Extra network activity

Posted on 2006-06-21
Medium Priority
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
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
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 2000 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 http://www.ewido.net/en/download/ 
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.
Video: Liquid Web Managed WordPress Comparisons

If you run run a WordPress, you understand the potential headaches you may face when updating your plugins and themes. Do you choose to update on the fly and risk taking down your site; or do you set up a staging, keep it in sync with your live site and use that to test updates?

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 (www.dumeter.com) 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,

Featured Post

Simple, centralized multimedia control

Watch and learn to see how ATEN provided an easy and effective way for three jointly-owned pubs to control the 60 televisions located across their three venues utilizing the ATEN Control System, Modular Matrix Switch and HDBaseT extenders.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

WARNING:   If you follow the instructions here, you will wipe out your VTP and VLAN configurations.  Make sure you have backed up your switch!!! I recently had some issues with a few low-end Cisco routers (RV325) and I opened a case with Cisco TA…
This article is in regards to the Cisco QSFP-4SFP10G-CU1M cables, which are designed to uplink/downlink 40GB ports to 10GB SFP ports. I recently experienced this and found very little configuration documentation on how these are supposed to be confi…
Internet Business Fax to Email Made Easy - With  eFax Corporate (http://www.enterprise.efax.com), you'll receive a dedicated online fax number, which is used the same way as a typical analog fax number. You'll receive secure faxes in your email, f…
Monitoring a network: how to monitor network services and why? Michael Kulchisky, MCSE, MCSA, MCP, VTSP, VSP, CCSP outlines the philosophy behind service monitoring and why a handshake validation is critical in network monitoring. Software utilized …
Suggested Courses

800 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question