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Testing line quality within a network

Posted on 2009-07-08
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Hi,

I have a client who has seemingly random and unexplainable performance issues connecting to the server. I have a feeling that the line quality of the Cat-5 cabling is poor. What's the best way to test this theory? Does anybody have any software or hardware recommendations?

Thanks!
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Question by:jennx
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7 Comments
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:grimkin
ID: 24805264
Hi,

Try a different port used by a client which does not have performance issues or replace the cable and see if it makes a difference?

HTH
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Author Comment

by:jennx
ID: 24805353
Hi,

I really think a lot of the line in this place are malfunctioning. I already had plugged the server (sbs2003) into one port and a problem was obvious. I couldn't join computers to the domain completely. It would just break at random points. The port I'm plugged into now is better than that, but I want to test all the lines. That's why I'm looking for a line testing solution of some kind. Does anybody have any recommendations for software or hardware solutions on that front.
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LVL 79

Accepted Solution

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lrmoore earned 500 total points
ID: 24809716
If the switch is a managed switch, just look for error counters on the switchports. CRC errors are usually caused by poor cabling.
Else get a qualified cable installer to come in and test all the cables to certify them at CAT5 or better.
Else buy a good cable tester and test them all yourself.
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LVL 32

Assisted Solution

by:Kamran Arshad
Kamran Arshad earned 500 total points
ID: 24811861
Hi,

There are many cable testers available from different vendors. I remember using fluke networks cable testers. You can check the physical media using them. For checking the layer-2 issues, you need a protocol analyzer like Wireshark and turn ON port-mirroring which will help you in determining if it is not a cable fault. In short you will have to step-by-step diagnose the problem.

www.wireshark.org
wiki.wireshark.org
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LVL 12

Assisted Solution

by:atrevido
atrevido earned 500 total points
ID: 24844264
Couple things to add here....
First, CRC errors on a switch port can be caused by any number of factors.....one of them being crappy cabling, the other being a bad NIC.  Here is a good article from cisco on this point - Hardware errors being a bad NIC or switch port.  Usually NIC http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/switches/ps988/products_tech_note09186a00800948bf.shtml
CAT 5 cabling can and if cost allows SHOULD be certified/qualified to ensure that it adheres to the standard and can carry the bandwidth
Here are a couple articles for you about that, but basically, hire someone to do it or do it yourself but that means you have to buy a tester.
http://www.vdvworks.com/UncleTed/test.html
This link below is what is the type of tester you need for your existing wiring, if the cost is prohibitive, then hire someone who owns the tool.  Graybar sells these tools.
http://www.flukenetworks.com/fnet/en-us/products/CableIQ+Qualification+Tester/Overview.htm
 
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:dannlh
dannlh earned 500 total points
ID: 25719893
Also look to see if you can rent the cable testing tool from a local cabling supplier or tool specialty shop. I have a local cabling vendor that rents the tester to me for $150/day. (Its a $5000 tester)
dh
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