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Router Slowdown Over Time

Last response: in Networking
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March 13, 2011 4:38:17 AM

I just picked up a Netgear N300 router for my apartment. As soon as I plug it in it works fine, speedtest reports 9mbs down and 3mbs up. After a few hours though it slows significantly to about 2mpbs down, upload doesn't seem to change. A reset corrects the problem, but it returns in just a few hours again. I don't mind slowdowns, but going from lightning fast to waiting for LQ videos to buffer is really annoying. This is using the wired connection to my desktop. My notebook on wireless seems to do the same thing.

I never had this problem on my desktop when it was wired straight into the modem.

Router is password protected with WPA[AES] encryption on it. Other than that I've changed pretty much nothing. Thanks.

More about : router slowdown time

March 13, 2011 5:13:51 AM

It's my understanding N300 is a generic term/name that simply refers to “wireless N @ 300Mbps”, and there are several different models that fit that description, including the WNR2000, WNR3400L, etc. So it might help if you could be more specific.

Before even beginning to determine the problem, I strongly suggest you update the firmware to the latest release, then try again. Sometimes these devices lie around the shelf for a while and miss important updates. And it’s always better to perform firmware updates while still within the return period anyway.
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March 13, 2011 5:20:11 AM

WNR2000v3 is what it is. Every time I access the settings on it, it checks for firmware updates, and has yet to find any. I doublechecked on Netgear's site and their latest firmware matches the version on my router.

I wrote a macro to run Speedtest 10 times in 20 minutes, the down/up speeds vary drastically. Sometimes they're up around 7mbps and then suddenly plummet to 2mbps. Ping stays relatively the same, though.
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March 13, 2011 5:33:09 AM

Are you cable or dsl? Cable can vary widely in some areas since you're actually on a shared loop within your neighborhood. So obviously densely populated areas tend to be the worst. DSL not so much since there you have a dedicated connection. That’s why this type of problem can be hard to diagnose. Of course, if a direct connection to the modem remains much more constant, that would seem to indicate a router issue.

Also, your ISP may be using a feature that temporarily boosts your throughput, then progressively throttles back. It can make your internet connection look better than it really is over longer, sustained data streams (again, complicating diagnostics).


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March 13, 2011 12:38:45 PM

Its cable. I ran the exact same macro test plugged directly into the modem and got far superior results. 10Mbps/3Mbps consistently across almost all results. I can stream HD video with no troubles. With the router plugged in I can't stream LQ videos without having to wait for it to buffer.

The people at Staples told me my router wasn't fast enough and that I'd need their $150 version instead of the $50 version I got. There's no way this is that slow. My neighbor's wireless G router is leaps and bounds faster than this.

I may give my ISP a call later today and see if they can shed any light on the issue, they generally know what's going on. Any thoughts? Is there some setting I'm missing? Do I have a bunk router?

Edit: one more thing, when I connect to my router either wirelessly or wired, it says "Identifying" for like two or three minutes before it says I have internet, as opposed to a near instant connect at my parent's or neighbor's

Editedit: significant development, turning off the wireless on my router returns speeds to normal, as though I'm connected directly into the modem, so having the wireless turned on several degrades connection speeds for both the wired and wireless connections
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March 13, 2011 1:02:54 PM

Not sure what the "Identfying" issue might be, but it should never take that long to get connected.

One other thing you might try is changing up the OS, just to see if you get some change in behavior. Grab a copy of a live linux CD (e.g., Ubuntu) and rather than install it, just run it (it won't even use your HD, just installs and runs completely in memory).

I just want to see how it reacts to an OS change, in the off chance it might be OS specific/related (the fact the behavior changes between modem only vs. router would suggest otherwise, but you never know).

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March 13, 2011 1:12:25 PM

Just saw your update about disabling wireless. Maybe that router is underpowered. Let’s face it, manufacturers often build products "on the cheap", esp. at the consumer level. Or maybe it's underpowered given the excessive overhead they've introduced w/ their wireless implementation. Maybe that's where the extra $100 goes for the better version, a better processor, faster flash, more memory, etc (lol).

Still, that sounds like an awfully dramatic difference based on your description. I could see a little difference, but not the kind you're describing. Are there any other "features" associated w/ your wireless that might account for excessive overhead? None to come to mind, but I'm not familiar w/ that router, so I'm at a disadvantage in that regard. Maybe tweaking some wireless settings here or there might change that behavior.



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March 13, 2011 1:45:41 PM

Ok I've narrowed it down to the WPA[AES]. It works fine after a factory reset, but as soon as I apply WPA it tanks....
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March 13, 2011 2:09:45 PM

Ideally you should be using WPA2/AES. But for compatibility reasons, I know some ppl use WPA/TKIP or WPA/AES. I'm wondering if this is specific to WPA/AES, or is it ANY wireless security setting (other than off), even WEP.
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March 13, 2011 4:18:41 PM

Alright, I gave up and exchanged it for a Cisco E1000, it had much better reviews and was the same price. Turns out the Netgear was faulty, it started acting very erratic, not responding properly, it was just a bad unit.

Thanks for all the suggestions though, I really appreciate it! Now I'm using WPA2/AES at my full internet potential xD
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