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I love the stackoverflow/superuser community, and I'm hoping that you guys can offer some assistance. I'm having a problem that has just appeared and severely worsened over the last week, which is odd to me since nothing has changed in my network layout.

My network is set up as follows (and yes, this is a home network). Cable modem connects directly to a Windows 2003 Server with RRAS/DHCP/DNS - second NIC in that machine connects to a 24port gigabit switch, which is connected to 22 machines and another switch and a wireless router in bridge mode (NAT/DHCP disabled - all NAT/DHCP/DNS on the network is handled by the first machine). Connected to the first and second switches are 31 machines.

The primary box handles anything that I deem to be bandwidth intensive, the idea was that it would get priority over everything going through it, so for example, all torrents/ftp etc run through the first machine. However, starting approximately a week ago, and worsening since - my LAN traffic speeds are severely degraded, but my internet traffic speeds from any machine within the LAN are not affected.

I originally thought the problem was possibly a hard disk or memory somewhere that was messing with the LAN traffic, I chkdsked and memtested each of the 31 machines on the network, and found no hard drive or memory errors. All cabling is good (the 31 machines are hardwired, there are an additional 16 wireless devices).

I can download, to any machine on the network, any file off the internet at acceptable speeds, I can download a 100GB file, or torrent, or anything, at 40-50Mbps with no issues. However, once that file is downloaded, I cannot transfer it within the network to any combination of machines, the speeds within my LAN are below 15Kbps, and regularly drop causing file transfers to fail and start over, they can't complete even on 10MB files.

I'm at a loss, this network setup hasn't had anything added or removed or changed within the last 6 months, and the issue just began to appear a week ago and has progressively worsened.

I'm at my wits end, I've tried testing hardware, I've tried packet sniffing (I thought maybe I was somehow flooding the LAN with ARP requests or something, there's no unusual traffic). The only thing that I have noticed that I have no explanation for and don't know if it's related, if I ping -t from any machine on the network to a random internet location (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Microsoft etc.), I get request timed out randomly (not often though, nothing unusual), however, if I do it to the original Windows Server RRAS/DNS/DHCP box at, I also get request timed out about every 10-15 pings, sometimes 3 or 4 in a row. I'm at a loss for why I'm timing out pings within the LAN, but I'm open to suggestions on how to track down this problem.

share|improve this question
Always start with Layer 1. First swap out the primary cable paths (server to switch, switch to access point, etc) with brand new and tested cables. If that doesn't work, start removing pieces of your network and see if the problem persists (connect a computer directly to the server, then a small switch with two comptuers and test). Just rule out as much as you can and add stuff back until you see the problem again. – MaQleod Dec 6 '10 at 23:16
@MaQleod is right: start at the bottom. My personal feeling is that it's a routing problem, and your first box and/or bridge is to blame, but I have no reason for stating that aside from a gut feeling. – user3463 Dec 6 '10 at 23:41
I hope you put people off replying to you, you deserve to have done so, for trying to manipulate people telling them how much you love them in your first sentence "I love the stackoverflow/superuser community, and I'm hoping that you guys can offer some assistance" Really disgusting – barlop Dec 7 '10 at 3:46
Barlop, it wasn't an attempt to manipulate anyone, and I'm kind of blown away you would think it was - it was intended as "wow, these places are so useful, I'm looking forward to even more great help!". However, no problem, I'll stick to the other stackoverflow sites if this community has people like you. – MyLANisTooBig Dec 11 '10 at 2:33

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