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Improving Network Performance

I recently took over a job as a network admin. This is my first time running a network by myself and I have no other IT personnel to help me. I do have a consultant that helps me with major projects.

I am trying to make some improvements to the network to improve its performance. I am hoping that some of you can give me some pointers.

I have taken the following steps so far.

1. Made sure that we had cat5e throughout the building: check

The entire network has cat5e except one remote location that has about 15 users. It uses standard cat5 cable and then they are connected to our network via fiber. They are about a block away.

2. Ensured that all PC's have 10/100 nics: check

2. Removed all unnecessary protocols from printers and PC's: check

3. Put all the servers and switches on a 1 GB backbone: check

4. I noticed all of my servers have the two nic's but they are only using one. The network has one segment. I would like to create two segments so that both nic's can be used. But I have never subnetted a network so I am not sure what this entails. I am researching it now.

5. One of my closets had 3 switches in it each running a straight through cable about 100 feet into the server room plugging into another switch. So I daisy-chained the switches in the closet to each other instead of running straight through cables all the way to the server room.

6. The network is running several different workgroups which is a nightmare. I am in the process of creating one domain for centralized management and creating active directory.

7. I am now using Norton's Managed Console for virus protection

8. Researching Webroots Anti-spyware protection from a console

9. Looking into 8E6 web filtering. I have already seen several users running IM, P2P, streaming music and other such programs which I know is killing our bandwidth.

Any other suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.




Re: Improving Network Performance

1) You can go for Cisco PIX Firewall. I will help in controlling the IM, P2P kind of applicatons and kepp your network more secure too.

2) Regarding the 2 NICs in your servers, you can have the second NICs in the another VLAN to have redunancy, but you might need a router for doing Inter-VLAN routing.

Re: Improving Network Performance

Regarding the dual NIC's I would advise you to use some load balancing protocol that works on the server side. This will require you to put both NIC's on the same subnet but they may reside on different switches or linecards to improve redundancy.

If your network is capable of L3switching, you are encouraged to create mutiple vlans, one for your servers and as many as deemed nescessary for your clients.

Regarding point 4 of your list: a dedicated uplink to every switch provides more bandwidth than a single one for three switches. It has my favour to use fiber between switches instead of copper.

Instead of using a PIX you should look at the ASA series of firewall appliances. Using this in combination with an SSM intrusion detection module in the ASA will enable you to adress streaming media in a structural way.