’ specifics in the System Preferences menu, one will see that the Mac Pro’s use Intel PRO1000 chipsets for its onboard Gigabit ethernet ports. Son of a bitch! I also have a GS108T smart switch3 that I’ve been meaning to hook up for a while. Well, apparently it was time to!

Hooked the GS108T up. Set everything back up for jumbo packet transmission. Dumped 200GB to the NAS. Streamed a movie off of the NAS to Plex. Running Transmission (the BitTorrent server) amidst all this. Connection are running solid and I’m pulling even faster burst transfers4. I think it’s time to setup my nightly system backups and see how the machine runs for the week. Barring any other major issues, I think she’s up and solid now!

1I have only pushed loads of around 500GB as that’s the largest disk I have not inside the file server.
2The UPnP server would make Plex function a little easier without having to mount my NAS shares every time I want to use it. However, there have been multiple users with issues getting FUPPES to work consistently on FreeNAS, so I don’t want to trouble myself too much with it.
3The GS108T was established as fully functional with the Intel chipsets in the same thread discussing the GS105, but I don’t blame some of the other peoples’ hesitations with using that as Netgear obviously dropped the ball on this completely random network fuck-up.
4New burst transfers I’m seeing as high as 60-65MB/sec. I wonder if I couldn’t get it higher with more RAM to buffer the incoming traffic, but that will have to wait until I can afford more RAM. I’m a bit broke in general.

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