Business Bandwidth: What to Do When Your Network is Sluggish

Network Server Chassis and Bandwidth

A slow or sluggish network connection is not only a cause of frustration as you tap your fingers waiting for some information to load on your screen, it not exactly great for your business in a number of ways.

Getting to the root cause of what is causing your network to run so slowly is not always easy if you try and resolve the issue without the assistance of an internal or external IT services provider, but there are some points to consider to see if you get a better understanding of why your network is running slower than a steamboat

The issues with spyware

Despite your efforts to restrict the prospect of it happening, a common reason for a computer or network to run slowly is the spyware, viruses or other malware that may have managed to secretly installed itself on your PC.

The problem with things like spyware is that most of us simply don’t realize that our computer has been compromised in this way, until it is too late to prevent it happening.

The vast majority of viruses and malware programs that are in circulation at any one time are incredibly secretive and sophisticated programs that are perfectly capable of installing themselves on your system without detection and then start working in the background without being noticed, until you find that your computer is taking longer to complete tasks than it should.

Out of date equipment

Let’s be honest about this situation. The pace of software and hardware developments and improvements virtually guarantee that any computer you are using in your business is already old equipment within a short space of being installed.

Many PC’s are designed to provide you with little more than five years of loyal service before being expected to have outlived their usefulness and needing an upgrade or replacement.

There are plenty of PC’s connected to business networks that have theoretically gone well past their intended shelf-life date, but rather like looking after your car with regular maintenance, you can extend its life.

Computer networks and PC’s will all benefit from regular tune-ups and maintenance tasks. Schedule in system checks, disk defragmentation’s and removal of unnecessary files on a regular basis and you will not suffer so badly with performance, even if your equipment might be “out of date”.

Slow network

Looking at issues with your network in particular, there are a number of very plausible reasons why it might be running slowly.

A good starting point would be to check the physical cabling and general infrastructure for your network.

The quality and type of cabling that you are using for your network is fundamental to its performance capabilities, so get someone who knows what they are looking at to verify whether your fiber or copper cabling is the right category and grade to give you the best performance possible.

Bandwidth issues

The most commonly used tool for looking at general bandwidth issues are known as SNMP tools.

Depending on the program you use, there are differing levels of information available when you run a check, although all SNMP tools work in much the same way, by interrogating the network hardware and assessing how busy each particular port is and any errors that are marked.

The subject of bandwidth issues can get very technical and unless you have specific IT skills, it may well be a good idea to get someone who understands how to use the results gathered from analytical solutions like SNMP tools, and how to rectify the problems it has found in order to speed up your network performance.

A combined effort

A slow network is often caused by a variety of accumulative problems rather than by one specific issue, so to speed up your network will require a combination of initiatives.

Run a full diagnostic on your network to troubleshoot error messages and identify any slow and problematic PC’s connected to the network. Also review your firewall and security settings to ensure that everything has been done to try and keep out the hackers and all the spyware and viruses that can seriously slow your network down as well as causing other security problems.

Also arrange a regular spring-clean to clear out any old and unnecessary temporary files that might be eating into your valuable disk space and slowing things down.

A sluggish network is frustrating and could be an indication of a problem that needs resolving, so get your hardware and software checked to see how you can improve its performance.

Bryan Hornung is CEO/President of Xact IT Solutions. Bryan has consulted with and helped hundreds of small and medium sized businesses demystify technology since starting Xact IT Solutions in 2004. Bryans career began in 1999 as an IT consultant for the NAVSEAs Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) where he was instrumental in implementing Web based technologies to help coordinate projects between engineers and the U.S. Navy fleet.

His work earned him the opportunity to work closely with Navy Captains and their civil counterparts, arming him with the confidence and knowledge to start his own business. Bryans excellent reputation at NAVSEA paved the way for many opportunities and he began moonlighting as an IT consultant for a few small business beginning in 2002 while employed as a DoD contractor. A couple years later, he grew his moonlighting opportunities into a full time consulting business and started Xact IT Solutions Inc.

As CEO Bryan oversees the daily operations of the company while also consulting with C Level clients as a virtual CIO for their businesses. Bryans focus is always on making sure his clients receive the best service possible will constantly helping them improve efficiency and their profitability through the use of technology and the right services. This dedication to his clients has be recognized throughout the years winning multiple awards year after year for their outstanding customer service and brand awareness.