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iperf : Network throughput measurement tool

Iperf is a commonly used network testing tool that can create TCP and UDP data streams and measure the
throughput of a network. Iperf allows the user to set various parameters that can be used for testing a
network, or alternately for optimizing or tuning a network. Iperf has a client and server functionality, and
can measure the throughput between the two ends, either unidirectonally or bi-directionally. You can
download it in Sourceforce http://sourceforge.net/projects/iperf . Iperf is a client server program. In our
example, let us start "server" iperf at location1 and let the "location2" be the client.

Server side : To start iperf as "server" service, use the "-s" flag.

[root@location1 ~]# iperf -s


---------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default)
---------------------------------------

To stop the server, send Ctrl+C.

Client side: For client side, iperf has to be initiated with "-c" option. There are lot of other options, which
performs different kind of testing. Few examples are explained below.

1) Measuring throughput using default iperf option. This connects to the iperf server mentioned and finds
out the network throughput.

[root@location2 ~]# iperf -c location1


---------------------------------------
Client connecting to location1, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
---------------------------------------
[ 3] local 201.87.4.3 port 41505 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 3] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.4 MBytes 22.8 Mbits/sec
[root@location2 ~]#

2) Measuring bidirectional throughput usind -d option.

[root@location2 ~]# iperf -c location1 -d


---------------------------------------
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default)
---------------------------------------
Client connecting to location1, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
---------------------------------------
[ 5] local 201.87.4.3 port 41518 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ 4] local 201.87.4.3 port 5001 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 59284
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 5] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.2 MBytes 22.7 Mbits/sec
[ 4] 0.0-10.0 sec 25.2 MBytes 21.1 Mbits/sec
[root@location2 ~]#

3) Measuring multi-thread throughput. Use -P option to specify the number of parallel threads to be started.
[root@location2 ~]# iperf -c location1 -P 3
---------------------------------------
Client connecting to location1, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
---------------------------------------
[ 5] local 201.87.4.3 port 41523 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ 4] local 201.87.4.3 port 41522 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ 3] local 201.87.4.3 port 41521 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 5] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.9 MBytes 23.3 Mbits/sec
[ 4] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.9 MBytes 23.2 Mbits/sec
[ 3] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.8 MBytes 23.1 Mbits/sec
[SUM] 0.0-10.1 sec 83.6 MBytes 69.5 Mbits/sec
[root@location2 ~]#

3) Measuring throughput by disabling Nagle's Algorithm.

Nagle's algorithm, named after John Nagle, is a means of improving the efficiency of TCP/IP networks by
reducing the number of packets that need to be sent over the network. [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagle
%27s_algorithm ]

[root@location2 ~]# iperf -c location1 -P 3 -N


---------------------------------------
Client connecting to location1, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
---------------------------------------
[ 3] local 201.87.4.3 port 41527 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ 4] local 201.87.4.3 port 41528 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ 5] local 201.87.4.3 port 41529 connected with 131.15.17.19 port 5001
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 3] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.8 MBytes 23.1 Mbits/sec
[ 4] 0.0-10.1 sec 27.9 MBytes 23.2 Mbits/sec
[ 5] 0.0-10.1 sec 28.0 MBytes 23.2 Mbits/sec
[SUM] 0.0-10.1 sec 83.7 MBytes 69.6 Mbits/sec
[root@location2 ~]#

You can even run the client side on regular intervals using cron daemon and plot graphs (using mrtg or rrd)
for the throughput. Hope this is helpful.

Tags: linux, network, performance

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