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I have two computers, both on Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick). One is an Intel E6500 (2.93GHz/2GB/2MB cache) and the other is an E8400 (3.0GHz/2GB/6MB cache) connected via an ethernet cable. Both have identical WiFi cards and no browser activity nor downloads are in progress when I perform a computer-to-computer file transfer via Nautilus copy and paste.

I am using SSH server and client. When I copy and paste a 3.2MB file from one computer to the other using Nautilus 2.32.0, it takes about 20 seconds. Edit This is a lot slower than expected if the physical layer employed here is the cable. Is this normal?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Slow network transfers can have various reasons, basically one for each layer in the OSI model (this is actually a case where it's handy :-))

First of all, the physical layer. You don't mention whether you use the cable or the wifi cards for the transfer, so I'll suspect wifi: Even with your computers in the same room, a Wifi connection may suffer from interference, either from other Wifi components using the same frequency or other users of the license-free 2.4 GHz band. Without a spectrum analyzer, your simplest method to analyze this is to check whether a simple netcat-based transmission is faster. If it is just as slow, your problem is likely here. Try switching channels on your wifi cards.

Otherwise, check with larger files and report your results here. For such small files, the time needed for the handshake may dominate the actual transfer time.

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Sorry, to be clear: I presumed the cable is used for the transfer (but I will try to verify, but how?). – H2ONaCl Mar 8 '12 at 9:07
Just turn off your wireless connection? – jstarek Mar 8 '12 at 14:37

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