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jonbo2's avatar

My wireless internet is soooo slowwwww - how can I make it faster?

Asked by jonbo2 (20points) January 22nd, 2009

I have shared wireless internet with 4 other people before and it has never been this bad. How can I improve it? I can’t get in touch with the cable company because my roommates name is on the account and he’s out of town for a month.

Computer experts: What to do??

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23 Answers

squirbel's avatar

I work for an ISP. You people always call in thinking it’s the modem or the cable itself.

Reset the router by unplugging the power and then plugging it back in.

dynamicduo's avatar

If people are downloading files (movies, music, etc) you are likely getting slow speeds because everyone else is using the bandwidth. If no one is downloading things and your speed is still slow, then reboot all of the equipment and try again. If it’s still slow, then you do probably need to call the cable company, though how you’d do that in your situation is beyond me.

timothykinney's avatar

Resetting the router is a good idea. Sometimes they freak out from time to time. Other than that, if one of your room mates is doing a lot of bit torrenting or watching movies online or something, it will slow down the network for everyone. If you really want more speed, connect directly to the router with an ethernet cable. You only get 54 Mbps with wireless, you can get much more with a wired connection.

jonbo2's avatar

if one of my roommates is connected to the router and everyone else is wireless, could this have an effect? if so, why? sorry, i’m not very knowledgeable about these things.

it is also worth noting that it has been like this since we got the router, so i’ve been dealing with this for many months now.

tehrani625's avatar

No it will not have an effect. Like many before me, try resetting the router and modem. Did anyone around you recently get cable internet hooked up? That might have something to do with it.

dynamicduo's avatar

I had written up an answer, but my internet seems to have eaten it up! So here’s a quick summary.
– Wired vs wireless shouldn’t have an effect, although it’s good to note that the more space and things between your wireless device and the router, the weaker your signal and thus slower your speeds may become.
– If the problem only started when you changed the router, and nothing else changed between then, than it’s obvious the router is the problem and not the ISP. As squirbel says, many times people call to complain to the ISP but it’s rarely the ISP that’s the problem. Unplug and replug to see if that will fix it. If it doesn’t, you may need to look inside the router settings to see if there’s a bandwidth cap or some setting that’s causing the problems. To do this you’d navigate to your router’s base address, often but it depends on your model, log in using the credential you or your roommates know, and poke around – but don’t be poking around if you don’t know what you’re doing else you risk setting something wrong and causing the internet to further break.

popo7676's avatar

@timothykinney: you can get more then 54 Mbps with wireless. Cable isnt necessarily faster but more reliable. A couple Mbps off you can barely tell that the wireless is slower if your just surfing the web.

First off, what kind of router do you have (brand and model number). You might need a firmware upgrade or your routers/computers firewall is slowing everything down. You might want to also check the wireless of your computer, if your router is wireless g or n make sure that your computes wireless card is too.

tehrani625's avatar

That would be a good thing to try. Check to see if anyone else is having trouble on your network, if yes then check your router / modem. If no then its your computer. Try asking here for help speeding up a slow computer or Google it. Make sure that you don’t spend money where you don’t have to. This is one of those things where people spend money when asking for some “good” help is all you need. Oh and call tech support on your router and or computer.

timothykinney's avatar

@popo7676: I don’t want to split hairs, but the 802.11g standard supports a maximum bandwidth of 54 Mbps. The only way to get more bandwidth is to add proprietary extensions to the standard. Fast Ethernet supports 100 Mbps. Therefore, you can shove more data across an ethernet cable than a wireless connection.

My experience with cable broadband internet is that it ranges between 200 Mbps and 450 Mbps of bandwidth available. So if you have 5 people using it all at the same time you can pretty much expect slowdowns. The throughput is influenced by the speed of the server you are connecting to also, of course.

You’re correct that you can’t tell if you’re just surfing the net. However for streaming media and file downloading I notice a huge difference.

I also notice a difference for rendered 3D graphics over the internet. If I play certain games with my wireless AP 2 feet from my computer I still don’t get as good of performance as if I plug into the router directly. But this could be related to reliability, as you were saying.

@jonbo2: If someone is plugged into the router directly and you are all trying to download files, it’s possible that the person with the direct connection could get more throughput due to a higher max bandwidth restriction and more reliability. However, in general routers have load balancing features that attempt to provide bandwidth to all connected users (which is why it slows down if you have too many people).

You could try getting a better router. With wireless routers you often get what you pay for. And it’s absolutely true that too many people using the same pipe will slow it down. However, for home broadband I would say having two routers would not benefit your overall experience much (since the cable itself becomes the limiting factor). But you might get better performance from a better quality router. I saw this having no idea what kind of router you currently have.

Also keep in mind that your distance from the communication switch that your cable connects to, and their distance from the nearest internet backbone will influence your apparent speed. Corporations put their fat pipes near backbones for a reason.


popo7676's avatar

@timothykinney: I was mainly talking about the newer router connections such as Wireless-N. You could also get faster Ethernet by getting a router with Gigabit Ethernet along with a CAT-6 cord. I only stated that you wouldn’t tell the difference from a couple Mbps because not many people use wireless for gaming, but as far as i could tell he only was just browsing. Also i forgot about media browsing for some reason because thats true, you can really tell.

Also i agree if jonbo2‘s router is acting like this you might need a higher performance router. I have a D-Link DGL-4300 which has game fuel(gives high bandwith process priority) and you could use this to your advantage. Or if you want to be the badass on the block you can get this Belkin N1 which will tell how many computers are connected and download and upload speed. It also had MIMO technology which gives great & fast wireless coverage. For 4 people using a router this sounds like more then enough. Just something to think about when your internet is driving you out of your mind. ;)

tehrani625's avatar

@timothykinney How do you get internet that fast? I have 1.5mbps and the local cable offering top out at about 20Mbps maybe 40Mbps. Just thought that I would point that out. Also if you are on a 200Mbps connection and it slows down, you must be downloading the whole internet.

popo7676's avatar

@tehrani625: umm something is wrong with your internet if it is only at 1.5 Mbps. is it wireless or wired connection? because 1.5 Mbps is unbelievably slow.

timothykinney's avatar

@tehrani625: Actually, you’re right. I meant to say 200 to 400 KBps, but this is per server that I am connected to (per data transfer). I just did a speed test and found the following:
My Houston Home to Dallas Server

Wireless: Download Speed: 11630 kbps (1453.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 1959 kbps (244.9 KB/sec transfer rate)

Ethernet: Download Speed: 21320 kbps (2665 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 1996 kbps (249.5 KB/sec transfer rate)

So for cable broadband (Comcast) I get almost twice the download speed by switching to Ethernet. However, my upload speed is limited by the ISP/media more than the wireless connection.

Cheers for data about data transfer.

tehrani625's avatar

@popo7676 I think I meant to give those measurements in MBps instead of Mbps. And to be honest its fine for browsing and basic stuff but its slow for gaming and a song takes about 2min to download. I am not complaining, just being honest.

HeNkiSdaBro's avatar

make sure to install OpenDNS and the windows XP SP2 connection limit fix to maximize page loading within the browser. Sorry to hear about you speed though.

nashish's avatar

We got a new DSL connection today that’s supposed to be 6 MBps, but I’ve done several speed tests and I’m not getting even 1.5 MBps… I’m extremely disappointed. :/

HeNkiSdaBro's avatar

I have been checking up on router throughput having faced problems like my 100MBit internet connection at home drops directly to like 45 when connected through my older Linksys WRT54G router. Nothing else attached but the computer. The router has troubles shoveling that much data if it is not intended to do so.

I found this site which tests lots of different routers’ throughput. Check it out and see how much different routers differ!

I went out and picked up the D-Link DIR-655, priced in the 120 dollar range. It handles my internet connection fine now and I get maximum speed out of my internet jack at home!

Tejaa's avatar

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Avoid downloading more files..
Dont have more icons in your desktop.
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lily786's avatar

Some time due to rain signals problems can occur in wireless,If problem exist with out rain then check out hardware devices special modem.

AshlynM's avatar

Try resetting your router. First, shut down your computer. Unplug the router. Wait at least a half hour. Then plug it back in. Turn your computer back on.

Run a virus or scan check to see if there are any problems with your computer.

Your location may be a factor. If you’re in a busy part of town where lots of businesses use the internet, that may cause your connection to slow down.

The website itself might be the problem. Lots of other people might be trying to access it as well.

Place your computer in a central location of your house/apartment. Keep it away from other electronics, such as tv, microwave, ipods, and cell phones.

The link below contains information which may or may not be helpful.

actuallery's avatar

Each time you download a file, the speed is reduced by a micron. Large files reduce it much further. Online gaming also adds to thwe downloads specs. You will find that qwhen your usage is reset, the speed goes back to normal.

Also, most networks, Optus and Telstra (Australia) use Huwaei Satellite Telecommunications and I believe, with no proof whatsoever, that the company (HST) has oversold its bandwidth and customers are suffering by not being able to use their allotted bandwidth.

Response moderated (Spam)
Markyjean's avatar

As tejaa said i tried in this site and they are offering unlimited speed test for free of cost., thanks…

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