Why is the Network so SLOW?

This is the age-old complaint of users everywhere.

Network administrators struggle to answer the question because they typically don’t have the proper tools deployed.  It’s also one of the biggest impacts on business productivity, yet the problem typically goes unsolved.

The causes of slowdowns come from the following areas:

  • Over-subscribed network link
  • High levels of packet loss on a link
    • Misconfiguration (duplex mismatch, collisions, incorrect Qos)
    • Poor cabling (RFI noise, CAT3 cabling used where CAT5e is required)
    • Hardware fault (damaged/broken interface)
    • High utilization levels can also lead to packet loss
  • Slow responding server

When a slowdown occurrs, most network engineers immediately look at their WAN links to see if they are over-utilized.  They may employ a sniffer or packet analyzer to see if there are a flood of packets from any specific location to any other location, trying to make some sense of a huge pile of packets.

This attempt typically resolves in “guessing” at the problem, or worse yet: recommending upgrades where facts have not been obtained.

In order to accurately determine why the network is slow is to continuously monitor all of the links in the network and determine which ones are over-utilized and/or are discarding packets.  That eliminates the guesswork, and provides the needed facts of where the problem is, and why it’s occurring.

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