A network bottleneck is a condition wherein data flows experience delays due to limitations in computer resources. It typically occurs when a system’s bandwidth is not enough to support the volume of data relayed at the speed at which it should be received.

Imagine a highway with four lanes that merge into one eventually. As more vehicles approach the merged road, the traffic flow slows down because its size can’t accommodate the volume of cars passing through it.

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Read More about a “Network Bottleneck”

It is typical for any organization to experience a slowdown in network processes. Sometimes, these issues can be quickly remedied. Others, on the other hand, require further scrutiny before they can be resolved.

5 Most Common Causes of a Network Bottleneck

Network bottlenecks can be problematic. If your organization relies heavily on your network to get things done, a bottleneck can decrease productivity and affect a business’s entire operations. As such, they need to be addressed at the soonest possible time. Before you can do that, you need to know the most common reasons why network bottlenecks occur, which include:

1. Bandwidth Monopoly

One of the most common causes of a network bottleneck is bandwidth hogging. There may be someone within your network who might be using up a considerable percentage of your bandwidth. That can happen if he or she is downloading a large data file or streaming a video during the busiest time of the workday. Organizations can address bandwidth monopoly by using network monitoring software to detect users who may be hogging network resources in real-time.

2. Limited Bandwidth

Issues often arise from limited bandwidth. Your usage may have surpassed the bandwidth your Internet service provider (ISP) allocated for your use. Remedy that by upgrading your plan.

3. Device Overload

Network concentration can also cause a network bottleneck. If too many devices are connected to a specific segment, that can slow down access. Address this by reducing the number of switches between servers and workstations.

4. Broken Devices

Sometimes, the presence of a malfunctioning device can cause a network bottleneck by giving off fake traffic. If a particular workstation experiences a network slowdown, switching to a different port can address the issue.

5. Server Overload

Another common cause of poor network performance is when a dedicated server is swamped with too many tasks. If your operations include several processes, it would be best to distribute the load across multiple servers. Upgrading the random-access memory (RAM) capacity of your servers or adding more network interfaces can also help.


Once the sources of a network bottleneck are identified, you can then proceed to fix the problem. That should speed up processes. Running regular checks on individual systems will help, too, so you can remedy issues before they can cause a network bottleneck.