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BobT

Wireless Router, dsl Modem Questions

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Our DSL Modem is a 17-year old BEC. Our wireless router is about 10 years old. I figure it's time to upgrade the router for sure and possibly the modem. Would like your thoughts. 

  • I don't pay for high speed internet but I strongly suspect our router is a certain bottleneck. We used to have no problem streaming video (Netflix) on two devices at the same time but in recent months it seems we experience issues streaming with just one device if a couple are just browsing the internet on their smart phone at the same time. Am I on the right track that our 10-year old router is just not capable anymore? 
  • Could we also be struggling due to the 17-year old DSL modem?
  • I am considering upgrading our home PC this spring (we are still using MS VIsta Home Premium 32-bit).
  • We hard wire our desktop but wireless connect our printer, Wii console, a laptop, and up to three or four smartphones. We don't do any online gaming but we do use the WiFi for streaming videos from Netflix via our Wii. Our daughter will also stream videos wirelessly via her laptop.
  • Any suggestions for a good upgrade without breaking the bank?
    • New modem and router or just the router?
    • Is there a combination modem/router that might be a good choice?
    • Two story home.

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

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Dsl is "high speed" internet.  Very first thing I would do would be to check what I was supposed to be getting from the provider.  Should say on your bill.

 

Then run a speed test.  Speedtest.net is one. 

 

It could be as simple as the wires and signal degrading  over time and you no longer get what you pay for. 

Dsl is "high speed" internet.  Very first thing I would do would be to check what I was supposed to be getting from the provider.  Should say on your bill.

 

Then run a speed test.  Speedtest.net is one. 

 

It could be as simple as the wires and signal degrading  over time and you no longer get what you pay for. 

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So i just updated my gateway, router/modem together.  We have DSL and when i talked to the rep at the big box store BB, he said that if i am streaming and using computers, phones, printer etc, that i should go with separate router and separate modem.  To me that is just too much stuff to deal with, i like the all in one.  Well i am about 3 months into the new gateway and so far so good.  After 17 years and 10 years there is so much firmware etc that is caught in the devices they slow down and just don't work very well.  I usually swap mine out every 5 yrs or so.  

I agree that you should see what you are being delivered by your provider.  I checked mine a couple weeks ago and it is not quite what they are promising so a call to Cox this weekend is in order.  Good luck, go with the most advanced you can get, as long as you don't have a 17 yr old computer that you are running.  Jeff

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Couple things.  You will notice most if not all advertise speeds "up to" x mbps.  This is in perfect conditions.  Not peak time and with outdated equipment.  You will not likely be seeing advertised speeds if you are on in the evening.  Also, the hardware itself in the new modems had grown from docsis 1-3 with a number of versions in between.  When a carrier is estimating speeds, they are usually taking into account newer hardware.  I have an all in one modem/ router on a two story 2300 sq foot house and have enough signal to stream videos on 3 devices at once.  Possibly more but have never tested that.  My first bet would be to upgrade your modem/ router.  Everyone hates calling cable and phone companies, and likely the result of a call that takes way to much of your time will be them asking about your modem and router and claiming that needs to be upgraded(regardless of if that's the case).  Then if your still not seeing decent speeds, make the call.

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By high speed I guess I was speaking about more than 5Mbs, which is what I think ours is. I'm not sure I fully understand the results from a speed test. Which value should I be looking at when verifying my connection to the advertised 5Mbs - ping, download, or upload?

 

Thanks

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5 hours ago, BobT said:

By high speed I guess I was speaking about more than 5Mbs, which is what I think ours is. I'm not sure I fully understand the results from a speed test. Which value should I be looking at when verifying my connection to the advertised 5Mbs - ping, download, or upload?

 

Thanks

Yep, download is what they advertise.   Typically upload is less, and less advertised but should be specified.   Ping is a matter more of where the server for the test is located and the route to it.  It is like yelling "yo" to your buddy and waiting for him to reply "yo" back.  

 

If you are paying for 5 you should get pretty close to 5 most of the time.  Loss of speed can be due to a deteriorated electrical connection between you and the phone companies box on the corner or on a pole someplace.  DSL is one of those things that, as an experienced electrical engineer, I am amazed that it works at all.   Its speed is quite dependent on the qualitity of the wiring from you to the phone company.  So if the wiring has gone downhill, so will your speed.  

 

On the other hand, 5 M is a little light for a modern family with multiple video streams from stuff like youtube and snapchat and netflix and........

 

A decent netflix connection takes 3 or more Mbits/sec.   

Edited by delcecchi

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I'm sure some of the loss is the advancement in technology. The amount of data that must be downloaded just getting on a website these days I suspect is probaby a lot higher today than it was just a year or two ago. I suppose video streaming is not any different. 

 

I contacted our service provider yesterday and asked them to check my modem connection and they replied that everything looks good. No loss of data recorded over the last couple months. I did inquire about possibly upgrading the connection to a higher speed. If the modem is compatible it sounds like I could double to a 10Mb connection for an additional $2.00 per month. If not, I could upgrade the modem but it would cost almost $200.00 for the upgrade. I'm waiting to see where that goes. 

 

At any rate we seem to have narrowed my bottleneck to most likely being my router so I'm going to be looking more seriously at upgrading, especially when I upgrade our desktop. 

 

Something that I have noticed in the last week or so. As I mentioned, we're still using Windows Vista 32-bit which is no longer supported. This is also causing other compatability issues with apps such as Google Chrome no longer sending updates and other applications but about two weeks ago I received a notice from Microsoft that Security Essentials is no longer supported for Vista systems. I decided to look for another anti-virus software. I previously used AVG before switching to SE. I liked it but noticed that it too was starting to give me some issues with compatability. I found that Avast still supports Vista so I uninstalled SE and installed Avast free. Ever since doing that I have discovered a noticeable improvement in our system performance. Waking up from sleep mode, boot up, and just all-around performance seems much more responsive than before. I'm suspecting that AVG and SE were high performance hogs. Anyone else experience anything like this? 

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46 minutes ago, BobT said:

I'm sure some of the loss is the advancement in technology. The amount of data that must be downloaded just getting on a website these days I suspect is probaby a lot higher today than it was just a year or two ago. I suppose video streaming is not any different. 

 

I contacted our service provider yesterday and asked them to check my modem connection and they replied that everything looks good. No loss of data recorded over the last couple months. I did inquire about possibly upgrading the connection to a higher speed. If the modem is compatible it sounds like I could double to a 10Mb connection for an additional $2.00 per month. If not, I could upgrade the modem but it would cost almost $200.00 for the upgrade. I'm waiting to see where that goes. 

 

At any rate we seem to have narrowed my bottleneck to most likely being my router so I'm going to be looking more seriously at upgrading, especially when I upgrade our desktop. 

 

Something that I have noticed in the last week or so. As I mentioned, we're still using Windows Vista 32-bit which is no longer supported. This is also causing other compatability issues with apps such as Google Chrome no longer sending updates and other applications but about two weeks ago I received a notice from Microsoft that Security Essentials is no longer supported for Vista systems. I decided to look for another anti-virus software. I previously used AVG before switching to SE. I liked it but noticed that it too was starting to give me some issues with compatability. I found that Avast still supports Vista so I uninstalled SE and installed Avast free. Ever since doing that I have discovered a noticeable improvement in our system performance. Waking up from sleep mode, boot up, and just all-around performance seems much more responsive than before. I'm suspecting that AVG and SE were high performance hogs. Anyone else experience anything like this? 

 

Vista?   Seriously?   At least go on the bay of e and pick up a copy of windows 7.  

 

Browsers have also gotten fat and slower btw.

Edited by delcecchi

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I looked at upgrading to 7 but from what I understand our processor will be a potential issue. I figured on just upgrading the whole system. It's a pain in the neck decision because no matter what I upgrade to, it'll probably be old junk in about two years again. 

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I agree with Del, Vista is far outdated. Also, Windows 7 was not well liked due to the change in architecture and how it operated. Most people despised it. If your going to up-grade I suggest new computer with Windows 10. Many good available desktop computers are under $400. Personally I, son, daughter grandkids all use laptops so I am not up to speed on Desktops. Most of family use HP at a little over $200. Son is top I.T. guy at Deluxe his is a Dell Latitude bit more pricey. All our laptops have Keyboards with keys. They are extremely versatile and easy to use. I use Word, Excel, Power Point, Visio, wireless printer, movie maker and many others. Mine has a DVD so we take it camping when no WiFi is available to watch movies other than that, seldom use DVD. SD, Scan Disk cards and thumb drives much easier to use.

 

As far as connection speed, there are 3 basic types for home use. DSL which is a Copper wire connection, Cable which is cable company, Dish, Direct and Fiber Optic. If your fortunate enough to have fiber optic phone service, the speed is 10 times faster than either DSL or Cable. Cable is faster then DSL. Dish and Direct have shortfalls when it rains or snows. If you are required to use DSL go with and pay for the highest speed offered. $2 a month, $24 annual is not a bad price.

 

I do use MidCo Cable. My Download speed is 45.05 MBPS and Upload 8.25 MBPS with ping at 10ms running SpeedTest.net. I can stream 4 movies without interruption (Netflix, Hullu, etc.)

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6 hours ago, BobT said:

I could upgrade the modem but it would cost almost $200.00 for the upgrade. I'm waiting to see where that goes. 

 

 

I don't know much about DSL but I just bought a new Arris cable modem that was the most recommended one out there for only $69.00.

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3 hours ago, delcecchi said:

Papaderv, I think you have windows 7, which was very popular, confused with windows 8 which was hated. 

Your correct Windows 8 was the dog. 

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One thing with Internet speeds is you are only as fast as the slowest bottleneck.  And for the most part their speeds are measured from your house to their edge router.  Past that you are fighting the wild wild west as far as speeds go.  With the propensity of so much streaming it is overwhelming the Internet backbone, just can't handle all the stuff from the likes of netflix.  I work in Networking and we have had to ask the ISP we use to route traffic around certain network segments as they were really slowing down the traffic for some of our customers.

 

Speed tests are good, but again they traverse the Internet in the same way any other traffic does.  There actual formulas out there that can tell you your actual throughput compared to your "connection speed" using network latency.  Eye opening at times, people are paying for 50 MB connections and latency can easily knock actual download speeds to less than half that.

 

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