Network seems to bounce or stall

November 27, 2012 at 02:50:25
Specs: Windows XP

Really need some help here. Small/medium network with a single router, a handful of switches a couple of wireless access points, PCs and a few network cameras. Everything was working fine until we had a power outage. Then we started noticing issues - (1) we have a program (Peachtree Accounting) that utilizes mapped drives and it kept coming up with communication errors like it was having troubles reaching the mapped drive. (2) The wireless was acting very sluggish or was losing throughput altogether, even though it constantly showed excellent reception at 54mbps. So, thinking the router had developed issues from the power outage, replaced it. No change. Then, another power outage, everything went back to working perfectly. A couple weeks later, for no apparent reason, the problems started again. Got another router, no improvement. We have two Peachtree "servers" - one used by people in one office, one used by people in another office. The only common physical element between all of the effected devices is the router. The WAP connects directly to the router, the first server and computers connect to "switch2" that connects to "switch1", the other computers connect to "switch3" that connects to "switch1" and "switch1" is connected to the router. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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#1
November 27, 2012 at 09:22:15

The wireless was acting very sluggish or was losing throughput altogether, even though it constantly showed excellent reception at 54mbps.

Wireless being what it is, "sluggish" is a good way to describe it's performance compared to a wired connection. I would not use a wireless connection for anything meaningful as sooner or later it will bite you where it hurts and wireless is NEVER a good idea for any kind of database connection.

If you are using a SOHO router, you will want to recycle the power on it (ie: unplug, count to ten slowly, then plug it back in) and after doing so, update the firmware if you do not already have the most recent version installed on that router.

After doing so, if the issue doesn't go away, the power outage may have screwed up the hardware in the router and you'll want to replace it.

I would recommend buying a UPS and plugging your Router into it. This would offer power conditioning, protection against brownouts and spikes as well as giving you some run time in the case of a power outage. You might want to look at something in the 1000 to 1500 volt amp range and plug nothing else besides your router and perhaps a switch or two into said UPS. Remember, with a UPS, the bigger the load, the shorter the run time on battery. Also, if it looks like the power outage is going to last longer than your run time, this allows you to gracefully shut down all equipment plugged into the UPS rather than have it power off hard and fast like an unprotected device would. It's those fast/hard outages that fry devices like SOHO Routers.

I prefer APC's devices over all the other manufacturer's I've tried in the past and highly recommend them.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#2
November 27, 2012 at 09:48:43

I greatly appreciate your taking the time to reply to my issue. I do realize we need to add UPSs to our network devices but, as I stated I have replaced the router twice with no improvement in the performance of the network. I am looking for ideas of what else could be producing such an effect. Thank you.

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#3
November 27, 2012 at 10:51:25

Well, upon rereading your original post more closely I would again suggest you get UPS's fast.

Also, stop daisychaining switches wherever possible. If your router has 4 LAN ports and you only have 3 switches then all switches should be plugged into the router directly, not into another switch. The reason you don't want to daisychain is that the bandwidth aggregates. So the switch connected to the router that has another daisychained to it is carrying the full bandwidth of both switches. This can cause issues with throughput.

I'm thinking perhaps some, if not all, of your wireless clients were on and running when the power went out. If so, then the issue could also be with their wireless network interfaces. I would recommend updating the drivers on all of them that aren't already using the most recent drivers available.

Also, you may have to update or replace your AP's. They could have been adversely affected by the power outage too.

Wireless is inherently susceptible to lag and latency and even though you have a strong signal and a solid connection, it will still never perform as well as an equivalent wired solution. Keep in mind too, you're only getting 54 Mbps with your present wireless solution. Wired clients are getting no less than 100 Mbps and more likely 1000 Mbps.

Are your wired clients having issues too or is it only the wireless ones? If it's just the wireless ones, well, that tells you a lot right. Wherever possible, and wherever it really matters, clients should be wired, not wireless.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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