Slow samba with FreeNAS

I don’t know if anyone can help out there: I’ve got a FreeNAS samba server running on a gigabit line.  The WDTV is connected over wifi to a 5ghz wifi network (N).  I can see the CIFS/Samba shares just fine, I can browse just fine… If I start a movie it’ll play fine for about a minute and then stutter… then play fine for a minute, then stutter, etc.  I know samba is a little slow but I don’t have much of an option… my main problem is that network throughput seems to be around 15 Mbps (that’s bits not bytes)… while my windows machines seem to be able to do read/wrtes at 90+ Mbps.

Anybody out there with tips on Samba performance and WIFI?  The Wifi signal seems clear, I don’t have the means to test a wired connection.  USB dongle is a WUSB600N.


  1. install homebrew firmware. 

  2. Use NFS.  Samba is terribly slow.

So apperantly Dual Channel Wireless N isn’t supposed to work. Are you still getting 15mbps? I’m wondering if you’re actually using G network as those dongles are backwards compatible.

Please advise as I am thinking of purchasing a WD TV Live in the next few days.

PS are you streaming 1080p???

Samba is plenty fas enough.  I’m using it and have no problems streaming HD content over wireless G.

Is your 5 Ghz N a separate SSID than your 2.4 Ghz, or are you running “Mixed Mode?”

Usually not fast enough for 1080p mkvs.

plegault wrote:

Usually not fast enough for 1080p mkvs.



I’m guessing your comments are specific to FreeNAS which is NOTORIOUSLY slow.

In General, Samba is only an implementation of the SMB or CIFS Protocols, and as such, its throughput capability is limited by the client and server performance, and specific implementations.  The protocol itself has no such “upper limit.”

My NAS provides SAMBA Read rates up to 40 Mbytes per second.  That’s plenty fast enough for EIGHT WDTV’s to be streaming any standard  Blu-Ray without ANY further compression… simultaneously.   Considering that my MKVs further compress the BD’s by a factor of about 1/5th, I could be probably play to dozens of units simultaneously, assuming my Drives aren’t thrashing to get a tthe data that fast, but that’s not a SAMBA issue, that’s a file system thing, or that the network is congested in the middle somewhere…

I had three WD’s going last week, two of them watching Avatar Blu Ray, and the third watching Star Trek Blu Ray.   The latter was Wireless.    None of them had any issues.  :)

Nobody said SMB/CIFS wasn’t a protocol.  As you may or may not be aware, some protocols are also faster than others.  SMB/CIFS is a noisier/bloated protocol.  In most cases NFS will be faster than SMB/CIFS, although SMB can be tweaked to achieve decent performance and there-in lies the problem: SMB/CIFS requires a lot of tweaking.

Yeah, I editted my post when I realised you were likely referring specifically to FreeNAS.  

But I WILL argue that the statement “Samba is terribly slow,” in general, by itself, is just incorrect.   I would agree that NFS is usually faster on the same server, but … well, just making a counterpoint…

I’m actually curious as to how you get 40 MB/s over SMB/CIFS.  Any specific tweaks?

Well, I only have a single Windows box accessing the NAS with SMB, and it gets about 15-20 MB / sec.

It’s a Core i3 processor, and a single core maxes out when I copy large files.

My Linux Box (a Phenom II X6) can get about 25 MB / sec when I mount it with CIFS, and about 30 when I mount it NFS.

MY bottleneck is the disks I used (inexpensive “Desktop” grade disks.)  

The 40 Meg number is QNAPs performance reference using Server/RAID - grade disks.  Some of QNAP’s top-tier units get 85 MB/sec with SMB.

As I sit writing this, I’m ripping 4 DVD ISOs simultaneously (one on the Linux box and three on the Win7 box) and getting an aggregate of 22MB/sec write performance, which is close to the max.  The kids are watching an ISO on the wireless WDTV Live.    It’s glitched once or twice, but for the most part, it’s smooth as silk.

Incidentally, I did a write-up at

that gives some good performance data using “Best Case” results for me.