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Why is my network running so slowly?

Why is your network running so slowly? Find the answer to your network latency problems from our network monitoring and management expert, Dwight Barker.

We're facing problems with a slow network and our Exchange server is getting bottlenecked. We have a network of 200 to 250 workstations running Windows 2003. How can we solve these problems?
This is a case where you really need some visibility of your traffic, not just your devices. You need to decide, before going any further, if it is the network or your server that is causing the problem. You seem to indicate that they're both a problem, but how do you know? As a stopgap, you might consider a freeware product like IPSniffer, which lets you use a Windows machine as a protocol analyzer. With some work, you can determine whether you're seeing latency or packet loss problems (the network), or server/application response delays, which would indicate trouble with your Exchange server.

Depending on how business-critical your network is, you might want to consider investing in a flow-based solution, such as those available from Network Physics and Compuware/Adlex, because these can do all the heavy lifting for you and immediately display, in graphical form, a breakdown of application performance into its network and server components.

This was last published in February 2006

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