File Transfer Speed : USB vs Ethernet


I have a local network set up using AirPortExtreme (n network, b/g compatible mode).   I have a MyBook 1TB drive connected to the AirPort extreme via ethernet cable.  I also have a WD USB drive attached to the APE.

File transfer speeds are MUCH MUCH faster to/from the USB connected disk.

Transfers to the MyBook average around 270KB/s, while the USB disk transfers average around 6MB/s.  Needless to say, I’d love it if the MyBook had similar speeds.

Is the transfer speed of the ethernet connected MyBook what I should expect?  If not, any suggestions on places to troubleshoot?

Many thanks in advance!

What’s the throughput if your AirPort router?  I got a LinkSys E2000 router on the grounds that it’s throughput through it’s 4 port gigabit switch is quick and so fat it’s ringing true.  I’m getting a transfer far faster then 6MB/s over a gigabit ethernet link.

The AirportExtreme has gigabit ethernet.

As far as throughput, i’m able to get 6MB/s on my wireless network transferring files to the USB disk connected to the APE.

What is puzzling to me is that the MyBookLive, connected via ethernet using cat6 cable to the APE, is way slower than the disk connected to the same APE via the USB port.

Does the 270KB/s transfer sound like what I should be expecting?

How old is this APE? There were models that only had 10/100 ethernet.

What OS are you running? Earlier versions of Mac OS X had horrible Samba performance.

Also, there are a few things to try:

1)      Connect over AFP instead of Samba. This might fix the problem (there was a thread on this board about slow samba performance on the Mac OS)

2)    Check to see if it’s the router, computer, or drive:

  1. Try it from another computer on the LAN
  2. Temporarily plug the Mac into the router through a wired connection
  3. Temporarily plug the My Book Live directly into the Mac through a wired connection

If any of the tests in #2 improve performance, it’s probably the computer or router.


Some basic googling is showing these same issues with other NASs.

I gave up on this for a while, but I stubled upon a solution of sorts.  Thought I’d share.

I created a new user, and a new share for the user.  Previously, there had been only the Admin user, and I was connecting to the drive as a Guest, getting the poor speeds described before.

Speeds connecting to the new share as the new user were hitting 9mbps! (Yay!)

I was wondering if speeds for a Guest user may be capped for some reason, so I checked and didn’t get anywhere near the 9MBs, but got a slightly improved 1mbs. 

Strange, but at least I can now start using this drive!