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Where is the weak link in networked programs?


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#1 Carbot

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:02 PM

Hi there. I have a small business which runs point of sale software which is installed on one master computer and runs on two additional computers via a network shortcut to the master computer. I am not sure how common something like that is, but it is the manufacturer's intended application of the software and it is how they guide users through the installation process. Everything works fine, there are no bugs and the software runs totally independently on each computer. If you didn't know it was networked you would never notice.

 

The only problem is it is a little slower than we would like. I do not like making customers wait for the software to respond to input. I intended to upgrade the hardware (RAM, CPU) on the master computer, but I wanted to double check that that would actually help the situation first.

 

The question itself is, where is the weakest link in running a program over network shortcuts like this?

 

Is it in the network? Our internet can be aggravatingly slow, we get about 25mbps down and I believe about 8mbps up.

 

Is it in the two "destination" computers' hardware? Unfortunately their motherboards are so outdated I cannot upgrade the CPUs at all, but I think the RAM could be upped from 4 to 8gb. This software is so old that 4gb of RAM seems like it should be plenty.

 

Or is it the master computer's hardware?

 

 

For reference, the hardware on the computers is:

Master computer: dual core 2.5ghz CPU, 4gb DDR3 1600 RAM, 7200rpm HDD

Slave 1: dual core 2.5ghz CPU, 4gb DDR3 1333 RAM, 7200rpm HDD

Slave 2: single core 2.8ghz CPU, 4gb DDR3 1333 RAM, 7200rpm HDD

 

The current master and slave 1 would be hard to find new CPUs for as they are FM3 socket. However slave 2 has an AM3 socket CPU which can still be found fairly easily so that could be upgraded to a four core and made the master computer. But like I said, I am hoping someone can tell me whether upgrading the hardware on the master will make the program run any faster on the two networked computers, or if all three need to be upgraded, or if this is a network issue.

 

Thanks everyone for any advice you can give.



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#2 TheJokerz

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:32 PM

I may be way off here but I would look at your networking hardware.  Can your router/switch keep up with the network traffic?  Do you have older cat5 patch cables connecting everything? 


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#3 Carbot

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:48 PM

I may be way off here but I would look at your networking hardware.  Can your router/switch keep up with the network traffic?  Do you have older cat5 patch cables connecting everything? 

 

I would not be surprised if that is in fact the culprit. Looking at the manufacturer's website, it lists the requirements as:

 

OS:Windows 7/Windows 8/2008 Server/ 2008 r2/Server 2012/Server 2012 r2
Processor: Pentium Class 1 GHz or greater 
Memory: 1 GB plus 10 MB per network user or 100 MB for each terminal service user. 
Hard Drive: 20 GB or greater

Network Recommendations: 100 MB or better wired connections, wireless is not recommended.

 
We exceed all of the hardware specs, but the network recommendation is a little ambiguous to me. I guess they're saying 100mbps from computer to computer?


#4 TheJokerz

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:54 PM

Correct, you can theoretically reach 100 MB with cat5 but that is under the perfect conditions.  This is only true though if you have older networking equipment, all your patch cables will tell you what cat# it is.  I would have to assume that all of your other hardware would exceed the min. requirements.  I would highly suggest checking out your networking equipment first!  There are experts on here that can explain the networking side better than I can, but from what information that you have given it sounds like a networking problem!


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#5 RolandJS

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:56 PM

Carbot, I'd like to learn from you!  You're using ethernet, not wireless, correct?


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#6 Carbot

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:18 PM

Correct, you can theoretically reach 100 MB with cat5 but that is under the perfect conditions.  This is only true though if you have older networking equipment, all your patch cables will tell you what cat# it is.  I would have to assume that all of your other hardware would exceed the min. requirements.  I would highly suggest checking out your networking equipment first!  There are experts on here that can explain the networking side better than I can, but from what information that you have given it sounds like a networking problem!

 

I am away from the store but I have everything written down, at least to a degree. Multiple people have set up the network over multiple years so it is a rat's nest of cobbled together equipment and wires. I will post here momentarily with the specs.

 

Carbot, I'd like to learn from you!  You're using ethernet, not wireless, correct?

 

 

I'm not sure how much help I can be, but I can try! All I know is that the software is installed on one computer and accessed via a shortcut created on other computers connected to a workgroup. I imagine there may be some form of "mini installation" or registry addition or license verification on the other two computers. It was so many years ago I don't remember now, and the company helped us install the software. All I have to do is create a shortcut with a path to the .exe on the master computer (so it would look something like network/masterpc/users/carbot/desktop/sales.exe, I don't remember the path structure exactly right now). And yes the computers are wired, not wireless. The exact wiring scheme as I mentioned above is a bit of a mystery to everyone.


Edited by Carbot, 12 August 2016 - 01:19 PM.


#7 Carbot

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:52 PM

OK, here is the network hardware. Full disclaimer, I have no idea how any of this is connected right now, or if some of it is even connected at all. There are redundant devices that should have been removed years ago.

 

I am not good with network stuff so I am not sure what the relevant specifications are here. For that reason I've linked manufacturer datasheets. If it's not OK to link offsite I will delete the links.

 

Arris CM820, cable modem, specs: http://www.arris.com/globalassets/resources/data-sheets/cm820_datasheet.pdf

 

Linksys E1000, router, specs: http://downloads.linksys.com/downloads/userguide/E1000_V10_UG_USA_NC-WEB,0.pdf

 

SMC D3G, another modem? Couldn't find specs

 

Edgewater 4550: telephone router I guess? Unclear here, but seems to be unrelated to the network.

 

Arris TM604G: telephone modem

 

Trendnet TE100-S8P: ethernet switch? Specs: https://www.trendnet.com/products/proddetail?prod=470_TE100-S8P#tabs-solution02

 

Again I have to reiterate that some of these devices might be effectively unused based on what we have the computers plugged into. The switch for example may have nothing plugged in other than power and the output of the router or modem, I just don't know right now.



#8 TheJokerz

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 02:00 PM

Looks to me like the bottleneck may be your cables?  The modem and router are def. more than capable.  The switch looks to be a little old and just at that baseline, you can pick up 8 port unmanaged switches super cheap.  Just for instance I use this one in my home network https://www.amazon.com/TRENDnet-Unmanaged-Gigabit-GREENnet-TEG-S82g/dp/B00C2H0YFU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1471028320&sr=8-3&keywords=unmanaged+8+port+switch

 

I get pretty good speeds with this one, and I think I got it on sale for under $20.  I would also be interested in knowing if they are wired or wireless connected.


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#9 Trikein

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 02:37 PM

I would suggest either taking the time to draw a network map if you are the job's IT, or hiring one if not. It looks like you have cable modem, a modem gateway, a 10/100 router, a VOIP router, a VOIP modem and a switch. With some guess work;

 

Cable modem (data) > 10/100 router > switch > PC on network

 

VOIP modem > VOIP Router > Your PBX

 

When the application is saying 100MB, do they actually mean MB and not Mb? If so, that is ~800Mb and beyond the specs 10/100Mb of the TP-Link switch and Linksys router. Looks like it is suggesting gigabit equipment.

 

Last, what are your customers waiting for exactly? Is it still slow if you do it on the master computer? That will isolate LAN>WAN from LAN>LAN issues.


Edited by Trikein, 12 August 2016 - 02:37 PM.





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