Network Performance: More Tips

When trying to diagnose and solve a network performance issue, don’t forget the following performance tips, they have been the answer to a complex problem more than once:

  • You can often find the source of a slow network by staring at the network hubs or switches for a few minutes. These devices have colorful arrays of green and red lights. The green lights flash whenever data is transmitted; the red lights flash when a collision occurs.

    An occasional red flash is normal, but if one or more of the red lights is flashing repeatedly, the network interface card (NIC) connected to that port may be faulty.

  • Check for scheduled tasks, such as backups, batched database updates, or report jobs. If at all possible, schedule these tasks to run after normal business hours, such as at night when no one is in the office. These jobs tend to slow down the network by hogging the server’s hard drives.

  • Sometimes, faulty application programs can degrade performance. For example, some programs develop a memory leak: They use memory but then forget to release the memory after they finish. Programs with memory leaks can slowly eat up all the memory on a server, until the server runs out and grinds to a halt.

    If you think a program has a memory leak, contact the manufacturer of the program to see whether a fix is available.

  • Spyware can slow a system to a crawl. A common source of performance problems on client computers is spyware, those annoying programs that you almost can’t help but pick up when you surf the Internet. Fortunately, you can remove spyware with a variety of free or inexpensive spyware removal tools. For more information, use Google or another search engine to search for spyware removal.