Question: I teach in a new school that uses all Windows-based computers, but I have a Macintosh Powerbook that I bring from home and use. The problem is that when I connect to the network, the transfer speeds for internet files as well as files from the school server seem very slow. My cable modem at home is faster. What is the problem? My Powerbook has a 10/100 ethernet card in it.
The IT Guy says:
The problem may have to do with the configuration of the network ports in your building. All new Macintosh computers are set to expect an "autosensing" network port, which means the network port in the building's hub or switch will automatically set a speed of 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps, depending on the fastest capability of the installed NIC card. Problems arise when local networking configurations are not set to auto-sense. Some IT departments opt to disable autosensing to reduce network packet traffic. This traffic is usually negligible on a fast network, and this is not a network configuration I recommend. However, this may be the problem in your situation. By default, if a network port is not set to autosense, a Macintosh NIC will default to 10 half, which causes very poor network transfer performance. My first suggestion would be to find out if the network port you are using is locked in at a static speed: it may be set to 100 full duplex. If this is the case, request that the port for your classroom be reset to autosense. Under OS X it is possible to use UNIX terminal commands and hard set the NIC card to 100 full, but Apple may not support this.
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