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Internet drops intermittently...


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#1
UV_Power

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Hey everyone,

I am having what I thought would be a common problem with a common answer. I have searched for an answer to my specific problem, but have come up short. So I apologize ahead of time if I am double posting.

That being said, I am having a problem lately with my internet connection. It's fairly minor, but it's also very irritating. I have DSL and use a Linksys WRT54G which is approx. five years old now. Starting about two months ago, I have been having issues with maintaining a steady internet connection. General surfing has slowed down quite a bit, but the biggest problem I've noticed is when streaming videos. Youtube, Hulu, Vimeo, etc. will all begin buffering videos, but after about 30-60 seconds, it will stop and I ultimately need to refresh the page to get it to continue.

DSL Speed Tests seem to be fine and larger files (200MB+) seem to download at max speeds without any problems. This issue occurs across all of the computers that are hooked up to the network, which for a long time has been just a Windows XP machine and a Mac, but I have recently added a Windows 7 machine to the network, although I have noticed these problems before that machine was connected. So I suspect it's a router problem, but not sure. Might be a Flash player update conflicting with the hardware...? I dunno.

Things I have tried:
- Resetting the router to factory settings
- Changing the password (to rule out unwanted users that might be hogging the bandwidth)
- Changing the channel (to something other than default of 6)

I use Google Chrome as my main web browser, but this problem also occurs on Mozilla and Safari.

How can I properly diagnose this? Any ideas?

Thanks.

Edited by UV_Power, 05 December 2010 - 06:50 PM.

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#2
diabillic

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Probably a firmware issue with the old router.

Lets try this first -

Run this command from the command line ( Start -> Run )

ping www.yahoo.com -t

After running that, keep the box open, start streaming a video and bring the box back to the front.

You should be getting results like this:

Reply from 72.30.2.43: bytes=32 time=95ms TTL=56

See if you get time out requests after 30-60 seconds.
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#3
UV_Power

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This helps out a bit, but the problem still occurs at a lower frequency.

I was able to watch about 15 minutes of playback (across five videos) before it happened again.

On a bit of a side note, the video buffer is just barely staying ahead of the actual playback. For example, a 10 minute video will take about 9 minutes to buffer fully. My download speeds max out at around 330kB/s. The buffering seems slow to me.

***EDIT (12/11): I decided to try out Network Meter V6.3 (Windows Gadget) and while buffering a 10 minute Youtube video. It looks like my download speed starts out just fine (330kB/s), but after about 10 seconds it drops to less than half speed (140kB/s). After trying again a few more times on different videos, this download speed will sometimes bottom out at around 66kB/s! Here is the chart from Network Meter:
Posted Image

Edited by UV_Power, 11 December 2010 - 11:54 AM.

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#4
UV_Power

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Is there anything else I could try?
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#5
diabillic

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Try a firmware update on your router.
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#6
UV_Power

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Tried that...

In fact, I tried a few separate routers with the same results. I am currently using a Netgear router.

I actually called my ISP for help, but they couldn't find anything wrong with the incoming DSL line.

By the way, I just re-read your earlier post and realized this went unanswered:

See if you get time out requests after 30-60 seconds.


I actually do get time out requests quite often. Sometimes it will only happen once before resuming and sometimes it will happen four or five times in a row.

Here is one sample of the output after typing "ping -t 8.8.8.8" while streaming videos:
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=235ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=228ms TTL=54
Request timed out.
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=111ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=154ms TTL=54

Here's another part of the output:
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=223ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=613ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=480ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=623ms TTL=54
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=388ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=317ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=288ms TTL=54
Reply from 8.8.8.8: bytes=32 time=278ms TTL=54

I hope this helps in figuring this thing out because I am at a diagnostic dead end at this point.
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#7
diabillic

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Thought so, you're dropping packets.

Use a different cable if you havent already.

It also could be the NIC. Are there updated drivers for it? If the cable swap doesnt work, update drivers and if not try a new NIC.

Edited by diabillic, 10 January 2011 - 05:36 PM.

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#8
UV_Power

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Since this problem is occurring on all the systems connected to it (Windows 7, Windows XP, and Mac), I doubt hardware updates across all the individual NICs will change anything. But why argue? I made sure that my recently built Win7 and my not so recently built WinXP machines both had the latest updates. They do.

I did try swapping out the ethernet cable connecting the router to the modem. I've used four different cables thus far. No change.

The only thing I can think of that I haven't tried yet is replacing the modem itself, which is several years old now. I brought this up during my phone call to my ISP and they said all the tests ran fine with no problems. Is it possible for an older DSL modem to drop packets and give me a slow connection?
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#9
diabillic

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Ok, so youre having the issue on multiple machines on your network.

Have your ISP swap out the modem. If thats not it, then its an issue on their backend.
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