Transferring data from one computer to another can be a seemingly simple task, but that data can sometimes pass through dozens, or even hundreds, of components first. Network performance can be affected by both the computers on the network as well as the network itself.
There are several sources of network complications. Here are some common network problems to be aware of so that you can ensure your network stays up and running:
- Operating system (OS): the operating system controls all of the components in the computer. If you have an outdated OS, you’re going to see some performance lag in the network. It’s best to make sure that the OS can handle the programs being run on the device, as well as within the network, to maintain processing speed and reliable information transfer.
- Computer Processing Unit (CPU) usage: If there are a lot of computers running within a network, all accessing a joint software, performance can be affected. You may notice a decline in performance due to numerous data files being run simultaneously. Your network may have a hard time processing all of these points at once. Devices are only as good as the share links between them so if you have a number of computers on your network, you might want to think about an upgrade.
- Hard Drive Usage: Data transfer begins and ends with the hard drive. If several programs are trying to access the hard drive at once, throughput drops exponentially. Even during idle moments, the hard drive is interacting with background processes. Hard drive issues are apparent when a normally fast network still shows a slow upload or download of data, meaning too many programs are running at once and the hard drive is struggling to prioritize the processes.
- Firewalls and Filter: Most operating systems contain internal firewalls and filters to monitor data packets as the come through the network, stopping, checking and verifying each packet to make sure it meets a series of presets of allowable data. Depending on processing power, this can create lag and even OS crashes, especially if the data packets being intercepted are too large or complicated for the OS.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) Software: VPN software is a more advanced form of firewalling and filtering data packets passing through the network. It adds in the effect of compressing or encrypting the data so that it can only be read or interpreted on the current network, preventing external access. This can be very costly as it’s a more complicated step in isolating the data.
- Memory (RAM): The more RAM a computer has, the less it accesses the hard drive. Memory is like the waiting room for processing power; the larger your space the more amounts of data can be processed in turn. Poor or inadequate RAM means the data must flow into and out of the hard drive more often to remove it from memory, which overtaxes and slows processing speed.
- Poor Network Adapter or System clock: Whenever data is transmitting through the network, computer performance is only as good as the network adapter and the drivers installed to process the data packets. Without the proper drivers the hard drive cannot process the data it’s receiving, causing issues. If the system clock is faulty, then there could be complications from the operating system. This occurs when data is moved from the network to the hard drive faster than the hard drive can process, overwhelming the computer. It’s rare on newer systems or with updated software but compatibility issues are always a concern.
- User Error: User interactions can be a significant concern for overall system performance. Viewing websites can drop CPU performance by 10%, as well as clicking on other files and folders on the desktop while the hard drive is processing can slow the hard drive down by 25%. It is best to leave the computer alone whenever network data is processing so the hard drive does not add unnecessary checks to the RAM queue.
- Other Factors: Sometimes, network problems are not as obvious, such as device compatibility, whether you’re on a LAN network or using wireless, using a VPN network, having a high enough bandwidth for the amount of data you’re attempting to process and whether your network is subject to other traffic from external devices.
No matter the cause, if you’re having issues with your network that are impacting your business, you might want to call in a professional. SingleSource Communications works with businesses and IT departments to keep business networks running smoothly
and efficiently. Make sure your system’s needs and equipment are properly supported – give us a call or contact us today