Five Things You Can Do to Stabilize Your Network

Do you ever wonder why your network is slow or unresponsive? Waiting for sites to load and files to transfer can really put a damper on workplace productivity. The good news is, you don’t have to settle for sitting around. Here are five things you can do to decrease latency and increase network stability. 

Get equipment that can handle higher speeds.

One of the most obvious culprits when it comes to slow network speeds is the equipment. PC’s, switches, routers, and firewalls come in all shapes and sizes and can be easily mixed up and ignored. 

What’s more, low-end or outdated equipment might not be able to handle the speeds you need. You might even be paying for more bandwidth than your equipment can deliver. For example, if you are paying your ISP (internet service provider) $1,000 per month for 500Mbps of bandwidth, but your router only has a 100Mbps connection, you’re wasting $800 and 400Mbps. Make sure you have the right equipment for the current needs of your business.

Reduce broadcast storms.

Imagine walking into a room where everyone is saying “hello” and it gets louder and louder until you can’t even talk to the person next to you. That’s what a broadcast storm is like. Broadcast and multicast packets are those “hellos” in the room looking to find the right conversation. 

While broadcast and multicast packets are normal for any network environment, issues arise when broadcast traffic becomes abnormally high. That creates a broadcast storm that consumes network resources to the point that the network can’t function properly. These storms are due to faulty equipment, incorrect configurations, or poorly designed networks. Read more about how to avoid broadcast storms here.

Build in network redundancy.  

If you wake up one morning to find that the freeway essential to your morning commute is closed, you’ll need to find an alternate route. 

A computer network functions much the same way. If your primary route to the internet is shut down, you’re going to need another way out. Sometimes your ISP will have long, strenuous network outages that leave your network black. Preparing a secondary method for getting access is the only way to ensure continuity of network services.

Various vendors offer different features, like redundant standby routers and switches, to help ensure your data can seamlessly transition to the alternate route.

Block streaming applications.

Streaming apps–Netflix, YouTube, Google Music, Spotify, BitTorrent, Hulu, and so on–require tons of bandwidth. That means they can also create tons of congestion. When a lot of people are using these apps on the network, that can create latency. In other words, streaming slows everybody down.

For this reason, many companies have policies discouraging or prohibiting the use of these applications on the corporate network. A next-generation firewall is the best way to prohibit applications you don’t need and reserve bandwidth for critical tasks.

Check your connections.

Even if you fix all the issues listed above, if your wiring is inadequate, you’ll still have latency. 

Troubleshoot wiring problems by asking the following questions. 

  • How are you connecting to the internet? WiFi or ethernet cable? Wireless connections inherently provide a slower, less stable connection than ethernet. 
  • What Wireless Access Points do you currently use? It’s important to know what WAPs are being used because older access points may not run the newest protocols, which can cause your speed to decrease. 
  • Was the building already wired when you occupied the space? If the cabling is cheap or outdated, it may not be able to conduct internet signals properly. 
  • Have you ever had a wireless survey? A wireless survey can help you ensure proper coverage from your wireless access points. You can get a wireless survey from your wireless provider, vendors like Fortinet or Cisco, your MSP, or even an independent contractor. Just remember, it’s important to hire a professional. Wireless deployments done without any true expertise often produce inefficient wireless connectivity. 

Whether your slow speeds are due to wireless or ethernet, you should understand the building plan, the cabling used, access points used, and whether a wireless survey was conducted. Knowing these things can help you identify the cause or causes of the latency and make a plan to correct it.  

You can have an efficient network.

Everyone wants a network that runs at peak efficiency. With the right planning and network design, you can have just that. Today’s equipment is affordable and capable of providing necessary speeds and security for companies of all sizes.   

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