Tag Archives: Windows

Troubleshoot a Slow Network – The entire Network is Slow

The Entire Network is Slow

If the entire network or a part of the network is slow, this could be a strong suggestion for a faulty switch or a miss-configuration.

Poor network equipment
Usage of hubs is not recommended, (hubs are prone to collisions by design)
Cheap switches that cannot handle the total needed bandwidth. The switch’s chip can handle 100Mb/s for 12 ports, but the switch has 24 ports and all are connected. For low network usage this is not a problem, but if your network usage spikes, your switch will not be able to handle the bandwidth. The quick fix in such situation is to power off the switch for a few minutes and then power it back on.

Loopback
A loopback is a network cable that has both ends connected to the same switch. If it’s a managed switch activating loop protection on all the ports could fix the problem. You can look on the switch’s log file for excessive broadcasts and isolate the two ports that are in loop. If you don’t have managed switches you can use a packet sniffer to determine if there’s a loop. A wrongly configured Spanning tree could cause a loopback.
FIX: Check all the patch-cord connections in the faulty switch. Check for patch-cords that have both ens into the same switch. Check for more than one patch-cord connecting the same two switches.
If you have cascaded switches it is normal to be slower for the devices in the cascaded switch but is not normal for the devices that are not cascaded. Check if any cascaded device is not connected on two ports on the wall, (usually the ports on the wall go to the network room). Your cascaded switch makes a loop into the upper level switch.

Bad Network Configuration
DNS issues
can cause a lot of slowdowns.
One common error is to use your ISP’s DNS server inside your Active Directory network. Your Active Directory computer members will try to resolve internal names by querying your ISP’s DNS. Those records don’t exist outside of your network.
Fix: For all of your Active Directory network clients remove any entries for your ISP’s and use only internal DNS servers. Configure your ISP’s DNS server as a forwarder on your AD DNS servers.

Network switching equipment wrongly connected is the reason of slow network for many small networks. Typically this happens when a small switch is connected to the router. When the switch becomes too small for a growing network, the first impulse is to connect the computers into the router directly.
Fix
: Install a switch that will accommodate all of the computers in the network. Disconnect any computers connected directly into the router.
Note: It is normal for the wireless connected computers to have slower transfer rate than the wired ones. Most of the wireless routers and adapters function at 54Mb per second. If your router is a modern router, (100 Mb or faster), and you still don’t get the expected transfer rates, you should revise your configuration as above.

Broadcast storm
You can efficiently detect a broadcast storm using a packet sniffer or a managed switch. With a packet sniffer you need to look for large numbers of broadcast/multicast (more than 20% of the total traffic it is an alarm signal). Locate the retransmission packets and search for the source MAC address. Disconnect the problem host.
If you suspect a broadcast storm in your network and you don’t have a managed switch or a packet sniffer, you can run download and upload tests by systematically disconnecting all of your computers in the network one by one. This is only practical in small network environment.

Virus Attack
A lot of connections originating from the same MAC address, to the same destination port, but for different destination address, and in short intervals.
Fix: Determine the source address of these connections and disconnect the suspect hosts. Run an antivirus scan on the computer before plugging it back. There are a few ways to determine the source of a virus. Use a packet sniffer, look on your managed switch for the ports with the most traffic and confirm it on the suspected computer by issuing the command “netstat -a -b”, (on a Windows machine). The command will show you which ports are active and which program, (executable), is using the ports.

This article is part of a five posts series regarding Network Troubleshooting.

Internet Business – How to choose your First Web Hosting Company

The Internet Business is a business model that can be started with a minimum of investment. Your work, talent and favourable circumstances can be enough to help you start an Internet business.

If you already have an idea and you planned everything about your product and site’s content you need to start your business. At first you need to minimize the costs and investments in order to diminish risks. If the business will not take off as expected the loss will be minimal and you can try another idea. Read this article about successful business ideas.

The minimum for an Internet business is a domain name, (this is not 100% required but strongly recommended) and a Web Server. A web server can be your own equipment or hosted server. Hosting companies will sell various types of hosting services ranging from a dedicated server with one or more dedicated IP addresses to shared hardware.

A good web hosting package will contain support for application development platforms such as PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, etc… access to a database server and a Control Panel that offers to customers an easy way to manage their website.

As a starter the minimal package will be perfect for you, you can always switch to a dedicated server if shared services can’t accommodate your growing traffic.
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When you choose your first web hosting look these features even if you don’t think you are going to need them; as your business grows you will certainly need it.

  • Disk space – this should not be a problem, as most of the companies will give you plenty of space or even unlimited space.
  • Technical support – you need good technical support that you can rely on if something happens. 24/7 support is desired so you don’t have to wait the next day to fix your website.
  • Email support, auto-responders, mail forwarding will be great marketing tools.
  • FTP is a definite requirement, SSH connection could be needed, Control Panel is an excellent tool for administration you should choose a package that provides it.
  • Multiple domains and sub-domains will help you pay for a minimal single package while testing various domain names.
  • Up-time is a measure of reliability of a web site. 99.5% or more is a good up-time.
  • Web-site speed – can be determined by a series of factors of which the important ones when picking your hosting company are: the Internet Connection Speed of your host, the number of customers that share a server, the resources taken by the other customers that share the server with your web-site, the capability to partition hardware so that CPU and IO are equally shared between customers, (some companies use a CPU throttling mechanism).
  • Support to database, PHP, ASP or ColdFusion and Perl.
  • Price is very important, at least at this stage, but don’t go for the cheapes just because of the price. All the previous aspects are more important.
  • Try to go local, the language barrier, the time-zone sometimes make a difference. Also it will be faster for your clients to access a local provider than a server located on another continent.

It is important that you focus more on the content of the website and running the business and not on developing the website and learning PHP or ASP. That’s why you have to look for a Control Panel that contains the ability to install a CMS, (Content Management System), such as Drupal or Joomla or even WordPress.

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