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Can too many people streaming music slow down a network?

Posted on 2009-05-18
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I am the IT Manager at my company of about 100 people.  I'd say at any given time throughout any given day, at least 30 are streaming audio and/or video from the Internet to their workstations.  Our Internet connection seems to REALLY slow down.  My theory is that there's just too many people streaming.  We are on a bonded T1.  Advice? Suggestions?  Is there any way to prove this?  My network is setup like so (very vanilla):

Router----Firewall (SonicWall Pro 2040)-------Switch (connected to other switches with all servers and workstations attached to these switches.


Thanks in advance.
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Question by:tenover
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splait earned 1000 total points
ID: 24417638
That can be the case.  Absolutely.  You would have to determine how much bandwidth the streaming audio takes up, but anytime you are streaming, bandwidth is being "permanently" blocked off by each streaming user, cutting down how much is available for everyone else.  Video requires a lot more bandwidth than audio.

I guess the best way to prove it would be to quiet the network as totally as possible (after hours, when no large processes are running), and measure the amount of bandwidth a "quiet" network uses.   Then set up streaming audio on one PC.  See how much bandwidth above the "quiet" bandwidth is being taken up.  Add another streaming PC to the mix with video, noting the same.  You might add one more, but you should be able to map the trend from that.

If you don't have a way to measure the bandwidth at any time, talk to your access provider .  They may be able to provide the stats for you.
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by:Dextertronic
Dextertronic earned 1000 total points
ID: 24417643
Hell yeah, youtube, any streaming video, internet radio will all slay your bandwidth.

Your cheapest way of sorting it out.... IT Policy document.

Write out what your users are allowed and arent allowed to do on your network

Then get executive backing from the top  to enforce it.

make sure the penalties for network abuse are clear.

Make sure everyone reads it, agrees to it and ideally signs off on it.

Every new employee should be made to read it first day on the job.


If you want to spend money look athe the Barracuda Web Filter, very cool device that does reporting and blocking if necessary.
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Author Comment

by:tenover
ID: 24417657
Thanks, that is exactly what I was  thinking.  If I can actually PROVE that our Internet access would be a bit faster if people were not allowed to stream audio/video, I guarantee that I can get Executive backing/enforcement.  My ISP provides bandwidth usage reports in realtime, but it's just a "bandwidth in" and "bandwidth out" report......No way of telling WHAT is using the bandwidth.....
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by:splait
ID: 24417679
Use the test method I gave you along with that report and you should have the amunitiion you need..  Then, publish the rules as Dextertronic said,
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by:Dextertronic
ID: 24417698
If you they insist on seeing stats and figures you can try one the of the free packet capture programs:
http://www.slac.stanford.edu/xorg/nmtf/nmtf-tools.html#capture
They can analyze all the traffic that crosses your network.

Easier just to put your foot down and tell them what's what.
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by:Dextertronic
ID: 24417738
This is a nice high level article from CIO world
http://www.cio.com/article/25790/Streaming_Video_Invades_Corporate_Networks
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by:Johneil1
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