netio: A Network Benchmark Tool


netio in action under pfSense 2.1.5.

netio is a network benchmark utility for OS/2 2.x, Windows, Linux and Unix. It measures the net throughput of a network via TCP and UDP protocols using various different packet sizes. For netio to run a benchmark, one instance has to be run on one computer as a server process, while another instance is used on another computer to perform the benchmark. Starting with version 1.20, multi-threading support is required. While this does not affect anyone using the program under Linux or BSD, it did mean that DOS was no longer supported.

netio: Installation and Use

To install netio under pfSense, navigate to System -> Packages, and scroll down to netio in the list. Press the “plus” button to begin installation, and on the next screen, press “Confirm” to confirm installation. netio should complete installation within a few minutes.

Once netio is installed, there will be a new item on the Diagnostics menu called “netio“. If you navigate to it, you will find two tabs: “Client” and “Server“. The “Client” tab, appropriately enough, is to configure netio to run as a client, while “Server” will allow it to act as a server. On the “Client” tab there are two settings: “Server” (for the IP address or hostname netio will connect to) and “Port” (for the port that netio will connect to). On the “Server” tab, there is only one field: “Port“, to specify the port netio will bind to (the default is 18767). Press the “Save” button at the bottom to save settings.

Running netio at the command prompt under Windows 8.1.

Whether you run netio as a client or server, netio requires another node with which to connect. As a result, you are going to have to download netio, which you can do from the official netio site. The zip file contains both the source code and binaries for several platforms, including Windows, Linux, BSD, OS/2 and Mac OS X. Select the right binary for your platform and run netio from your system’s command prompt/shell.

At the risk of stating the obvious, if you are running netio under pfSense as a server, then you want to be running it under the other system as a client, and vice-versa. To test netio, I decided to run it under pfSense as a server (I kept the default port and just pressed “Save”). In Windows, I typed:

win32-i386 -t

where win32-i386 is the name of the windows executable, -t specifies the TCP protocol, and is the IP address of the server (my pfSense box). The output of netio can be seen in the screenshot on the right.

And here we are running it under Linux Mint 17.

One problem with this program is that it seems if you connect with one protocol (e.g. TCP), you cannot connect to the server again with another protocol (e.g. UDP). If you try to do this and you get an “error code 10060” message, try restarting the server and then attempt a client connection a second time.

Did I mention that netio supports several platforms? This last screenshot shows what happened when I ran netio under Linux on an old IBM Lenovo M51 running Mint Linux 17. The only shortcoming is that the binary for Linux is version 1.30 of the program, not the latest version (1.32). Thus if you want the latest version under Linux, you’ll have to compile it yourself.

External Links:

The official netio site

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