Broadband significantly slower in OS X than in Windows??

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
4,853
359
London, UK
Ok, I don't understand this at all. We got our new fast 10mb NTL cable internet line installed a few days ago. I was trying to get it set up with my iBook but kept getting speeds substantially below what we should get. I was getting line speeds of about 1.5 to 2.5 MBbps. I figured there was something wrong with the line so I called up NTL and hassled them. The lady on the other end of the phone (who was a tad useless) insisted that I had peer-to-peer applications running which were slowing down the line. I repeatedly told her that I did not have any running and that there weren't any even installed. She said she'd send out an engineer but if there wasn't a fault with the line I would get charged for the callout.
Now yesterday I received my MacPro. Late last night I thought I'd test the speed again. In Windows I get 5 - 9.5 MBps, which is what you would expect from a 10 meg line. Restart into OS X (fresh install remember) and I get 1.5 to 2.5 MBps. I then decided to connect the NTL modem through a router instead of straight to the machine. Same results. Windows is fast, OS X is slow.

Why on Earth should OS X be so much slower at surfing the Internet than Windows?? It doesn't make sense!!

Edit: I am using a wired connection btw, no Wireless.
 

Warbrain

macrumors 603
Jun 28, 2004
5,699
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Chicago, IL
There's no reason for this to be happening. Are you sure you've got the cables all connected correctly for the connection?
 

Spanky Deluxe

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Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
Warbrain said:
There's no reason for this to be happening. Are you sure you've got the cables all connected correctly for the connection?
Yeah the cables are all connected correctly. On the very same machine in BootCamp I get 4x faster internet speeds.

I've tried setting a manual IP address, setting the DNS Servers manually to the Router's one and also to 4.2.2.1 and 4.2.2.2 and nothing makes a difference. This is happening on two Apple machines. I don't understand it one bit!

Edit: Using Firefox makes no difference.
 

Simon Liquid

macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2001
223
0
Iowa
1 thing to check

Is there any chance you're measuring in MB (megabytes) per second on the mac and Mb (megabits) per second on the PC? I've made that mistake before.
 

Spanky Deluxe

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Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
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Simon Liquid said:
Is there any chance you're measuring in MB (megabytes) per second on the mac and Mb (megabits) per second on the PC? I've made that mistake before.
I'm definitely measuring in the same manner in Windows and OS X. For example I've been using this speed tester amongst others: http://www.adslguide.org.uk/tools/speedtest.asp

Its a usb/ethernet modem but I've only ever used the ethernet, either plugged directly into the macs or through a wired/wireless router to which my Mac Pro connects via a wire. I'll give Apple a call later once my phone's charged - damned batteries!!
 

drlunanerd

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2004
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UK
Online speedtests are an unreliable gauge of true speed. Try doing some timed downloads from known fast servers (Microsoft are generally quick, Apple sometimes), possibly with a download manager to try and max things out.

NTL have poor web browsing speeds. This is due to their crappy transparent proxy caches.

In my experience the 10Mb service isn't worth paying for. The line speed can fluctuate wildy, and even when you do get what you're paying for you're at the mercy of general Internet conditions and then actual web site/server performance.

You might also want to try changing your MTU in OS X if you still get a discrepancy between Windows and OS X.
 

rhoydotp

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2006
467
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how's your network interface? check to see if your negotionating as Half-Duplex. you should be 100/Full.

$ ifconfig -a
...
...
media: autoselect (100baseTX <full-duplex,flow-control>) status: active
...
...
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
rhoydotp said:
how's your network interface? check to see if your negotionating as Half-Duplex. you should be 100/Full.

$ ifconfig -a
...
...
media: autoselect (100baseTX <full-duplex,flow-control>) status: active
...
...
Definitely full duplex. Drlunaner, I've been doing downloads as well and while Windows has hit over 600kb(ytes) per second, OS X struggles to reach 150. OS X just seems 4x slower at using the Internet. Browsing general pages is virtually instantaneous in Windows but hangs around a bit in OS X in Safari and Firefox.
 

drlunanerd

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2004
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And you experience this when using a router too? This rules out NTL's proxy cache differences between your machines then.

Try upping the MTU in OS X for your Ethernet port. Or first, make sure it's not set on Jumbo frames. Make sure you've not got any manual proxy servers set as well.

Also try turning off IPv6 (although doing that now mucks up AirTunes if you use it).
 

savar

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Jun 6, 2003
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District of Columbia
not surprised

I've always noticed that Windows gets faster throughput (at least in TCP) than Mac OS. This was true all the way back to the classic OS...I assumed the introduction of the Berkeley TCP stack would have caught the Mac up, but even to this day (latest version of 10.4, whatever it is) I still see my Mac (relatively old at this point, a G4 QS 733) downloading significantly slower that any of the Windows machines in my house (Thinkpad T42, Dell Lat D600, etc.)

This is on wired connections.

Edit: I should add that I speculate the cause in OS X is the way kernel re-entrancy is handled. Right now there's one, system-wide lock (aka "funnel") for network access in OS X. In 10.5 there will be several more, finer-grained locks, which should increase throughput and decrease latency. Time will tell...
 

drlunanerd

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Feb 14, 2004
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savar said:
I've always noticed that Windows gets faster throughput (at least in TCP) than Mac OS. This was true all the way back to the classic OS...I assumed the introduction of the Berkeley TCP stack would have caught the Mac up, but even to this day (latest version of 10.4, whatever it is) I still see my Mac (relatively old at this point, a G4 QS 733) downloading significantly slower that any of the Windows machines in my house (Thinkpad T42, Dell Lat D600, etc.)

This is on wired connections.

Edit: I should add that I speculate the cause in OS X is the way kernel re-entrancy is handled. Right now there's one, system-wide lock (aka "funnel") for network access in OS X. In 10.5 there will be several more, finer-grained locks, which should increase throughput and decrease latency. Time will tell...
Good point, but I don't think this explains the massive differences the OP is getting. I certainly don't see this, and I'm using NTL too.

OP - try the speedtest at http://forums.ntlhell.co.uk, which should be more accurate for NTL, for what it's worth.
 

ZoomZoomZoom

macrumors 6502a
May 2, 2005
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I actually have this exact problem, and I've had it for a year now. It's not all 'too' bad, but for things like youtube - I've noticed that my roommate's computer would stream the movie way faster than my mac. I don't understand at all. Bad luck? (Bad connection in dorm for both years?) Or is there something more technical with it?
 

Echo toxin

macrumors newbie
Aug 13, 2006
23
0
I tend to agree. I can get downloads at full whack of 850kb/sec on my ADSL line in Windows XP x64 but have never seen above 350kb/sec in Mac OS X. I guess it could be a difference in the software - Newsleecher in Windows and Unison in OS X.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
Nothing seems to be working, upping the MTU to 3000 made my speeds go up a bit I think, to maybe 3-4 MBps.

This is really ridiculous though, OS X shouldn't be a quarter as fast than Windows for surfing the Internet.

That NTL bandwidth tester doesn't seem to be very accurate, it only takes a millisecond to calculate its results and they vary wildly.

Savar, would your hypothesis on the kernel reentry thingy explain the slower speed for myself and those other users that have posted on here about getting slower speed? It doesn't feel like its capped at a slower speed just runs at a quarter of the speed it should.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 17, 2005
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London, UK
yellow said:
Here's a more reliable speed tester:

http://miranda.ctd.anl.gov:7123/



All I can say is that I have an OS X box and a XP box side by side and they get virtually the same speed.
That tester seems to be giving lower speeds than the other ones I've been using (maybe because its based in the US). The Windows results are still 2x-3x the OS X ones though using that tester
 

mim

macrumors 6502
Very interesting. Maybe my connection at home isn't fast enough to notice this on.

I've just seen this listed as a fix under the 10.4.8 update...broadband network performance. Might be worth doing some tests after updating.
 

telecomm

macrumors 65816
Nov 30, 2003
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Rome
Something else to keep in mind is that a lot of speed testing sites (the adslguide tester, for example) rely on java, so java performance differences might account for some of the test result discrepancies.
 

beatsme

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Oct 6, 2005
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telecomm said:
Something else to keep in mind is that a lot of speed testing sites (the adslguide tester, for example) rely on java, so java performance differences might account for some of the test result discrepancies.
isn't the 10.4.8 update supposed to address broadband performance?
 

beatsme

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
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beatsme said:
isn't the 10.4.8 update supposed to address broadband performance?
I've gotta say, I just installed the 10.4.8 update, and my internet access is noticeably faster. Impressive.
 

benthewraith

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
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Miami, FL
Another thing is to clone the MAC address of the computer and the router/modem. That could help significantly. It helped with me (tripled my iTunes download speed).
 

beatsme

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
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benthewraith said:
Another thing is to clone the MAC address of the computer and the router/modem. That could help significantly. It helped with me (tripled my iTunes download speed).
explain, please :)
 

benthewraith

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
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Miami, FL
beatsme said:
explain, please :)
I'm not saying it'll help for everyone but,

I'll try. :)

Depending on what router you have (and I believe all of them should have it), there should be an option of cloning the MAC address, eg, the MAC address of the computer and the MAC address of the router. When you clone, you're cloning the computer's IP. This is above all important, as it is the first key to ruling the world. :p No, just joking. I know with Comcast Cable, that immediately right when I did that, I got incredible bandwidth (bandwidth I should have been getting all along).
 

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