through·put ˈTHro͞oˌpo͝ot/ noun the amount of material or items passing through a system or process. This question is one of the most commonly asked by computer users worldwide. Slow download speeds affect our lives every day. At home, our movies can stutter. In the workplace, large files can take minutes or even hours to transfer […]

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Why is this download so slow?

through·put
ˈTHro͞oˌpo͝ot/
noun

  1. the amount of material or items passing through a system or process.

This question is one of the most commonly asked by computer users worldwide. Slow download speeds affect our lives every day. At home, our movies can stutter. In the workplace, large files can take minutes or even hours to transfer from one computer to another, leaving employees idling when they want to get their hands on their projects. Even if you have a high performance computer that is working flawlessly, a slow download will put the brakes on.

The amount of data that your network can handle is referred to as throughput. Putting a large file or a large amount of smaller traffic onto a network with insufficient throughput slows down the entire network, as it struggles to handle the load. Files that can’t “fit” through the network get put into queues, and in a worst case scenario, devices could become disconnected, or important data could be dropped.

Managing throughput is one of the most important tasks when designing and managing your network.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and a network is only as fast as its slowest point. You need to examine your network from start to finish to ensure optimal speed and performance.

Consider a typical download from the internet – this could be any type of data: big.jpeg, large.movie, important.excel, etc. When you ask the internet for your file, it has to be passed through several devices before it reaches you. It will first come from a web server, where it is hosted. It will then pass through your Internet Service Provider, who will then deliver it to your router. Your router sends the data through your local network to finally reach your computer. Every download has to pass through each one of these steps to reach you, every time. If one step of this connection slows down, it creates a bottleneck, making each device after it wait for the data, even if it could handle it. This slows down the entire process. If the data is too much for one portion of this process to handle, your download could be slowed, delayed, or even fail.

If you have your own server, you are probably in a business network. Your server might provide data to other computers in your business, or it could be providing data directly to customers (such as a web server). Managing data going in and out of a server is a complex affair, but the server’s ability to provide data is just as important as your network’s ability to handle distributing it.

If a server has enough processing power, but is still not providing data fast enough, it could be suffering from a number of maladies. It could be sending out unnecessary data, clogging the network, or it could be simply a faulty network card. Making sure your server’s throughput is properly managed keeps your customers connected, keeps your employees productive, and keeps everyone happy.

If you are encountering a slow network connection, it can be frustrating, but it is very important to remember that there are solutions. In order to ensure your network has enough throughput, you should consider each link of this chain equally important. When we analyze your network, we look at every connection point to ensure your network is operating at its best, and try to find the most efficient solution to improve your throughput.

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