Optimizing Network Performance

Network performance is a tricky thing to quantify because it's subjective. In some cases, people complain about the response time of the network when the traffic is at levels that are actually considered acceptable response times. Perception is often based on a user's view of reality at the moment. If you have an important presentation due in an hour, the network is liable to seem slower to you than it is if you have two weeks to finish your presentation.

There are ways to objectively measure the performance of your network and make changes accordingly. The Windows Task Manager shows performance numbers for your system overall and for your network in particular. To reach the Task Manager, you can either right-click an empty area of the taskbar and then click Task Manager or you can press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Figure 7.6 shows an example of the Task Manager.

Figure 7.6. The Task Manager.

You can select the Task Manager's Performance and Networking tabs to see the load on your computer:

  • Performance tab On the Performance tab, you can get an idea of how busy your computer is by looking at the CPU Usage section of the screen. If this number stays at or around 100% consistently, you should look for a process that is taking more than its share of CPU time. To find a process that is using excessive CPU time, you select the Processes tab and then click the CPU column to sort. You then look for a process that is consistently using a large amount of CPU time, somewhere around 50% or more, on a continuous basis. When you identify such a process, you can stop it by right-clicking the process name and then clicking End Process. You just need to be sure not to try to stop the System Idle Process, which indicates how much time the CPU is idle.

  • Networking tab The Networking tab shows the utilization for each of the network cards installed in your computer. On a typical home network, you don't see enough activity to overly tax your NICs. You should check this screen if your network feels slower than usual. I recommend that whenever you deal with a network, you should set a baseline. The baseline in this case would be a check of network utilization during normal computer use that you can later compare to usage that seems unacceptable.

Create Your Own Home Networks
Create Your Own Home Networks
ISBN: 0672328321
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 82
Authors: Eli Lazich

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