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How To Test Network Speed Between Ubuntu Boxes

Ubuntu 19

In the world of networking, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the speed and performance of your network. This article will guide you through various methods to test the network speed between Ubuntu boxes. We will discuss several tools like iperf, netcat, SSH, and SCP-speed-test.sh, and how to use them effectively.

Quick Answer

To test network speed between Ubuntu boxes, you can use tools like iperf, netcat, SSH, and SCP-speed-test.sh. These tools allow you to measure the bandwidth and transfer speed between the machines. By running tests using these methods, you can assess the performance of your network and identify any potential issues.

Using iperf

iperf is a widely used open-source tool designed to measure the bandwidth and the quality of a network link. To use iperf, you need to install it on both Ubuntu boxes.

Installation:

sudo apt-get install iperf

After the installation, start the server on one machine:

iperf -s

The -s flag is used to start the server. Now, on the other machine, connect to the server as a client:

iperf -c <address of server>

The -c flag is used to connect to the server. This will display the transfer speed and bandwidth between the two Ubuntu boxes.

Remember to allow connections on port 5001 or change the port using the -p flag.

Using netcat (nc)

netcat is a simple Unix utility that reads and writes data across network connections, using TCP or UDP protocol. It is designed to be a reliable back-end tool that can be used directly or driven by other programs and scripts.

On the server machine, run the following command:

nc -vvlnp 12345 >/dev/null

Here, -vv increases the verbosity, -l tells netcat to listen for incoming connections, -n skips DNS name resolution, -p specifies the port, and 12345 is the port number.

On the client machine, use dd to generate a stream of zeros and pipe it through nc to the server:

dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1K | nc -vvn <server IP> 12345

In this command, if=/dev/zero specifies the input file, bs=1M sets the block size to 1 megabyte, and count=1K sets the count to 1 kilobyte. This will give you the transfer speed.

Using SSH

If you have SSH access to the server machine, you can use SSH to test network speed. Run the following command on the client machine:

ssh <username>@<server IP> 'dd if=/dev/zero bs=1GB count=3 2>/dev/null' | dd of=/dev/null status=progress

This command will transfer a 3GB file of zeros from the server to the client over SSH, and you can see the progress and transfer speed.

Using SCP-speed-test.sh

The scp-speed-test.sh script is a handy tool to test the speed of the SCP (Secure Copy) application. This script requires SSH access to the server. Run the following command on the client machine:

scp-speed-test.sh <username>@<server IP> <file size>

Here, <file size> is the approximate size of the test file in kilobytes. This script measures the speed of the SCP application, which may be lower than other methods.

Conclusion

There are several methods to test the network speed between Ubuntu boxes. Depending on your needs, you might choose one method over another. Remember to consider factors like network congestion, firewall settings, and hardware limitations when interpreting the results. Network speed can vary due to various factors, so it’s important to run multiple tests and average the results for a more accurate assessment.

How can I install iperf on Ubuntu?

To install iperf on Ubuntu, you can use the following command: sudo apt-get install iperf.

What is the purpose of iperf?

iperf is a tool used to measure the bandwidth and quality of a network link. It helps in assessing the speed and performance of a network.

How can I start the iperf server?

To start the iperf server, you can use the following command: iperf -s. The -s flag is used to indicate that it should start as a server.

How can I connect to an iperf server as a client?

To connect to an iperf server as a client, you need to use the following command: iperf -c <address of server>. The -c flag is used to indicate that it should connect to the server.

How can I change the port used by iperf?

By default, iperf uses port 5001. If you want to change the port, you can use the -p flag followed by the desired port number. For example: iperf -c <address of server> -p 1234.

What is the purpose of netcat (nc)?

Netcat is a utility used for reading and writing data across network connections. It can be used to test network speed and performance.

How can I use netcat to test network speed?

To use netcat to test network speed, you need to run the netcat command on the server machine to listen for incoming connections, and then use the client machine to generate a stream of data and send it to the server using netcat. The transfer speed can be measured using this method.

Can I use SSH to test network speed?

Yes, you can use SSH to test network speed. By transferring a file of known size between the client and server machines over SSH, you can measure the transfer speed and monitor the progress.

What is SCP-speed-test.sh?

SCP-speed-test.sh is a script that can be used to test the speed of the Secure Copy (SCP) application. It requires SSH access to the server and measures the speed of the SCP application.

Are the network speed test results accurate?

Network speed can be influenced by various factors such as network congestion, firewall settings, and hardware limitations. It’s important to consider these factors when interpreting the results. Running multiple tests and averaging the results can provide a more accurate assessment of the network speed.

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