I apologize for the double post, but I didn't do my tags right.
I am a relatively new IT staff member of a few months. My title is Tech Support Specialist, but the business has only one IT staff member on this site (engineer/maintenance turned IT) and he pretty much does anything and everything involving IT and so I am expected to as well. I have a certificate in networking and an associates in web management. I am currently still going to school for my bachelors in computer science with a concentration in database technology. This is my first real work experience in IT so please bare with me.
I have been asked recently to research and report whether we need a large upgrade to our network, which to my knowledge has been in place for several years and rarely upgraded unless something physically quits working, or else how we can improve our bandwidth. We kind of have a 3 week deadline in which to gather this information for the next year as well and I only come to the plant 3 days a week as I am currently part-time.
We currently have a fiber optic backbone running the length of the building. The rest of the wiring is Cat5 to the PCs, printers, servers, etc. The length of our building is about the size of a city block. I think my boss referenced about 3,000 square feet of space, but I can double check that. We are in an industrial environment where the ceilings are at least 25 feet high and away from any equipment and this is where all of the cabling is run. We do have things such as presses, cutters, and posters. (In the paint/paper industry) So I am not sure if EMI is a large factor or not. All of our wires are run without conduit.
We currently have one server on site running Windows Server 2003. I believe that this server is our domain controller as well as our file and print server, but I am not 100% sure on this and can also find this out. This server went live in March of this year and so our systems administrator who is located a few states away is new on administering it as are all of the IT staff members involved from our corporate location and here. Currently not all of our users are using roaming profiles, only some.
Our systems administrator is slowly moving users over as she goes as she is migrating their documents and settings from their PCs to the server. I think the current batch file that all of the users are using to map the file server drive was mapping to an old drive or something before, but the systems administrator recently cleaned it up to try and help a user who randomly has issues with mapping the file drive.
Our main server/DC is backed up on the DC from our corporate.
Switches and Hubs-
We have a menagerie of brands and models. We have 6 SynOptics LattisHubs, 4 CISCO CatalystXL switches, a procurve switch, a dell power connect switch, and an ADTran TSU. There are a few more items, but they are up in the ceiling and when I did my inventory I was told not to really worry about them so I don't have any information on them right now.
We have a Unix server at our corporate where we use DataGeneral to run most of our accounts operations. Everyone connects through a terminal program on WinXP Professional SP2 machines. Then we have our local file server for office files etc.
Our main network speed problem is that throughout the day as more users log on to work the network slows down. It is less noticeable in the IE browser, but definitely noticeable with download speeds. Accessing files doesn't seem to be a big problem as of yet, but that is probably because not everyone is on the file server yet. The problem gets worse at the other end of our plant away from our main com room. I also noticed when downloading a file to a computer out on the plant floor that the download speed steadily decreased over time. The biggest complaint that I hear is when accessing the DataGeneral. It tends to bog down a lot. I am not sure if that is a problem on our end or on corporates end. It could be our end since we obviously have some issues with network slow down, but it could also be the Unix term server at corporate.
Recently our systems administrator installed NTop onto a Windows XP Pro PC to monitor network traffic. We can generally see who is using the most network resources with it, but I haven't played around with it enough to know what more it can tell us. Is there any network monitoring open source software that you might recommend more? Something more detailed?
How can we increase the speed of our network? Do we need to upgrade our hardware such as newer switches to replace old switches/hubs? If so, are switches better than hubs? What about moving to an all fiber optic network? Do we even need to do that, or would just upgrading some hardware, or configuring the hardware help? I'm not sure if all of our hubs/switches are managed, but I can find out.
Thanks in advance for your help. I'm not sure of what questions to ask my boss off of the top of my head as this is my first time dealing with this, but if you need any information I don't have, I will definitely find out.