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Fluctuating speed, wireless issues?

« on 23/02/2012, 13:42 »
I'm not very good with technical jargon and know only basic stuff.
I always use a wireless connection via a Thomson 585 v7 router. It's the same router I've used since I joined Plusnet  in October 2010. I always use my laptop in the same room upstairs.

Lately I've seemed to have ridiculously unstable speeds. Sometimes it's so slow I can hardly use the internet at all and within minutes it can be back up to really high speeds again.
The slow speeds can happen at any time of the day or night.
For instance a few minutes ago I tested the speed (using wireless) and it was 2611kbps download and 172kbps upload. Two minutes later I tested it again and it was 13914kbps download and 179kbps upload.

I have used the inSSIDer prog to check the signals, and the channel I set my router to is not in conflict with close neighbours. I usually get a signal reading of about 68-72 in the room I use it, which has always been fine. I have noticed lately that the signal frequently redlines to a 86 and wondered if I have a wireless fault from the router, or whether my actual broadband connection is bad?

I don't have another router to test the line in that way.
The router is connected to the master socket in the house downstairs.
I've restarted the router via my laptop and also restarted by unplugging the router, but that doesn't seem to have made any difference.

Is there an easy jargon-free set of tests I can to do to see if it's a new router I need or something else? Are Plusnet able to check the stability of my connection?
 
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« Reply #1 on 24/02/2012, 09:05 »
Quote
Is there an easy jargon-free set of tests I can to do to see if it's a new router I need or something else? Are Plusnet able to check the stability of my connection?

Absolutely,

Looking at connection stability first, it's clear that isn't an issue for you, here's a graph of your last few connections:



I've also run a line test which shows me that your current line rate is 7150, that means that the maximum speed you could possibly achieve would be just over 7mb.

With regards to testing, first of all we need to ascertain if the issue is with wireless or not, the easiest way to test for that is to connect the PC to the router directly with a network cable (our routers are shipped with one).

If you can do that first for us and run a speed test here: http://www.speedtester.bt.com/ reply back when you've done that and we'll see where we need to go from there.
Adam Walker
Plusnet Customer Relations Team
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« Reply #2 on 24/02/2012, 12:52 »
Many thanks for your reply.

I just connected my laptop with the ethernet cable and performed the BT test as required. The results were:
Download Speed: 6.69 Mbps
Range: 600 Kbps - 7.15 Mbps
Down-Stream 8.15 Mbps
Up-Stream 448 Kbps
IP Profile 7.15 Mbps
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« Reply #3 on 24/02/2012, 17:24 »
Those speeds are definitely in line with your line's estimated speed so it looks to me like an issue with the wireless connection.

Before we look at perhaps replacing your router with a more up to date model I'd like to ask you to try changing the wireless channel on the router settings manually to either 1, 6 or 11

There's a guide on how to do that here: http://www.plus.net/suppo...re/thomson_wireless.shtml

I hope that helps too.

Adam
Adam Walker
Plusnet Customer Relations Team
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« Reply #4 on 24/02/2012, 19:06 »
Hi Adam, thanks for all your help on this.
Changing the channel was one of the first things I've been looking at on days that have had a poor connection for me.
I was always usually on 6, then a couple of weeks ago when my connection seemed very slow I checked inSSIDer to see if a neighbour was using the same channel...they were, so I changed to 11, which wasn't very good so I went back to 6. A couple of days ago my connection was very poor again so I changed it to 1...but it's not really making that much difference one way or another.

To be honest my connection has been fairly good today, but then without warning it suddenly goes deadly slow or cuts out, which isn't fun if you're in the middle of a credit card transaction or sending a large email etc. If it does seem like a wireless issue, then I would say it's almost like the signal from my router keeps going low, and either cuts out or loses its strength. At times it's fast and perfectly fine, then the unexpected and with no warning, nothing. I have to say I'm really relieved that my actual broadband connection and line are okay.
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« Reply #5 on 25/02/2012, 07:08 »
Could it be a Laptop wi-fi fault ?

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« Reply #6 on 25/02/2012, 08:54 »
Have you tried using your laptop in the same room as the router for a while and see if the problems persist?

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« Reply #7 on 25/02/2012, 13:10 »
Since October 2010 I've used my laptop in the same room with the wireless connection with no serious issues. When I had to take my laptop downstairs to do the tests yesterday the signal was much better close to the router....unsurprisingly. I've run all the checks my laptop has for checking the wi-fi and there's no obivous issue there...I reset the wireless adapter thingy a couple of times. I'm also picking up lots of the signals from neighbours in the street in my 'Available Networks' section, so it would seem there's no issue with finding a signal etc.

As stated above, it seems as though my Plusnet signal is intermittent or weaker from the router. It's not all the time, and it can go a couple of days before it seems to play up again, but can cut out or seem to weaken at any given moment.

I didn't want to mention it before, because it was irelevant, but I will say that I'm disabled with MS and can't carry my laptop around...having to wait for someone to move it for me. And the whole point of me using my laptop in the room I do, is so I don't have to keep moving it around. It was perfectly fine for most of the months since Oct 2010....that's why I raised the query now, wondering if it was either my broadband connection or the router. I suppose it could just be one of those things that happens now and again caused by atmosphere or something else... Undecided
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« Reply #8 on 25/02/2012, 15:06 »
it might be worth installing routerstats lite to log your line attenuation and snr
just to see if there is a pattern between the slowdowns and noise on the line
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« Reply #9 on 25/02/2012, 15:30 »
It more likely to be the WiFi connection. The speed of the WiFi is dependent on the quality of the signal and will use a data rate from one of the eight available. These are 6,9,12,18,24,36,48 and 54mbps. The actual transfer speed of data will be 40 to 50% of these data rate. So the lowest rate will give a download speed of 2.4 to 3mbps (2400 to 3000kbps).

The quality of the WiFi signal is determined by the distance, building characteristics and electrical noise (other WiFi signals). If the router have an automatic channel option I suggest using this.
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« Reply #10 on 25/02/2012, 15:57 »
Thanks for your suggestions. But if you read the whole thread, you'll see that I've worked on the channel of the router, which made no real difference.  You will also see that Plusnet have looked at my line and broadband connection and it is stable. I have connected via cable to my router and the line was fine...see my BT test results above.
I know that walls and other things make a difference to signal. However, I'm using my laptop in the same room in the same part of the house since October 2010...we haven't had any walls put in or anything changed about the house or its wiring and no other devices have been installed, so I don't see why after all this time a signal that was perfectly fine before a few weeks ago, has changed, because we haven't changed anything in the house. Unless a neighbour has some strong output from some kind of new electrical stuff that we don't know about.

I really appreciate the forum help, but to be honest what people have suggested after Plusnet's Adam replied are confusing the issue and repeating what I have already tried...and I'm not even sure what some of you are trying to suggest exactly. So please don't think me rude, but I'll only be paying attention to anything further from Plusnet staff who have access to my account and can test my connection and issues...as they have begun to. Thanks.
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« Reply #11 on 25/02/2012, 16:12 »
But you have not got a clue what the electrical noise is doing. Even using a microwave oven will affect WiFi as they both use a similar frequency. But if you want to wait for PN to respond that's your option but they have already supplied the information that they have for your connection.
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« Reply #12 on 25/02/2012, 16:19 »
Here are some tips to improve WiFi http://www.microsoft.com/...e/setup/wirelesstips.aspx

Quote
7. Reduce wireless interference

The most common wireless technology, 802.11g (wireless-G), operates at a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). Many cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, and other wireless electronics also use this frequency. If you use these wireless devices in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise coming from them.
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« Reply #13 on 25/02/2012, 19:16 »
We don't have cordless phones, or gadgety garage doors, and the microwave is always unplugged when not in use...which is most of the time. We don't even have mobile phones(refuse to have them). Nothing has changed in our house in that way to make my connection intermittent.
I appreciate the link, but most of the things it suggests I haven't a clue how to do myself and don't really understand and wouldn't be confident enough to try. I don't have people to physically help me out with this stuff, and I can't afford to keep buying things or paying to get some computer nerd to come in and help....when it might actually just be a new router needed.
 
The last Adam from Plusnet told me was to try a different channel...which I have done. So I'm waiting back on them as to whether I need a new router.

The sad fact is, to a lot of people on this forum this stuff is easy....yes it's easy if you know, if you don't and you have trouble coping with basic things, then it's a very much different and confusing story. I don't want or need a super fast connection with complicated jargon...just a simple connection I can rely on.
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« Reply #14 on 25/02/2012, 19:29 »
I don't want or need a super fast connection with complicated jargon...just a simple connection I can rely on.

Quote
For instance a few minutes ago I tested the speed (using wireless) and it was 2611kbps download and 172kbps upload. Two minutes later I tested it again and it was 13914kbps download and 179kbps upload.

Your example of your slow speed is higher than my physical broadband connection, so I will not be able to reach 2611kbps so if speed is not an issue for you why are you worrying about it?
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« Reply #15 on 25/02/2012, 19:47 »
If you read my first post, you'll see that I keep getting such fluctuating slow speeds at any time...so slow that I can't use the internet, along with actual cut-outs...so if you're in the middle of a credit card transaction or other forms of security based data it's hard to know if the data has gone through at all or been completely messed up.  I would glady have slower speeds if the actual wireless connection was consistent. I made this thread because I had noticed the way my connection/equipment was acting lately, which was different to how it usually is and I would rather know sooner than later if my router is going wrong, than be left with nothing at all.
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