Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Bandwidth Speed Issues

In the last few days, I started to notice a huge slowdown on my MacBook Pro when surfing the net. At first, it seemed to be a Firefox-hogging-a-shitload-of-memory issue. So I started using Safari instead. After a few hours of using Safari, the problem came back and pages were taking 5-6 seconds to load. I have a Cable (Comcast) modem, so I didn't suspect any bandwidth issues.

Last night, I got tired of waiting and decided to do some further investigation. I started off by running several bandwidth speed tests. All of them reported similar statistics: download speeds of under 300K/sec. I called Comcast, they ran some tests and determined that there were no package loss issues between my modem and their facilities.

Since I moved my modem downstairs last year, I tried moving it upstairs. Same result. I tried plugging it directly into my desktop and voila! - 3MB/sec. I have 2 NetGear routers setup (one for each laptop since my MacBook Pro's wireless abilities suck) and it seems like they are the source of the problem. Do routers go bad like this?

I'm considering buying an Airport Extreme to solve all my Mac-related wireless issues. Unfortunately, it only has 3 ethernet ports and I'd prefer a lot more.

Posted in General at Jan 24 2007, 01:02:24 PM MST 11 Comments

I've experienced similar problems with both my Netgear and my Airport Express. Usually resetting or updating the firmware helps.

Posted by Bob Lee on January 24, 2007 at 02:52 PM MST #

Looks like Netgear routers go bad like this:

Posted by Christian Geisert on January 24, 2007 at 02:52 PM MST #

I have had almost exactly the same experience with Netgear products. I have gone through two separate service providers now because of it. Thanks to Christian for the blog link. However, it seems like a pretty weak excuse(the routers overheat from being left on all day), why does it happen after about a year? It must be that around a year of constant heat issues cause them to fail, so it's not heat alone, but heat over time.

Posted by Mike on January 25, 2007 at 09:11 AM MST #

You could always just attach a switch to one of the ports on the new Airport Extreme. What tempts me about the new AE is it's Instant drive sharing, "New to AirPort Extreme, AirPort Disk turns almost any external USB hard drive into a shared drive. Simply connect the drive to the USB port on the back of your AirPort Extreme and ? voila ? all the documents, videos, photos, and other files on the drive instantly become available to anyone on the secure network, Mac and PC alike."

Posted by Ryan on January 25, 2007 at 09:17 AM MST #

I have an order out of an Airport Extreme, but I think I'll cancel it and order a router with Gigabit ports (not just 100mbit). Technically, 802.11n should be faster than 100mbit, so you wouldn't be fully utilizing your network if you plugged into the ethernet port.

Posted by Bob Lee on January 25, 2007 at 11:14 AM MST #

This conversation screams for a poll. Personally i've never had a problem with my older airport and its supporting both mac and win boxes. I really like the security configuration for the airport.

Posted by Tony Paris on January 26, 2007 at 07:33 PM MST #

Christian, Mike, I had the same problem with my Netgear WLAN DSL Router, and I eventually bought a new one (ASUS). Thanks for sharing your experiences, now I know it was because the router was always on. -Stefan

Posted by Stefan Kleineikenscheidt on January 27, 2007 at 03:06 PM MST #

Is it possible that you are running the netgear in mixed mode (802.11b/g) instead of straight g mode? My powerbook network performance slows down considerably when I run my belkin router in mixed mode. I've heard that some of the netgear routers are even worse. The thing that's interesting is that that when you switched to safari, the performance improved for a few hours. Do the system.log or console.log have any complaints?

Posted by rick marry on January 29, 2007 at 07:40 PM MST #

Posted by Gary Chair on January 30, 2007 at 01:52 PM MST #

I had this problem as well with Comcast. I put up with it for about 4 months, thinking it was the Macbook. Turns out its just Motorola modems in general. I bought an older model RCA cable modem and used the same netgear router, and my speeds doubled instantly.

Posted by Samir on October 14, 2007 at 12:30 AM MDT #

I just switched my Netgear router from being b&g to g only and saw a decent increase in speed using the CNET download speed tool....not sure if this is the ultimate fix but it's a start. Thanks for the tip.

Posted by Mark on December 28, 2008 at 05:04 PM MST #

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