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FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

gm4jjj
Rising Star
Posts: 670
Thanks: 5
Fixes: 1
Registered: 30-07-2007

FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

Since I went on the FTTC trial here, I have had poor download speeds ( between 8 and 15Mb/s generally), though solid 8Mb/s upload speed. I had at first seen over 20Mb/s so I was convinced there was nothing wrong with my wireless router.
However, I managed to run a temporary ethernet cable from my router to the computer and bam! - 25Mb/s download solid.
So, a bit of a red face here. Just in case it was coincidence, I switched back to wireless N and same poor download speeds.
The router I am using ( and I read some other folks have also used this with success) is an Apple Airport Extreme dual band 2.4/5 GHz.
I have tried only 5GHz N as well as 2.4Ghz N and other combinations, but have not found a setting that works anywhere as well as a direct Ethernet connection.
Will see how it goes over the course of a few days, before deciding what to do (run permanent cable or try another router).
Computer is iMac 3.06Ghz.
6 REPLIES
Pogdin
Dabbler
Posts: 22
Registered: 18-08-2010

Re: FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

I had a bit of truoble with my wireless at first............
After a few emails to Netgear, they told me to disable the 5GHz side of things and change the channel number or whatever it is, and it all works fine now.
gm4jjj
Rising Star
Posts: 670
Thanks: 5
Fixes: 1
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

I think the path between my computer and the wireless router is just a bit marginal (downstairs to upstairs), that is affecting the data rate quite a bit. I can get almost 18Mb/s with my iPhone 4 right beside the router.
gm4jjj
Rising Star
Posts: 670
Thanks: 5
Fixes: 1
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

Quote from: Pogdin

After a few emails to Netgear, they told me to disable the 5GHz side of things and change the channel number or whatever it is, and it all works fine now.

Hey!  I just changed to only 2.4GHz for N  (802.11a - 802.11b/g/n) on the Airport Extreme and it is just as fast as Ethernet!
Thanks very much.
edit: I spoke too soon, it still is not working as well as i would like.
gm4jjj
Rising Star
Posts: 670
Thanks: 5
Fixes: 1
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

I am gradually getting to the bottom of the problems with poor and variable download speed that I have been seeing on my FTTC link.
The basic problem has been the wireless N link from my downstairs comms cupboard where the modem is to the upstairs Intel iMac computer. Although seemingly getting a strong enough signal, it was not good enough for reliable continuous high speed data transfers.
I rigged up a temporary ethernet cable 15m long from the router to the Intel iMac (802.11a/n/b/g 2.4 or 5GHz) and immediately everything was wonderfully fast and solid, like it should be. I don't plan on running an ethernet cable upstairs permanently as it would be quite a tricky job, so I looked at other ways of improving the wireless situation.
To make matters more tricky, I have other devices that have to share the wireless network. An old iMac G4 with only 802.11b and WPA (not WPA2). An Asus EeePc 802.11g/b, and iPod Touch 802.11b/g and an iPhone 4 802.11n (2.4GHz only).
Some wireless routers I have found, even though they can be set to WPA/WPA2 mode will not work with the old iMac which is WPA only. They then require setting to WPA only, not ideal.
The best router from the standpoint of compatibility  for my mixture of 802.11b/g/n and WPA WPA2 has proven to be my Apple Airport Extreme Base Station (simultaneous dual-Band II).
Looking at the Airport Extreme Logs and Statistics (in Advanced) you can see the data rate and the signal and noise figures. This was useful to determine what the problem was.
The link between the iMac upstairs and the Airport Extreme was marginal on 802.11n on 5GHz and better but still variable on 2.4Ghz. I would have preferred to use 5GHz to get away from the other devices sharing the 2.4GHz channel.
I also have an Apple Airport Express which has a single Ethernet port and can connect at n rates on either 2.4 or 5GHz.  I have found that it produces a stronger signal than my iMac does on either 2.4 or 5GHz.
So, I now have the Upstairs Airport Express on 5GHz N connecting wirelessly to the Airport Extreme router downstairs by the modem. The iMac connects via Ethernet to the Airport Extreme:
iMac < -- ethernet -- > A Express < ------ 5GHz N ------- > Airport Extreme PPOE <-- ethernet -->VDSL modem
This works as fast as using an ethernet directly from the iMac to the Airport Extreme.
I have also configured it that I could use the Airport Extreme to 'extend' the wireless network and that works almost but  not quite as fast as the above.
iMac < -- 5GHz N -- > A Express < ------ 5GHz N ------- > Airport Extreme PPOE <-- ethernet -->VDSL modem
The other devices around the premises all use the Airport Extreme 2.4GHz b/g/n as appropriate.
I did test a Netgear WNR1000 supplied by PlusNet (thanks) and found that it worked slightly better on the 2.4GHz link to upstairs directly to my iMac, but still not good enough. Obviously it is a difficult path for wireless. I need to recheck but I recall that the Netgear would not work on WPA/WPA2 mode with my old iMac which is WPA only.
The advantage of the Airport Extreme is that I can set a different SSID for 5GHz and that allows me to split my network devices between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands.
I have ordered a 2nd Airport Express to hook up the downstairs TV to the Internet, as I have borrowed the one I previously used there for my upstairs iMac.
What was initially giving a false impression of where the fault lay, was that sometimes the direct wireless link would work at about 21 Mb/s, but at other times of the day it would fall to about 8Mb/s. This was due to the combination of more congestion on the WAN side and the flaky WLAN link. If the WAN was good, then the WLAN could cope reasonably well, but as soon as the WAN was down a bit with presumably gaps and retries, the WLAN poor link compounded the problems.
If the WLAN link is solid (or I use ethernet) then the overall data rate is that which the WAN can give. I am now seeing between 25 and 29Mb/s down and 8 Up.
So lessons learnt, make sure you WLAN link is really solid, and if you have multiple devices try and use a separate channel for your main computer. Test it with Ethernet and see how it should be able to work, before assuming that the problem lies only on the WAN side.
bluewhale
Grafter
Posts: 841
Thanks: 5
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

did you use inssider or something similar to see what your neighbours are using
and then try and pick a channel out of the way?
gm4jjj
Rising Star
Posts: 670
Thanks: 5
Fixes: 1
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: FTTC download speed much better on Ethernet

No neighbours - only my stuff on 2.4GHz. So I use 2.4GHz for the low speed computers and 5GHz for the high speed link to mine (same subnet).