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Gigabit card only connecting at 100mbps? Here’s the fix.

I finished a modernization project where I replaced all of my 100-megabit gear with gigabit-capable gear, including my cabling and router and access points. But after I replaced my last 100-megabit switch, I found we had two Windows desktops refusing to speed up. Here’s how to fix a gigabit card only connecting at 100mbps.

First, if you know you’re not connecting at gigabit, you probably already know how to do this. But if not, here’s how to check your network speed in Windows 10. Then here’s how to fix it. After all, you want to enjoy the advantages of a gigabit LAN if you have the hardware.

Read More »Gigabit card only connecting at 100mbps? Here’s the fix.

Need a good, cheap dual gigabit NIC? I have just the thing.

If you need gigabit ports for your home server or router project and you’re short on available expansion slots, I have just the thing. Home sysadmins have known for a while that you can get cheap PCI-X Intel NICs and run them in PCI mode, but you may not know that you can find the very same thing by searching Ebay for HP 7170 and it’s usually cheaper. It’s not rare to find them for $7, shipped.

Read More »Need a good, cheap dual gigabit NIC? I have just the thing.

How hard-coding your DNS can improve your security

I’ve long recommended hard-coding your DNS settings as a performance and reliability enhancement–here’s my guide for that–but it turns out it can be a security enhancement too.

Botnets targetting routers aren’t new at all, but there’s a particularly nasty one named Moose running around right now. Among other things, it changes routers’ DNS settings to point to rogue DNS servers that allow the attackers to steal your social media credentials, furthering the bot.Read More »How hard-coding your DNS can improve your security

My brief experience with a Proliant ML570 server

Last week, I built a Compaq HP Proliant ML570. Quad-CPU, 1.9 GHz Xeon, 2 gigs of RAM, and about 200 gigs’ worth of 10K RPM SCSI storage in two RAID arrays.
Yes, being one of the first people to see a $20,000 computer and being the one who gets to take it apart to install the optional add-ins is my idea of fun.

Opening it up shows this is a real, honest-to-goodness server, not just any old commodity motherboard slapped into a rack-mount chasis or a case with big casters on it. The memory is on a riser card. There are standby slots on the card, so that if as many as two DIMMs fail, the backups take over. The riser cards are hot-pluggable, but of course how the computer handles you hot-plugging the memory depends on the operating system.

Most of the PCI-X slots are also hot-pluggable. They’re 64-bit and run at 100 MHz.

Of course, the hard drives are hot-pluggable as well. Which brings up the RAID stuff. The drives are Ultra320 SCSI. There are two drive cages. The only Ultra320 RAID controller HP is currently offering (remember, this is May 2003 as I write) was a single-bus. Well, there’s a second bus, but it’s external.

If you put in two of these controllers, you get the full bandwidth of the bus but you can’t stripe across the buses, which you will probably want to do for performance, and almost certainly will have to do in the future for expansion. The only two-bus RAID controller HP was offering was an Ultra160. So we bought that. Under the best-possible circumstances, a single 15K RPM drive can’t quite deliver 80 MB per second. So with two of the newest 15K drives on an Ultra160 bus accessing the very front of the disk, you’d still have a little bandwidth to spare.

These particular Fujitsu 10K RPM disks deliver between 40 and 70 MB per second under optimal conditions. So the Ultra160 controller isn’t a huge liability. But we’ll be ordering more of these, and if HP delivers an Ultra320 controller that meets our needs, we’ll get one.

It runs Linux really, really fast. I compiled a kernel in about 4 minutes, without doing anything special to it. Linux was only on it for a few hours though, while I waited for its RAID controller to come in. Then I installed Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000.

It’s nice. But with nearly 8 GHz worth of CPU power onboard, it had better be.