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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers Network
I recently switched from Comcast's cable modem service to Verizon's FIOS -- I get about 3x the download and 4x the upload speeds, and I save about $10 a month. Overall, I've been thrilled with the switch, other than with the router that Verizon provided. It's an ActionTec, and it's got perhaps the worst web-based GUI for a router that I've ever seen. Setting up port forwarding, for instance, is a real pain.

Last weekend, I wanted to set up an externally-accessible web cam, but despite what seemed like the proper setup in the ActionTec, I had no luck. So I pulled the ActionTec and installed my original Linksys BEFSR-41. I entered the port forwarding info for the web cam, and it was online without any issues at all.

A couple days later, I noticed that my FIOS connection wasn't feeling quite so speedy -- I'm supposed to be able to get up to 15Mbps of download speed, but the SpeakEasy.net speed test was reporting only around 5Mbps. After some searching, I found the answer. Apparently, this is a limitation of the Linksys router I own -- my BEFSR-41 is an older "V2" model, and the WAN port is limited to (I don't fully understand this part) 10Mbps duplex, which means 5Mbps download speed. The newer V4 model of the BEFSR-41 has no such limitation. When I put the ActionTec back online, the speed tests returned to their normal values.

And while this was only an issue for a couple of days, it's actually a bit worse than that. For the last couple of years, I was on the Comcast "high speed" cable plan, which theoretically gave me 8Mbps download speeds, but I recall never getting anywhere near that ... and now I know why. Guess that was $6 a month that I didn't need to spend!

The moral of the story is that today's high-speed net connections may have outpaced your router's capabilities -- especially if, as with mine, it's an older model. Visit one of the speed test sites and make sure you're getting everything you're paying for. Compare your speeds when connected through your router and when you connect your Mac directly to the cable modem; they should be nearly identical.
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Check the cable and modem!
Authored by: DamienMcKenna on Dec 28, '06 08:19:26AM

Another one to watch out for with flaky connections are the cabling and the modem itself. I recently upgraded from a "lite" 512kb cable connection to the regular 7mb service but my transfer speeds were aweful - speakeasy.net/speedtest averaged 700kb. After an hour of poking around at the outside bits 'n bobs the service tech who came out offered a new coax cable to the wall and a new modem, plugged them in and the speeds jumped to over 5mb.



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: thehigherlife on Dec 28, '06 08:45:12AM
you should consider looking at [link:]http://www.pfsense.com/ or [link:]http://www.ipcop.org if you have a spare old x86 computer this is by far the way to go. these both have excellent web gui and have no speed problems cause you are choosing what network cards and what the processor is for the router. i use a 667 celeron w/ 192mb RAM and a 2gb HD perfectly fine. And it is way faster than any linksys router i have ever used. This could be exactly what you are looking for.

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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: hwojtek on Dec 28, '06 09:48:23AM

I thought 10MBit/s Duplex is 10Mbit uplink AND 10Mbit downlink at the same time, isn't it?

Anyway, still to narrow bandwidth for a 15MBit/s connection.

---
Wojtek



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: vrillusions on Dec 28, '06 11:21:49AM

this kinda goes with hwojtek's response. but enough extra information that I didn't make it a reply to his...

The four common types of network connections for homes are 10-base-t (10mbit) full duplex and half duplex, and 100-base-t (100mbit) full duplex and half duplex. Full duplex means traffic can be traveling in both directions at the same time at whatever speed it's at (10mbit or 100mbit). Half duplex means it can only send OR receive at a time. Basically half duplex things are passing back and forth several times a second. I am sure the WAN port on the linksys uses 10-base-t (cheaper then 100-base-t) but seems like they would still want to make it full duplex. The catch is, you will never hit 10mbit on a 10-base-t system because of the overhead in TCP/IP traffic (generally around 20% is the estimated reduction in efficiency). That immediately drops you down to 8mbit/sec in a perfect and ideal situation, which of course never happens. So I would guess the linksys routers are 10-base-t full duplex. Which when they were created was fine since there was no high speed internet service to the home greater than 10mbit.

Another possible concern is the processor used in routers. When a router is made, it's made with the slowest and most inexpensive parts that still have "acceptable performance" for the devices "typical user base." A family sharing an internet connection among a few computers that are just browsing the web or playing online games it will work fine. Start running some torrents and watch how everything slows down. While partly due to the traffic amount, it's also because the processor inside the router can't keep up with all the traffic.

As mentioned before, if it's feasible I'd recommend building your own router using something like ipcop. It has tons of options and just find an old pentium 2 computer that can take a few network cards and it's still a whole lot faster than any consumer level hardware router.



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: jwarwick on Dec 28, '06 12:45:03PM

Also, some DSL & Cable modems like the Motorola Bitsurfer are fixed at 100Base-T and will not auto-negotiate with older 10Base-T routers. The resulting mismatch between modem and router severely affects download speeds.



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: imageworx on Dec 28, '06 01:38:06PM

I have Fios as well. However, when I got mine, it was with a DLink that Verizon doesn't bother to stay current with firmware (and thus makes it a problem with XboxLIVE and other issues).
So I bought an Airport Extreme Base station and swapped out the Dlink. Speed is fine and reliable, works SO much better with my streaming iTunes Airport Express in 2 other rooms of house and simpler to configure over the Dlink (another ugly GUI, but not as bad as Actiontek's)

---
To BeOS or Not to BeOS



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: jriskin on Dec 28, '06 05:33:33PM

I have FIOS and the DI-604 which isn't a particularly good router (free with the service). I can get full data rate 15/2Mbit *BUT* i've noticed that when using large numbers of connections (ala bit torrent or other p2p) once in a while it hangs and reboots. This only happens with very large numbers of connections. I'll probably get around to replacing it eventually.

So if you get dropped connections the router might be the culprit, search around the net for more info on it.



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: encro on Dec 28, '06 06:31:22PM
DLink are usually quite good at issuing firmware updates to resolve issues.

Definitely check the main tech support support also:
http://tsd.dlink.com.tw/

or specifically for drivers:
http://tsd.dlink.com.tw/Download.asp

---
Steve

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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: rumirocks on Dec 29, '06 02:42:47AM

Anyone got any ideas about this:

I tried what Rob said (speakeasy ... Cox said it's the most reliable test.) I'm supposed to get 10mps download, 1mps upload. I nearly get that with the ethernet cable plugged into my old WIN laptop. Just a few kbps off. And Cox pinged it and said I was getting the full signal.

With my Mac laptop, it's half that.

What software can I use to play with the Mac network speed without needing a degree in network engineering. Any thots?



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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: flynnmj on Dec 31, '06 07:00:46PM
I can't find exactly where I got these values, but this site: http://www.infrant.com/forum is the forum for a Network Attached Storage company that is decent at supporting OS X. A lot of people are trying to get good performace for gigabit speed from their macs to the NAS.

They have this FAQ entry: http://www.infrant.com/wiki/index.php/FAQ#I.27m_getting_poor_performance_with_my_Mac.__Is_there_anything_I_can_do.3F


sudo ifconfig en0 mtu 1492
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.delayed_ack=0
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.ip.portrange.last=65535
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.ip.portrange.hilast=65535
sudo sysctl -w kern.ipc.maxsockbuf=524288
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.udp.recvspace=73728
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.sendspace=65536
sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.recvspace=65536

---
Information is in the noise!

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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: aarony on Dec 30, '06 09:16:43AM
You can also use an old PC to run DD-WRT, a modification of firmware that is normally used on some Linksys WRTG54G based routers.

[link:]http://digg.com/linux_unix/Guide_for_turning_your_spare_pc_into_a_powerfull_dd_wrt_router

---
Aaron

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Be aware of speed limits on some older routers
Authored by: flynnmj on Dec 31, '06 06:50:47PM

Dlink may be good about firmware updates, but the firmware that verizon installs on the router won't let you install an update from dlink. You have to install an update that is provided by verizon.

---
Information is in the noise!



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It's not the physical interface speed
Authored by: priller on Jan 01, '07 10:49:46AM

Unless you are talking 10-half, the physical interface speed is not relevant. An Ethernet speed of 100M does not mean 100M wan-to-lan throughput.

When looking for a router, look for a "firewall throughput" rating on the datasheet. I would not go for anything less than 30M. If you can't find this spec, I wouldn't buy it.



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