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Improving Internet Speed

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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January 10, 2011 6:18:19 PM

Hello Tom's Hardware! Once again, I need your help =]

I am currently living in my first apartment, which is sweet! I purchased AT&T's fastest high speed DSL package, which is supposedly 6mbps for $45/month. It was nice for the first week, when we only had two computer hooked up to it. Now, 7 months later, this is our current usage:

2 Towers
2 Notebooks
3 XBOX Consoles (soon to be 4)
4 Cell Phones

There are constant downloads running in the background on at least 1 tower at any time, and the consoles run simultaneously most of the time (we do a lot of LAN partying =] ). It is also not uncommon for 2 or 3 of us to be vending on MMO's. So...you can imagine what kind of lags we're dealing with here.

What I'm wondering is, there just has to be some way to get a better connection, isn't there?? I would have no problem at all with upgrading to a better internet plan, except...there are none. And from what I can see, FIOS and U-verse are not available to our area. So, here is what I need to know:

I. Is there a faster internet service that you can recommend to me?
Like I mentioned before, FIOS and U-verse are not available to my area. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post my address on here..? My area code is 92509 though, if that helps you check availability.

II. Is there any way I can maximize my current connection speeds?
I'm pretty familiar with computers, but not with networking. Our current setup has a) some sort of modem or device that's connected directly to the phone lines, b) our modem, which is connected to the DSL port in the wall, and c) an N-wireless router that's connected to the modem. The XBOX consoles have wireless adapters (1 of which is an N-type), the notebooks all use the internal wireless network adapters, and 1 tower is connected via ethernet to the router and 1 uses an N-Type card.

I'm at my office right now, so I won't be able to provide any specs until I get home...but based on my situation, what can you guys recommend to me? I just wanted to get an idea on how to proceed first. Thanks again!
January 10, 2011 6:37:16 PM

You need to get a fairly high-end router that has QOS enabled to limit downloads. A download will eat up as muich bandwidth as it can unless you use a managed router or a program that will enable you to limit how much bandwidth is uses.

Read this http://vonage.nmhoy.net/qos.html, then figure out your budget and visit some stores.
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January 10, 2011 6:43:25 PM

How about cable?

Time Warner is about $50 for 20Mb down and 5Mb up

Not sure about Charter
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January 10, 2011 8:25:09 PM

hang-the-9 said:
You need to get a fairly high-end router that has QOS enabled to limit downloads. A download will eat up as muich bandwidth as it can unless you use a managed router or a program that will enable you to limit how much bandwidth is uses.

Read this http://vonage.nmhoy.net/qos.html, then figure out your budget and visit some stores.


That's interesting! Sadly, I don't believe that the downloads are the ultimate problem (though I'm sure they certainly don't help); even when I stop all downloads for an important match, there's still occasional lag. I know there are many different factors involved that can slow my connection speeds down, but the downloads are a less immediate threat since, as you pointed out, I can use a download program or agent to manage that problem. Or, if all else fails, I can just kill or pause them =P I usually use uTorrent anyway. Thanks for pointing this issue out though, I learned something new!

Emerald said:
How about cable?

Time Warner is about $50 for 20Mb down and 5Mb up

Not sure about Charter


Wow, I was about to tell you that my current service is the same speed, but I went and double-checked before I put my foot in my mouth. That's a LOT faster than my current service! Of course, the price is questionable without a package...but I'll look into it! If that's the solid price for internet by itself, I'll definitely try it out. Thanks!
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January 11, 2011 12:43:15 PM

Don't forget that wireless adds lots of latency and overhead, it will never be as fast as a cable. Each device on the wireless network pretty much halves the bandwidth available to the rest of the devices and the distance to the router will affect speed and latency. More error correction = more ping time.
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