Network Details, Performance, & Testing
Network Speed and Expectations
The School of Medicine has both a wired (Ethernet) and wireless (WiFi) network for usage by Stanford faculty, staff, students and visitors. Because wired networks are typically faster than wireless networks, we recommend using the wired network (i.e. plugging into a network jack) when doing high-bandwidth activities. High-bandwidth activities include such things as video/audio streaming and large file transfers. Below is some information regarding the wired and wireless networks as well as some methods to improve and test your network performance.
The wired network consists of over 800 network devices that provide a mixture of 100 Megabit and 1 Gigabit network jacks. The network is constantly being upgraded, monitored and maintained to provide a high level of service and uptime. If you have a 100 Mb connection and require a 1 Gb connection for work purposes, please contact TDS.
The wireless network is based on the 802.11 b/g (WiFi) standard and is constantly expanding to provide more and better coverage throughout the School of Medicine. For information about wireless coverage in your area, please refer to the wireless coverage map for the School of Medicine.
Network Adaptor Prioritization
In general, computers can only use one network adaptor at a time. So when there are multiple connections available (e.g. wired and wireless), the operating system refers to a priority list for which one to use. In almost all cases, you will want to list your wired connection as the highest priority and the wireless to be the second highest. This means that if you are plugged in to the wall and you are connected on wireless, it will use the (faster) wired connection.
To do this in Windows:
- Go to your Start Menu -> Control Panels (sometimes in Settings) -> Network Connections
- Go to the Advanced menu -> Advanced Settings
- In the Adaptors and Bindings tab, click on Local Area Connection in the Connections list
- Click the Up arrow to the right of the Connections list until Local Area Connection is at the top
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the Wireless Network Connection and move it up until it is just under the Local Area Connection
To do this in Mac OS:
- Go to the Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Network
- In the Show dropdown menu, select Network Port Configurations
- Select Built-In Ethernet and drag it to the top of the list. Make sure that it remains checked so that it is active
- Select Airport and drag it just under Built-In Ethernet. Make sure that it remains checked so that it is active.
Interpreting NetSpeed Results
Due to network architectures, inbound (i.e. download) speeds are usually faster that outbound (i.e. upload) speeds. This is expected behavior from NetSpeed. In addition, due to the implementation of NetSpeed and differences in operating systems, Macs perform faster than PCs using this test. This does not mean that Macs have faster network connections than PCs; it simply means that the way they report their speed through NetSpeed is different. Below is a table of typicall speeds which you can expect from NetSpeed through your wired connection. Wireless connections have so many different variables that affect performance (e.g. signal strength, location, number of users) that NetSpeed is not a reliable test for wireless network performance. If you believe that your wireless connection is acting slowly, contact TDS.