Are You, Unknowingly, Sabotaging Your Own Internet Speed?

Cable 300x185 Are You, Unknowingly, Sabotaging Your Own Internet Speed?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!

Tell me what you think. Post your comments below...

  1. Kim Turcotte

    Deb & Mynders – What a GREAT post!

    I recently noticed a significant drop in my internet speed and have even had a technician out to the house to no avail.

    But after reading your post realized that we added two wireless devices to the mix about the same time I experienced the drop off in speed.

    I just did as Deb suggested and shut the wireless down all together and only have one computer plugged in by ethernet and BAM, my speed increased immediately to a higher rate than I was experiencing before.

    Such a simple fix, that you would think most technicians would be aware of! Thanks again for always providing such helpful tips for making our businesses run smoother!

    Have an awesome day!

    Reply ·
    1. Deb

      I love it, Kim! I’m glad I’m not the only one running more wireless devices and computers at one time than anyone should have on one desk! It’s awesome you have gotten even higher speeds than before. I hadn’t ever had any other support person ask me those questions, either, or give me that info. It seems almost obvious now…

      My customer service person was Leon at CenturyLink in Texas. I gave him rave reviews on a customer satisfaction survey – guess I should have added a few more names to that ‘thank you’ I sent, huh? I hope he finds out how many people he cheered up as a result of our conversation.

      Reply ·
  2. Dave Austin

    Awesome tip.

    I used myself just now and a dramatic increase in speed.

    Reply ·
    1. Deb

      Hey Dave – thanks! And I’m really glad you got extra speed. We can all use that extra boost!

      Reply ·
  3. Pamela

    Thanks for letting us know this info. I was just talking about how much I hate to make calls to customer service, so thanks for doing it for me. ;-) With a teenager in the house this summer, I was noticing the slow down. Now we have the fix, thanks to your call.

    Reply ·
    1. Deb

      Thanks, Pamela, for your comment. I hope this solves your issue!

      Reply ·
  4. Yvonne A Jones

    Hi Deb, I’m not a techie but I understand your explanation probably because I’ve had a similar experience. From time to time when my daughters and their husbands spend the weekend I would notice a significant reduction in the speed of my desktop. It took me some time to realize that this happened because my son-in-law basically kept his laptop on all the time even though it was wireless. So now when they visit and I’m going to use my computer, I make sure to ask him to turn his off. There’s one other laptop in the house and that’s fine.
    Thanks for sharing your solutions and the information on the bandwidth. That’s very good to know.

    Reply ·
  5. Cynthia Charleen

    Thanks, Deb. I needed that tip. Thanks for passing that along…I, too amm a non-techie…

    Reply ·
  6. Lauren McMullen

    I love you Deb! This makes perfect sense now that you spell it out but who ever thinks these things through. Thank you for doing the leg work.

    Reply ·
  7. Deb

    Thanks everyone! Hope it works for you all as well as it seems to work for us and others.


    Reply ·

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