Over the last 1 1/2 months, Mynders and I have been working from our Colorado cabin, and we have noticed a significant drop in our Internet speed. It was most noticeable when we downloaded a big file.
At first, we thought it was due to all the summer visitors returning to their cabins and over-taxing the single high speed internet trunk line (via a telephone carrier) coming into our community. We were at the point that we were thinking about circulating a community petition to send to the phone company requesting more bandwidth.
Customer Service & Technical Support to the Rescue
You know the drill. Too often when you have a technical problem, the Customer Service people give you the run around…maybe even tell that you really should get a more expensive account.
This time it was different. When the Customer Service person suggested I talk to the Technical Support Rep, I was reluctant. What more could they tell me? I’d been down that road before. She persisted. I relented…and am I ever glad I did.
Our multi-computer setup had apparently been creating the problem!
Maybe You Can Benefit from What I Learned…
Pay special attention if you are using a wired DSL Modem or a Modem with a separate Wireless Router.
Apparently, every time you add another device (modem, computer, etc.) to the system, you divide your available internet bandwidth among them all, whether they are actively downloading something or not.
Here is what Leon told me (I think I have this right…):
- Do you have a wireless router and you are connected to the wireless signal at the same time you’re plugged in with a cable?…You’re getting 1/2 of the signal.
- Do you have 2 different computers in your home or office on the same wireless modem? They are each allocated 1/2 of the signal.
- Do you personally have 2 computers on your desk (1 hard wired; the other wireless) while someone else in your house is on wireless? You’re each getting 1/3 of the signal.
Results of Our Course Correction
I’m a techie, and maybe I should have known this – but I didn’t! I have 3 computers on my desk. Mynders has 1. So, we had 4 computers all ‘hooked in’ to our wireless modem at the same time. This was apparently the cause of our 210 to 300 Kbps download speeds. Ack! We were used to getting 1.4 Mbps here in rural Colorado, so this was abysmally slow.
This is how we solved our problem.
We unplugged the wireless router all together, and only use it if we are wandering around (like taking our computer out to the deck by the river…). Then I chose one of my three computers to connect via ethernet cable directly to the DSL modem, and Mynders also connects his computer via ethernet cable.
For my other 2 computers, when I need to go online with them, I just switch out the ethernet cable. I guess I really don’t need to be actively online with three computers at once!
I just did another speed test, and I have download speeds of 1.2 to 1.4 Mbps. When it does dip, it typically won’t go under 700 Kbps (if we are both downloading at once), and even that is still far faster than 200 Kbps.
So, many thanks to all the Customer and Technical support staff out there who help us figure out where we are getting in our own way!