Top 4 Symptoms and Causes of Slow Networks

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When mission-critical applications slow down within corporate networks, network admins are often bogged down with complaints from users. Moreover, they’re expected resolve the issue in a timely manner. It becomes critical to expedite the troubleshooting process and restore the network performance to expected levels. Network admins know that when the data flow of packets over a network is irregular or lost, business and the end user experience takes a hit.

Some slow network symptoms include:

  • Delay in retrieving data
  • Delays in application transactions
  • Unable to access the database
  • Unable to open collaboration portals

Common causes that result in a slow network include:

  • High bandwidth consumption
  • Congestion
  • Data corruption
  • Segment failures

Therefore, responding to irate users who complain about the ‘waiting for response’ type of messages can become a huge problem. To manage issues such as this, it’s very important to conduct response-time analysis of hops between paths in the network. The main focus would be to identify where exactly the latency spike occurs, and the associated packet loss, if any, in that segment.

Tracert is a common utility used in tracing the route, also known as the path a packet takes through the network. There are a number of CLI and visual tools that help to trace hops in the network. If you run tracert via CMD prompt, you’d get the response times for that single run. However, these response times are not refreshed in real-time, making it difficult to identify where and when a spike occurs.

Furthermore, the response time recorded for each hop and the path each packet travels may not be consistent. However, if spikes are consistent for all regular hops, this is a definite indication of why your network may be slow.

For example, a router or circuit outage or congestion on a link along the path can change the routing path, which in turn can affect latency. In this case, having response time for a single run is not enough to diagnose the issue. Therefore, having visibility into constantly refreshing trace-route data becomes very important.

Traceroute Engineer's Toolset

In a typical WAN/LAN, routers or switches are configured to continuously update in order to determine which will be the next router that is best to get a packet to its destination. Data from visual TraceRoute will help in faster diagnosis, saving network admins a lot of time, eventually minimizing network downtime.

Author

Narendran Vaideeswaran

Naren is a Web enthusiast, and has been in the technology space for over a decade. Started off as a network engineer for a large multi-national bank, and scaled out to marketing IT products, both small and enterprise-class.

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