When client computers in a networked environment are experiencing performance issues, the root cause of the problem may not reside in the client computer at all. Instead, overall network performance may be the issue. This is because computers functioning as part of a domain require access to many different kinds of resources from folders and the documents they contain to applications stored on the main server; they also require access to hardware resources such as printers and network-linked copy machines.
Some problems, of course, will be related to the workstation itself. This is the case, for example, if the machine has become infected with a virus or if its own hard drive is failing. Many problems will have to do with communications on the network itself, however. These can best be tracked and diagnosed by using a tool known as a network trace.
IT consulting firms can help a business or organization better understand how to run a network trace and more importantly, how to interpret the results. This last and most crucial step requires high levels of background information regarding the protocols in use on the network. These protocols determine how network resources both receive and send data. A trace provides a way to follow data virtually as it moves across the network.
Commercial packages are available to help in-house staff perform traces, but knowing how to read the data produced by them and understanding what to do with the information gathered is not something that the average IT staffer may have expertise in. IT consulting can help.