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Is there software, or a utility, available on Ubuntu that I could use to benchmark (performance test) traffic and throughput on networking equipment (specifically Cisco switches or routers)?

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what sort of hardware? what sort of test? (max connections/sec, 450 byte tcp, jumbo frame udp, etc?) – John Ledbetter Oct 15 '10 at 15:09

For general throughput testing, I've used iperf (sudo apt-get install iperf).

You start a server on one machine (using iperf -s) and run the client on another machine on the other side of the network. You get a throughput like so:

oli@bert:~$ iperf -c tim
Client connecting to tim, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
[  3] local port 39402 connected with port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  3]  0.0-10.0 sec  1.04 GBytes    895 Mbits/sec
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Thank`s Oli. I'll try that! – mckatz Oct 18 '10 at 5:14

hdparm -t /dev/disk can be a good indicator as well, if you mount any of the drives on a server on the other side of the device. comparison between local disk speed on the server and disk speed from a client over the network can be a good indicator.

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