Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just what do users perceive when they say the network is slow?

"The network is down" or "my Internet is slow" have become the modern version of "the sky is falling". The reality is that every time you open even a simple web page, you are in reality opening a closely knit collection of pieces flying in from a huge number of locations via numerous Internet byways and highways all converging in your browser. Simply put, that simple web page may consist of hundreds of parts from dozens of locations all over the world.

The first piece is a dns (domain name service) query that turns a URL into a true Internet address, that currently takes the form of four numbers separated by dots. Something like looking up a business name in the yellow pages to get their phone number. If the yellow pages are missing, you can't call the business unless you have the number memorized or written down someplace like a Rolodex/address book. This is the number one reason why tech support folks ask you to open a command box and type something in like "ping" which is a well known address on the Internet. This quickly tells them if your computer really does have a problem with your internet connection or just a problem looking up addresses from the dns service.

The next issue is that most modern web pages are made up of pieces from lots of different locations around the Internet. If one of those locations is having a problem, it could easily affect the rest of the web page.

So finally I'll get to the point...I just stumbled across a piece of software that let's you measure the performance of all the pieces that make up a web page, not just the start and finish. It's a great tool to help web page developers determine what pieces or snazzy web components are hurting their "perceived" performance.

Checkout dynatrace for Microsoft windows machines at Dynatrace.

If you just want to get some simpler numbers that just tell you how long it took for a web page to start, finish and what was the overall size, then checkout Lori (life of request information)

Both are free tools that can help you put your finger on your "chicken little" problem.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

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