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Samba or slow waltz? Apparent SMB/CIFS slowness on Linux

I have spent a truly frustrating past couple of days debugging poor performance of Samba (SMB/CIFS) on Linux, but fortunately there’s a happy ending. It all started when I resurrected an old NAS I had lying around by installing Debian stable (Buster) and OpenMediaVault on top of that. From now on I’m going to be more serious about making regular automated on-site backups of my various laptops. To do so, the easiest albeit not so performant solution is to simply connect the laptops over the 802.11g network provided by my old-but-good Mikrotik router. And this is where the trouble began.