I was with a software company back in 1999. This software was client – server based. Anyway, this one large client (5 Star Resort), had a very nice spa that used our software. This software was fairly new, as we had just developed the windows based software, and upgraded this client from our old dos based system. They were having nothing but issues. The connection to the server kept dropping and timing out, and when it did work, it was slower than molasses in winter time at the north pole. We tried everything we could think of to try and fix the issue. We even re-created a small network with their database back in our office…we couldn’t recreate their issue. It was decided that I should go figure out what was going on. I suggested, that considering the size of this client, my boss should come too.
We arrived on site at this very nice hotel, and proceeded on a tour of the building. After the tour, we asked to see the spa and the server room. I didn’t even need to plug my diagnostic laptop into the network to see the issue…it was staring at me in the face. I stood at the entrance way into the server room looking at about 50 48-port 3-com devices…all the lights were flashing at once. It looked like something out of Star Trek…all the pretty lights! A quick check of the device said that my suspicions were correct – they were all 3com hubs…all connected together!
I plugged my laptop in to the network and ran my bandwidth analyzer…it instantly jumped to 93%. Now if you remember, to minimize collisions, your network should never be above 40% utilization. There were so many fragmented packets on the network, I couldn’t distinguish a single good packet!
Luckily, I brought a small switch from our office. I found the hubs connecting the Spa, and plugged those into my switch and re-ran my diagnostics…Utilization dropped to 15%, and no collisions! I headed back up to the work area, and spent the day there with the workers. They were so happy! No more dropped connections and the system was running faster than it had since we put it in!
I made my recommendations to the I.T. director and the I.T. manager, who were both annoyed and very pleased at the same time!
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