3COM is generally reliable. But performance depends on many factors including the drivers, interface settings, and a myriad of degradation effects. I would point you at one of my recent whitepapers that shows how to solve the complete problem even though it is composed of some many potential problem sources.
Traffic and Everything Like Traffic
Dealing with Network Performance Degradation
Without reading the white paper, I would start with some simple checks regardless of the equipment being used:
- Ensure all NIC drivers are updated to the latest release
- Hand set all interfaces to 100 Mbps full/duplex ? do NOT rely on auto-negotiation ? duplex conflict is a performance killer!
- Check interface counters for loss and errors on suspect machines
My favorite 100 Mbps NIC is the 3COM 905 B/C series. With the latest drivers, it will fill the pipe completely and reliably every single time. Some NICs rated at 100 Mbps, with their packaged drivers, don?t even come close simply because they don?t operate properly at full capacity. That said, most recent name-brand Fast Ethernet NICs are reliable.
Gigabit Ethernet is another issue - most will NOT perform at the rated capacities, either because the NIC can?t offer full capacity, or even more likely, the host machine can?t drive it hard enough (requires 64-bit PCI for example). But most hosts will at least see better than 100 Mbps on a gigE link regardless. Most. We have seen gigE NICs run as slow as 30 Mbps!!
This was first published in June 2003