Slow Wifi Speed

dudsiamAugust 16, 2011

I am struggling with a speed problem. I am trying to figure out why my wife's laptop is so slow. When she plays a video on YouTube or streams a movie there is a constant buffering interruption. I know. The download speed is not fast enough to keep up with the upload speed. I am trying to figure out the problem.

I have a desktop hooked directly into the cable service. My desktop seems to run quite well.....and rarely is there an buffering interruption with my desktop. My wife has a relatively new laptop. It is not bogged down with lots of stuff. She is not a computer person.....and only checks her email about once a week. She has a pretty fast Toshiba laptop. She is hooked to the internet by a wifi system.

I tried some online speed tests. Here is one result...comparing my desktop to her laptop:

Desktop....DL 4973 kbps Upload 1698 kbps

Laptop.....DL 594 kbps Upload 809 kbps

She is uploading faster than she is downloading....which is causing all the buffering interruptions when playing videos.

What is the problem? Could it be a bad wifi? We have a Netgear wireless N300. I am at my wits end trying to figure out a solution. How do I test the wifi efficiency? Was my speed test an indication of the efficiency, or did I not conduct the right test.

I Googled "Buffering Problems" and it is evident that I am not the only one struggling with the problem.

I would appreciate your thoughts.....suggestions....and solutions.

I thank you in advance.

Larry

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zep516

Hook the Laptop up directly to the Ethernet cable like the desktop is and see if problem goes away..

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 12:35PM
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dudsiam

I plugged into the Ethernet.....and the problem went away. I conducted the same speed tests I did previously and the speed increased remarkably:

New Laptop Speeds:

DL....9485 kbps UP 2457 kbps

Does that mean my router is weak?

The router is upstairs and the laptop is used exclusively downstairs. My wife is not able to climb stairs. Is there too much interference from walls, floors, etc? I am still puzzled.

Any other ideas, zep? BTW...thanks for responding so quickly.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:40PM
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owbist

Did you use somewhere like Speedtest and did you use the same destination for the test? Try that link and use somewhere on the other coast to yourself then try somewhere in Europe or Asia to see the differences.

Try with and without the CAT5 cable as Zep suggests.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:40PM
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owbist

Perhaps just moving the router a few inches or feet will make a serious improvement.

Or use something like this. Sorry, that is Canadian but you'll find them a bit easier and cheaper in the USA.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:00PM
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dudsiam

Here is one additional bit of information. I unplugged the laptop from the Ethernet. I tried the same movie as was tried before as I sat right beside the router......and the video is buffering every few seconds. When it was directly hooked up to the Ethernet, the movie ran perfectly.

Should I run more tests? Owbist, I am going to us the speedtest.net in a bit....and I will let you know the results.

I thank you all for your help.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:02PM
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bob414

The problem is that the laptop is not receiving the signal from the router at full strength. You can try something like the antenna that Owbist suggested above or moving the router and/or laptop around a bit. My laptop can't hold a signal in one room of my house but if I move it a few feet into another room that is farther away from the router I get a full strength signal.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:39PM
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bpgreen

"Here is one additional bit of information. I unplugged the laptop from the Ethernet. I tried the same movie as was tried before as I sat right beside the router......and the video is buffering every few seconds. When it was directly hooked up to the Ethernet, the movie ran perfectly. "

Crucial information.

It's clearly the wireless connection that suffers.

do you have another computer you can connect to the wireless? I'd like to determine if it's the problem with the router or the computer.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 2:50AM
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kudzu9

Could be the signal that the router sends out, or could be the wifi board in the computer. I'd suggest you contact tech support for the laptop and see what they suggest. If that gets no results, I'd contact tech support for the router.
Also, one other experiment you can try is to have a friend bring a relatively new laptop over to your house and see how that computer operates on your wireless. If it has a problem like your wife's, then it's probably the router; if not, it may be a problem with your wife's laptop.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 4:23AM
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mikie_gw

Maybe something else iterfering like wireless phones, baby monitor, neighbor with huge antenna on same wifi channel.

Try another channel set in the router. Try unplugging phones if wireless.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 8:13AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I would definitely try setting the router on a different channel like 11 or something. And other wireless stuff near by can cause disruptions.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 11:51AM
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dudsiam

I want to thank everyone for your suggestions to speed up my router. I tried moving things around. I have conducted tests with the A/C on.....compared to the A/C off. I unplugged phones....turned off my desktop. I tried everything.

I want to not only thank you.....but I want to tell you I seemingly have the problem solved. A forum reader sent me an email....suggesting I unplug the router. He went on to suggest I leave it unplugged for about ten minutes....then plug it back in. I guess that would be called "rebooting the router". I tried his suggestion and everything is running much much faster.

Again....I want to thank you all for your efforts to help me. Hopefully, this "rebooting" tactic will help someone else. I really appreciate this forum and the people who suggest things to try.

Larry

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 11:54AM
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kudzu9

Larry-
I have rebooted my router quite a few times in the past when I was having a slowdown...but it usually equally affected both wired and wireless connections. However, what matters is that it works for you. If you have this problem again, just disconnect the power to the router again...but you don't need to wait that long to reconnect it: 15 seconds is usually plenty. Good luck from here on.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 12:58PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

that is always the very first thing to do when you have a router problem, however as kudzu9 mentions usually all connected to the router would show problems.

The full power down and power up in order sequence is to turn off the computers, cut power to the router and modem, wait at least 5 mins or so, then in this order plug in to power first the modem let it fully light up, then power to the router let it fully light up then power up your computers.
That often times will fix a multitude of issues.
And actually according to all of the reports I have read when doing this type of full power down and power up it is recommended it be for at least 5 mins. That seems to be the amount of time for a release of IP and a gain of new IP.
We went over that some time back here.

glad to hear you got it all worked out

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 1:35PM
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mikie_gw

DHCP Lease times seems pretty much standard 2hr & the system purposely starts trying to renew the lease at half time so if a failure to renew or talk to the server happens after several attempts it has a couple other options to try to keep you online.

Origially 1hr was the required standard minimum lease, but now its just a recomendation.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 2:00PM
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