Thursday, August 27, 2015

"The network is slow!" Or, how to stop worrying and love the troubleshooting.

What are the possible causes of slow workstation performance?

We have all run into it before--the dreaded, vague complaint that "the network is slow." We all know that sometimes it is real, and sometimes it isn't. It is so hard to take at face value, because often this is all of the information that your users can give you to describe the problem. How do you go about troubleshooting something with both so many possible causes and so much subjectivity?

First, it can help to think through the possible areas that could slow down the user's experience, and eliminate the simplest causes first. Here are some possibilities:
  • A hardware problem on the user's PC.
  • A resource limitation on the user's PC.
  • A hardware problem on a key server.
  • A resource usage limitation on a key server.
  • An application or service bug or hang.
  • A network problem at the physical layer.
  • A network congestion issue.
Let's start by talking to the user, and running the very simplest checks first.