Uploads bringing network down

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Bandwidth
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Gigabit ethernet
IT architecture
Layer 3-7 Switches
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We do web design so the volume of traffic going out to our live production servers is considerably high at times. So my question is, without upgrading our hardware (see below), is there any way to stop uploads from bringing the entire network to its knees? I've got a small LAN that has between 30 and 35 users on it at a given time. All equipment was purchased before I arrived and not likely to change. We are on a 6Mbps DL/ 684k upload DSL line. I've got a Watchguard x700 firebox (older model, not new version) that acts as our router / firewall. Does not have traffic prioritization, load balancing, etc. Our primary office switch that connects to the Firebox and Primary file server is a Linksys SR2024 gigabit. The rest of the office has 100 mb switches and a mix of 100 and 1000 base NIC's running on XP and Tiger machines.
ASKED: August 5, 2005  9:59 AM
UPDATED: August 11, 2005  1:06 PM

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hummm… have a similar situation here. Never considered my web designer as my headache source. Looking forward to any response you may get. — good luck

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  • GlennA
    Are any of your switches managed? If so, can you use that to control flow?
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  • Kaiserbeto
    Nope... nothing managed. no load balancing, traffic prioritization ... etc.
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  • Bobkberg
    Something doesn't sound right - but let's clarify a few things. You've got a respectable amount of bandwidth, but you say that the uploads are "bringing the entire network to its knees". When you say "entire network" are you also discussing local workstation to server traffic? Or do you mean that Internet access slows to a crawl? One solution that I set up for one of my customers involved a second DSL line for large data transfers. Also, I'd want to look at the traffic going in and out of the network during normal and upload times to see if there might be any spyware/worms/viruses/real-time-streaming, etc. which is reducing your effective bandwidth. To do that, get a copy of Ethereal (free) and monitor the internet connection. Also a possibility is that the system(s) that do the uploading are going through some choke point that affects the rest of the office. Just for your management's information - THIS is part of the added value you get from the expense of managed network equipment - which is often seen as a waste of money to those who don't understand what you can do. It allows better problem identification, troubleshooting, and sometimes amelioration of the problem. We'll all be looking forward to the next installment of this thrilling saga... Bob
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  • Kaiserbeto
    how do you go about implementing a 2nd line with the rest of the network ? i'd imagine you have to have a managed switch to route traffic between the 2 lines right ? Uploads to our remote servers slow internet access. Spyware/viruses/worms etc. are not an issue; i've seen to that. We don't have any real time streaming set up locally. Potential choke points could be cheap 10/100 switches segmented throughout the office, yes?
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  • Bobkberg
    To manage a second line, what you do is (once connected and set up) you add a static route to the uploading client (maybe all of them) that points to the second line's router IP address - but make it specific, not a default route. It might look something like this (assuming your internal network is in 192.168 space. add route 1.2.3.4 mask 255.255.255.255 192.168.0.2 metric 1 where 1.2.3.4 is the web server and 192.168.0.2 is the router for the new connection. However, I'd still strongly recommend that you look at what all is making use of your existing bandwidth before throwing more bandwidth at the situation. That investigating time has the potential to uncover a problem and save you some money. Bob
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  • HumbleNetAdmin
    If I am understanding the issue correctly Your developers are uploading files to external webservers at other sites from your network. The uploads are going out of your network and are limited to the speed of your network and to the limited 684kbps of upload speed of your network, and then limited to the download speeds of the receiving end what ever they may be. So your uploads to the external servers could easily overwhelm the limited capacity of the 684kbs of the upload of your DSL. Now although you have 6mbps download speed to your network over your DSL (effects how fast your company can download internet pages), if you?re outgoing request for internet pages (go out at the limited Upload speed) are hindered by the heavy uploads, then your internet browsing is going to suffer somewhat during those uploads. May also want to check with your DSL provider and verify that you have that 6mb Download speed, just in case! You may consider a T1 if the developers often upload data to offsite locations, then you would have 1.5mb up/down. A good tool that I use to monitor bandwidth usage on my network and to monitor my T1 and 1.5mb Ethernet circuits to the internet is Paessler Router Traffic Grapher (PRTG), www.paessler.com (excellent tool). Another thing you might consider if your network is brought to a crawl (not just internet browsing) is the type of cables connecting your GigE network. Are they CAT5 or CAT5e? Are they pre-manufactured are did you are someone else? Although manufactures of GigE cards state they are compatible with CAT5, I have found through experience that not all cards function, or don?t function well on CAT5, especially if they are not pre-manufactured. When moving to a GigE network I found that I best off using pre-manufactured CAT5e cables for my server connections. One of the ways that GigE is obtained over copper cat5 cables is to use all four pairs in the cable were as 10/100 only uses two, so if you have one wire in the RJ45 connection not well connected, then your GigE traffic on the cable would be greatly reduced or non-existent. So check into your cables. It could be worth the effort. Good luck in your efforts to resolve your issue :) The HumbleNetAdmin
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  • Kaiserbeto
    we don't exactly have a GigE network. Our primary switch is GigE, but all the NIC's are 10/100. Plus, all of the other switches in the office are 10/100 as well ... which i'm assuming is contributing to the bottlenecking as well ? Cable, i'm told is Cat 5e. The bosses strung it themselves when they moved into this office long before i got here. I don't know what kind of quality job they did installing it, but it is 5e. i'll check out that program, thanks for the tip.
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  • Bobkberg
    This post is going to be a little pointless - but I'd like to get it out there. Auto-negotiated speeds 10/100/full-duplex/half-duplex is known to be a sticking point in many bottleneck cases. If you can even rent or borrow a managed switch so that you can tailor each connection to its ideal configuration this MAY (or may not) ease some of the congestion on your net. Bob
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  • Poppaman2
    As soon as I started reading this thread, my reaction was much along the lines of bobkerg: look at the 10- or 100- autonegotiation settings. Try to force full duplex 100Mb/s if possible. If not, make sure that individual ports are paired with appropriately configured clients (you may need to set dip switches, as is the case with older Netgear/Bay Networks 10/100 switches). Also - you state that you are running OS X 10.4 (Tiger): is the whole network set up for TCP/IP or do you have ANY appletalk/ethertalk clients? If so, remove them. Also, make sure that some device (ie: a printer....) is not set to generate IPX/SPX traffic, unless of course you require it for an older Netware installation. EtherPeek (a traffic analyser/sniffer from WildPackets) is not cheap, but works like a charm from either the Mac side or the XP side of your network (Mac is somewhat less expensive, or at least it used to be). Use it or some other sniffer package to see where the bottleneck occurs....
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  • Joelsplace
    Don't move your XP machines off of auto on the speed/duplex setting unless you have a tool to measure the speed such as QCheck (free). I've had many of them slow to less than 2Mbs when I forced the speed/duplex to the correct setting. FYI if you use 32bit PCI Gigabit cards they will never go that fast. The best I've seen is low 300s. Joel
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