Linux Pipe Viewer – Network speed test

How fast is your network?

So you have that new gigabit switch and think you are going to achieve 1 Gbps? We all know that you are not going to get 100% throughput due to limitations I will not go into. There could also be a 10/100 patch panel involved that is not rated for gigabit… but, I digress.

I use pipe viewer and netcat to answer this question. To start you will need to install both of these programs and open an available port on the server firewall. I used tcp port 2222 in this example.

First, this command will wait for the client to connect.

[user@server ~]$ nc -l 2222 > /dev/null

Next, this command will tell you the speed in MB/s after a couple of seconds.

[user@client ~]$ pv /dev/zero | nc server 2222
1.09GB 0:00:10 [ 113MB/s] [     <=>        ]

Now we do some math and get this value (I like to use google for this):

113 (megabytes / second) = 904 Mbps

Roughly 90% throughput on a gigabit switch isn’t too shabby! I did some more testing and have seen variances from 480 Mbps (60 MB/s) up to 912 Mbps (114 MB/s).

So the question still remains... How fast is your network?


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