Extra network activity

Posted on 2006-06-21
Last Modified: 2013-12-07
We are using a ZyXEL 662HW VPN router and ZyXEL G-302 PCI adapters.
We have 5 work stations on the network and all are working well.
All five work stations are running Windows XP Pro.
Problem:  Two of the work stations have activity on the little monitor symbol
in the bottom tray.  The activity is approx. every 5 sec. for approx. 1 sec.
This activity is with no applications running on any station and none have internet explorer active.  
I have looked at the task lists and all are empty.
This activity makes the network slow and intermittent.
How can I tell what is causing this activity?
                           Thanks, Russ
Question by:RFIGOR
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 16954190
I would load ethereal and run it on the pc's it should show you source desitnation and type of traffic.

give that a shot should give you clues to were the traffic is comming from.

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 16954466
You can also use fport to see what all applications are listening on ports.

It could be some malware/spyware ot could be Automatic Windows Update client trying to access the windows site.

You will be sure of it, only after capturing packets and then comparing the traffic with the processes running.
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 16954942
Numerous installed applications can cause this such as Windows update, Virus update, QuickTime, even some printers such as Lexmarks, however the frequency of activity and the fact that there must be sufficient volume to slow the network, is suspicious. First I would run at a command line:
 netstat  -abn
Look through the first list of "ESTABLISHED" connections. Below each of these it will show the application making the connection such as [Outlook.exe] see if any of these are suspicious or unknown.
If nothing shows up there, I would run a full virus scan, and download and run Ewido anti-spyware from 
Note Ewido is a great tool but quite ruthless, if you have any P2P or downloader programs it will probably remove them.........which is a good thing.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 16955160
>Problem:  Two of the work stations have activity on the little monitor symbol
>in the bottom tray.  The activity is approx. every 5 sec. for approx. 1 sec.

That is *not* a reliable network diagnostic tool, period.

>This activity makes the network slow and intermittent.

You cannot draw that conclusion from the goofy system tray icons.

Use your firewall or router to monitor your network traffic, if you don't have a managed switch/hub.


Expert Comment

ID: 16955743
Sounds like good old netbios (AKA WINS) traffic on those two machines.

Perhaps someone forgot to disable lmhosts?
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 16955832
Download and install DUMeter ( and use it to monitor the bandwidth used by the machines in question.  If it's what I suspect it is, you'll see less than 2k pop up about once every 5-10 seconds.  That's just XP checking to see if anyone else is around, and letting others know it's around.  The slow and intermittent thing sounds more like the cards are on the edge of the viable signal path, or are receiving interference from another nearby access point on the same channel.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 16966410
>Sounds like good old netbios (AKA WINS) traffic on those two machines.

>Perhaps someone forgot to disable lmhosts?

Who knows?  Could be anything if all you're using is system tray icons.

To everyone who keeps suggesting host-based monitoring tools:

How is that going to work if the network is switched?


It's not, unless the software is installed on *every* machine - while this may work for a network of 5 machines, it's still more work than simply monitoring the edge device (which is where the bottleneck is anyway), and is utterly unscalable.

Monitor the edge device - if it can't be monitored, spend more than $10 on edge device.


Expert Comment

ID: 16981681
use DUmeter
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 16982083

Did you even read my post (and its relevant concerns)?  You do realize that you are simply duplicating previous advice without giving credit?

>>To everyone who keeps suggesting host-based monitoring tools:

>>How is that going to work if the network is switched?

>use DUmeter



LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16984877
Thanks RFIGOR,

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