How can I tell where the Internet is slowing down on my network

Posted on 2009-02-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I'm sure there'll be a million places this could be happening, but our Internet is slow; it has been for a while.
2 months ago, I replaced our ageing BT router with the Netgear DG834; this brought immediate improvement.
We then installed a SonicWall TZ190 for web filtering; it might be used for more next year. Our machines now point at the Sonicwall as their gateway.
So, we have a BT line coming into the Netgear. Cat5 from this then goes to our TZ190 for firewall and filtering. This then goes to our SBS 2003 SP2 server and into our domain.
Now, the Netgear shows 7 MB plus connection to the Internet.
Running on our server gives a diabolical 1 MB this is before most users arrive on site.
I'm new to SonicWall, but I pinged Google from its diagnostic page and the speed response was pretty dismal.
Is my problem with the TZ190?
Is the Netgear reporting correctly?
How do I prove its not my server?
Any help in narrowing down the problem is much appreciated.
It might be a gut feeling and I don't want to lay any false trails, but I feels this probel is more since we've had the SonicWall, but I might be imagining this.
Cheers folk
Question by:jasonbournecia
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    Any chance you can plug a laptop straight to the router (bypassing the SonicWall) and test the speed again? The result should tell where the problem is?

    Author Comment

    Sorry ormerodrutter, I meant to do that this morning.
    Okay done with depressing results.

    First is a ping to

    Reply from bytes=32 time=811ms TTL=238
    Reply from bytes=32 time=471ms TTL=238
    Reply from bytes=32 time=831ms TTL=238
    Reply from bytes=32 time=742ms TTL=238

    Next. is 3 speedtests from 3 different sites.
    First is download, second is upload.

    190 kbps
    114 kbps



    As you can see, mind blowingly depressing!

    How come the Netgear shows a downstream of 7616 kbps? Am I reading it wrong?

    So the problem could be Netgear or our ISP; BT.
    Any more pointers?
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    Right I assumed the above were obtained by plugging the laptop straight to the router bypassing the SonicWall. Try running a speedtest by going to - it tells you the current speed of your line.

    And yes they are depressing results. I got reply from google with 20-25ms with a 8Mb line. I also assumed you have restarted your router many many times? It is likely to by your ISP's (BT) problem, do you have a business broadband package with a low contention ratio?


    Author Comment

    Yes, laptop straight into router.

    One of the tests was with Thinkbroadband. I ran it again anyway; results below
    765 Down
    182 Up
    We have a normal Option 3 package with BT, but we are in Hove, in a residential area, so we might need to look at another deal?
    I haven't rebooted the router for a month, will do that right now and retest.

    Author Comment

    How embarrassing!
    After reboot, I have:
    3610 down
    314 up
    Not wow, but a massive improvement.

    Do you think I should still consider looking at a lower contention package?
    LVL 23

    Accepted Solution

    Though I don't know the reason but restarting the router usually helps, at least for a few days. You may put a "timer" to reboot your router every other day?

    BT option3 is a residential package. Although they say a max of 8Mb but you will never get that. I don't know where Hove is but if you can something between 3-5Mb that would be good enough.

    Contention ratio for residential line is 50:1, while it is 20:1 on a business line. Contention ratio means the max number of "user" on the line, ie you may get 50 households "sharing" the same 8Mb broadband. Business broadband package is more expensive but reliable.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks for your help. I know about contention ratios, I just suppose I've got away with it before now, but we might be running more RDC sessions next year and will at least need more upload speed, so I might need to look at a business package; we are a business after all!
    Thanks again ormerodrutter. No relation to Michael Rutter the racer?!
    LVL 23

    Expert Comment

    I supposed you know SBS only supports 2 concurrent RDP connections; so unless you actually meant RWW (to user workstation NOT server) you may need to reconsider your options.

    However whether you use a residential pack or business pack you get the same download/upload speed. RDC isn't bandwidth intensive just make sure you put extra memory to your server.

    Ormerodrutter is a company name and one of the boss (one of the founder) is Garry Rutter. I can pass him your question regarding relation to the racer :)

    Author Comment

    Thanks for that. I've started to prepare. Our second server is new and I specced it to make sure it would run TS and SQL comfortably and this will happen when we upgrade our SBS later this year or next.
    We got the SonicWall so that later we can tie 2 BT lines together to give us more bandwidth if and when we go down to TS.
    Thanks again.

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