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Help with interpreting SmokePing-generated graphs

Posted on 2011-02-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I work for a small non-profit organization.  We have a T1 line shared by about 50 Windows PCs (though only some of them are used at any given time).  People often complain about network sluggishness.  A vendor recently installed SmokePing on a Linux box.  Here are some graphs related to pinging news.google.com:

http://chernavsky.dreamhosters.com/temp/smoke_ping_google.jpg

Can someone help with interpreting these graphs?  Does this look like what you would expect from a T1 line?  Looks like there is some packet loss.  I just don't know enough about this stuff to know what to make of it.

Thanks.
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Question by:chernavsky
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by:up_grayed_out
ID: 34873119
How does this compare vs. Smokeping stats for an internal IP, like the default gateway? Just wondering if the latency occurs on the LAN, or only on the Internet.

I pinged news.google.com from a T1 with only one client, mine. Yes, I have my own personal T1, for now. Awesome.
Anyway, latency was avg=26ms min=25ms max=32ms
0% packet loss

50 users doesn't sound like that much for a T1. You might want to think about a proxy. Also, you could set up a WSUS server, so all your clients aren't pulling updates over the internet.

Kudos to you for using Smokeping. I'm a big fan. It looks like you're running it on Windows? Runs much better on Linux, and you can zoom in on graphs much easier. Check out my blog for a step-by-ste install guide.
http://www.epoxyjournal.com/2010/03/smokeping-server-install-soup-to-nuts.html

Good luck!
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Author Comment

by:chernavsky
ID: 34873236
@up_grayed_out: There is very low latency and no packet loss to the default gateway.

If you look at the graph I posted, there are some blue and purple data-points that indicate packet loss.  Is that normal?  Should I be concerned?

Also, if you look at the "Last 10 Days" graph, you see distinct peaks during business hours.  Is the magnitude of those peaks within the range that you'd expect for  T1?

By the way, SmokePing is running an an Ubuntu machine that is being set up as a monitoring server.
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by:up_grayed_out
up_grayed_out earned 125 total points
ID: 34874303
If your users are complaining, you should be concerned. Looking at my smokeping server, most of my sites have 0% packet loss, only a couple places in north Africa have loss. You may be saturating your T1, or you may have a problem on the T1 line itself. Do you see any errors on your router interfaces? Clear counters, then look for fresh errors. If no errors, than you may be saturating your line. 50 users on a T1 can do that. Especially, if there's no proxy to control what they can access, or if each Windows machine is pulling updates directly from Microsoft.
You can use MRTG to monitor bandwidth consumption. Since you've already got Smokeping on Linux, you won't have to do much to set up MRTG on the same box. You can also set up a netflow tool to analyze the traffic and find out which applications are using all your bandwidth.




http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/
http://www.networkuptime.com/tools/netflow/
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rfc1180 earned 125 total points
ID: 34874464
as available bandwidth decrease, latency increases. The packet loss could be a result of link stauration as already describe. You can view the 5 minute input/output counters on your T1 router (Assuming Cisco); Also using cact or MRTG utilizing SNMP will give you better information on bandwidth utilization. If bandwidth utilization is not the result of packet loss, contact your T1 provider and have them pull PMs (Performance Monitors) and during non-peak hours have them run an intrusive test to your NIU and/or DSU with test patterns to ensure the link is solid.

Billy
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Author Closing Comment

by:chernavsky
ID: 34879383
Thanks for the help.  Appreciate it.
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Author Comment

by:chernavsky
ID: 34888380
@up_grayed_out -- your conduct is most unprofessional.  I've reported it.  For the record, there was not a lot of overlap between your answer and rfc1180's.  And, you said that 50 users is not a lot for a T1.  I've heard otherwise from a number of different sources.
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by:rfc1180
ID: 34894097
Yup very unprofessional; good riddance!
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