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Simple Windows Network Performance Question

Posted on 2011-03-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I need help settling a debate.  My company has two floors.  A top floor & a bottom floor.  The software guys are all on the top floor using a gigabit switch.  The sales staff is on the bottom using a 100BaseT switch.  The router has a 10 megabit WAN connection.  

If one of our software people were to download a 2 GB file from Microsoft, for instance, using Internet Explorer w/ no 3rd party download accelerators, would that noticeably affect the network performance for the other employees?   My company will often have 1 or 2 remote desktop connections (or G2M) running simultaneously, but other than that, nothing out of the ordinary goes on during normal activity.  

Personally, I've downloaded simultaneous files that took a little time to complete & I've never heard a whisper from anyone, but it's turned into a dispute with someone .... and honestly, it's been over 10 years since I've had to do any network performance calculations.  I frankly don't remember how to justify my point.  

Can anyone help me with calculations to justify my opinion on this?   ...or if someone disagrees, throw me some calculations that would disprove it.  I know I've not been very detailed, but this doesn't need to be.  I'm just simply trying to put this to rest with him once and for all.  I work with older IT people that are accustomed to older ways and older understandings.  I'll be hard pressed to believe that a standard Windows download w/ no acceleration could have that kind of affect.

Thanks!
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Question by:trs28
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by:godd31
godd31 earned 250 total points
ID: 35062231
From my experience yes this could definitely be noticed, especially over a WAN because most of the data packets are essentially routed from your corporate office. Depending how your company monitors and throttles your connection in your office even streaming videos from 10 of your users there could have a small hit on performance. A riverbed device could be used to help take the load off, but even with that and/or compression those downloads would more than likely be noticed, however not as bad depending on if more than one person needed the same 2GB file.

I seen this happen a lot in remote offices where everyone's PC's performance suffered, Outlook was slow, SAP was slow, even internet browsing was slow, then when we looked at the link we could see one PC that pegged the whole connection because he downloading a large file and we even seen this when several users were streaming a video. You wouldn't think it would affect the performance but it does.

Hope that helps settle the score.. :)
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CompProbSolv earned 250 total points
ID: 35062654
I must be missing something here as I don't think it should affect anyone with two exceptions: the remote connections and local users' access to the internet.  Those two exceptions will very likely be affected in a significant way.

I'm assuming that the software guy doing the download has an unshared connection to the switch and that the switch connects directly to the internet router.  In this case, the download should not have any significant impact on anyone else except those using the internet.

This also assumes that the gigabit switch can do its job correctly without being significantly burdened by one connection running 10M/s of data through it.
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