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sporadic network problems, network overload? 3com, dell switches

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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
Network consists of about 30 stations (all XP pro current with updates), 1 large Dell 6600 file server (Win 2003), 1 email server (Exchange 2003), 1 SQL server, 3 large format plotters/printers.

1. All the building wiring is 1.5 year old CAT-6 professionally installed and fluke verified.  

2.  LAN switches consist of a 3com unmanaged gigabit switch (24 port), 1 3com 100/10 old switch (24 port), and a new linksys 10/100 24 port switch.  These switches are connected by crossover cables.  All the heavy users and server/plotters are connected to the 3com gigabit switch.

Problem:  About once a week, everyone on the Gigabit switch loses connectivity to the network.  Everyone loses connection to the servers, b/c they are plugged into the gigabit switch.  This only lasts about 10 minutes, then clears up and everything works great.

I have tried about 3 different Gigabit switches, both 3com and Dell, and it happens with all of them.  I cannot find a reason why, however, this was noticed by one of the users.

This only happens (supposedly) when some of the CAD users are trying to print about 80 large print files at once, to spool on the plotter.  Could this be overloading the network or causing collisions somehow?  

or does anyone else have a good explanation or have something similar happen to them?  I am kinda lost right now.  Thanks
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