We rely heavily on network performance. For very large companies where sales are being generated every minute and running several reports at the end of the day is part of the daily operation, ensuring your network is running at top speed is critical.

There are several ways to optimize network performance

  • Examine utilization - Watch peak periods. Running a large report on the busiest time of the day can cause a bottleneck. A bottleneck is a stage in a process that causes the entire process to slow down or stop. Run the reports at the end of the day or before business opens to ensure there's less traffic on the network.
  • Pay attention to applications - Applications can automatically download updates thereby eating up the network bandwidth. Pay attention to the applications installed on the computer and run the updates at the end of the day.
  • Know your bandwidth needs - In a small home or office, a hub is generally sufficient. However, if many users are always sending large files to each other, a switch eliminates congestion. Hubs are very dumb network devices. They allow all devices that are connected to it to communicate to each other. It makes no decisions about traffic direction, it doesn't inspect traffic quality or verify packet integrity. All network data it receives on one port will be immediately transmitted out all the other ports, so each computer must take it's turn before sending data. A switch can be considered a 'smart' hub. It will actively look at the traffic it receives and based on the destination address it will direct that traffic only to the port needed. The switch listens to each port at the same time without any interference. A computer plugged directly into the switch will not receive unnecessary traffic and can transmit to the switch whenever it needs to, this leaves all the bandwidth available to each machine.
  • Security - It is a known fact that a spyware or malware can slow your computer to a halt. They are constantly running on the background and is constantly sending information to their server, thereby slowing network and internet traffic. Running a spyware scan helps eliminate those pesky little software.
  • Antivirus - Schedule your antivirus software to scan your computer after business hours. A full system scan will make a brand new system run like an old computer. Some antivirus scans each individual packets coming in the computer causing a delay in network process. Try disabling your antivirus temporarily or configure it to “trust” the packets coming from the other computer or the server.
  • Computer configuration - Each computer is configured differently. Even though they have the same specs, a single setting changed by mistake can cause serious consequences.

Below is a perfect example:

Scenario: The computer is brand new, only has System Five and Pervasive installed but takes 3-4 minutes to login and another 5-10 minutes to run a simple report.

The screenshots below will show how the problem was addressed, tested and resolved.

  • The Local Area Connection Status displays a speed of 10Mbps

  • This was confirmed by going into the task manager and checking the networking tab

  • Running a speed test gave this result

  • To fix the problem, check the Local Area Connection properties

  • Within the Local Area Connection Properties, click on the configure button to configure the network adapter

  • On the network adapter properties, change the value for Speed and Duplex and WOL Speed from 10Mb to 100 Mbps Full

  • The computer will try to obtain another IP address from the server and will give a 100Mbps connection to the network instead of 10Mbps

  • This can be confirmed by going to the task manager and checking the networking tab

  • Running a speed test then gives a better result compared to the test that was ran earlier. The download speed is almost doubled and the upload speed was increased as well. For ping, the lower the better as higher ping means there's a network congestion somewhere and is causing the packets to be transmitted to and from the server at a slower rate.

If doing the steps above, gives an IP address that starts with 169.x.x.x, replace the cable and make sure it support speed up to 100Mbps. May also require the help of a System Administrator or IT Personnel.