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 Post subject: network monitoring software
 Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:24 am
Posts: 68
Hello
Does anyone know some good free network monitoring software.
Sometimes our network is quite slow.
I was copying a 5Gb folder across the network to a laptop from my desktop machine and I was using my desktop machine at the same time to access a programe on the server (vista) machine and I was slowed down considerably while the folder was being copied to the laptop.
The network is setup with 3 pcs + 1 latop which I had plugged into a switch. (The same switch that my desktop machine was plugged into).
The server vista machine is really just a stand-alone Vista business pc (has mirror raid with x2 disks) and we access data files via the workgroup (not domain). The two other pcs are plugged into their own switch each, and the two switches are then connected to another switch which is then connected to the Vista Server pc. (x3 switches in all).
We have a new modem/router (TP Link) for the internet and it just plugs into one of the switches. The internet works but it is slow also when two or more of us are using it at the same time. We can still access the Server Vista pc if the router stops working.
The network works, but sometimes it just seems congested, evidenced by the slowing of access while I was copying a folder from a pc to a laptop.
Any suggestions to speed up the network would be great. There are only two or three people that use the machines at any one time.

Would it make any difference to change to a domain setup? Or is this a hardware issue?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: network monitoring software
 Post Posted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:16 pm 
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Are all of the systems equipped with gigabit network interface cards (NICs) with the latest drivers installed? Is the router and all of the switches fully gigabit capable? Are all the cables CAT5 or better? If the performance problem is only on a single leg, you might want to try replacing the switch or cable on that leg.

Windows Vista was unfortunately quite notorious for extremely poor network file copy performance, which was improved in SP1 and later. How does the performance compare when doing the same operations under XP or Win7?

What RAID hardware and software is used on the Server? If you are using Intel motherboard RAID, which chipset is it? If you are using Intel RAID under Vista, make sure you have the latest driver installed to avoid potential performance problems. Finally, note that RAID 1 will actually be quite a bit slower than a single drive, more so if you don't enable the write-back cache. Scott.


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 Post subject: Re: network monitoring software
 Post Posted: Tue May 22, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 5:24 am
Posts: 68
Hello
Thanks for your reply.
I had a look at some of the links you posted.
The server and x2 switches are Gigabit as are the network cards of the Vista Server and two of the switches. The other Vista PC workstation also has a gigabit network card and can access the server at 1G.
The router is only 10/100 but is only used for the internet.
The pc that I was using (Win XP Pro) only has a network card of 10/100 as does its switch it is plugged into. The laptop is Win 7 and has a 1G network card but I had it plugged into the same switch (10/100) as my pc so I could transfer the documents. Yes to update the switch and the XP's network card to 1G while it would improve performance but I don't think it would be much. When I replaced the x2 other switches to 1G, while the other Vista PC workstation connects now to the server at 1G there was only about a 5% speed improvement and not really that noticable.

I haven't yet tried to copy files from all areas. I will do so, though and I'll post back the mobo and CPU specs. Yes I figure that Raid is going to slow down the system anyway.
I think the write back cache is enabled by default?? I'll study how that affects performance.


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 Post subject: Re: network monitoring software
 Post Posted: Tue May 22, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Quote:
The router is only 10/100 but is only used for the internet.

Note that fast broadband (> 25Mbps) requires both a router and modem with gigabit WAN ports.

Quote:
The pc that I was using (Win XP Pro) only has a network card of 10/100 as does its switch it is plugged into. The laptop is Win 7 and has a 1G network card but I had it plugged into the same switch (10/100) as my pc so I could transfer the documents.

I would recommend replacing all 10/100 switches and cards with gigabit. The prices are so low these days it just isn't worth suffering with 10/100 anymore. You won't see 10x faster performance, but you should see from 2x to 5x faster transfer speeds, depending on what other bottlenecks there might be in the pipeline. Also note that two systems don't have to be plugged into the same switch in order to transfer files, they just have to be on the same LAN.

Quote:
I think the write back cache is enabled by default??

The write-back cache is disabled by default under Intel chipset-based RAID. Scott.


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