Those are the words that almost every network engineer loathes to hear, the “network is slow”. And those words are usually spoken by folks who really have no idea of how the network works let alone the understanding to quantify the word “slow”. In my past life I had built a fairly large dark fiber metropolitan network where the smallest link, outside of remote VPN offices, was 1Gbps. I spent years training the IT staff around me to understand the difference between a under performing application, an overloaded server and a congested (slow) network. In that past life I rarely heard the words, the “network is slow”. Fast forward to current day and it seems I have my work cutout for me since I hear those glowing words on average 3-4 times a day.
Add in 100Mbps to the desktop (thanks to the Avaya 4621 IP Phones) and you’ll even find me occasionally grinding my mouse in frustration as I wait for a large Visio diagram or Excel spreadsheet to open. That’s not even mentioning the added delay if the document has been archived by an electronic vaulting or archiving solution. It’s even more grinding when that solution prompts me to authenticate in order to retrieve the archived document – that’s a great user experience.
Any reasonable user would blame the network because that’s the piece that ties everything together so that’s probably what’s broken. I wouldn’t fault the user for that assumption because they really don’t know any better, in their view it’s just plain slow and occasionally painfully so. So next time you hear the “network is slow”, just remember to smile!