The long winter was over, lazy around the fireplace with his favorite winter beverage was giving way to evening walks among the common people. Of course it always seemed that as spring broke forth so did the number of ‘cases’ the Data Detective had submitted to him. His reputation had gotten such that he no longer had to take every case that came his way, he could now pick-n-choose the case or cases he liked best.
The Data Detective had no more than sat down for his supper at the corner café, enjoying the fine evening as well as the bustle of marketplace, then he noticed his landlady approaching. With each step she took toward him our sleuth felt more and more uncomfortable, she was no more than 20 feet away when she reached in her pocket. She is now only 8 feet away as she withdraws the note from her pocket. “This woman came by your flat asking for you, I told her I would take her contact information, and have you contact her. Don’t disappoint me on this. Oh and the next time you decide to eat supper out, let me know so I don’t fix for you in the tenants evening meal.”
As you can tell, our brave and so intelligent Data Detective maybe the most noted sleuth on the face of the planet, but he also has a landlady who rules the roost. As she departs, he quickly opens the note and reads the contact information and complaint. The next morning, the Data Detective arises early and heads downstairs for his morning Café Au Lait, and sure enough the landlady greets him with “I hope you are heading over to see that woman, I won’t have her thinking I didn’t give you her message.”
Café in hand, the Data Detective quickly headed down the street to the shop of the "damsel in distress", as it seems that her QuickBooks started running very slowly. (It seems that our sleuth would rather work as put up with the harping of his landlady.) Arriving at the shop he begins a series of questions to ‘detect’ the likely cause of the problem. As it happens, the shopkeeper’s husband had recent installed a new network interface card in her computer, (Hint: this is a 'big time clue) when the NIC on the motherboard had gone bad. She tells our sleuth that it wasn’t long thereafter that she noticed her QuickBooks really seeming slow, but she explains that the guy at the ‘big box computer store’ (another potential 'suspect') had told them that it was the right network card for their computer.
Soon our Detective is examining the card and its configuration in the computer because he knows that an improperly configured NIC is just as dysfunctional as the wrong card. You see the Network Interface Card (NIC) is a device that permits computers to join together on a local area network. The NIC allows the computer to send and receive data on the network using a specific protocol, typically Ethernet. There are a variety of Ethernet speeds, and while most today are designed to operate at 1000 mbps (megabytes per second) also referred to as a Gigabyte network, some only run at 100 mbps. It’s important that any network being used to support QuickBooks should be run at 1000 mbps. Our Detective finds that the NIC is indeed a 1000 mbps network card, so the speed of the card is not the problem.
Our sleuth knows that Network Interface cards can actually slow the transfer rate of data across the network if there is a duplex mismatch resulting from the way the NIC is configured in contrast to the remaining NICs on the network. These mismatches severely hinder the networks bandwidth, reducing it the effective bytes per second rate of data transfer. One common cause for the mismatch may result from the NIC operating with manual versus auto-detected speed and duplex settings.
So our Detective follows these steps to inspect and correct the NIC’s settings:
- On the affected Computer, click the Windows Start button, and then select Control Panel (in some versions of Windows you may need to select Settings to access the Control Panel);
- On the Control Panel, select Device Manager
- Click the > next to Network Adapters to expand the list
- Right-click on your displayed NIC card and select Properties
- Within the Properties window, click the Advanced tab
- Within the Property scroll window, select Speed & Duplex option
- From the Value drop-down list, select Auto.
- Click OK and close the window.
Sure enough this was a case of a naughty NIC because in this case the card had been misconfigured for only 100 mbps Full rather than Auto. Almost the millisecond our Sleuth reset the card to Auto, the network began to hum. When they opened QuickBooks and tested it, it was lightning fast in comparison to its prior performance. Another case solved by the Data Detective with another happy QuickBooks user touting our detective’s acumen. (Obviously it was a case of 'the husband did it.')
You too might one day resolve the mystery of a poorly performing NIC, after all “it’s elementary My Dear Watson.” As our sleuth headed back to the boarding house, he thought to himself, “I wonder if I can convince my landlady to fix me some breakfast?”