Why is your network slow?

Recently, I had a friend from Colorado contact me about network issues he is experiencing. He thought his question was simple. “Why does my Data VAR not know my network is in trouble?” This is a very good question that I will attempt to answer.

The first thing to keep in mind is that everything breaks. The second thing to keep in mind is the more complicated the “thing” the more difficult it is to troubleshoot and the more often it will break.

Networks are very complicated and become more even so when you factor in Internet access, VPN’s, WAN’s and the devices that use the network to communicate. The engineers that designed the protocols that run your network understood that things break and built in self-healing characteristics, namely the ability to verify if the data packet arrived to the destination and if it did not arrive to resend it until it does.

Packets that get resent may fail to arrive the second time and need to be resent again and again. This situation can lead to a problem that is far from a mathematically linear problem, but grows exponentially as more network problems arise over time. The primary way the data industry deals with this issue is to increase bandwidth. More bandwidth allows for more retransmitted packets to arrive in a shorter period of time. The term associated with a slow packet is “latency”. By increasing the amount of bandwidth available you decrease the latency within your network. We measure latency in millionths of a second. It takes about 500 milliseconds for a person to be able to notice. This is not the case with VoIP.

Your network is most likely experiencing these issues, but it is being masked by network speed. Enter VoIP, the protocol that never gets retransmitted. VoIP packets must arrive the first time. These network issues often get to the point where they affect VoIP quality and customers unfairly assume it is the VoIP supplier’s fault. Your supplier must then troubleshoot your network issues.

Recently, I used a network tool to measure the amount of communication my PC was having with our network. In ten seconds 187 instances of network communication was reported. Multiply that by the number of devices communicating an equal amount with your network and then multiply that number by the number of seconds in each day! Imagine being tasked with finding the errant network device or setting causing your poor network performance. This is why it is easier to mask the problem with speed than fix the problem. Increased bandwidth comes with an increased cost.

We now have products that will quickly determine ALL your network problems and give you a punch list of items that need to be corrected. Before you purchase a faster network, WAN Link or Internet Access consider resolving your network problems and saving your company time and money in the process.

For more information on this topic or other telecommunication issues please give me a call or send me an email.

Craig Hodges
BSB Communications Inc.   586-859-6308 DID/Cell

What is BYOD?

Bring your own device (BYOD) is another new acronym in the VoIP world.   What inspired this acronym is the tremendous number of employees wanting to work on their own personal devices at work instead of corporate devices.

In the past I have written about smart phone security on a personal level. If you use your smart phone to store data such as banking passwords, phone numbers, or pictures simply setting up the 4 digit passcode and periodically backing up the device on your PC can avert a lot of unnecessary work and headache.

With today’s technology we can give full office desktop phone technology to these personal devices. Whether it is a laptop, tablet, or smart phone, corporate security becomes an issue. IT administrators face a challenge when trying to safeguard corporate information on a device that is not corporately owned.

Technology has kept up with the challenge. Most good telephony equipment suppliers today can offer you the ability to pass corporate information to these devices so they essentially work as a desktop phone. Network administrators can pass that information onto the device but also remotely remove access to corporate data with a few keystrokes. Corporate data is contained on an application running on your Smart Phone. Personal applications remain unchanged and controlled by you, the end users.

Unified Communications Advanced (UCA) provides many features to personal devices. Such features include the ability to place a call and have the corporate caller ID show up instead of your cell phone name or number. Another great feature is LDAP integration (directory), which gives you your corporate contacts. Also, UCA syncs with MS Outlook so you have personal contact information, availability status of your co-workers, and the ability to text chat with your fellow employees.

If you would like a demonstration of these features please feel free to contact me.

Craig Hodges