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I'm an IT assistant and am attempting a download of CentOS for a webserver. It's a 3.9 gig DVD ISO and whenever I start the download, or any download for that matter, it will max out at 300kbps, seems slow for a business internet connection...anyways then people start calling saying the phones aren't working properly and that they are losing their connection in Wyoming (we're in Michigan).

Is this normal for a medium sized business network? Basically I can't download anything at full speed because it chokes off our T1 line and everyone else at our other locations starts to lag...is there anything i can do about this?

Edit: I just found out that all of our locations proxy back to our main office where I am located and go out to the internet through here. That seems like a ton of wasted bandwidth to me.

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This isn't normal at all. If you're not contracting with a networking company already I'd call Netech (netechcorp.com); they're over in Kentwood, and I've got nothing but good things to say about them (I am not affiliated with them in any way). –  Chris S Jun 30 '10 at 13:05
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You really need to implement QoS to make sure VoIP are prioritized above everything else. You need to either do this your self on your firewall (or router), or call someone to fix it. –  pauska Jun 30 '10 at 15:01
    
regarding your edit. Well that's not all that unusual actually. Yes, it does seem like a waste of bandwidth, but the benefit is that central IT only needs to maintain infrastructure for a single point of internet access - a single proxy server, single content filter, etc. –  EEAA Jun 30 '10 at 17:30
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Agreed, it's very usual in corporations - you don't have to buy expensive firewalls all over the place. –  pauska Jun 30 '10 at 18:31
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4 Answers

It's not that normal really, not for a medium sized business as most of those wouldn't have a T1 line with no bandwidth management - a small company with no interest in their IT perhaps but not a medium sized one already using that link for VoIP.

Basically a T1 line is VERY slow by 2010 standards and your traffic should be managed by your router; allowing VoIP traffic highest priority and regular downloads to work but not kill a link.

There is something you can do; invest - in link speed, routers and most important skilled people to set them up.

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Wish I could but like i said im the IT assistant and the guy that is above me knows nothing of the "right" way to do things. If it works, he runs with it... –  Jordan Jun 30 '10 at 12:56
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I've found that's actually a good type of person to work under (for a short time). You learn 1. How/Why not to do things like them. 2. You'll eventually learn how to justify the "right" way to do things. Mainly you have to concentrate on when things go wrong, like this instance. How much time/productivity has been wasted on an improperly configured network. Use that (and the certainty of more problems in the future) as justification for "fixing" the network. –  Chris S Jun 30 '10 at 13:08
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Ill have to take some time and setup our router to give certain apps/protocols priority over other things. I wish we could get a faster network connection, im not sure how much we pay right now. It drives me crazy coming to work and trying to download something when I have a 3 meg connection on a good day here and i get 20+ at home...sigh –  Jordan Jun 30 '10 at 14:04
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@Jordan: Remember that a private internet connection (like cable or ADSL) usually have great download speeds - shared with other people - while Businesses have a SLA with guaranteed symmetric speed. This the reason your company probably don't have a 20mbit symmetrical pipe, it costs alot of money. –  pauska Jun 30 '10 at 15:04
    
Good point Erik, plus the T1's uptime should be much better than any DSL link. –  Chopper3 Jun 30 '10 at 15:08
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We have the same issue. I think the issue is that some websites, Microsoft comes to mind, it will give you all of its download power and your internet connection will use this to its advantage. I would download an ISO from Microsoft and the whole internet would come to a crawl as well.

We did 2 things:

  • Download such things in off-production time (after 6pm) this way we didn't hinder our users
  • Got a 50down/15up connection. This really took care of the problem. Now everyone doesn't depend on such a small pipe.

I know that these are not exactly answers you're looking for but I wanted to share my experience with you. Hope this helps.

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Download power FTW. :) –  EEAA Jun 30 '10 at 16:36
    
Thanks, it sounds like the easiest way would be to get a faster connection. For now I will have to setup some load balancing so that this problem isn't constantly recurring. I think what I will do is create a map of our current network and show its weaknesses and offer solutions for those problems. Seems like that would be the easiest way to get through to someone who doesn't like to change things once they are 'working' –  Jordan Jun 30 '10 at 17:11
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If you have 3Mbit/s download you are on multiple T1 lines that are bonded together. A single T1 is 1.544 Mbit/s.

In my company with ~50 employees and no satellite offices we have 4 T1 lines. 2 of the lines are bonded to give 3Mbit/s down/up and the other 2 lines are used for the phone system and analog fax lines. You should try to find out what you really have. If its only two T1 lines and you have all that going you need to add more T1 lines. If you have more lines and are seeing this behavior you need to look at your router/firewall/switches and reconfigure/replace/upgrade as needed.

When I started working here we had the same amount of employees and half as many T1 lines. Seriously you shouldn't be comparing your home cable modem connection to proper T1 configurations. I'd love to have more bandwidth but really 3Mbit/s up/down is more than I have to have to keep things running smoothly around here.

So is it normal for a mid size company to max out at 300kbps downloads as reported by the browser? YES

Is it normal for that to cause problems with your phones or other critical systems? NO

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I'm not so sure that all he needs to do is add more lines - QoS is still needed to make sure that a download (like a torrent) doesn't eat up all the lines. –  pauska Jun 30 '10 at 15:09
    
I'm not saying "all he needs to do" about anything. If he has QOS issues AND not enough bandwidth all the QOS changes in the world won't make the situation good (it'll make it better but not good). I'm saying it sounds like either A. he doesn't know how many T1 lines he has or B. he doesn't have enough T1 lines. Neither A or B would change the QOS issues but it is important to deal with bandwidth as well because he may be severely underprovisioned. Implementing QOS rules should take into account a realistic view of your bandwidth. –  pplrppl Jun 30 '10 at 18:00
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you could alway add independent dsl line for your tech's to use as their gateway, so huge download arn't using bandwidth in you own internet based wan.

you can configure two outgoing gateways on your network, one for 'normal users' one for tech's.

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