Microsoft Advises Against iPerf3 Usage for Network Testing on Windows

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Key Takeaways:

  • Microsoft discourages the use of iPerf3 on Windows devices due to compatibility issues and performance concerns.
  • Microsoft warns that older versions of iPerf3 may limit network benchmarking capabilities on Windows machines.
  • Microsoft recommends alternative tools like ntttcp and ctsTraffic for network performance testing.

Microsoft has issued an advisory against using the iPerf3 tool on Windows devices, citing compatibility and performance concerns. The company highlights issues with iPerf3’s reliance on Cygwin emulation layer and potential discrepancies in network testing.

iPerf is a popular tool that is used for measuring network bandwidth and performance across different platforms. It’s maintained by Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) and enables users to assess their network’s capabilities and ensure optimal performance.

Why you shouldn’t use iPerf3 on Windows?

Microsoft has outlined three main reasons why it discourages the use of iPerf3 on Windows PCs. First of all, ESnet officially supports CentOS 7 Linux, FreeBSD 11, and macOS 10.12, and does not extend its support to running iPerf3 on Windows. The company recommends customers to use iPerf2 for monitoring network performance on Windows devices.

Secondly, Microsoft notes that iPerf3 does not make native API calls on Windows machines. The tool uses Cygwin as an emulation layer to work on Windows, and it causes significant performance issues. Microsoft also mentioned that some advanced iPerf3 features for network testing are either not supported or may trigger unexpected issues on Windows PCs.

“The iPerf3 calls are sent to Cygwin, which translates them to Windows APIs calls. Only then does the Windows network stack come into play. The iPerf3 on Windows maintainers do an excellent job of making it all work together, but, ultimately, there are potential issues with this approach,” Microsoft explained.

Last but not least, Microsoft warned that some Windows customers are probably using an older version of the iPerf3 tool. The company released iPerf3 version 3.1.3 for Windows back in June 2016. It’s important to note that this release uses Cygwin as an emulation layer and contains a bug that limits the socket buffer to 1MB. This could potentially lead to performance issues and inaccuracies in testing.

What are the recommended network benchmarking tools?

Microsoft recommends that customers should use its network benchmarking solutions such as ntttcp (Windows NT Test TCP) and ctsTraffic. The ntttcp tool allows users to assess and measure the performance of TCP/IP networks on Windows. It simulates various network traffic scenarios to evaluate network throughput, latency, and other metrics.

Meanwhile, ctsTraffic is used to analyze network performance as well as measure throughput, latency, and packet loss. The tool helps to evaluate the behavior of networking devices under different load conditions.