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Diagnosing internet connection speed


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#1
Junkman

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Hi
This isn't the best place for this thread, but I couldn't see any other area that seemed to fit better.

Basically I want to know how to tell what the problem is with my internet connection. I live in Denmark and have a 12Megabit cable connection, connected to a motorola surfboard cable modem, which in turn connects to a linksys wireless router. My PC plugs into the router, and my laptop connects wirelessly.

The modem is over seven years old now, the router maybe 18 months to 2 years. Up until about a year ago I had no problems, the connection was fine and reliable. I used to do a speed test online and it always came out at the right speed. But some time in the last year things started slowing down and getting patchy. It was still mostly fast enough so I didn't concern myself overly, but now in the last month or so things have started getting a lot worse.

In my online game (Guild Wars) I'm getting a lot of lag, where I used to get practically none. Download speeds for webpages are often fine but often lag a lot as well. When I download torrents things sometimes get up to very high speeds still, so I think the potential for a high speed is still there. Running the online speed test now produces much lower results. I ran the test twice just now and got 5.3Mbit and then 4.7Mbit(should be 12, remember). We have in fact received notice that our speed is being increased to 15Mbit some time around now, and I would think that problems with that might be the explanation, except that the problem started long before.

So my question is, how do I find where the problem is? I can contact my ISP of course, but I have no idea if the problem is at their end. I kind of suspect it's not, since if they had a problem they probably would have fixed it by now. The slow speeds show up on both laptop and PC, so the problem can't be the wireless connection. The modem seems like an obvious culprit as well, except it seems odd to me that it should just slow me down rather than just go kaput. But then, I don't know what I'm talking about really :) Finally, it did occur to me that someone could be piggybacking on the wireless connection, but nothing shows up on the network list that shouldn't be there, and I do use WPA2 encryption and a password, so that seems unlikely too.

Vista Home Premium 32bit on both the PC and laptop, in case it's relevant.

Thanks in advance

EDIT: I just tested the speed once and then took a short break and then twice more. The first time I got 5.75, and then, after a short break. 15.3Mbit and then 13.8Mbit. So very sporadic, and still able to reach full speed when it feels like it.

Edited by Junkman, 11 April 2010 - 04:05 AM.

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#2
SpywareDr

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FWIW - If your Cable ISP is not providing enough bandwidth for your neighborhood, your service will become sluggish when many people are all using it at the same time.
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#3
DaffyKantReed

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@Junkman

Online speedtests can be quite inaccurate.
http://www.speedtest...t/778865774.png

Due to the technology my ISP uses at the CMTS for boosting the download speed of small files, my download speed report of 29Mbps is inaccurate. The package I'm paying for is rated at 15Mbps. A better way to tell is downloading a popular Linux distro using utorrent or similar. Time how long this takes if the application does not.

My test downloaded a 691MB ISO in 400sec, which works out to 13.8Mbps.

Connect your PC directly to the Motorola SB and monitor your connection for several days. If it improves, the problem could be with the Linksys router.

Try 192.168.100.1 in your browser. Can you see any power levels or the S/N? If so, please copy and paste those results to this thread.
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#4
Junkman

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Thankyou for the help so far. Your suggestion is possible I suppose SpywareDr, but I don't know how I'd go about finding out, and it does seem unlikely since this area is fairly well-developed and not poor or anything :)

And thankyou DaffyKantRead. The information from the browser page you recommended:

Downsteam:
Frequency: 288000000 Hz Locked
Signal to Noise Ratio: 33 dB
Power Level: -12 dBmV

Upstream:
Channel ID 1
Frequency 24800000 Hz Ranged
Power Level 52 dBmV

Refreshed a few times and nothing changed significantly. I hope that's the info you're looking for.

Yes, I will try connecting the modem directly, just as soon as I can find the cable...

And the online tests may be unreliable, but as I've said I've noticed the problems in my gaming and browsing and downloading, not just the test. And it seems to correlate too; when things seem to be going slowly I run the test and get a slow speed, and vice versa. So I don't think I really need a more accurate test to confirm the diagnosis, I am definately experiencing a speed reduction. And even a few disconnects from my game, though I don't know if that could just be caused by momentarily slow speed. (of course if running the Linux test you mention could help provide useful information for you to help me then I can still try it).

Thanks again.

Edited by Junkman, 11 April 2010 - 11:11 AM.

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#5
DaffyKantReed

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Power levels are within range, but S/N could be higher, like 37dB and the Upstream level of 52dBmV is almost too high, but not cause for concern if it doesn't go higher. When you've connected a single PC to the SB51xx, please post back with your results.

Good luck.
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