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Wondering what could be causing my Internet connection to run slow under certain circumstances


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At this point I am still working from home (WFH) and loving it.¬†ūüėĀ


However, I do have some Internet speed issues I'd like help trying to figure out what's happening; what slowing it down. 


Generally speaking, it isn't slowing down for everything. In fact, overall, I'd say this is really good. About 2 years ago I switched from DSL to cable modem access with Sparklight, formerly Cable-ONE. (If you've never heard of them, don't worry about that. I'd never heard of them until we decided to ditch DSL.) I only have Internet with Sparklight. Normally my speeds are 220 to 230 Mbps. For my area, that's really good. Some of my colleagues are getting 2 to 3 Mbps, so I'm quite happy, trust me. We can easily stream on two devices without interruption, pauses, etc.


But what I'm having problems with is sometimes when I'm WFH the lag time is abysmal. I work as a software engineer. The team of developers I work with writes applications on the Microsoft stack, so we're in Visual Studio just about the whole day. This has been working fine for me since March 2020, but under the right conditions its very slow. I'm working on an application which must pull down about 38K records over the wire. Not exactly humongous, but not tiny, either.


As an aside, all our applications are 2-tier apps. I don't know why this is, it just is. I'm guessing the people I work with are afraid of using web services. 


Anyway, when pulling down the results from over the wire I've timed it to take as long as 1 to 2 minutes. No user is going to accept that. And I'm always concerned about performance. However, I've also seen other colleagues not have that kind of latency when running the same code. In fact, one of my colleagues, a contractor who lives in Florida (I live in New Mexico) has great speeds with the same code. Although she does have twice the Internet speed than I have.


But I'm wondering, could it be something else? I'm using a work issued laptop. I must, it has the security apparatus in it that the agency I work for insists upon. It is an older HP EliteBook, modestly equipped for a road warrior, not a developer, but I make it work. Early in this pandemic I realized that remoting to my desktop in the office, some 70 miles away from my home, was just too slow. So, I installed Visual Studio, SQL Server Management Studio, etc., locally on my work laptop. It was just much better for me. Anyway, this latency when debugging the app is awful.


I've checked the laptop and found it's Wi-Fi is operating with an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265. The speed it gets, between my Synology router and itself, is 866.7 Mbps. It has an i7-7600 chip in it.


Could the bottle neck be the laptop? Or could it be the fact that I'm using it via Wi-Fi? I have the work laptop less than 10 feet from the Synology router - with nothing obstructing it. Or could it be that my speeds are too slow from Sparklight? The query that I'm running to return those 38K records performs a join between 4 tables in a SQL Server database. But since it's a 2-tier app I suspect the query performs the database actions locally on the laptop, then returns the data with proper relationships between the four tables. And of course, the issue might be at my work's end, too, where the servers are. Although the fact that my colleague in Florida can pull down the results quickly suggests it isn't at my employer's end.  (At this point we're not using a cloud provider. I wish we were, and I know my employer wishes we were, but it's a state government department - well 'nough said about that.) And if could be the architecture of the application.


What do you suggest I look at or consider?

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the point of having a back-end database is to have it do the hard work itself and deliver a more compact set of records, not joining locally. if during the process there is lots of back-and-forth communication beyond the acks, changes in latency for that request/response can hurt far more than the raw transfer of the data. if the end architecture of this application requires users to be doing this 40k record extract regularly I would suggest it is not a very efficient approach. have you tried discussing this with your system design team?


and as usual hard-wired is always better than wifi

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Hi @nrf, no I haven't discussed this with the system design team. Are you familiar with Gene Kim and his book, The Unicorn Project? Early in the book he discusses "the Square", which describes how communication in siloed work environments. That's the environment under which I work. I cannot talk to the system design team. I must pass a request up my command chain at least two, maybe three levels up, where it then can be talked from my bureau chief to the Operations bureau chief, where it will then descend the command chain until it gets to the right people. Then communication comes back to me in the same fashion. If I were to go straight to the system design team I risk very serious disciplinary action. It unfortunate to say, but where I work, a large state government department, they have NOT learned how to get agile or responsive in any way. On the other hand, working for government at any level means you have no competition. I can give you more horror stories, but you get the idea.


I think I can run a CAT5 cable from the router to the work laptop. They are close. I'll give that a try.


Thank you!

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