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Windows 7: Intermittent slow router response - old age?

07 Oct 2013   #11
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

I've read (but cannot verify) that ping traffic is given the lowest priority on a network... so I'm not sure how good of a measure it is for changes that happen for a small amount of time. The router might opt to not respond to pings at all if it thinks that it has better things to do :-)

Even pinging two or three web servers out on the internet can yield results that are hard to correlate with a particular event. But ping times can give you a feel for the norm. And they are great for answering more binary questions:
Am I online?
Am I offline?
If offline, can I reach the router? If yes, then perhaps it is the ISP.

If you want a bit more stable ping times, pick a server that is physically closer to you than Google's or Amazon's. You can do that via tracert. Take note of the IP address for the 3rd or 4th hop. Constantly ping that IP instead of Google.

From a cmd prompt window:
Code:
tracert google.com
Don't worry about hops that have no ping times...
...but don't use them as IPs to ping either.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
07 Oct 2013   #12
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
Using an over crowded channel can have this type of effect on wireless connections, drop outs, slow down's etc.

It's easy enough to check the channels to see which ones are better by using a free software program like inSSIDer WiFi Scanner
I've tried a few different channels (1, 6, 11) and I'm on one with the least overlaps. They all have overlaps, except for channels in between like 2, 9, 10, etc, but I find the Mbps is not as high or responsiveness as good. I read somewhere that 1, 6, and 11 are the best channels for WiFi; minimal interference from other electronics.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
If you want a bit more stable ping times, pick a server that is physically closer to you than Google's or Amazon's. You can do that via tracert. Take note of the IP address for the 3rd or 4th hop. Constantly ping that IP instead of Google.
Interesting... I'm finding it takes 10 hops to get to Google! I've found that the list of IP addresses does shift a little, but the 3rd and 4th are consistent. I'll use one of those instead.

But what I do find interesting is that the lag times were pretty similar with both the router and external addresses. If I found the router quick but an external address slow, then that would definitely point to the ISP (assuming target should be responsive).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #13
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

With the tracert thing - you want the first IP that is outside of your home (perhaps a box in the alley) and yet will reply to IPs.

I would still ping Google too, just to know that your ISP has not lost its connection to the rest of the world (which I've had happen when a major fiber was cut).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

08 Oct 2013   #14
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cytherian View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
Using an over crowded channel can have this type of effect on wireless connections, drop outs, slow down's etc.

It's easy enough to check the channels to see which ones are better by using a free software program like inSSIDer WiFi Scanner
I've tried a few different channels (1, 6, 11) and I'm on one with the least overlaps. They all have overlaps, except for channels in between like 2, 9, 10, etc, but I find the Mbps is not as high or responsiveness as good. I read somewhere that 1, 6, and 11 are the best channels for WiFi; minimal interference from other electronics.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by UsernameIssues View Post
If you want a bit more stable ping times, pick a server that is physically closer to you than Google's or Amazon's. You can do that via tracert. Take note of the IP address for the 3rd or 4th hop. Constantly ping that IP instead of Google.
Interesting... I'm finding it takes 10 hops to get to Google! I've found that the list of IP addresses does shift a little, but the 3rd and 4th are consistent. I'll use one of those instead.

But what I do find interesting is that the lag times were pretty similar with both the router and external addresses. If I found the router quick but an external address slow, then that would definitely point to the ISP (assuming target should be responsive).
You might want to check that channel bonding is disabled, this will show up as two channels when you check on inSSIDer, and the setting for this looks like 20Mhz-40mhz which should be set to 20Mhz "single channel mode".

In crowded areas channel bonding can cause problems with spikes in network connections so turning it off would help in your case.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2013   #15
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
You might want to check that channel bonding is disabled, this will show up as two channels when you check on inSSIDer, and the setting for this looks like 20Mhz-40mhz which should be set to 20Mhz "single channel mode".

In crowded areas channel bonding can cause problems with spikes in network connections so turning it off would help in your case.
My router was set to "Auto", and did show a co-channel in the inSSIDer display (e.g. 11+7). I selected "20MHz" to force disabled channel bonding, but upon doing so I noticed that rather than getting 30Mbps on average with my 3rd floor laptop location, I was shunted down to 13Mbps. Web page loading was noticeably slowed. Unacceptable. I guess I'll have to experiment with a variety of other channels outside of the common 1, 6, 11.

The thing that bothers me is that even when I select a channel that is not appearing multiple times in the SSID list, I still end up with a good 5-7 channel overlaps. Yikes... just tried channel 9 and ended up with overlaps fluctuating from 7 to 14! Looks like I should make a matrix notation of what I observe with each channel and then narrow it down.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Oct 2013   #16
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cytherian View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by chev65 View Post
You might want to check that channel bonding is disabled, this will show up as two channels when you check on inSSIDer, and the setting for this looks like 20Mhz-40mhz which should be set to 20Mhz "single channel mode".

In crowded areas channel bonding can cause problems with spikes in network connections so turning it off would help in your case.
My router was set to "Auto", and did show a co-channel in the inSSIDer display (e.g. 11+7). I selected "20MHz" to force disabled channel bonding, but upon doing so I noticed that rather than getting 30Mbps on average with my 3rd floor laptop location, I was shunted down to 13Mbps. Web page loading was noticeably slowed. Unacceptable. I guess I'll have to experiment with a variety of other channels outside of the common 1, 6, 11.

The thing that bothers me is that even when I select a channel that is not appearing multiple times in the SSID list, I still end up with a good 5-7 channel overlaps. Yikes... just tried channel 9 and ended up with overlaps fluctuating from 7 to 14! Looks like I should make a matrix notation of what I observe with each channel and then narrow it down.
Yes I can tell by the very low Mbps values that you are using legacy or mixed wireless mode which is great if you have older wireless devices to support "abg: devices but will bring your connection speeds way down.

Using legacy mode is like installing an outdated router, it's a waste of a good wireless n router to use legacy or mixed modes, this handcuffs all your other wireless N devices.

If you are using only wireless N devices then you can use the setting on your router for 802.11n Only which should increase connection speeds considerably and may also help with the connection quality.

Yes experimenting with different channels may help but the N only mode is the only way to go here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2013   #17
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Unfortunately, my cell phone does not support Wireless N... and I do use the WiFi connection periodically. But if the performance is noticeably better with "N", I may switch to it and just use cellular data minutes when called for (a likely worthwhile tradeoff).

In any case, the best channel does not appear to be a static proposition. I'll use one channel and it'll be fine for a good while, but then if there's more WiFi activity in the local vicinity it'll get bogged down. Switching to another channel can help alleviate it. inSSIDer is useful to help test out the performance score of a selected channel.

Still, it does seem like there is a bandwidth issue for my router with devices connected on the periphery of a strong signal... which is either the router aging or local interference has gone up. I started searching for a replacement candidate but... it's daunting. There are so many routers offered at different price points, but there's no clear winner. The only exception seems to be Apple's latest Airwave router, but I'm still not sure yet how much of the reviews are being pumped up by Apple fanboys.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Oct 2013   #18
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cytherian View Post
Unfortunately, my cell phone does not support Wireless N... and I do use the WiFi connection periodically. But if the performance is noticeably better with "N", I may switch to it and just use cellular data minutes when called for (a likely worthwhile tradeoff).

In any case, the best channel does not appear to be a static proposition. I'll use one channel and it'll be fine for a good while, but then if there's more WiFi activity in the local vicinity it'll get bogged down. Switching to another channel can help alleviate it. inSSIDer is useful to help test out the performance score of a selected channel.

Still, it does seem like there is a bandwidth issue for my router with devices connected on the periphery of a strong signal... which is either the router aging or local interference has gone up. I started searching for a replacement candidate but... it's daunting. There are so many routers offered at different price points, but there's no clear winner. The only exception seems to be Apple's latest Airwave router, but I'm still not sure yet how much of the reviews are being pumped up by Apple fanboys.
As long as you are using legacy mode a new router would be a waste either way. It's not just a small amount faster, it's actually 5-6 times faster in N only mode. This answers your first question to a T.

The only way to achieve true wireless N speeds is by using the N only mode. Most every recently made phone can use wireless N so updating the phone would help here. Too many good router choices to mention here but anything from Apple would be my last choice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2013   #19
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I did switch the router to Wireless-N only and much to my surprise, my phone worked. I'd read on-line in various Android forums that my phone wasn't compatible with Wireless-N... but either they were mistaken or this was resolved in a later release of the operating system. I'm also on a hacked OS, so that might be part of it.

In any case, performance is a little better, but I couldn't claim even as much as 2 times let alone 5-6 times. Also, my router went mysteriously "silent" for a period of about 12 hours (last night and still this morning) until it miraculously restarted itself. The log showed it had been rebooted, but my landlord said they hadn't even touched it (they control the space where the router resides). It is coincident with my switching to Wireless-N only... but I'll have to see if it was just a momentary glitch.


My interest in a new router would be for the following:
1) Stronger transmission signal
2) More reliable performance
3) Better filtering of environmental noise (e.g. overlapping networks)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2013   #20
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

The gains from going to wireless N are very dependent on the client which a phone is not a good example of wireless N potential, in fact it's the worst example possible.

You need a PCI or USB NIC and a real PC, plus a more capable router before you will see wireless N's true potential.

So your claims of only 2 times the speeds aren't realistic as you are measuring from a phone and probably built in NIC's which are only capable of 150Mbps. Wireless N can go to 450Mbps but you need the right hardware, you pay for what you get here and nobody gives this stuff away.

At any rate I believe I sorted out your problem which points to the router and reliability issues plus client NIC's that won't come close to achieving the best wireless N speeds.

The router choice is entirely up to you as there are too many too choose from and price point comes into play.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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