I'm currently living in a rather austere part of the world where I have limited access to good computer hardware. I have a private network set up where an old IBM thinkpad laptop (Lubuntu 12.10) sits on my "porch" where it can see a wifi network. It shares its connection through its ethernet port and is connected to a no-name ethernet hub. In my room I use a somewhat more modern HP Elitebook 8440p (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS). The setup is quite satisfactory for web browsing and ssh. However, the ethernet connection is definitely very slow and I don't know why. For instance, ping from one machine to the other gives me times that are > 700 ms and large file scp between machines settles down at ~1.1 MB/s.
I would like to know what is limiting my connection speed, whether it's settings or hardware. However, I have no idea how to go about it.
If it's hardware, my options are limited at the moment, but it would be good to know. OTOH, if I can isolate the problem to the generic hub, I can possibly get my hands on a crossover ethernet cable.