Thursday, February 11, 2016

Diagnosing Missing Internet Speed at Home

My internet service provider gave me a promotion to go up to 100Mbps speed. Sure enough when they made the change, I decided to run some speed tests to see how it performed. I was disappointed. Speedtests were coming up in the 30-40Mbps range, except for one test from a laptop near the router which gave me 80Mbps, but only once.

I decided to try to pinpoint if this might be a problem with the modem or the router. I checked over at the Small Net Builders website which told me that my router (ASUS RT-N16) was capable of WAN-to-LAN throughput up to 144Mbps. So that shouldn't be the issue, especially having installed custom Tomato (Toastman) firmware on it.

I tried hooking the laptop up to the cable coming from the cable modem. I had a hard time getting it connected because the laptop had a special cover over the network port, and the cable had a protective boot over the plug clip. So I grabbed another network cable and hooked the laptop directly to the modem. Speed testing gave results of 98Mbps.

I wondered if the custom firmware might be a problem and if I would have to load the manufacturer's firmware. I considered that unlikely since the firmware I've been using has been tested with much faster connections than mine. Then I thought about the fact that I had tested the WAN link with a different network cable than my router uses. My router is 12+ feet away from my modem and moving the router would have been a hassle. So I purchased a long Cat6 cable from Best Buy to see if that would solve the problem. It didn't.

The only thing left to do was reflash to ASUS firmware. Now I was getting 88Mbps over wired LAN. I figured I was losing a little bandwidth due to it being prime time, what with everyone down the street probably using their Internet.

The fastest wireless speed I could get was 50Mbps, and that over a 72Mbps single 20Mhz channel 802.11n connection. I'd need a better router to really improve that. The important thing to me is that the router can handle all the bandwidth I am paying for. I was able to do two 1080HD Netflix streams on different devices and still pull 4MB/sec on a file download from a computer connected with powerline ethernet in the back of the house. And I probably still had headroom, at least as far as my cable modem bandwidth goes.

No comments: