My network is slow – do I need to upgrade the switch and router?

One of our partners had a customer that was experiencing significant and disruptive network performance issues. It seemed to be very slow, even though the promised speed was 4Mbps. The customer had no idea why the internet link was so slow.

An MSP (Managed Services Provider) partner was asked to investigate the situation. After an initial review, the MSP considered the following options:

  1. Secure the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) because it was set to be open to all traffic and applications – the open architecture could be the issue
  2. Upgrade the routers and switches, because they were somewhat old and may be causing the issue

Both were highly speculative conclusions, based on experience rather than facts. Instead of continuing to speculate, the MSP installed Sinefa to help it work out what was really going on.

Within a few hours, the MSP knew exactly what was causing the slow network speeds. In fact, it had nothing to do with either security or aged network equipment.

The problem was simple: congestion. YouTube, NBA.com, as well as some other proprietary ‘unclassified' traffic were congesting the link and causing latency to rocket from 15ms to 240ms. This can clearly be seen in the screenshot below.

Conclusion? Sometimes, a router and switch upgrade may be warranted. Sometimes, settings do need to be changed. However, in many cases, it’s simply a matter of non-business related applications and traffic consuming valuable network resources.

Instead of rushing to spend money – that won’t, in fact, address the problem – obtaining visibility of network traffic is all that you need. Having identified the issue, the MSP could apply traffic shaping to control the non-essential traffic, fixing the problem and restoring performance to the expected levels.

Sinefa provides visibility and control – which enables quick diagnosis and a rapid fix to be applied, solving the problems. It helps boost productivity and saves money, by avoiding unnecessary costs.