Administrator 10/13/2017
Early signals of poor network and how to fix them

Giant technological advancements create problems which need solving. For instance, computing technology is rapidly moving from mainframes to PCs and minicomputers creating a constriction in data movements between and within computers. In fact, the uncharted territory of cloud computing and virtualisation creates all manner of logjams on external and internal networks.

Technologies companies want everything run on the internet including implantable chips.. However, fibre infrastructure is finite and adding more devices whether wireless or not slows down the networks leading to poor signals. In such a competitive environment, recognising early warning signs of a poor network signal is paramount in network support. Effective network monitoring can save huge network repair costs if the problem is identified early.

Early Signals of Poor Network

Signs of poor network

To determine if the IT network signal is poor, below are the signs to look for;

  1. Uncharacteristically poor VOIP (Voice over IP) quality

    VOIP data is highly delay-sensitive in nature characterised by stuttering and static communications. In fact, defective and lost data packets that are not perceptible in other applications often get amplified over VoIP; an indication of an unreliable network. Being that VOIP technology and devices receive signals that traverse IT networks, it is only instructive to utilise VOIP in diagnosing the extent of a poor network signal.

  2. Video pixelation and freezing

    Low quality of video transmission is often revealed in video pixelation which generally refers to the interference of video stream characterised by the rainbow colouration. Video traffic is relentless and hence quite demanding especially on internet connections and (WAN) wide area network links. Poor video transmission is a signal of poor network and if not handled properly can easily aggravate the problem. Often, the early signs of a poor network will be voice element without video in a live video feed or buffering playback videos.

  3. Slow running applications and hanging

    Many reasons can lead to applications running slow, including poor IT network. There are mechanisms in the network support protocols to recover delayed or lost data pockets whenever applications send data. However, sometimes users sit through hourglass action animations as the recovery protocol struggles in recover delayed or lost data packets. Ultimately, computer screens may freeze and typed characters may not appear and the app hangs.

  4. Slow rendering web pages

    Broken web pages with poorly loaded images or a web page with text only, are all telltale signs of a poorly rendering webpage; another indication of a poor network. Largely, the common assumption is internet downlink problem. However, congestion on uplink may also be the culprit. A congested network may prevent prolific data movement between devices from successfully pinging back to websites or to servers transmitting web content. This is a common problem with ADSL broadband services, especially with cloud storage synchronisation.

  5. Slow downloads

    Downloading files from servers on LAN (local area networks), the internet and far-end servers on WAN via VPN with inconsistency or uncharacteristic slowness may indicate poor network issues. Invariably, the network support protocol through which downloads flows chokes data flow in a bid to prevent congestion on real-time user applications running on the network. It could also be a real network wide congestion, where the file source speeds are higher than the receiving network. 

How to Fix Poor Network Issues

Fix network issues

  1. Easing congestion

    There are many reasons for congestion on a network and may be difficult to pinpoint the problem. The first step is to carry out a common survey on some users to establish if the problem is common. Sample trace data between WAN and LAN interface may if many users are trying to download data at the same time. Luckily, there are free tools such as traceroute and ping critical in pinpointing where a congestion problem could be and hence institute intervening mechanisms.

  2. Fix Bad IT Network Architecture

    Business IT departments spend a lot of time organising IT networking architecture. Thereon the grand plan finds its way to technicians to build and eventually to consultants to maintain it. Inadvertently, the computing environment exponentially grows. Subsequently, the need for convenience, mismanagement, and departmental politics along the line erode a once coherent IT network architecture. Therefore, if the poor network problems persist, it may well call for a complete overhaul of the IT infrastructure. Granted, it is an expensive proposition, but not as expensive as the ad hoc interventions whose expenses balloon over time

  3. Utilise alternative DNS Server

    Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical component of any IT network infrastructure. However, it is the most misunderstood component of the network support system. Simply put, DNS looks up and converts information typed up into browsers into computer recognisable IP address. Sometimes, DNS may experience downturns or go off entirely. Utilising alternative DNS’s may speed up access to data, hence browsing.

  4. Hardware troubleshooting

    Often, the internet service providers (ISP) bear the blame whenever there is a poor network. However, how many times have network-support technicians pressed the reset button and abracadabra! Problem solved! Sometimes, hardware assets like modems, PCs, and routers experience static charges which impair their general performance and can easily be cleared through turning them off and on again.

  5. Check for Bandwidth-hogging Apps

    The problem could be with software configuration. Installing and utilising apps like BitTorrent over regular network hogs the connection. It is advisable to install ad blocking extensions to guard the network against high bandwidth consumption by videos, animations, and ads. Cloud computing especially file-synch apps like Google Drive, Dropbox consumes data in the background resulting in a poor network. A simple act of forestalling the background operation of these apps can rejuvenate a poor network.

  6. Call the ISP Provider

    If all efforts bear no fruits in improving the quality of the network, a call to the ISP provider might be a good idea to rule out that the issue could be on their service. It also could be that the current plan has outlived its purpose and there is need to upgrade. While at it, perform an internet speed test with the numerous free speed rest apps and determine if indeed the bandwidth corresponds with the contract signed.

Many users and especially businesses can already associate with a slowdown in traffic data speeds in peak times. The cyberspace is now critically overcrowded. Cloud computing and virtualisation exacerbate the problem by connecting data into the outside world. For those who can afford it, private networks are a viable option. But there many more who can’t justify such expenses. Compounded by the fact that the current fibre infrastructure may require dramatic investments over the next ten years or so, it only makes sense to optimise the current networks to extract maximum utility and assert network security. Knowing what to look for and how to solve emerging issues goes a long way into keeping businesses in profit by running networks optimally.

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