SMB speed/reliability


I know smb vs Plex speed has been discussed before, but I was hoping that someone here has some new insights.

I would like to get rid of Plex as my backend and use Infuse connecting to a smb share running on a Mac Mini (2018).
I’m using Infuse at home and through OpenVPN (server running on my router flashed with latest FreshTomato firmware reaching speeds of 40~50 Mbps).

Being on my home network smb is performing “ok”, but Plex definitely still has the edge here: faster initial loading, faster skipping forward and also the thumbnails when scrubbing appear a bit quicker.
The real issue begins when I start to watch a big file being away from home. I tested this against Plex with remote access and with remote access disabled though my VPN. Plex takes a bit longer to load vs. being at home, but once playback has started everything is smooth and I can even scrub without any major hiccups.
When connecting via smb everything seems to work fine at first: playback starts after a couple of seconds. However, after playing for about 5 seconds I get a spinning wheel and the player is basically frozen. Happens every time I open a big file no matter to which position I scrub. Smaller files work ok.

Any ideas what is causing this?
What sharing protocol is Plex using and why is it performing that much better?
I know one great thing about Infuse is that no extra software needs to be installed on the host machine, but what about a optional helper tool that could bump up the network performance reliability? As of now the main reason why I’m still using Plex is that the network performance is that much better!

PS: same issues with NFS

I don’t know the exact technical details but SMB is not a streaming protocol and does very poorly when used in such a way partially because of its massive overhead (security, TCP).

I’m guessing plex’s protocol doesn’t have all overhead associated with file transfer protocols such as retransmit protection, encryption, etc.

Also if you’re running through a VPN especially OpenVPN you’re going to get a noticeable performance hit vs running direct through plex remote streaming.

I did some more digging and besides the overhead it looks like smb and other file sharing protocols don’t perform well when going through the WAN due to added latency.

Actually Plex feels pretty comparable either using Plex remote or going through my VPN.

Really hope there will be a custom solution for Infuse at some point, but I guess that is not really a priority at all…

Does anyone have experience using FTP or SFTP with Infuse? How is the performance compared to smb on LAN/WAN?