help with creating a more efficient business network

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Neuman, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    i've been thrown into a network admin position w/out much experience so bear with me..

    current setup is server 2k3, two business class 7/2mbit cable modems, lab of ~20 PC's, ~20 ethernet docking stations, wireless, and 5 xbox 360s. when i first showed up this was all running off one modem, while the other was not being used at all.

    two blades on the server rack, one titled "server", one "game". "server" had ethernet from modem coming in, and then going out to the switch (first slot on a cisco 2950). "game" only had ethernet coming out to switch (2nd slot). looking through the admin settings on the game server, didn't seem to have anything setup.

    main issue (doh) modem keeps getting overworked/signal degradation/internet stops working until the modem is manually rebooted.

    i was able to figure out which line went out to all the xbox's, so i ended up taking it off the cisco switch and hooking it up straight to the 2nd modem in hopes to improve the situation. didn't make much of a difference though.

    as it sits im trying to figure out how to fix this.

    my first (cheapest) thought is to try and configure some settings on the server to put a cap on individual bandwidth usage. do some port filtering on the docking stations so people who bring in their laptops can't do bittorent/p2p stuff. i've been looking into QOS a bit too..

    second idea was trying to combine the bandwidth of both modems. i've seen VPNs with dual WAN ports which may do this, but haven't heard the best things about them. still don't know if this would be enough bandwidth to handle everything either.

    third idea was to get a third cable modem. im trying to figure out how the physical configuration works through. if i wanted each modem to go through the server to a switch would there need to be a blade for each modem? or can you just add NICs to blades? would there need to be a switch on the server rack for each modem?

    aaaaaaaaany information would be appreciated. even just resource links. layman's terms would be a plus. thanks guys :wavey:

    cliffs: dunno wtf im doing, business network is being overworked and am looking for some sort of solution.
     
  2. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    What make/model are the modems? Can you name the make/model of all the network hardware and how its hooked up?

    (suspects Linksys WRT)
     
  3. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    modems look exactly like this, but not sure if it's the exact right model. http://www.zyxel.com/web/product_fa...yGroupNo=BF20B3EF-9E3A-46C9-BF32-EB45D70A25FB

    modem goes to server...no idea of the brand. has what i'd guess to be two pullout hard drivers in the front? "game" server just has a lockable grate across the front, looks pretty new.

    from server it goes to a cisco 2950 switch then out the door to several hubs/switches

    http://netgear.com/Products/Switches/DesktopSwitches/FS116.aspx

    wireless is setup specifically as an access point which is connected to one of the netgear switches, it's a d-link/something not business class.

    guess one thing to add is that the server setup is pretty new. previous network admin supposedly seemed pretty knowledgeable in networking and initiated a system upgrade. issue is he just stopped showing up to work about a month ago without letting anyone know. everyone else that works there has absolutely zero aptitude for anything IT related.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
  4. Hate Crime

    Hate Crime Don't Hate OT Supporter

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    Get yourself a software firewall if you have some funds. Kerio Winroute will do you wonders, and it is very user friendly. Initial start up is expensive, but it will save you headaches, but be able to monitor everyone and control the bandwidth, but also control what comes in and what goes out seemlessly. Also have failover, so if one modem dies, you can roll over to the other modem if need be.
     
  5. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Is it possible you have too many machines for one IP to NAT properly? I doubt it.

    Bottom line: if those modems fail from high traffic, they are crap. You shouldn't have to throttle traffic. It should route and route and route. I wonder if your ISP is throttling you.
     
  6. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    Hmm. I contacted the ISP last week about it because it seemed obvious it was on their end if the fixed involved only rebooting the modem and nothing else. The guy I spoke with ran some diagnostic tests, and basically said that when the modem is freshly booted up the signal strength is strong, but as network traffic increases, the signal worsens continually until it is no longer functional. He did not come up with any resolution of modem upgrade or anything like that...just that we were maxing it out and probably could use more bandwidth (guess a sales pitch).

    Any ideas on how I can find out more information about why this is happening?
     
  7. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Its not a problem with your network. Its a problem with your cable modem/cable connection. You should be able to max that fucking thing out all day and not have it crap out.
     
  8. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    $$ for sure, but may be worth it. my same question comes up though, how do i get 2+ modems sharing bandwidth?
     
  9. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    any recommendations on what to upgrade to?
     
  10. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Without using a routing protocol, which you don't want to do, the best you can do is round robin connections, which is a crude hack and won't solve your problem if the cable modems are crapping out.

    What are you guys paying for two cable connections? Have you priced a T1? There are some affordable providers now. Have you priced SDSL? Did you buy those modems, or did the cable company provide them?
     
  11. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    i think time warner/road runner is probably our only option out here but they may have some faster services worth looking into. i called sales today and left a message...

    no idea if the modems are purchased or leased. not sure of the monthly fee either. from what i've been told from my superiors, money isn't a huge issue.

    there are three facilities total within the general vicinity that all have a similar setup. T1 might be optimal to supply all three, but it would probably be a labor intensive process to get cable ran between all of them.

    thanks a lot for the responses btw, i appreciate it.
     
  12. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Keep calling the cable company. Reference what the guy told you about a weak signal. Demand resolution. Find out who owns those modems. Price satellite connection/T1/DSL alternatives.

    How far away are all the business locations from one another? As to T1... not sure what situation you're in, but I wouldn't think the labor would be too expensive. Its just 24 phone lines.
     
  13. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    they are all along the same main road. maybe a mile, mile and a half at most furthest between the 1st and 3rd.
     
  14. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    From the sound of it, you could easily do a wifi connection between them with directional antennas if 3 reliable connections is not an option. My internet at home is from such a building top wifi network and it is highly reliable. Anyone got recommendations on what hardware to use to do this? You could probably use openWRT or something.

    Anyway, it doesn't sound like 3 connections is an issue. I would definitely look into alternatives, and research the modem issue.
     
  15. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    if we end up sticking with the same setup do you have any info on combining two separate internet connections for one building?
     
  16. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Unless its supported at the other end, or you run a routing protocol, the best you can do is round-robin connections, which is a crude hack you really don't want to do.

    The problem is not that you need another connection. The problem is that your connection is not reliable. You can however setup failover.

    You should be able to script the windows machine to change the default route out if you can't ping through the existing connection. This is something thats easy in *nix. I don't know how you'd do it on Windows Server.

    Since you have already paid for two, its worth a shot. Maybe if they switch back and forth this way you won't notice that your cable modem connections suck.

    Can someone help him?
     
  17. Neuman

    Neuman New Member

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    see my assumption with the online gaming/possible illegal downloading/xbox live going on X4 in combination with 20 lab computers possibly being full of people browsing the internet that the bandwidth off one modem is not great enough.

    i mean 7mbit is ~ 800kb/sec. that doesn't sound like much for everything going on.

    you have a decent idea though...i still just have no idea how to physically connect two separate modems to work as one. there seem to currently be no physically open NIC connections on either actual blade...
     
  18. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Sending lots of data across a modem should not cause it to seize up and stop working - ever.
     
  19. johan

    johan Active Member

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    there are lots of ways to do aggregate bandwidth but I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

    - if your cable modems dont support channel bonding, forget it.

    - if you're going for port aggregation, then the other side has to support the same aggregation scheme. So again, you need to talk to your isp, and if they offer it, then set it up with them.

    - there are ways to do user-side aggregation with routing, but I think that's beyond what you want to attempt by yourself, so forget that too.

    - if you're having bandwidth issues then move to a higher speed link. Talk to your isp and see what they offer. If they offer agg, then buy it. Otherwise get a higher b/w single link.

    - if your modem stops working, it isn't because its handling "too much data". Get with tech support and get them to fix the problem. Don't try to address it yourself with a duct tape agg scheme, which won't work anyways, and just masks the underlying instability.

    - make yourself a diagram and divide the network into zones. Label everything. EVERY LAST CABLE. So you can put it back together like lego.

    - then at some point, you should rebuild this network so its simpler and has a clear logical flow. Put something in as the core. That 2950 should be fine.
    Stop chaining things off one another, keep to a simple hub-and-spoke design.
    If the 2950 is insufficient, then I suggest a stack of 3750G's. That should be plenty of bandwidth.

    At this point you'll have learned enough to continue, or else you should be hiring someone to rebuild your network.
    That shouldn't take too long, this sounds like a simple job, probably 4 hours to document existing and design, and another 4 to implement.

    That'll be the best money this company ever spent. Assuming connectivity is important to their business.

    The port filtering and firewalling is another issue, but fix your cable modem problems first.

    The rest can come after that.
     

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