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Sonicwall and MACs running slowly

Posted on 2016-08-02
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Last Modified: 2016-11-22
We now have two instances of MACs connecting to a Sonicwall (TZ Series) and getting slow internet performance.  We had Dell support on the Sonicwall and they have given the first unit we were having trouble with a clean bill of health.  However, the customer just couldn't put up with the degraded speed so we put in a cheap Netgear router temporarily and the issue with poor MAC browsing speeds went away.  It doesn't seem to matter whether ethernet connected or wirelessly connected.  Now a second account is complaining of the same scenario....mixed use of Windows and MACs connected to wireless and the MACs experience terrible response times.  any suggestions?
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Question by:dstewart83161
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by:Phil Davidson
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Can you deploy configure Cacti?  Solar Winds is another network monitoring device that could help you visualize traffic and potentially pinpoint the problem.  Looking at individual devices (hubs, wireless routers, or firewalls) with Cacti can help.  Collisions can cause serious performance problems.  Routers separate collision domains.    

I would try to identify which nodes have the best Internet performance.  You may want to use speedtest.net to see if everything behind the firewall is slow.  You could compare the speed test results in Windows machines to Mac machines.  It would be interesting to see if stateful packet inspection or an intrusion detection system is slowing down performance.  I would look at lights in the back of individual ports on routers.  Are they flashing green or amber?  Are they solid red?  Each port has two lights.  

If a node is not behind the firewall, is it fast?  Is the Sonicwall firewall meant for the bandwidth that you are putting through it?  Are people using streaming video from the Internet?  There are multiple potential causes.  Given the changes, I would not think a denial-of-service attack is likely.  That would be very coincidental.  Sometimes you cannot rule out anything.
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by:dstewart83161
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In both cases, we are talking less than 10 machines total.  The Sonicwalls are TZ205W which are rated for 10-20 users so I would doubt this is the issue.  Dell Sonicwall support has been on the one machine and checked all the logs to look for the things you were indicating and found nothing.
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by:Phil Davidson
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The problem is as specific as "Mac workstations/laptops have slow Internet speeds"?  The Mac workstations have otherwise find network performance?  There are no problems with non-Mac machines (e.g., Linux and Windows)?
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by:dstewart83161
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Phil, that is correct.  Almost as if the MACs somehow have major issues with DNS resolution but no problem with DNS resolution on Windows.  The websites browsed will eventually come up (mostly) but takes painfully longer than does a Windows workstation.  8-10 times longer in many instances.
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by:strung
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See if this helps:

http://hiltmon.com/blog/2013/09/28/sonicwall-netextender-for-os-x-mavericks/

The suggestion is that Mac OS  10.9 or above users, use the Sonicwall Mobile Connect app on the Mac App Store rather than NetExtender.
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by:dstewart83161
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I need to clarify that these users are BEHIND the firewall of the Sonicwall trying to get out to the internet.  They are not trying to remote in through the firewall.
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strung earned 125 total points
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Check to see if one of the Macs is faster when using an IP number instead of an URL. If it is, then you know the problem is DNS resolution. If it is still slow when using an IP, then you have to look elsewhere for your solution.

For instance, see if the Mac is fast browsing to http://170.149.161.130 , which should bring up the New York Times Website.

If it is a DNS problem, check the Mac's network preferences panel under Advanced > DNS to make sure they are using the right DNS server.
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by:Phil Davidson
Phil Davidson earned 125 total points
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Mac computers lend themselves to media.  It seems strange that non-Macs have acceptable Internet speeds.  You are sure that the Macs use the same routing equipment as the non-Macs?  You are sure that the Macs aren't trying to do anything weird like constant streaming of several Youtube videos whereas the Windows/Linux workstations are doing more normal Google searches?
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by:renazonse
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This sounds like a dns resolution issue. How well do the macs browse if you statically set a dns address to 8.8.8.8? What dns addresses are these SonicWalls pushing out? Are the security features enabled? If Anti-Malware, content filtering... Are enabled try disabling those temporarily to see if that has any effect.
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by:serialband
serialband earned 125 total points
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You can always try to reset the DNS cache if that's the issue.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202516

Yosemite 10.10 through 10.10.3
sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcache


Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, El Capitan, other versions of Yosemite.
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Snow Leopard
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache
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