Slow mac when connected to network

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by millerrh, May 24, 2006.

  1. millerrh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    #1
    I've got a Powerbook that I use at work on a primarily windows network. Whenever I'm working on a document that is connected through the network, it's beach ball city and super slow response time to do anything - even scroll through a page in Word. If I save the doc to my hard drive, it is nice and speedy.

    My Windows machine connected to the same network working on the same document doesn't act this slow. Anyone know what is going on?
     
  2. imacintel macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    #2

    Is this a different network that you are connecting to from dialup? If you are on a superfast connection, this is very abnormal.

    HOWEVER,

    The part about the scrolling in word, that is well...weird. Check to see if you need more ram. if you do need more ram get some.
     
  3. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #3
    Word is creating a temp file on the network share that you are opening the document from. However, the ethernet speed shouldn't be noticably slower than the hard disk unless there is a problem with your configuration.

    Check in your System Prefs>>Network>>Built-in Ethernet prefs panel and have a look at the Ethernet page. Is the port set to automatic configuration or manual? If it is manual, switch it to automatic.

    Otherwise, you'll have to give me more information about the switch you are using for your ethernet network. Is it one where you can adjust the speed and duplex settings manually, and if so what are they set to?
     
  4. millerrh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #4
    It's not RAM, I've got 1.25GB and it's only when I'm connected to the network via Airport. I just tried plugging in a line and it acts much better. Why would airport be so sluggish? I'm comparing this to a Windows notebook I had running wirelessly as well that ran fine. Visiting web sites while wireless doesn't seem to be much slower, just working with network folders and files.

    As a recent switcher, the way Macs work with networks leaves much to be desired. I wish there was no mounting and dismounting drives and it just saw all the available ones like Windows does. At the risk of being flamed, Windows Explorer has the Finder beat hands down.
     
  5. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #5
    Ah, you should have said it's Airport related. My guess is that you're not close to the Access Point. PowerBooks don't have particularly good Wi-Fi range thanks to the antennas being located in the metal lid.

    I totally disagree about the networking though. Of course Windows works better with Windows networks, but you try connecting Windows to Linux, UNIX or Mac shares and see how hard it is. It may help in your situation if you seek out the Kerberos applet and use it to log onto Active Directory. Also you should configure the SMB/CIFS section of the Directory Access utility to ensure it references a WINS server. That way not only will Windows shares appear in your Network window, but you won't have to keep entering your password to access them.

    Those two programs are built into OSX by the way. No extra software required.

    EDIT: One more thought. Check your DNS server settings to make sure you don't have hardcoded ones interfering with the DHCP assigned settings.
     
  6. millerrh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #6
    Well, the networking at my work is windows based, so it does't work too well. I don't think it's the access point because we have a bunch peppered throughout the office and I always have full strength.

    But thanks for the tips, I'll look into that.
     
  7. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #7
    But have you configured Directory Access to point to your WINS server? And are the DNS servers being automatically received from your office's DHCP? If the answers to either of these are no, then you Mac is having to broadcast to resolve names when it talks to Windows resources. This is slow.

    This is one of the main differences in attitude towards networking between Windows and the Mac. In Windows everything is turned on, making it very convenient for users to just plug and go, but also meaning it's very easy to infect Windows machines with all sorts of malware and gain unauthorised access remotely. The Mac, along with virtually every other *NIX OS, comes with everything turned off. You need to configure it to your network to get the best performance.
     
  8. millerrh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #8
    I just checked out my Network configurations to try to figure out if what you said is going on and I really don't know what to look for. Unfortunately I'm not too savvy with this kind of thing.

    Where do I find Directory Access? And how do I configure it to point to the WINS server and what is a WINS server? (see I told you I'm not savvy :))

    The DNS Servers field is blank under my network settings.

    DHCP Client ID field is blank also.

    I might be able to forward your email to our IT guys and see if they can help me out.
     
  9. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #9
    If DNS and DHCP are blank but your're still getting a connection, then they are working correctly. WINS is a method that Windows computers use to resolve names to their network addresses.

    From the Finder, select Utilities from the Go menu. Directory Access is in there. Once that program is running, you need to select the network services your Mac is going to reference when it is plugged into a network.

    To configure a WINS server, select the SMB/CIFS option (SMB/CIFS is the method of sharing network resources on Windows). You will need to enter the IP address of the WINS server in the box that appears, as well as entering the name of your Windows domain or workgroup in the box where indicated. Both of these you can get from your IT staff.

    OK everything, and you should find that your Mac can now find Windows computers on it's own. Select Network from the Go menu to see them appear.
     
  10. millerrh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #10
    According to my IT guy, I can't change directory access. But he did give me an updated VPN dmg and told me to reinstall the current build of the OS and it seems to be running faster... I'm guessing the updated VPN program helped it. One of these days he said Macs will be able to log directly into the network instead of via VPN and it should run even better.
     
  11. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #11
    They don't let Macs on the network??!!!?! Let me guess, Macs are a security risk, aren't they....

    Or do they think that Macs are too chatty thanks to AppleTalk....

    :confused:

    BTW, if you'd mentioned the VPN bit it would have helped. Glad you're working again.
     
  12. millerrh thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2005
    #12
    They do let us in, but we have to VPN in. I don't think it's so much a security risk to not let us in directly, but more that they are lazy and don't feel like configuring it for the 2 people out of 2000 that actually own a mac here. Just not a priority for them. They claim it is in the works though. Apparantly a few things have to happen such as switching network servers to allow us direct log-in capabilities.

    Sorry about not mentioning VPN...didn't realize that was what could have been causing it.
     
  13. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #13
    VPN is slow. at least it is for me. Accessing the same network from the same mac internally (not with VPN) is as fast as normal. Via VPN it crawls, even with the latest client.
    I suspect it's something to do with either the encryption/verification process or some config settings at the server end (there seems to be an enormous amount of data going back and forth even when only sending it one way).

    I'm sure it can be fixed, but i'm in the same situation - as soon as you say "mac" the IT guys assume it's your problem and won't look any further into it.
     
  14. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #14
    Part of any VPN setup is a hashing algorithm that makes every data packet the same length to ensure that the encryption can't be guessed by anyone analysing the traffic. Therefore even a tiny data packet gets converted to a much larger size. Add to that the actual encryption overhead, and the amount of traffic a computer sends and receives over VPN above that of an unencrypted connection is quite large.

    I feel quite bad for the pair of you. I deal with this rubbish all the time in the companies I do IT work for. If I had a pound for every time I hear some idiot spout off something about Macs that hasn't been true for at least five years, I wouldn't have to work at all.
     
  15. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #15
    thanks dynamicv. Always nice to know what the hell's going on.

    It takes over an hour for me to upload 10 page changes onto the corporate site because of the way GoLive checks every file in the folder you're uploading to, which takes forever over VPN.

    Is there anything that can be done about it? Our IT guys are actually really helpful, they just get frightened when it has anything to do with macs and assume it must be something at my end (which maybe it is..?)
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #16
    The first thing is to get off that VPN. A lot of IT support guys think that Macs pollute the network with lots of unnecessary traffic. That was quite true back in the MacOS 8 days, but OSX changed everything. Not only do Macs have RFC standard protocol stacks now, but they actually generate less traffic than Windows PCs do. There is still a couple of issues that you have to correct with a Terminal command (like those pesky .DS_Store files), but from experience Macs now work quite happily on a network of Windows computers without requiring extra software on either the Macs or the Windows servers.

    As mentioned, I do a lot of work for the IT Depts of large companies, and while the staff I meet tend to be interested in my PowerBook, they generally know nothing about it and some are very anti simply because of that reason. Whether they just fear the user knowing more about the computer than they do is anyone's guess, but the only way to plug a hole in your technical knowledge is to learn about the thing. I wish more would just take the attitude that if the users need it, the support staff should learn to support it. They'll do their careers a lot of good by taking that line.
     
  17. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #17
    Wish I could. Internally is no problem, i just hook onto the LAN like everyone else, but most of the time i'm working from home, so VPN is the only way to connect in to the LAN (could be worse - used to have to dial in).

    Is there any way of making VPN work better? Is there a difference caused by being on a mac (that can be fixed by config adjustments at either end) or does Windows have the same problem?

    And you can get rid of .DS files ??
     
  18. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #18
    The VPN overhead is dictated by the server end of the connection, basically the device in your office that the VPN policy is set on. The Mac and PC clients will get pretty much the same overhead on their encrypted traffic, unless the device is configured to use different encryption algorithms for each.

    You can stop the creation of DS_Store files in Tiger with the following Terminal command:-

    defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

    It will only work in the user account you were logged in as when you ran it, so if you use multiple accounts, you have to run it for each. Restart the Mac once applied, and it shouldn't create .DS_Stores on any network volumes.

    It's Tiger only though. Doesn't work in Panther or below. Note also that it's case sensitive, so if you're in doubt, copy and paste it from the above directly into your Terminal.
     
  19. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #19
    Brilliant. thanks. Even when it doesn't help, it's always nice to know why (and that there wasn't anything that could be done about it anyway). I'll suffer more peacefully from now on.
     

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