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Fluctuating dsl speeds

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July 18, 2010 7:04:57 AM

I have AT&T elite (up to 6mbps) DSL speed in my house. I moved in about 2 months ago, but noticed over the past few weeks my DSL speeds fluctuates wildly moment to moment.

Sometimes I will have 4-5mpbs then 2-3 minutes later almost no speed whatsoever. I don't recall having this problem at my previous address or in the first few weeks living in this house (though I suppose I may just not have noticed).

This happens with wired connections (desktop) and wireless connections (laptop and a brand new iPhone4). I first picked up on the issue because of problems downloading over the WiFi, but I can replicate the problem on the wired connection as well. I've had this problem at all times of day and night and tested with everything off the network but one device.

AT&T has run tests on the line, went to the local box down the street and run tests, and ran tests on the box in my house and say that can't find a problem. Of course when their tech plugged into my router it was at a time with great bandwith so they said they had no idea what the issue was.

They switched the port a couple of days ago on their end but I am still having the problem. I then a new 2Wire 2701HG-B in case my router was going bad and still have the problem.

My DSL modem NEVER drops the "internet light" and my computers/iPhones always say they have connections to the router, so it must be something about the signal coming INTO The router that just randomly drops speed.

Considering that I am having this problem on every piece of hardware I have, new and old, and wired/wireless connection, the problem must be originating somewhere in the wiring but I don't know what the next step would be. I do not have a regular landline; the only thing plugged into the phone jack anywhere in the house is the dsl modem/router.

Any ideas?

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July 18, 2010 9:26:01 AM

Have you rebooted the dsl modem? Reboot that as well as your router. I agree that if you have good signal from your router and can connect out even when speeds are slower, clearly the router would seem to be working correctly.

Here is a test. Why not unplug your router, and plug directly into the modem with a wired connection. Then see if the issue persists. One way to do this, check out speedtest.net, and you can do an internet speed test. Do these at random, and see what kind of results you get. If you get similar results as before, especially after rebooting the modem, and you are wired directly to the modem, that would mean your equipment would be fine.

Question, you say router, and modem. Do you have 2 seperate devices, 1 router and 1 modem, or is it one of the all in one units?
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July 18, 2010 2:50:57 PM

I actually have a combined DSL router/modem from 2wire currently (2700hg-b), and the replacement I tried is the same thing (slightly newer version, the 2701hg-b). I did try cycling the power and it didn't change anything. So while I don't have the ability to bypass the router portion I already have a direct wired connection b/t the desktop and router/modem and the issue persists regardless of which router I use and whether I try the wired or wireless connections.

That's why I am positive it is not a hardware or software issue on my end, but I don't know what that leave since AT&T says every test they run is fine.
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July 19, 2010 4:56:09 AM

Well sounds like it's something on their end, because honestly, it's their equipment correct? As well as you said it worked fine at your old residence. If you've not changed any software settings, then theoretically, it should not be your software.
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July 29, 2010 2:27:27 PM

The AT&T techs have come out twice during the middle of the day during the past 2 weeks and can't find a problem, and of course both times they have been here the speed has been perfect. But also of course for the past two evenings/nights when I have been home the speed has been SO SLOW that I am turning off the WiFi on my iPhone to use the AT&T 3G network so I can access the internet because my bandwith is so low. My checks at speedtest.net have been mostly lower than 0.5 mbs the past two days, sometimes as low as 0.01 mbps. Even when this happens the modem says it has a connection to the internet.

They have absolutely no idea what the problem is; anyone else have any ideas?
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July 30, 2010 11:24:19 PM

skinner456 said:
I have AT&T elite (up to 6mbps) DSL speed in my house. I moved in about 2 months ago, but noticed over the past few weeks my DSL speeds fluctuates wildly moment to moment.

Sometimes I will have 4-5mpbs then 2-3 minutes later almost no speed whatsoever. I don't recall having this problem at my previous address or in the first few weeks living in this house (though I suppose I may just not have noticed).

This happens with wired connections (desktop) and wireless connections (laptop and a brand new iPhone4). I first picked up on the issue because of problems downloading over the WiFi, but I can replicate the problem on the wired connection as well. I've had this problem at all times of day and night and tested with everything off the network but one device.

AT&T has run tests on the line, went to the local box down the street and run tests, and ran tests on the box in my house and say that can't find a problem. Of course when their tech plugged into my router it was at a time with great bandwith so they said they had no idea what the issue was.

They switched the port a couple of days ago on their end but I am still having the problem. I then a new 2Wire 2701HG-B in case my router was going bad and still have the problem.

My DSL modem NEVER drops the "internet light" and my computers/iPhones always say they have connections to the router, so it must be something about the signal coming INTO The router that just randomly drops speed.

Considering that I am having this problem on every piece of hardware I have, new and old, and wired/wireless connection, the problem must be originating somewhere in the wiring but I don't know what the next step would be. I do not have a regular landline; the only thing plugged into the phone jack anywhere in the house is the dsl modem/router.

Any ideas?


Doy uo have a Virus on your PC or any Spyware maybe. Try giving that a check I ahve had those problems before! As far as wiring see if you can purchase a cable bandwith tester and check your lines!
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August 7, 2010 8:09:53 AM

Did you ever get this resolved? If not, may ask your provider about trying a different dsl modem, just in case the one you have might be going out.
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August 15, 2010 3:48:56 AM

I haven't figured it out still. I did try purchasing a newer 2Wire combined dsl modem/router and was having the same problem so I returned it. I just purchased a separate DSL modem and wireless router off of Amazon so will give those a try next. Beyond that I have no idea. The tech people at AT&T are stumped.
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August 16, 2010 3:37:05 AM

My other question, if you reset the modem when speeds are slow, does it get better? Honestly, your dsl sounds more like it's working like a cable connection. With cable you can get more slowness when more folks are online. Your connection should be it's own seperate connection.

Do run Malware bytes anti malware, spybot search and destroy, and maybe super antispyware to check for virus/spyware issues.

The other thing, but this is a shot in the dark, have you looked at DNS settings? Maybe try some different DNS settings and see if that helps, just on the off chance.

Last few times I've worked with ATT dsl, not impressed. Not that their guys aren't knowledgable, not saying that, but just seems like some intermittent issues. Things like the connection working for 3-4 days, then just going out, have to do a reset, and the cycle continues.
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August 26, 2010 2:49:18 PM

I agree that this does appear to be acting more like cable then DSL, though AT&T assures me I have my own dedicated bandwith. I ended up purchasing a new DSL modem from another company and a separate Netgear router and ditched the 2Wire combined modem/router to see if that made a difference, and it actually has made a small improvement.

I still am having lengthy periods where the bandwith drops dramatically and noticeably, but now instead of dropping all the way to zero, it will drop to around 1-1.5mbps and stay there for random periods of time.

This is happening on both the desktop (with a direct ethernet connection), powerline networking (bluray/xbox), laptop (wireless connection), and iPhones I use on the network, so I can't believe that it would be a malware/virus issue across all devices, especially since some of them can't interact. I tried to stream a movie on my blu-ray last week using Blockbuster on Demand and the bandwith was so low at the beginning that I couldn't even watch it. After 20-30 minutes the bandwith went back to normal (this is all with nothing else being used on the network).

I haven't actually tried resetting the modem during periods of slow speeds but will try that next time it happens. I honestly don't know enough to do start messing with DNS settings; any particular suggestions?

If I can't get this resolved I am tempted to call the cable company for service but won't I have fluctuating speeds with them also? Or will they come out and boost the bandwidth somehow if it drops too low?
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September 8, 2010 3:07:28 AM

skinner456 said:
I agree that this does appear to be acting more like cable then DSL, though AT&T assures me I have my own dedicated bandwith. I ended up purchasing a new DSL modem from another company and a separate Netgear router and ditched the 2Wire combined modem/router to see if that made a difference, and it actually has made a small improvement.

I still am having lengthy periods where the bandwith drops dramatically and noticeably, but now instead of dropping all the way to zero, it will drop to around 1-1.5mbps and stay there for random periods of time.

This is happening on both the desktop (with a direct ethernet connection), powerline networking (bluray/xbox), laptop (wireless connection), and iPhones I use on the network, so I can't believe that it would be a malware/virus issue across all devices, especially since some of them can't interact. I tried to stream a movie on my blu-ray last week using Blockbuster on Demand and the bandwith was so low at the beginning that I couldn't even watch it. After 20-30 minutes the bandwith went back to normal (this is all with nothing else being used on the network).

I haven't actually tried resetting the modem during periods of slow speeds but will try that next time it happens. I honestly don't know enough to do start messing with DNS settings; any particular suggestions?

If I can't get this resolved I am tempted to call the cable company for service but won't I have fluctuating speeds with them also? Or will they come out and boost the bandwidth somehow if it drops too low?


I see that this thread has not been replied to for a few days, but I just discovered it while searching for a solution to the same problem. I have had AT&T's "lite DSL" (768k) since 2006. It didn't work properly for about the first 6 months, (speeds down to 24k), and after numerous visits to the house, they told me the "line hadn't been provisioned", and, going forward, I should see improvement.
Well, after that, it worked fine from about 2007- to just about a week ago, with speeds averaging 700k, which I could live with. Now I consistently have speeds down to .05 download .01 upload. Tech support put me through the "unplug modem and reset" routine, saying the signal at their end was fine. The strange thing is, for about the first two minutes following the "reset", the signal goes up to normal, less than 5 minutes later, it tanks again and is back below .05. Tech support told me the only unusual thing they noticed on my account was that there was a "profile mismatch", meaning, they were sending a 3mbps signal and my 768k profile could not process it fast enough (line limitations, or something.) Adjusting the "profile", did nothing to solve the problem. They made the usual suggestions about virus and spyware checking, but I told them that could not be the problem because I have used the same laptop and ethernet cable to successfully connect at several hotels, at extremely fast speeds.
Nothing has changed here at the house since the problem began. Same phone line, same line filter, same computer, same software and modem, a Westel, provided by them when I signed up for the service. I asked them if they could possibly test for line integrity and consistency. Following multiple failed video uploads, I began to suspect my connection was being dropped altogether, or had such inconsistency, that it could not hold a stable signal. They said consistency could only be checked at their end, and that they would make a note on my account to do that. That was yesterday, no change yet. I am busy and can't hang on the phone for hours at a time, so I am to the point, where, if I have to do any large file uploads or downloads I will just go to a Motel 6 and plug into their ethernet connection! I don't want to buy a new modem and find out that wasn't the problem, but I have eliminated the idea that it is the computer, software or the ethernet cable.
If I find any new answers I will post, and I will continue to follow this thread if someone finds a solution to this.
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September 10, 2010 4:23:03 AM

I guarantee you that this is an AT&T problem. Over a couple of beers I could tell you several tales where AT&T SWORE it wasn't their problem but in the end it was. What I do is find out where the SLIC (DSL box - big white thing in somebody's side yard) and watch for techs hanging around there. Then I stop and talk to them. They'll either come over or tell you to open a ticket and they'll pick it up and come by. They should be able to work it from there.

Does your new modem have DSL and SYNC lights? These should NEVER go out. If they blink it HAS to be an AT&T problem in the provisioning. Look at them while your speed is slow. I'll bet they're blinking.
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September 20, 2010 4:15:47 PM

I returned all the new equipment because it wasn't making a substantial difference. My current 2Wire modem has a DSL light an an internet light. The DSL light always seems to be on, the internet light does seem to occasionally blink.

I have no idea what the issue is, so I've decided to give up on the DSL all-together. AT&T does actually offer Uverse at my house so I am having it installed this Friday, so we'll see if that remedies the situation. If not I am heading to cable modem.
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September 28, 2010 1:09:44 AM

I read somewhere that it could be the phone jack you're plugging into that is faulty. If you have another jack in your house, you could try setting it up there and see if there is an improvement.
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October 14, 2010 4:22:39 PM

Unfortunately there is only one active phone jack as I think the tech people cut the other lines at some point during one of their service calls.

I officially ditched the DSL as we could not solve the issue and now have Uverse internet anyway. Interestingly, the first 2-3 days of Uverse I was having the SAME exact issues, but then it mysteriously disappeared and now for the last 2-3 weeks the connection has been perfect at all times of day or night, and using both wired and wireless connections.

I have no idea why the problem resolved. Either there was some sort of external interference that someone turned off or AT&T updated its system somehow, because I made no other changes inside my house besides switching over to the UVerse equipment (which the AT&T people set up for me).

Regardless, I can now move to my other perplexing tech issues (why my Macbook Pro has errors printing to my Epson printer; predates the Uverse switch).

Thanks to all for the suggestions.
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July 22, 2011 6:24:11 AM

I have been having this same speed problems with AT&T DSL Elite service.

I have called them so many times and they sent a line tech out who tested the line at 9Mbps, plenty of margin to run at 6Mbps.
I mentioned this to a friend at work he said he had a similar problem some time ago. He had to get tier 3 support from AT&T to get resolution. He claims that there are 2 scripts running on 2 different machines at AT&T one will set the router to 1.5Mbps and the other will set it back to the normal Elite 6Mbps. The profiles were all screwed up for the DSLAM and router.

One time when I called, the tech told me that I had no profile! figure that. AT&T will lose my business on my Phone, internet and Cell if they keep giving me the run around.

When you call ask for AGENT and then a higher tier of service, this is on there end not your equipment or line. AT&T can run a line check and know if the line is bad. AT&T wants you to run slow since they do not want to purchase the equipment to support the bandwidth needs.
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July 22, 2011 10:14:18 AM

Log in on your ADSL modem's web page and go to it's ADSL statistics page, and then post your ADSL statistics here.

You should at least post the Line Attenuation, SNR margins & Sync rates/current speeds - both for the up & down streams.
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July 22, 2011 10:56:32 AM


Hmm - the necro posters are having a field day. :D 


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February 29, 2012 12:19:24 AM

I know this thread is almost a year old since the last post but all my searching and this is my EXACT problem, so I am hoping that there will be a resolution.

AT&T said it was my modem, got a new modem, same issue with my speeds going way down and staying way down to the point where pages take forever to load and I can't stream YouTube or any movies online, or websites for my daughter such as abcmouse.com.

I have tried both wired and wireless, changed out all connections, done all the usual power cycling to no avail. I even scanned my computer with Malware Bytes, and though it found a few things, nothing to help with this issue.

It was weird that from one night to the next this problem occurred. Not a slowing over time or anything, just from one day to the next. AT&T says no issues on their end, and that I am getting speed on the high end of my level. No good to me, if I can't load pages or view streams. :( 

Help?
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March 17, 2012 2:53:13 PM

Try on the off chance of using new DNS settings. So go to Start-->Control Panel-->Network And Sharing Center-->Change Adapter Settings. Right Click the connection you use and click properties. Click Internet Protocol Version 4, click properties. At the bottom of the page tell the computer to "Use the followin DNS Addresses"

I personally use google's dns servers. They are

8.8.8.8
8.8.4.4

Enter those, hit ok, reboot, and try again. DNS is like a phone book for the web, so if ATT's dns servers are slow, theoretically you could have a slow browsing experience.
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March 23, 2012 6:01:16 PM

Wow, thanks so much for that tip! After searching around for the same problem the OP stated, I tried changing the DNS addresses like you suggested and it has worked well so far! I'm getting consistant speeds, not stop go stop go like before!
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March 24, 2012 2:16:54 AM

Awesome, glad to hear it. Sometimes dns settings can cause whacky issues.
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