M.2 NVME Drives susceptible to EMI?

Wondering if anyone has noticed something like this with a PC that has a PCI-e NMVE M.2 Drive.

The PC has a very slow network speed compared to other PCs at that location. When physically moved to a different spot in the building, the network speed picks up to be on par with the rest of the PCs. I’ve eliminated the network cable as an issue by making a brand new Cat6 cable and running it directly from the switch to the PC (bypassing any other equipment) and not seeing any changes.

The oddest thing, when we take a different PC from that location and plug it in where the problem machine is, then it slows down. Put the machine back where it came from and everything is fine.

So we are basically chasing our tails and this was brought up. Are M.2 PCI-e NVME drives susceptible to electromagnetic interference?

Or should we call an exorcist?
fnbtechPC / Network TechAsked:
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Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
All unshielded electronic devices are susceptible to EMI.  Why you would suspect the SSD rather than some other component is odd, but I guess you have to begin somewhere.

I presume you're trying different ports on the switch when using a different network cable.  That would be my first suspect.  After that the question is "What's causing the EMI?"  Is there a large motor, or other high-voltage equipment or cabling in the area?
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
I would check the cable path to see if it is passing any high power AC equipment.  Also check for kinks in the cable.  Network cables work best when they are in a straight line.  Any kinking or looping can interfere with the signals.
I'd check the network statistics (specifically send and receive errors) in Performance Monitor when in the "slow" location.  There really shouldn't be any errors, though a rare one may be acceptable.

That should give you a clue about whether or not its an environmental problem affecting the cable.
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fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
I'm not really sure why my boss is suspect of the M.2 drive. I have tried a different cable (the brand new cable that I made and ran it across the floor bypassing 1 switch and connecting directly to the main switch at that location). As far as high voltage equipment, I removed a printer that was directly next (1"-2" away) to the PC and an adding machine. We are mainly grasping at straws at this point.

The only part of this that I haven't done is crawl up in the drop ceiling to check the path. That is next on the list.

We have had a 3rd party support company that we work with look at switch logs/traffic, and they have come up empty. They are also at a loss as to what could be causing this issue.
"They are also at a loss as to what could be causing this issue."

There are two parts to the cause: the underlying issue and what is making that issue occur.

Slow network speed is a very high-level observation.  There are many things that could be causing it.  The first steps of troubleshooting it should be narrowing down the symptoms.  I think this is much more useful than focusing on the cause (EMI or whatever).

For example:

Is the connection being made at 1G?
Are there transmission errors?
When the testing is occurring (and how are you testing?), what is the network utilization like?  Does it ramp up to a point and stay there or does it start and stop?
How close to 100% network utilization are you reaching?
Is the computer being overloaded?  (e.g. high CPU utilization, high disk usage, high network usage, etc.)

It should literally take no more than about 10 minutes to answer those three questions if the problem is persistent.

I would also consider running the cable to the problem location and then have it continue to some place where there is no problem and test the speed there.  I'm trying to pinpoint whether the issue is with the computer being in the problem location or if it is the network cable being affected.  I'd also try a shielded cable as a test.  If that fixes the problem, it points to EMI along the cable run.  If the shielded cable has the same problem, it doesn't indicate anything.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:

I will run through some one these and document my findings.
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
1) The FCC mandated rules for EMI interference emitting from PC's in the late 1980s; but, since the entire chassis is connected to earth ground, it's also a good shield against EMI interference getting into the PC.
2)  As long as that "new" network cable is up to snuff, is not, itself, picking up some huge EMI interference, (parallel to several fluorescent fixtures is a definite nono for example), and is not even close to the 100 meter (300 feet) length limitation, I think the fact that the original cabling and the new test run giving issues on two different PCs puts it near the bottom of the probable causes, too.
3)  What I do not see addressed are any other peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, printers, etc.) having been also swapped as part of the testing nor the fact that nobody has said try a different power source.  Any noise being injected into the AC power has, to my mind, a very high probability of causing the issue.
If its on a UPS, test without it in the circuit.  Run the power straight to a wall outlet if you can and do the monitor, too.
You've got a location and a method for testing, finish testing each piece and you'll find it.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
Thank you Davis, we're inching more towards power now.

I just ran out there and connected a pc in a different room to the small dumb switch under her desk. The network speed of the other pc is quick like it should be and this trouble pc remains slow. This to me eliminates the network cable from the main switch to her location.
If "her desk" is at the location where the computer was slow, then, yes, you've confirmed that it is very likely NOT a cabling issue.

How are you measuring that the PC is slow?

Davis makes an excellent point about the power.  Consider running a long extension cord to wherever the problem doesn't exist.
Is the network port at the switch a problem?  Have you tried other ports?  I have had experience where a single network port on a managed switch failed and I had I had to move the cable to another port.
i start in such a case by checking the grounding of the PC.
 if you want to be sure, make a Faraday cage to put the pc in, - well grounded -  and run the pc on the problem site to test

if it were  a power supply, it would need to be a voltage "on edge", or spiking or such
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
If it's actually an EMI/RFI problem, there's almost always a high voltage power line or large electric motor or generator involved.  Maybe an air conditioner, or some other facilities equipment nearby, or a power line leading to same.
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
Be a little careful with what may be the cause of the interference.  I once had a PC (before Windows, AKA 1980's) where the culprit was a 50,000 watt radio station about 300 yards outside the building and what fixed it was an aluminum window screen tied to earth ground.
And guys, it ought to be known that this is with two different PCs and two different network wires at a specific desk onsite.  We're down to ac power or one of the peripherals as the culprit.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
Thank you everyone for the input.

My plan today is to take a heavy duty extension cord to the location and use an outlet from a known good location (where one of the quicker pcs is plugged into) and plug that into her surge protector (before anyone says it, yes I've swapped that out for a brand new one). This is what we're leaning towards being the problem as of now, everything else has been eliminated.

To those wondering how I'm testing the speed.....I'm loading a piece of software, there is a function in that software that connects back to our main building for it's information. This desk takes approx. 45-50 seconds to load, all the other machines in the building take 14-15 seconds. When a pc is put into her location, the problem then happens on that pc. Not the most technical way to test I know, but effective non the less.
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
What version of Windows is running on the PC's?
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
Windows 10 Pro x64
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
Then, in the Cortana Search box type Control Panel<enter> which should open the control panel for you.  In the top right, change it to large or small icons from category.  Click the Network and Sharing center icon, the text link to Change adapter settings, then right click on the local area connection and left click Status to see the connection speed.
Mine says 1Gbps and that is usually determined by the hardware and switches being used.  If you get 1Gbps at a good location; but, 100Mbps at the bad one, the noise/EMI is affecting the network wires.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:

Thank you all for your input but we were all wrong in the end.

Finally figured this out. It had absolutely nothing to do with EMI, bad network cables, bad wall outlet, or any such thing.

This poor little Dell Optiplex 3050's external power brick was apparently either going bad or completely under powered. I swapped the power brick with a spare that I had and BAM!, quick speeds once again.

A picture of the problem brick (this is the 2nd that has gone bad in 6 months) is attached to this solution. I am contacting Dell to notify them that they could possible be having a larger issue than just these two bricks.

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fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your input and help in figuring out this issue.
well - you set us all on the wrong foot to start with...
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
Yes, it would have helped greatly to know they were USFF (Ultra Small Form Factor) PCs.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:

Our original thoughts were leading to some type of EMI interference, because we had eliminated everything else that we could think of. We eliminated interference with the network cable by using the information gathered in this thread from other experts.

Davis had mentioned power as a possibility for the slowness we were experiencing. That is what I tested today and while eliminating the wall outlet as an issue, it occurred to me that these machines were using an external power brick and not an internal psu. Since swapping one of these out would be a 30 second test, I figured why now, and to my surprise, all issues were fixed.

Now I'm not exactly sure what your issue is with all of this, whether it be that your suggestion wasn't a practical test and I ignored it, you didn't get credit for input on the solution (I did thank everyone), or you are just looking for an argument and are offended by one or both of  the two previous reasons, but please keep your condescending opinion to yourself and take your over-complicated solutions somewhere else.

Davis, I'm not really sure that the fact they are USFF pcs and not full size would have mattered in this instance, but thank you for your help.
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
I'm glad you fixed it; but, FYI, virtually all of the USFF PC's use an external power supply and many of the newer ones have gotten pretty puny, too.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
Yea I know the USFF pcs use an external power supply. This one for these shows 65w, is that really what this thing is outputting?
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
I think you have a defective one.  It may be just a bad capacitor inside; but, they're not worth fixing anymore.
A lot of the newer CPU's use less than 25 watts and that is usually about half of what the entire PC uses.
fnbtechPC / Network TechAuthor Commented:
Wow, thanks for the handy info, really figured they were higher.
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
Shoot, many of the laptop CPU's are down to 15 watts which is why they get 6 hours of battery.
"The oddest thing, when we take a different PC from that location and plug it in where the problem machine is, then it slows down"

Did you swap just the tower and not the power supply?
well -  i have no issue at all; i only told yld you that putting your question about EMI put us on the wrongfoot, and you did not mention the PC model
it is Always a good thing to post that, + OS version - -  that's all
and i'm not after points - i have more than enough - and you can't even buy something with it...
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