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home network headache

Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Hi folks,

We have a home office with 2 computers and a printer on a little ethernet network. Here's the setup:

cable modem > router > hub to computers and printers
It's all connected with ethernet cables, don't want wireless (or should I?).

[update: the problem is gone now, no need to read on unless you're that bored today. ;) ]

Recently we discovered that the downloads were excruciatingly slow and did some checking with online speed tests from our ISP (the cable company here). It seems that when we connect a computer directly to the cable modem the speeds are fine, yet when we go through the router they decrease by as much as 60%! Went to the store and ordered a new router. The sales guy asked about speed - I'd had no idea that routers had speed capacity limits - but he didn't seem to really know what he was doing, sooooo... Long story short, it looks like we still ended up with a router that still isn't "up to speed". (It's listed by the manufacturer as having 10 Mbps max, our internet service is for 15 Mbps. When testing without the router we do get between 14 and 15 Mbps. With the router we get 5 to 6 Mbps.)

I hesitate to go back to the store without doing more of their homework for them beforehand. Any clues from network gurus out there are much appreciated, specifically:

Can routers really slow down the download like this?
If so, then do we need a router with just enough (to match our service potential speed) or should we get one with as much speed potential as possible?
Do I need to replace out all the cables and the hub too? (Argh.)
I've heard that wireless can be less reliable, less fast, and then there's the foil hat issues. ;-) Any good arguments in favor of wireless?


I'm about to try connecting the computers directly to the new router to see if that helps. [update: this did the trick!]

Thanks for any wisdom and advice.




Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 40063
    
  28
You only need wireless if you want to take a laptop from room to room. If you are happy with a wired network, why change?

Sorry I can't help any more. The sort of speed you are complaining about is faster than what most ISPs provide in this country; we are only just getting proper connections here.
Pauline McNamara
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 19, 2001
Posts: 4012
    
    6
Hey Campbell, I'm with you on "why change?".

The good news: got it working now. Connecting the computers and the printer directly to the router did the trick. The old router didn't have that many ethernet ports so the hub was a necessary step. With the new router the hub is no longer necessary, and I had just tried plugging everything in as it was before. New fangled stuff throwed me for a loop.

Wow, I knew we were spoiled here but I didn't realize how much. Sorry to hear about the lower speed there. UK right? Somehow that surprises me.
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 40063
    
  28
I get "up to 8 megabaud" which is at most about 4.3 megabaud (slightly > 550 kB/sec). I can usually rely on > 400kB/sec, but sometimes my wireless connection does peculiar things and I get a lot less. Average prices for broadband in Britain are about £15.99 montly. Things are a lot better here than 2 years ago when all the PC mags were full of articles about "broadband rip-offs," however.
 
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subject: home network headache