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Major Speed Fluctuations

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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October 6, 2010 8:54:39 PM

Hello, I'm hoping someone can help me. Ever since I set up a new router (Levelone WBR-6002) my network speeds have been fluctuating quite a bit. One second the speed will be fine and the next it will slow down to 1 or 2mbps (according to speedtest.net). When it's working okay the speed will usually be between 10 and 18mbps (again according to speedtest.net).

These fluctuations happen whether I'm sitting right next to the router or on the other side of the house and occur quite often. They sometimes last around 30 seconds and sometimes multiple minutes.

I've had the same problem with two different computers:
1) A laptop running Windows 7 Professional with an Intel Wifi Link 4965AGN card
2) A desktop running Windows XP Professional with an TP-Link USB Wifi Adapter

I've made sure the adapters' drivers are up-to-date as well as the router firmware. I've set the channel mode to auto to try and avoid interference from other wifi networks. I've also unplugged the cordless phones in my home to avoid interference. None of these things has helped.

I was considering buying a new antenna to try and boost the signal as my next step, but wanted an opinion from someone who understands routers/wireless networking better than I do. Would an antenna help in this situation or does the problem lie elsewhere? Is it just a bad router or is there something else I should try?

Thank you in advance.
October 7, 2010 4:49:39 AM

What you didn’t tell us is if using a WIRED connection is always consistent, or fluctuates as well. If it's the latter, the problem isn't wireless. If it’s the former, I would also test w/ a wired connection directly to the modem.

IOW, so far the assumption is that it’s a wireless problem (and maybe it is). But it could be a more general problem w/ the router, or not the router at all, but the modem, or even some problem upstream. What kind of problem upstream? Let’s say it’s a cable ISP. Many ppl forget that cable is a shared resource and performance can fluctuate as the usage levels vary among all users on the same loop. The ISP may offer you a 10mbps plan, but there’s no guarantee he can deliver 10mbps all the time.

Granted, it may very well be a wireless problem. But until you’ve specifically eliminated other possibilities, I’m reluctant to just assume it is given how difficult it can be to diagnose wireless problems.
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