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I have a raspberry pi with raspbian installed and an external hard drive attached. File transfers to it using my mac laptop with Mavericks installed is exceptionally slow, around 300 kilobytes per second. Using my linux laptop I generally see file transfer rates of around 2.5 to 3 megabytes per second. I have seen similar speeds using samba, ftp, and scp.

I did some research and found Mac OS X's default network settings didn't always work well with other platforms. I used the settings found on https://rolande.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/performance-tuning-the-network-stack-on-mac-osx-10-6/ but it did not solve my problem.

Any ideas how I can improve file transfer speeds to and from my mac?

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Use iperf to check the raw speed between your Pi and your Mac (if that's slow you have other problems). Further, check what speeds you get between your Linux laptop and your Mac to further help diagnose issues.

Note: you should not base maximum speeds on what scp can do - encryption has an overhead so you are not only taxing your network card you are also (heavily) taxing your CPU too (and for a Pi CPU will be a bottleneck).

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