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Windows 7: Intermittent slow router response - old age?

29 Sep 2013   #1
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Intermittent slow router response - old age?

I've read a number of times some unsubstantiated claims that say a WiFi router has a limited lifespan of about 3-5 years, depending upon a few factors (like throughput levels, temperature management, etc). Sometimes you can get them to go for 8-10 years, but generally by then the technology has improved so much you'll want to upgrade.

Occasionally when I'm using my 4 year old router, a TP-LINK TL-WR941ND, it will become sluggish. At times it seems to be coincident with the weather (like very rainy day or hot outdoor temps), but sometimes not. It's actually located in the basement of the multi-family house, in a room that is generally kept at about 72-75 degrees. One thing I do to try isolating the cause is to locally connect to the router via the Admin web portal. I always find that this is sluggish as well. Right there it eliminates the ISP as the cause. If the web pages I'm trying to load are slow, but so are the router admin pages, it has to be the router. I have 2 computers that will demonstrate the sluggishness simultaneously in multiple browsers from different makers, so it's not the computers (which were rebooted to be sure it wasn't them with CPU running too many background processes). Occasionally, rebooting the router helps, but even when it does it is often short lived. And then the next day, miraculously the router is performing A-OK.

I thought that maybe the firmware may have been problematic, as I upgraded to the latest version provided by the manufacturer, and then ran into other problems like suddenly the router is unreachable. I loaded earlier versions of the software, and even went to a DD-WRT version (non-OEM open source firmware), but that seemed to help only for a short while. Eventually I went back to factory defaults and from there did a fresh install of the latest firmware--this helped for a longer period of time, but eventually the router started to behave periodically sluggishly again.

What I'm trying to understand is this--when such a symptom of sluggish performance is being exhibited, is this a sign that the router has "had it?" Time for a new one? Or are there some other factors I may be overlooking?

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #2
johnsmith45jock

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Have you contacted your ISP, had them reset your account, and check your bandwidth?

Have to ran Internet speed tests at different times of the day?

Put the computer and router in the same room together to rule out weak signal.

Who do you use as an ISP?

Is your router network secure?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #3
Slartybart

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

A few other simple things after you try Jock's suggestions

make sure the anntenas are secure - tighten them is required
move the router away from any flourescent lighting, cordless phones, or electrical motors.
post ping results (192.168.0.1; might be 192.168.1.1 if it auto switched)

I'm assuming that this is shared by the multi family house and you have the privilige of administering it.
Try adjusting the QOS on the router

If your community doesn't need UPnP - disable it.

See how many other routers use the same channel as your router:
https://tools.meraki.com/stumbler#q= (requires java)
inSSIDer for Home Discover The Wi-Fi Around You | MetaGeek

MakeUseOf article: When Defaults Are Bad: Picking The Best Channel On a Wireless Router

User manual: http://www.tp-link.com/resources/doc...1910010790.pdf

If I think of anything else, I'll post it - but that's off the top of my head.
This type of issue is more trial and error - change a setting, see how it behaves in your environment. But you already know that - you've been doing just that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2013   #4
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Thanks a lot for the tips, guys.

Regarding the ISP, we have not had them reset the account. Why would this need to be done? When in close proximity to the router, the problem is not nearly as prevalent. This is tending to happen when around 50-80 feet vertically from the router. But the computers attached by WiFi to the network have 4-5 bars and 30-45Mbps. I've also ran network monitoring software (using inSSIDer) that shows the router signal strength varies between 69-72dbm. Despite these numbers, when the sluggishness occurs, none of them drop to lower levels. I detect about 7-8 overlapping networks, but they are faint signals. I have changed to several different channels, but found that 11 works best (I get the highest Mbps indications) and others have more overlapping networks. Oh and QSS is disabled.

Our ISP is Optimum Online. It's not the best, but it should be consistent. And the router is secure (good question), as I've monitored attached computers and it is never showing unrecognized MAC addresses, with at most 2 computers maximum at any given time (mostly it is just 1 computer--mine). The sluggishness is observed at times even when I'm the only one attached.

I'm wondering though... and this will really help... --> If the ISP connection becomes sluggish for whatever reason, shouldn't the responsiveness of the router's administrative pages be unaffected? Because the access is just local. I find that it's NEVER the case where the admin pages are responsive on the LAN with Internet responsiveness slow. If it's the kind of thing where ISP responsiveness is tripping up the router such that it's hung up waiting for Internet response that ends up causing local Admin access to slow, then I'll know it's not necessarily the router that is at fault.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2013   #5
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

When surfing becomes sluggish
...and when yours is the only computer on the network
...then disconnect the TL-WR941ND from the internet
...and test the speed of the web based interface for the TL-WR941ND

These web based interfaces are usually stored in the equipment itself, but I've seen some that get a small amount of info from the web (when it is available). If your ISP is sluggish, then perhaps the web based interface for the TL-WR941ND will be sluggish too as it waits on external content before delivering the total page to you. If there is no connection to the internet, the web server in the TL-WR941ND should give up quickly on getting external content and just deliver what it can from inside itself.

If the interface to the TL-WR941ND remains sluggish while the TL-WR941ND is disconnected from the internet, then restart the TL-WR941ND and retest the speed of the interface (while it is still disconnected from the internet). Restarting the TL-WR941ND should cure any speed issues involving the web based interface - unless this interface is indeed waiting on external content.

You might want to read this post and the one after it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2013   #6
Slartybart

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem
 
 

Usernameissues gives you a great way to test the device in stand alone mode.

Normally pairing your router chip and your nic card results in better perfomance (router has broadcom and your nic has broadcom).

I have an Asus RT-N53 router and firmare updates really made a difference. One made it worse, but latter ones improved performance greatly (going from 5 to 50 Mbps and better signal strength).

If you decide to replace the device, I recommend Belkin. Normally, I don't put much stock in brand name equipment, but my neighbor asked me for advice when he was building his home network. We looked at a number of wireless routers and he pick a Netgear route based on price and features. He wasn't satisfied with the perrformance and went with the Belkin N750 DB Wi-Fi Dual-Band N+ Gigabit Router (I think that was the model). Anyway.....

The performance was unbeleivable and consistent even through a block wall.

The ac protocol models are dropping in price,so you might consider one those.
Belkin USA Site: wireless router search results

Bill
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2013   #7
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

UserNameIssues, thanks a lot for that link. I created two batch files, one to ping Google and one to ping the router.

Well, when I'd click on a link in the browser and find the activity stalled (spinning indicator, nothing happening), the ping response from the router would be stalled as well. The responsiveness of the Internet should be independent of local traffic. But for some reason, my router gets tripped up. I'm wondering if there's some setting that may control this, or if it's just a sign of an aging router.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2013   #8
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

This next test might not be convenient:

Leave a LAN cable connected to the TL-WR941ND.

The next time surfing fails, quickly disable your wireless connection and connect the LAN cable to the laptop.

If you can surf via LAN cable, then there might be something interfering with your Wi-Fi signal.

If you cannot surf via LAN cable, then there might be something wrong with your router or ISP.

If you can ping the router via LAN cable, but not surf - then it might be an ISP issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #9
cytherian

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Thanks for the additional advice. Yeah, the test you suggest will be a bit difficult to do, as I don't have easy access to the router to inspect as soon as I see lag occurring.


Meanwhile, I left the router ping window going while I was browsing and observed some interesting symptoms. The router will be giving quick replies on pings when idle. Such as:

Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=5ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64


However, when loading a page that starts to take a while, like the Amazon home page, I'll see the response slow down and sometimes it will time out. For a few moments it will become more responsive, but then time out again. After the page completes loading, the pings jump back to quick responsiveness:

Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=9ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1860ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=6482ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=293ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=256ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=290ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3871ms TTL=64
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=5311ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.2.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64


But then other times, I'll go to load the same page and it will be very quick. What I will observe is that when waiting for various ads and other objects to load that might be coming from external sources, the time will momentarily take a few hundred milliseconds (e.g. 962ms, 388ms, 1320ms), but once they finish loading the pings go back to 1-4ms.

Incidentally, I've also had two windows going, pings to router and pings to Google, and similar response times are mirrored, wavering from fast to slow to fast. When the router is becoming slow to respond, pings to Google are also slow... I have not yet observed Google pings slowing down while router pings remain fast.

These responses definitely suggest that the router is having some kind of multi-tasking issue at times. It's not consistent though... because when I see the ping response time slow down for a given website, I can launch another like Amazon, and it will load with only a slight indication of sluggishness. But then there will be a moment when I'm finding a website that normally loads quickly is hung up. The pings will time out. And I can launch other web pages from sites that should be responsive and see them also hang.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #10
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

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. > inSSIDer for Home ? Discover The Wi-Fi Around You | MetaGeek
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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