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Jacket
12-13-2012, 11:53 AM
Do we have any guru's in the club? The demand for bandwidth in my house is growing rapidly as the kids grow up, with things like movie streaming, online gaming, and file download/upload killing our current DSL. Any one activity works fine, but if two streams need to occur concurrently - no dice. Worse than dial up. If Sam is watching Netflix in the basement, then I can't watch Tim Cameron flip his buggy on Youtube - no bueno.

I know that with DSL service you can upgrade your speeds if you're willing to pay for it, but I'm not ready to go there yet.

The other thing I'm wondering about is the router in use. It is a black box to me - I know that I can plug an ethernet cable into it, or enter a username and password to access it wirelessly. That's where my knowledge ends. I don't know what machine we are using at present, but it is several years old and was the standard issue from Qwest at the time.

So my question is whether upgrading to a new/different/better router would result in significant performance improvements in our shared bandwidth, or will I still be constrained by the DSL service I have (I think it's 1.5 GB) and any router upgrade would provide minimal improvements?

I'd also be happy to hear debates about DSL versus cable versus other options to get the internet into my home, particularly if I can do much better with performance and pay the same or less than DSL. We don't have cable, so that is not presently an option.

Thanks. Skool me. :cheers:

Phrog
12-13-2012, 01:06 PM
I've had good luck calling Qwest (now Century Link) and getting
free speed udgrades - that is, higher speeds without a higher
monthly charge. Depending what speed you currently have, you
may however need to upgrade your modem.

Give Qwest a call, tell them you need more speed and are considering
going to cable, and see what they can do for you.

-Phrog

spectre6000
12-13-2012, 01:17 PM
Who is your provider? 1.5 Meg is pretty low by modern standards (1.5 Gig is unheard of fast), and even worse when you consider that with most providers it's an "up to" number (meaning you'll never see but maybe half of that). Additionally, some providers, namely Qwest/Century Link (who I'm unfortunate enough to be limited to) have a DSL protocol that essentially chokes the bandwidth down in cases of network loading (everyone gets ****ty service instead of a few going down temporarily). The problem with their setup is that once it bumps you down, it can't bump you back up. I spent a month at a max of 6k because their system is so incredibly terrible. You have to call them (and get someone who has a clue) to have them manually bump you back up to the bandwidth you're paying them for. Go to speedtest.net and see what bandwidth you actually have. If it's appreciably less, call your provider and have them bump you back up.

If you look at the label on your router, it should tell you your limitations. Chances are if it's less than 5 years old or so it's not your limiting factor. If it's older than that, I have one you can have.

I'm SUPPOSED to be getting 3 Meg, but have never seen but maybe half a Meg. That's still enough for my wife and I to simultaneously stream low res video should we so desire.

Check your actual speed, but my money is on your provider not making good on the 1.5 Meg promise (even though they only say "up to").

smslavin
12-13-2012, 01:23 PM
If your DSL is 1.5gb you should have plenty of bandwidth. My guess would be your wireless setup. You can check your bandwidth here...

http://www.speedtest.net

Run it with no one but you online then try it again with multiple users. Do you know what brand of router you have? Netgear, DLink or something else?

Since I'm in Broomfield, I'd be more than happy to swing by and take a peek at it for you or help you set up a new router/access point.

wesintl
12-13-2012, 01:34 PM
bag dsl and go to cable internet

60wag
12-13-2012, 01:42 PM
I used to have 1.5Mbps Century Link DSL. I could do a single Netflix feed and it was barely ok. I bumped it up to 10 or 12Mbps and I can do multiple video feeds at the same time with no problem. I tried at first with the old router/modem and it would work most of the time but then randomly lose the connection. I finally gave in and moved to a newer model and it has been flawless.

I'm no guru but I think the router's speed for both wireless and wired ethernet is many times faster than the DSL connection to the internet. i.e. your home network can move data faster than your connection to the outside world.

DaveInDenver
12-13-2012, 03:14 PM
We had DSL in the old house with Qwest. It rocked, but then again they'd rolled out FTTP and we had a bonded 40Mbps connection. I routinely got ~3.5MB/s actual downloads on ~38Mbps connections. We were only qualified to 7Mbps at the new house and so we went with a cable modem. It's OK, but shared bandwidth sorta sucks. Slow like molasses in January around breakfast and dinner times. The rest of the day we get around 3/4 of our rated 20Mbps, but it varies widely which is something a DSL won't do. I really miss having DSL.

To add another $0.02, 1.5Mbps (which is what you have, not Gbps, you'd have to be a tier 2/3 ISP to even think of having connections that fast and you'd be buying bandwidth from a tier 1 provider with an OC-24 pipe) is really pretty slow by today's standard. On top of that your router is not configured to efficiently use this, so one streaming movie will hog what little you have. To get a full quality Netflix stream requires a minimum of 5Mbps connection and ideally should be 7Mbps. That assumes a solid circuit. Your internal network is probably 100Mbps and your wireless stuff is probably running at 54Mbps (or an actual of 22Mbps with FEC). It's possible something really old on your wireless is dragging it to 802.11b, but even that is an order faster than your DSL.

Jacket
12-13-2012, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I like the idea of calling Qwest as a dissatisfied customer and seeing if they'll bump me up. I've done that several times with Directv and it works 100% of the time for getting discounts and free hardware.

I'm still not hearing conclusively that the router has much affect on things? In my 10 minutes of checking on the internet, I see routers for $30 and routers for $200 - what's the difference?

corsair23
12-13-2012, 05:06 PM
Matt,

Get the model number off the DSL modem...Likely to be an Actiontec

Do you have the DSL modem AND and a router, or just the modem? I have the modem but then come off that to a Linksys router. From there I have my computer hooked up and then use the Linksys wireless capability for the other devices in the house. Our house is older and not wired with Cat5 cable everywhere so wireless is the name of the game. If you don't have a router I would suggest getting one. Wireless on my Actiontec modem (Qwest provide) was spotty at best and required what seemed like weekly booting. My old Linksys router on the other hand worked flawlessly (both wired and wireless) for a long time before giving up the ghost. It was 802.11G capable. I bought a 802.11N capable modem from Sharkbait and it is in fact noticeably faster, especially when using wireless.

I'll stay out of the cable vs. DSL and Qwest/CenturyLink sucks debate because that is as bad as politics...But I would second or third or whatever giving them a call and telling them that you are contemplating moving over to cable for faster internet and see what they'll do. You can go to the CenturyLink home page and find out what speeds your home qualifies for and unless you are in the sticks you should be able to get somewhere in the 3-7MB range. What I've found is that a customer's satisfaction with DSL or cable modem depends a lot on where they live and what the provider has built out in your area. My buddy here at work had cable modem (Comcast) in Lakewood and said it sucked. He switched over to DSL when it came available and hasn't looked back. On the flip side though he loves his cable TV so go figure.

The deal with cable, as I understand it, is that you and your neighbors in your "node" share the bandwidth. I don't think this is as much of an issue anymore as it used to be when Comcast didn't have the infrastructure to support everyone working off the same node at maximum speed. DSL is a dedicated circuit with shared bandwidth from the RT to the switch. Anymore, in the urban areas the transport from the RT to the switch is fiber so their is no "choke". Where you run into problems is the limitations from the RT to the house on copper and your distance from said RT.

MountainGoat
12-13-2012, 08:35 PM
Your 1.5 Mb/s service is the real problem. When we had it we couldn't reliably stream Netflix alone, let alone do anything else simultaneously. When I called CenturyLink I learned that I could get 20 Mb/s service and bundle it with my phone service for a net decrease in monthly expense. I jumped on it and now I'm a happy camper:

http://www.speedtest.net/result/2371267020.png

:D

spectre6000
12-13-2012, 08:38 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I like the idea of calling Qwest as a dissatisfied customer and seeing if they'll bump me up. I've done that several times with Directv and it works 100% of the time for getting discounts and free hardware.

I'm still not hearing conclusively that the router has much affect on things? In my 10 minutes of checking on the internet, I see routers for $30 and routers for $200 - what's the difference?

The "service" that chokes your bandwidth is euphemistically called "DSL Optimization" or something similar. You have to get a competent person on the phone to do anything about it. The key will be that you are in their computer at a speed less than what you're paying for.

As long as your router is reasonably new, it's not going to affect much at that bandwidth.

Red_Chili
12-14-2012, 08:38 AM
Even with cable I can't stream Netflix with wireless. The NF tech admitted their antipirating protocol is an extreme bandwidth HOG. About ready to drop them or try running hardwire. Involves drilling the floor etc. Aargh.

Jacket
12-14-2012, 08:43 AM
Matt,

Get the model number off the DSL modem...Likely to be an Actiontec



It's a 2Wire Gateway, model 2700 HG. Issued by Qwest. I don't know the difference between a modem and a router; I guess I thought they were the same. :o

I ran my speed test and I got:

download = 1.3 mbps
upload = 0.54 mbps

Seems like I can do better....

DaveInDenver
12-14-2012, 08:53 AM
All ISPs implement bandwidth throttling, it's not just Qwest. Comcast is very bad about it on our connection (they want us on a business plan).

NF, as in Netflix? How is Netflix throttling you? They've had issues for years with streaming, but that's a Level3 problem in the way they structured the delivery contract they outbid from Akamai. Netflix for a while now has been assumed to be crippled on Comcast because they were ticked that Level3 is essentially double tapping stolen bandwidth through a peering agreement loophole.

DaveInDenver
12-14-2012, 08:56 AM
It's a 2Wire Gateway, model 2700 HG. Issued by Qwest. I don't know the difference between a modem and a router; I guess I thought they were the same. :o

I ran my speed test and I got:

download = 1.3 mbps
upload = 0.54 mbps

Seems like I can do better....
That sounds like what you are paying for, a 1.5Mbps connection. You need to call Centurylink and get them to upgrade you. The threat (or maybe actually) switching to a cable modem should get you a better level of service. In Boulder you should be able to get 20Mbps DSL no problem and probably a 40Mbps.

Nothing wrong with that modem/router. In your case they are the same, but they don't have to be. Usually you do better using a dedicated router and wireless access point and using the modem just as a modem (e.g. using the ISP provided device as a bridge).

Jacket
12-14-2012, 09:03 AM
I've had good luck calling Qwest (now Century Link) and getting
free speed udgrades - that is, higher speeds without a higher
monthly charge. Depending what speed you currently have, you
may however need to upgrade your modem.

Give Qwest a call, tell them you need more speed and are considering
going to cable, and see what they can do for you.

-Phrog

Good call Phrog.

I called CenturyLink this morning to discuss my account. The highest speed they offer right now at my house is 3 Mbps (double where I was previously). But they are going to upgrade my service to the 3 Mbps, send me a new DSL modem for free, and also revamp my phone/internet package so that it costs me $25 less / month.

I guess I can't complain about getting upgrades AND paying less.....

smslavin
12-14-2012, 09:10 AM
It's a 2Wire Gateway, model 2700 HG. Issued by Qwest. I don't know the difference between a modem and a router; I guess I thought they were the same. :o

I ran my speed test and I got:

download = 1.3 mbps
upload = 0.54 mbps

Seems like I can do better....

yes, there is a difference between the modem and router.

we're on xfinity service and this is my current speed.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/2372322857.png

you can definitely do better.

Caribou Sandstorm
12-14-2012, 09:22 AM
I am not sure it will really help too much but we run a Linksys wireless N router off our DSL box for wireless, I think Jeff mentioned he does the same.

We have a detached garage, where my office is, so that is where the box sits. we then run an expander in the house, that Melinda's Imac is wired to. We can run Pandora but it does hick up a bit...

We are supposed to be getting 7mbps but just tested getting 6mbps.

Funny thing, our kitchen fire place has metal framing and somehow interferes with our wireless in the house but neighbors 2 houses a way have called and asked to borrow our wireless occasionally.. Even more weird, that same neighbor got a new car right after one of our bank accounts got hacked...ok made that up..:)

Anyway, once you get the new set up from Century Link, you might want to try a wireless N router fot your wireless via an after market router that connects to your DSL router.

Jacket
12-14-2012, 09:57 AM
Sheesh. You guys are talking 20-30 Mbps, and all I can get in east Boulder is a lousy 3. That's ****ty.

SteveH
12-14-2012, 10:18 AM
I have 1.5MB from Centurylink due to the ancient switch near my rural house. I object to their $19.95/mo plan in that it gives them NO incentive to upgrade my service. I pay the same rate as the people who have 10x my speed.

I have no cable service in my area, so other than an antenna or line-of-sight approach, I don't have any other high speed internet approach. I never see a full 1.5MB, either - typically it's 1.3 on a speed test. I should call Centurylink and ask them when they are going to upgrade the switch, however.

corsair23
12-14-2012, 03:10 PM
Good call Phrog.

I called CenturyLink this morning to discuss my account. The highest speed they offer right now at my house is 3 Mbps (double where I was previously). But they are going to upgrade my service to the 3 Mbps, send me a new DSL modem for free, and also revamp my phone/internet package so that it costs me $25 less / month.

I guess I can't complain about getting upgrades AND paying less.....

:thumb: - glad it worked out that way

As for higher speeds...they're working on it but contrary to what many think, it is very expensive to put in fiber, new RTs, etc. to give everyone faster speeds. Especially when demand for higher speeds continues to go up just as demands for lower cost does the same...Ultimately it is the pressure of competition and feasibility along with cost that drives upgrades IMO.

I have 1.5MB from Centurylink due to the ancient switch near my rural house. I object to their $19.95/mo plan in that it gives them NO incentive to upgrade my service. I pay the same rate as the people who have 10x my speed.

I have no cable service in my area, so other than an antenna or line-of-sight approach, I don't have any other high speed internet approach. I never see a full 1.5MB, either - typically it's 1.3 on a speed test. I should call Centurylink and ask them when they are going to upgrade the switch, however.

I can understand your frustration...But your DSL speed has nothing to do with the ancient switch providing voice services. By today's standard most "switches" would be considered ancient, even those in metropolitan areas, as even the newer digital switches are 20+ years old.

What is affecting your speed is distance and probably old plant serving your rural community. What you want to ask CenturyLink is when, if ever, they plan on buring fiber out to your community. Problem is, as mentioned above, that isn't cheap to do so if you live in an area where homes are spread out trenching in fiber gets prohibitively expensive, not to mention everything else required to offer 20+ MB speeds. Easy to see why any company will concentrate on areas where they can "hit" 100s of dwellings with fiber before they start looking at areas where they can only hit 5-10. Not to mention they know that they won't be able to sell you that increased speed for much more than you are paying now so the ROI could literally be 10+ years :o

DaveInDenver
12-14-2012, 04:50 PM
Sheesh. You guys are talking 20-30 Mbps, and all I can get in east Boulder is a lousy 3. That's ****ty.
Yeah, we live comparatively in the sticks and miles from a major research university.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/2373126898.png

dr350jja
12-15-2012, 10:30 AM
I just went to that web site and ran the test. This is what it showed:

http://www.speedtest.net/result/2374514194.png (http://www.speedtest.net)

Jacket
01-10-2013, 10:44 AM
So I ended up having to have a Qwest technician come out to the house because the "new" service was getting me a download speed of around .25 Mbps. :rolleyes: Turns out there was a problem with the filters set up by the previous technician outside the house, so after some changes I'm rocking with 2.7 Mbps. Double :rolleyes:.

I spoke to the technician when he was done, and he said it's just a matter of prioritization by Qwest (I guess it's CenturyLink now) in terms of getting overall service upgrades. The DSL technology out there can support between 40-80 Mbps, but he said that they prioritize regional upgrades based on population density and by new neighborhoods versus updating existing 'hoods. Kinda frustrating - our neighborhood is relatively small but in a pretty busy area, so I'm wondering if we are just getting overlooked.

I guess I'll give it another year and see where we are before I may have to look at adding cable to my mix.

Caribou Sandstorm
01-10-2013, 11:54 AM
Ahh, another reason to have stayed in our hood... more bandwidth and more squirrels. Count up to 51;)

corsair23
01-11-2013, 05:31 PM
I spoke to the technician when he was done, and he said it's just a matter of prioritization by Qwest (I guess it's CenturyLink now) in terms of getting overall service upgrades. The DSL technology out there can support between 40-80 Mbps, but he said that they prioritize regional upgrades based on population density and by new neighborhoods versus updating existing 'hoods. Kinda frustrating - our neighborhood is relatively small but in a pretty busy area, so I'm wondering if we are just getting overlooked.

I guess I'll give it another year and see where we are before I may have to look at adding cable to my mix.

Matt, doubt you are getting overlooked. It is an economies of scale thing. If the company is going to drop $$ to build out fiber to an area (needed to support those speeds) plus $$ to place a new RT, they need to do so to areas where the ROI isn't 20 years :o - Cost is nearly the same to bury fiber and place an RT to a development with 100 homes as it would be to a development with 1000 homes. And of course no one wants to pay more for the greater speed it is more of a retention thing. You can imagine if they are spending $150K to put in new equipment that they'll choose to spend that in an area where they'll get the most customers.

Back when there used to be a spot on the website for you to check to see what DSL speed you can get and there was also a "Notify Me" button that you could click when greater speeds were going to be available in your area. I think the company used that to determine interest to some extent. You might see if that is still on the CenturyLink page somewhere. They are also starting to roll out their PrismTV service in certain areas. I don't know where or when but when they roll that out you'll see MUCH greater speeds.

nakman
01-13-2013, 10:25 PM
I'm struggling with streaming video. It works pretty good on Netfilx and Hulu, works worse on Crackle and even worse on the Transworld App that's part of my Samsung Blu-ray player. Which blows, because there are a bunch of sweet skating, snowboarding, and moto videos on there, but by the 2nd one it starts getting choppy, then it pretty much freezes then gives up.

I tried switching from wireless to hard wired and that had only marginal difference. Then today I upgraded our router from the 10/100 "G" router I'd been running for likely 6 years or so, to a N600. Here are my results, from the computer upstairs, while streaming Pandora downstairs...

http://www.speedtest.net/result/2434781195.png (http://www.speedtest.net)

That seems like it should be fast enough- anything I could do to push my network further, or is this more likely a Samsung thing? :confused:

DaveInDenver
01-14-2013, 07:06 AM
If there was no improvement with Ethernet over WiFi, then it's probably not your router or network. Flush the browser cache if you can.

Embedded devices are pretty notorious for poor coding, so it's possible it's just the Samsung player. We have a SonyPanasonic Blu-Ray player and its network applications seem marketing driven rather than solidly engineered. Online video is so dependent on the whole chain working right that it's almost inevitable that you will eventually have a problem. For a while our Roku box was just about completely unusable with Netflix, which was Netflix's issue (they admitted as much). They eventually figured out the issue, but they tend to focus on Firefox/IE/Safari running on OS X/Windows and then fix other problems as they can.

Also try using better DNS servers, Google or OpenDNS.

Jacket
01-14-2013, 08:38 AM
I do see significant differences between streaming apps from Netflix and Amazon (using their apps) versus just watching streaming internet content like Youtube on my TV, which I think reinforces Dave's point.

But considering your download speed is 10x better than mine :rant:, I would think you should be able to watch some videos without much trouble. Did you try comparing the same video through your Blu Ray/TV versus watching it directly via your computer download? That might indicate whether it's a software problem versus a download problem.

nakman
01-14-2013, 08:48 AM
Not sure how I'd compare the same video, as these are somewhat app-specific? But I can watch Hulu/Netflix either through appleTV or wireless on the iPad for as long as I need to... and those apps work fine on the setup downstairs as well. It's just the Samsung-specific stuff that seems slow, so I think I know the answer here. nbd.. shouldn't be watching tv anyway.

DaveInDenver
01-14-2013, 09:27 AM
Oh, also check your firewall. Aggressive firewalls can affect your throughput.

When I turn off my router and computer firewalls.

http://www.pingtest.net/result/75545630.png


With my router's default firewall settings and the default OS X firewall turned on, which seem to try to be very secure. At this setting basically nothing works without me going through 64K ports and allowing a whole lot of exceptions.

http://www.pingtest.net/result/75545991.png


Here's with my configured settings for the router and the computer firewalls. These are still fairly aggressive (e.g. the slightly higher pings, some packets are being blocked). I don't have fancy stuff like PS3s and VoIP to deal with, so I disable most NAT ALGs to just allow typical Internet surfing and Skype and tell the firewalls to ignore unsolicited traffic or malformed packets.

http://www.pingtest.net/result/75546601.png


What you want to see if that you are not dropping tons of packets. Even single digit percent dropped indicates something is blocking wrong or your connection is exceptionally poor (high line speed does not always indicate a solid ISP connection). What makes the biggest difference in performance seems to be the port scanning configuration and packet flooding thresholds.

The router firewall would affect all devices, so if it's just the Blu-Ray that has issues then there's some bug in it probably. I've never been super impressed with Blu-Ray players and their network streaming ability. We got the Roku box and it's head-and-shoulders better for the task. I even hacked it to stream and surf media content from the NAS we have, open source Linux is cool. :-)