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Confusing Network Issues

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  • Routers
  • Internet Service Providers
  • Networking
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Last response: in Networking
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August 1, 2010 5:12:15 PM

Hello everyone,

First of all, the setup: (each -> is a wired connection (wireless mode disabled)):

ISP -> Modem (30Mpbs) -> Router: Belkin Wireless G Plus Router F5D7231-4 -> Hub: D-Link DE-809TC -> PC 2-X

PC 1 and a Media center are connected directly to the router. All connections are given by the router (DHCP).

Now, we have the following problems:

1. The router is supposed to be a 10/100 WAN and 10/100 LAN and the hub a 10Mbps. If the router is connected to the 10Mbps Hub should it automatically slow down speed for PC 1 to 10Mbps as well?

2. I plugged PC 1 into the modem directly to test it and I had a speed (with a local speed test) of 30Mbps, which is what I would expect. The ping was 20. PC 2-X which connect through the HUB have a speed of 5Mbps with the same speed test.
However when doing the same speedtest on PC 1 while it is connected to the router the ping of PC 1 jumped 50% more, to 30! Is that normal if you just add a router in the loop?

3. Occasionally when simply surfing on the web the connection simply gets lost. After a few tests when this happens it appears to be only the internet and e-mail services which we cannot connect to. During this time P2P (through different ports) and the home-network still work fine. A soft reset is required to fix this. Does anyone know what this could be?

4. In light of issue 3 and that the router/HUB are both 10+ years old I was thinking of buying 2 new pieces of hardware to replace them, does anyone have a recommendation for:
A router, 10/100 at least (1000 preferred), with wireless preferred.
A switch/hub, (same speed as the router) with at least 20 wired connections.

I would rather not pay 100 a pop... but if the quality and the features are worth it than I would consider it.

More about : confusing network issues

August 2, 2010 5:41:51 AM

Answer to question 1,
No PC1 should not be slowed to 10Mbps, if PC1 was talking to something plunged in to the Hub it will go to 10Mbps, but like PC1 to the Media center will go as fast as the slowest device in the connection, and I am assuming PC1 and Media center both can handle 100mbps or higher so it will go 100mpbs.
Question 2
I am not sure if that is normal,Pings change alot depending on the traffic at the time. I would run the test a few times and get the average ping and then switch to the router and do the same. But I realy wouldn't worry about it.
Question 3 my router does this to on occasion, it is just the router crashing/freazing, and a reset fixes it. it is a pain
Question 4
yeah I would get new stuff, I haven't been looking at router and switchs, jsut go to www.newegg.com and you can look around there for somestuff, read some reviews and see if anything is any good.
A home router can be anywhere from $30 to 150-$300, I would get a 50-100 router wireless N gigabyte, make sure it has WPA2 encryption.
I have no idea what that big a switch costs, I bought a 8 port switch gigabyte for $30. I am sure you can find a old used 100mbps switch for dirt cheep, on ebay or on surplus somewhere. My guess it would be over 100 for a 20 port gigabyte one.
August 2, 2010 11:35:14 AM

yeh dude if you plug a slower device in the connection... being the hub... it will slow down the whole network
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August 2, 2010 3:44:25 PM

Thanks to both for the replies.

I am still wondering what causes issue 3 though?
It is odd that it only happens at some websites (for example very often after browsing the apple movie trailer website it just stops working. I reset it, surf to that website again 1 minute later and it crashes again.

Either way, I was looking at a few new router models to replace the current one and pretty much the only one below $100 which had a 10/100/100 WAN and 10/100/100 LAN was the following:

TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND Ultimate IEEE 802.11b/g/n 300M Wireless N Gigabit Router with USB 2.0 port - $70

We have a few different OS' running, do I need to worry about routers being compatible with windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac?

I will see what I can do about needing so many ports for the switch. When purchasing one are the need for enough 10/100/1000 ports all I need to pay attention to (besides price)?
August 4, 2010 4:50:54 AM

OS's behind the router won't matter at all, they all support IPv4 so you'll be good to go there.

If only certain, say "new", connections / web pages stop working but "established" or streaming pages are fine I usually would suspect a DNS issue. You really just have to troubleshoot it while it's occuring. If you want you can force your PC to use Google's DNS instead - 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. That'll at least help you narrow it down. Other wise if resetting the router is needed to get things back to normal... well I'd just buy a new router.

I really can't comment on the TP-LINK as I've never used / heard of them. In theory pretty much any of them are fine, but I've found some of the "consumer grade" ones to be less than stellar in stability. I've personally had good results with the Apple Airport Extreme (only used for wireless though) as well as an old D-link. The Linksys N router I got (and returned) prior to the airport gave me nothing but headaches, maybe I got a bad one, I dunno.
August 10, 2010 11:33:14 AM

After reading up and doing research on some good possible candidate routers and never found any that had stellar reviews. Nearly all routers crashed with heavy P2P or other use. I eventually came accross some information on modifying a PC, installing a linux distribution on it and then using that as a router.

However, does anyone know if this would meet the following requirements:

Gigabit connection speed.
Quality of Service availability.
Won't disconnect with a few thousands of peers connected (P2P).
Wireless possibility?
Able to be remotely configured (post installation and setup).
Decent firewall capabilities.
Allow up to 12 wired connections.

I was also wondering, is there any difference in latency speeds between this and a router setup?

What kind of basic hardware requirements should I be looking for? I ask because I have a few old PCs which I could use for this.
August 11, 2010 1:39:53 AM

I don't think Linux iptables by itself will do QoS, but with additional packages I'm sure you can. I'd look at some of the "firewall" distros out there for linux if that's what you're wanting to do. Not sure about how well the wireless would work with some of the below, but I think you can get motherboards that include an access point feature. I'd check out the following two "software firewall" distros:

1) Untangle (www.untangle.com) - Linux based, feature packed

2) pfSense (www.pfsense.org) - FreeBSD based, seems to be more performance oriented than untangle. Includes traffic "shaping".


If you determine that it's more trouble than it's worth to build and maintain a server box like this remotely (not to mention expensive), you may just want to buy a hardware based commercial firewall. You'll get support, software updates, and much better reliability. I'd take a look at the Cisco ASA product line, Juniper SRX, SonicWall, Fortinet, etc.. My personal favorite being the Cisco ASA... you just can't kill them. But they will cost you, and aren't easy to configure, but you won't have dropped connections, lots of mature feature sets, great tech support if you do have config questions / problems, and remotely supporting them is a breeze... but not quite as easy as the SRX. SRX will allow you to build a "rescue" config that it will default to if someone hits the recessed "reset" button... it also allows you to create a configuration and require you to log back within a certain time frame or it will revert settings to the previous ones. Ie.... it makes it a lot harder to lock yourself out of the box if you're working remotely. Think of it kinda like the windows display "confirm you want to keep this setting or we'll change your display back in x seconds..".

Again, these are ALL an overkill for 99.999% of homes / home offices... but it sounds like you maybe trying to push the limits of what the consumer grade stuff is up for... so it might be worth looking into. Just make sure you weigh the differences in cost between buying server hardware, etc vs the commercial stuff. In some cases it's cheaper to go commercial and in others... well it isn't. Also with most of these solutions you'll need to invest some time and make sure you understand networking, and are prepared to learn some "new stuff" if you're not already familiar with it. The consumer grade stuff tends to dumb things down a lot.

Also the #1 cause of failure for software based firewalls is the hard drives.... so if you can avoid / mitigate that as being a huge issue... I highly recommend it.
August 12, 2010 12:37:57 PM

Brian_tii, what do you mean that hard drives are the biggest cause for software based firewalls to fail? For the averague user how often do they fail? For me, replacing a HD every few years (it does not need to be big) is not an issue).

I have been looking around for options myself as well. From what I could tell the following software seems to meet my needs pretty well (it even allows backup images if I read it correctly):
Asaro Security Gateway - Review by PCmag

I do have a decent system I can use for it as well (p4, 512 MB ram and the likes). All I would have to do would be to get 2x gigabit network cards for it and maybe a new stick of ram or 2.. If these are the only costs, they should not bump the cost to much more than $100.

Does anyone here have any experience with this software?
August 13, 2010 4:19:26 AM

I meant exactly what I said :-) If something is going to break on a software based firewall it's usually the disk drive. And yes, every 3 - 4 years is probably about right... If it doesn't bother you, then go with a software based solution. If you're trying for 99.99% uptime, well... there are better options including flash based or by going HA (or both). The OP started to sound like the FW <had> to be up all the time and couldn't fail so I presented a few additional options. As previously stated, they aren't easy to setup, and they aren't made for home users.

Astaro sounds like a decent enough choice as far as free firewalls go. I'd probably try untangle first since it seems to have more traction / popularity online (easier to get your questions answered). But give Astaro a shot if it sounds like something you need / are interested in, most of those types of solutions work fairly well for home use and smaller businesses.
August 13, 2010 6:18:38 PM

a HD is the most likely piece to fail, but SMART monitoring, or a raid setup could mitigate this.
August 14, 2010 1:41:58 PM

I checked the two most likely candidates for a router box which I have lying around here.

The first is an SN95G5 shuttle PC. The most I could find out about it was from this review. It has a Marvell Yukon 88E8001 Gigabit Ethernet chipset already built in. And it has 1 AGP and 1 PCI slot.

The 2nd is an older desktop model with a COMPAQ EVO W4000 WORKSTATION MOTHERBOARD. It has 3-5 PCI expansion slots.

In both of these cases I am assuming PCI means PCI 1.0.

I would like to have a gigabit LAN and WAN connection, but would either of these PCs be able to make full use out of it?
From what I read the PCI slots share a bandwith limit of 133 MByte/sec (read on wikipedia).
In the shuttle review it is mentioned that the onboard gigabit controller shares bandwith with the PCI slot as well.

Can anyone verify my hypothesis? In the expansion slot I would plug a gigabit NIC (or 2 in the case of the desktop). Otherwise these PCs both meet the specifications for a software router.
!