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Cannot get adequate bandwidth to run application using T1

Posted on 2003-11-15
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Last Modified: 2010-03-17
Here is my setup:

I have a full T1 line with a point-to-point connection between two offices which are about 4 miles apart, with a big river in between. I am using 1720 Cisco routers. Both sites A and B have their own DSL routers for Internet access.

I have replicated the two Win2003 Servers on A and B. However there is an application called Agent Office, for real estate, that has a Database which requires a lot of bandwidth. The users on B map network drives on A and access the database directly. The speed is very very slow, especially when all the 5 users are connected.

My initial rection was to instal a second T1 and piggy-back them to get 3MBs. Before I did that I ran a simulation test by forcing wireless cards to run at 3Mbs. The result was very dissappointing.

Is there anyone with a solution out there? f-course the company cannot afford a T3.
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Question by:usaidata
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

by:lrmoore
ID: 9756483
Do you have any metrics on the utilization of the T1?
What kind of database? SQL? Access?
Are users connecting using TCP/IP or named pipes in the ODBC connector?
What does the database vendor suggest as bandwidth for clients? Do they have anyone using it over T1?
How are you handling the routing between sites/to internet?
What is the default gateway settings on servers and clients?

Suggest that the 1720 on each side is the default gateway for all respective users on that side, the router then has a default route pointing to the DSl router.


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Author Comment

by:usaidata
ID: 9758902
There are no metrics on the T1 utilization. I thought since the only use is for a LAN-to_LAN use there was no need for any allocations.

The Database is designed into an application for Real Estate, I dont think its either SQL or Access. Its just one of those inexpensive applications where the customer is willing to spend money on making it work the way they have it because they are familiar with its functinality and they dont want to learn anything new.

The users are using TCP/IP. The application has no capabilty for OBDC piping. The vendor does not have anyone using this application in a similar manor. Instead individuals check a copy of the database to laptops and synchronize afterwards. So they do not have any specifications on the bandwidth requirements.

I am using EGRIP for routing. The workstations on LAN A use Fastethernet0 's Ip address as the default gateway. The gateway of last resort is then set as the DSL router for internet access. The same setup is on LAN B.

One more thing, the actual connection to Server A, where the application sits in is via VPN. When users on LAN B have a live VPN connection they cannot get internet access. When they disconnect the VPN then they get it. On LAN A everything is normal

I hope this gives you a better picture of my setup

Thanks
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

by:lrmoore
ID: 9759612
The layout seems like the most efficient.

Without metrics on utilization or error counts on the T1 link, we can't rule out circuit issuew. If it is fully utilized then it is easy to say that you need more bandwidth. If it is not overutilized, then it is other issues. Could be errors on the T1. Use 'show int serial 0' to look for increasing error counters to rule out circuit issues.

How big is this database? Could it be more practical to replicate/syncronize copies of the database on each of the two servers so that the local users only connect to the local server, yet the two servers can replicate with each other at night?

Another factor could be netbios name resolution across the wan link. How are you handling that? Do you have WINS/DNS on both sides that replicate with each other? LMHOSTS file? Forwarding netbios broadcasts?
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Author Comment

by:usaidata
ID: 9760350
I will give feedback on the 'show int ser0' when I go to the site.

The database is 1.8GB. Replication does not work because that will only overwrite data with the latest on either servers. The vendor does not have a way to synchronize the full database except individual checkouts.

I have not set WINS/DNS to replicate on either side. WINS is not enabled on B.

I will try replicating the servers, infact initially I had them replicating, then I disabled after I discovered that the database would not work with replication.

Thanks
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Accepted Solution

by:
td_miles earned 500 total points
ID: 9761536
I agree that you should look into the application a bit more and the bandwidth requirements of it and if there are better ways to use the application.

Install MRTG on a PC and monitor the T1 line for a couple of days to see how much it is being used. MRTG is quick and easy to setup to do this.

You could also look at options like Terminal Services, so that the people at site B access a TS session on a server at site A. By doing this, the data going over your T1 would only be the TS stuff, not the actual application. I don't know what it costs for the extra bandwidth, but its entirely possible that a TS/Citrix solution would quickly pay for itself.

You also say that the two sites are only 4 miles apart with a river between them. Do you have Line of Site between the two sites ? If so, then a wireless connection could be an option (you could keep your T1 as a backup). You can get wireless soutions up to 1Gbps now. These are not using the standard 202.11a/b/g frequency range. There are also some products now that use what is called "Near Line of Sight", which means you don't need to have direct LoS (as you probably guessed). Have a look at: http://www.proxim.com/products/bwa/point/tsunami/

It is quite normal when accessing a VPN to lose connectivity to other networks (eg. Internet). There is a way around this called "split-tunneling" but it is often not used for security reasons so that a computer is not connected to both the Internet and directly to a company LAN and so cannot act as a conduit for a virus/trojan/misc bad program to connect to the company LAN.

Just some suggestions, as it looks like you are stuck with a proprietary application, so you will have to work around this...
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Author Comment

by:usaidata
ID: 9771464
I had considered TS before, when I tried to run the application I got errors. I finally contacted the vendor and we sorted out issues to do with some INI files. I have ordered the requisite licences and have users currently running on the 120 days trial.

Thanks to Irmoore and td_miles, you guys both guided me to eliminating unworkable solutions
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