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Help with slow/sporadic internet!

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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June 24, 2012 6:41:28 PM

I have some questions about my wireless internet that I'm hoping someone can answer, and maybe help me find solutions to my problems I'm having.

So, we have wireless internet here at my house. The router we have is a dual-band router with "up to 450 Mbps" on each band. So, that means a potential of 900 Mbps, correct? If that's true, that means I SHOULD be able to download at speeds up to 112.5 MBps. I realize this isn't the only contributor to internet speed, however.

Additionally, I also have a dual-band wireless adapter that is also supposed to pick up speeds up to 450 Mbps on each band. However, for some reason, it only allows me to connect to one access point at a time ONLY ON MY DESKTOP. I'm assuming it might have something to do with the fact it's a 64-bit system? If so, can I fix that? On my laptop and my dad's, however, we are able to connect to two bands at a time (although without a notable speed difference).

According to AT&T, we have the fastest wireless service that they provide. I don't know exactly what it is, but I assume it would be a very good service coming from a large company and being their "best." But if I run a speed test on speedtest.net, it tells me that we have a wireless speed of 27th percentile and a D- rating. Far from "the best."

My desktop I use for internet is a custom-built with:
-AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Processors @ 3.30GHz
-8 Gigs or RAM
-64-bit Windows 7 Professional

So, now my problems. I only download at around 6Mbps (note: bits, not bytes) tops and upload at a painfully slow rate. Not only that, but our wireless is extremely sporadic. Sometimes it downloads at 50-75Kbps and sometimes it's up to 800+Kbps. We also lose internet connectivity quite often and either (a) have to wait for it to repair itself or (b) manually restart the modem and router, which often won't fix it anyway. I'm also only getting the same connectivity range as I was with the router we had before, which was only "G", while this one's an "N".

More about : slow sporadic internet

June 24, 2012 7:44:55 PM

What are your speeds when connected directly to the modem, i.e., no router.

Then tell me your speeds using the router via wire, not wireless.

IOW, let's isolate the effects of all the variables (router, wire, and wireless) and then compare them.
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June 24, 2012 8:57:03 PM

eibgrad said:
What are your speeds when connected directly to the modem, i.e., no router.

Then tell me your speeds using the router via wire, not wireless.

IOW, let's isolate the effects of all the variables (router, wire, and wireless) and then compare them.


I was unable to connect to the internet straight through my modem. I tried several times, tried "power cycling" the modem, and restarting my computer, but was unable to gain an internet access.

I did get connected directly to my router through a wired connection and the speed was nearly identical.

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June 24, 2012 9:07:59 PM

That suggests it's not the wireless, but either the router, or more likely, the internet connection. That's why it's important to get that direct modem connection working. It can be stubborn at times because your router's MAC address has been associated w/ the one DHCP lease (public IP) you’re allowed. Second attempts with a new device fail because as far as the ISP is concerned, you still have a valid lease on the other device! So it works best if you FORMALLY release the DHCP lease from the router before disconnecting it. There’s usually an option in the router’s UI for both renewing and releasing the DHCP lease. In the worst case, you may need to clone the router's MAC address (the WAN, specifically) to your PC’s wired adapter to fool the ISP into believing it’s still your router (not difficult, it can be done via the device manager, but I'd rather you got it working w/o having to go to all that bother).
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June 25, 2012 8:47:26 PM

eibgrad said:
That suggests it's not the wireless, but either the router, or more likely, the internet connection. That's why it's important to get that direct modem connection working. It can be stubborn at times because your router's MAC address has been associated w/ the one DHCP lease (public IP) you’re allowed. Second attempts with a new device fail because as far as the ISP is concerned, you still have a valid lease on the other device! So it works best if you FORMALLY release the DHCP lease from the router before disconnecting it. There’s usually an option in the router’s UI for both renewing and releasing the DHCP lease. In the worst case, you may need to clone the router's MAC address (the WAN, specifically) to your PC’s wired adapter to fool the ISP into believing it’s still your router (not difficult, it can be done via the device manager, but I'd rather you got it working w/o having to go to all that bother).


I went into my router's UI and couldn't find anything like that.. Although it could be due to simply my lack of knowledge. I have a TRENDNet router if that helps.
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June 25, 2012 9:33:57 PM

What's the model #? Trendnet has online simulators for many products, and I might be able to take a look for myself. But it's also possible the option is not there, particularly for very low-end models.

If all else fails, sometimes just taking the modem offline for a while (20-30 mins) might clear it up.

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June 26, 2012 2:02:00 PM

eibgrad said:
What's the model #? Trendnet has online simulators for many products, and I might be able to take a look for myself. But it's also possible the option is not there, particularly for very low-end models.

If all else fails, sometimes just taking the modem offline for a while (20-30 mins) might clear it up.


http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...
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June 26, 2012 4:55:08 PM

While the router is connected to the modem and working properly, issue the release. Then disconnect the router and connect the PC directly to the modem.
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June 26, 2012 5:03:59 PM

eibgrad said:
While the router is connected to the modem and working properly, issue the release. Then disconnect the router and connect the PC directly to the modem.


Problem is, the router never works properly. :lol:  But I'll give it my best shot.

Also, a quick note: any time the internet's gone down and I've checked the router UI, I've noticed that that DHCP area has all been zero'd out.
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June 26, 2012 5:13:31 PM

Well, what I meant by working properly is, that's it's actually connected to the Internet and functioning (performance issues aside). But if the router is connected to the modem and you're seeing nothing but zeroes, that means you DON'T have a working internet connection, in which case attempting to release the DHCP lease is pointless. You have to have a working internet connection before the release will work.
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June 26, 2012 6:58:53 PM

eibgrad said:
Well, what I meant by working properly is, that's it's actually connected to the Internet and functioning (performance issues aside). But if the router is connected to the modem and you're seeing nothing but zeroes, that means you DON'T have a working internet connection, in which case attempting to release the DHCP lease is pointless. You have to have a working internet connection before the release will work.


Yeah, that's what I meant. The router itself never goes down (although we are experiencing disappointing range). It's just the connection itself. Which may make it difficult to do this release, because our internet has been down the last two days...
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June 26, 2012 7:50:57 PM

Well the good news is, if the internet connection is down long enough, the ISP will eventually release it anyway. :)  As I said earlier, sometimes having the modem offline for 20-30 mins will generate a release, all by itself. Anyway, when the internet returns, you can probably just connect your PC directly to the modem again and test its speed.
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June 27, 2012 12:29:01 PM

eibgrad said:
Well the good news is, if the internet connection is down long enough, the ISP will eventually release it anyway. :)  As I said earlier, sometimes having the modem offline for 20-30 mins will generate a release, all by itself. Anyway, when the internet returns, you can probably just connect your PC directly to the modem again and test its speed.


Well we ended up bringing a technician out to look at our service. He told us that we are actually getting the speed that we are promised. He told us dsl is typically slower like that. However he was unable to figure out the problem with our conectivity. It has been down for 3 days straight now. We have connection when link directly to the modem with a cable, and we have wireless connection to the router, but no internet connection. Anytime I access the router the internet configurations are always 0'd out. Is there anyway to manually inputthe router I gave you so I could get internet access? Or any other way to fix it? I'm hoping to get it working by early afternoon because I want to participate in the GW2 stress test. :D 
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June 27, 2012 1:44:00 PM

From your router's perspective, you can input the values manually. The problem is, the ISP assigns those dynamically, and therefore there's no way to know what your public IP should be. That's administered by the ISP and changes as customers come and go.

Sounds like the same problem as before. Remember, you're only allowed one public IP. Every time you assign the public IP to some device (PC, laptop, router, whatever), the ISP records that assignment so that any subsequent attempts to obtain another public IP by another device will fail. That's tracked based on the device's MAC address. So as you keep changing devices, the old device still has possession of the only public IP. The ISP has no way to know that you wish to reassign the public IP to another device ***UNLESS*** you tell him. And you tell him by formally relinquishing it w/ a DHCP release command prior to changing devices. Otherwise, you will drive yourself crazy if you just keep pulling the current device and shoving in the next one without any concern for this issue.

That said, what ppl sometimes do to get around this problem is copy the MAC address of the prior working device over to the new device. For example, let’s say when you first installed the cable/dsl system, you only had a PC. But now you buy a router and you yank the PC off the modem and shove the router in its place. Same problem, the ISP thinks the PC still has ownership of the one public IP you’re allowed. A “trick” to get around that problem is to determine the MAC address of the PC’s network adapter, then copy (aka, clone) it over to the MAC address of the router’s WAN (the internet port). Most routers have that as an option. Now the ISP thinks the device that’s connected to his system is still the PC, so it works.

It’s not the recommended solution, certainly not for the long haul. But in a pinch when you otherwise can’t get the public IP’s lease to be released, it can keep you going.

Of course, the opposite is true as well. If the last working device was the router, and you wanted to connect the PC to the modem directly, you could copy the MAC address from the router’s WAN over to your PC’s MAC address (by accessing the network adapter’s configuration in Device Manager). Again, not something you normally do, but perhaps in a pinch.

The best and proper solution is to formally release the public IP’s DHCP lease before changing devices!

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June 27, 2012 2:07:31 PM

eibgrad said:
From your router's perspective, you can input the values manually. The problem is, the ISP assigns those dynamically, and therefore there's no way to know what your public IP should be. That's administered by the ISP and changes as customers come and go.

Sounds like the same problem as before. Remember, you're only allowed one public IP. Every time you assign the public IP to some device (PC, laptop, router, whatever), the ISP records that assignment so that any subsequent attempts to obtain another public IP by another device will fail. That's tracked based on the device's MAC address. So as you keep changing devices, the old device still has possession of the only public IP. The ISP has no way to know that you wish to reassign the public IP to another device ***UNLESS*** you tell him. And you tell him by formally relinquishing it w/ a DHCP release command prior to changing devices. Otherwise, you will drive yourself crazy if you just keep pulling the current device and shoving in the next one without any concern for this issue.

That said, what ppl sometimes do to get around this problem is copy the MAC address of the prior working device over to the new device. For example, let’s say when you7 first installed the cable/dsl system, you only had a PC. But now you buy a router and you yank the PC off the modem and shove the router in its place. Same problem, the ISP thinks the PC still has ownership of the one public IP you’re allowed. A “trick” to get around that problem is to determine the MAC address of the PC’s network adapter, then copy (aka, clone) it over to the MAC address of the router’s WAN (the internet port). Most routers have that as an option. Now the ISP thinks the device that’s connected to his system is still the PC, so it works.

It’s not the recommended solution, certainly not for the long haul. But in a pinch when you otherwise can’t get the public IP’s lease to be released, it can keep you going.

Of course, the opposite is true as well. If the last working device was the router, and you wanted to connect the PC to the modem directly, you could copy the MAC address from the router’s WAN over to your PC’s MAC address (by accessing the network adapter’s configuration in Device Manager). Again, not something you normally do, but perhaps in a pinch.

The best and proper solution is to formally release the public IP’s DHCP lease before changing devices!


Okay I think I understand what you're saying. When setting up our modem we connected directly to the modem but never released a dhcp after completion, and thus it was unable to apply one to our router. Correct? Or am I misunderstanding? If so, how do I release it on a modem? Sorry that I'm so clueless. I tried doing an ip release through the command prompt, both while the laptop was physically connected and not and then attaching the router, but that didn't fix it.
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June 27, 2012 3:13:05 PM

babtothebone said:
Okay I think I understand what you're saying. When setting up our modem we connected directly to the modem but never released a dhcp after completion, and thus it was unable to apply one to our router. Correct?


Correct.

babtothebone said:
If so, how do I release it on a modem? Sorry that I'm so clueless. I tried doing an ip release through the command prompt, both while the laptop was physically connected and not and then attaching the router, but that didn't fix it.


It's not the modem that's being assigned the public IP w/ a lease. It's the device connected TO the modem that is. The modem plays no part in any of this issue. It's just a dumb pipe between you and the ISP.

Yes, if a PC is connected directly and successfully to the modem and has the public IP, you can release it w/ the "ipconfig /release *" (no quotes) command from a DOS prompt. Issuing that same command from the PC when the router is connected successfully to the modem, and the PC is connected to the router, only releases the PC's *private* IP assigned by the router's DHCP server, and which only disconnects you from the router. The router remains connected to the ISP and maintains the *public* IP and lease that was assigned by the ISP's DHCP server. That’s why when the router is connected successfully to the modem, you have to use the router’s interface since the router, not the PC, now holds the public IP and lease.

Yes, I know, all very confusing.

If it doesn't work, then it may just be a problem w/ the ISP refusing to accept new devices in rapid succession. They often use crude methods to keep ppl from using multiple public IPs. It may require rebooting the modem several times, or powering it down for 20-30 mins, or even longer. The disappearance of the modem is sometimes interpreted by the ISP as “oops, we must have a problem here, we can’t communicate w/ the customer’s modem anymore, but no worry, we’ll release his lease for now and make his public IP available to others until we get back in contact w/ his modem, and when he returns, we’ll give him a new public IP and lease”.

Isn't modern technology wonderful! So simple and obvious, a caveman could do it.
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June 27, 2012 8:30:12 PM

eibgrad said:
Correct.



It's not the modem that's being assigned the public IP w/ a lease. It's the device connected TO the modem that is. The modem plays no part in any of this issue. It's just a dumb pipe between you and the ISP.

Yes, if a PC is connected directly and successfully to the modem and has the public IP, you can release it w/ the "ipconfig /release *" (no quotes) command from a DOS prompt. Issuing that same command from the PC when the router is connected successfully to the modem, and the PC is connected to the router, only releases the PC's *private* IP assigned by the router's DHCP server, and which only disconnects you from the router. The router remains connected to the ISP and maintains the *public* IP and lease that was assigned by the ISP's DHCP server. That’s why when the router is connected successfully to the modem, you have to use the router’s interface since the router, not the PC, now holds the public IP and lease.

Yes, I know, all very confusing.

If it doesn't work, then it may just be a problem w/ the ISP refusing to accept new devices in rapid succession. They often use crude methods to keep ppl from using multiple public IPs. It may require rebooting the modem several times, or powering it down for 20-30 mins, or even longer. The disappearance of the modem is sometimes interpreted by the ISP as “oops, we must have a problem here, we can’t communicate w/ the customer’s modem anymore, but no worry, we’ll release his lease for now and make his public IP available to others until we get back in contact w/ his modem, and when he returns, we’ll give him a new public IP and lease”.

Isn't modern technology wonderful! So simple and obvious, a caveman could do it.


I appreciate all the help, but we had another technician come out and he fixed our connectivity. Hopefully it should work properly now.
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June 27, 2012 8:30:17 PM

Best answer selected by babtothebone.
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