Check why network is dropping

Hi there

I am working in a school at the moment and the teachers are back this week. They keep complaining that their connectivity keeps dropping. But every time I sit at any of the machines to check, it is working just fine again. I don't think that they are imagining this as I have received the complaint too many times. So far none of them have been able to tell me if it is just the internet connection or the actual network connection itself.

There was a wireless crowd in over the summer and they have extended the wireless network. To allow the hundreds of possible connections by students which will be allowed to bring their own devices this school year. However I think that they may have made changes to the network that effects the overall connectivity.

So I am looking for some tools that will allow me to monitor connectivity from a couple of the machines over the period of a number of hours or so. I presume that this will help guide me in the right direction.
doeyAsked:
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Alexander Eßer [Alex140181]Software DeveloperCommented:
Have you tried "ping www.<some web site>.com /t" and monitored the values if there is some kind of lag?!

What's the OS?! (btw: Vista is known for serious wifi lags)...
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Mike RoeCommented:
also do tracert to the websites to make sure it is not outside your network
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Emmanuel AdebayoGlobal Windows Infrastructure Engineer - ConsultantCommented:
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
Are these wired connections, or wireless?

Does it seem to matter what the clients are doing when they experience the dropout?

Is it only clients connected to a certain access point or switch?

How long is the dropout?

Does the dropout take place at a predicable/repeatable time?
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tmoore1962Commented:
Check power management of the computers, disable the power mgmt. for the NIC as maybe their network apps don't recover if the NIC is put into power saving.  Also check that the DHCP scope is big enough to handle all of the devices that are being connected.  If wireless make sure you have enough AP's to handle the load (should have a managed wireless network and each AP should be limited as to the number of connections allowed - more than 20-30 users even on a "enterprise" AP is pushing good performance limits
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doeyAuthor Commented:
OK. This has now happened in front of me twice. Once on the desktop that I was checking and then on my laptop. This did not happen at the same time and I was checking other PCs to see if it was on more then the one PC. It seems to be more random then i thought and is on both the LAN and WiFi.

I am running a trace through the command window on the server and the desktop in question and there have been no issues yet.
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doeyAuthor Commented:
Sorry I meant to say that it is only the internet that seems to be affected. I can connect to shared and mapped drives on the network. I am using W7 and OSX. It happens with both and for several minutes at a time.

The NIC couldn't be going in to sleep mode as I can access shared folders. So there seems to be no obvious pattern as it happens to different machines at different times for different lengths of time.
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
Since it doesn't affect all the computers simultaneously, it doesn't seem to be a DHCP or DNS issue.  

It can't be a default gateway issue either, per se, but that doesn't rule out a switching issue  that strikes random port, or ports in some pattern we can't discern.  

It could also be an upstream router dropping packets.
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Mike RoeCommented:
Do you have a hardware firewall that you could look at logs and see if it is dropping packets
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doeyAuthor Commented:
Surely if there were dropping packets everybody would be down around the same time?
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doeyAuthor Commented:
It was a switch issue. For some reason the switch stop some ports and then start them again. No apparent reason. Once replaced, it was all fine again.
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Network Analysis

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