Finally have PC setup I want, now to improve internet speeds

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by PTRMAN, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    I'm in a rental apartment with Comcast as provider. I have their regular home service. Upstaris PC (through ZyXEL powerline) fluctuates from "Very Slow" (1-3 Mbps) to "Good" (17 Mbps), with no obvious reasons for the change.

    I know powerlines are finicky and that is likely the source for the slowness. Questions now are:

    1) Ditch the powerline and add a PCIE wireless card to upstairs pc?
    2) Or hire an electrician to wire up the house for ethernet in the walls?

    PICE card will be around $100 (or less), but subject to connection issues and a less secure connection. Electrician will probably be a few hundred. Any thoughts from the experts?
     
  2. Cmustang87

    Cmustang87 2[H]4U

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    Having an electrician run an Ethernet drop will be contingent on your landlord allowing you to do it. I would just get the PCI card... IMO you would be wasting several hundred dollars on infrastructure you don't own.
     
  3. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    [QUOTE="Cmustang87, post: 1042809300, member: 168457"IMO you would be wasting several hundred dollars on infrastructure you don't own.[/QUOTE]

    That is a very good point. I intend to be in the apartment another few years, though, so amortizing that cost over time it might still be worth it:
    a) better security wired vs. wireless
    b) faster wired vs. wireless (maybe)

    *Edit - Rant coming:

    At this point my focus is on the line in - I was getting speeds of 10-15 MBps download. Comcast says it should be significantly higher for what I'm paying. I've had three techs out in the past few days and every "fix" they've applied has made the download speed worse! I went from 8.5 to 4.5 to 1.3. They've run every test they can think of and essentially rewired my connection more than once. Bottom line is that the problem is in their system, not in my house. The techs have all been pretty good, but now the problem gets handed over to Maintenance - the bucket truck guys. One came out (between the first and second tech) and said there were some weird fluctuations in the line at the pole but it was going to be tough to track down the problem.

    Now the 3rd tech has come and gone and left me in the hands of Maintenance. The problem there is the Maintenance seems to exist in their own little world - they don't talk to the techs, dispatch or customer service. I'm concerned that they may (or may not) get around to my problem sometime in the future, but that could be months (or even never). It is also annoying that I have to call Comcast every day to tell them it isn't fixed yet. Why can't they ever call me and say we made some changes and think it is fixed - please check your speeds again?

    And while I'm complaining, what's with all the different speed test results? I've tried multiple and some are low (like the one above) while others are crazy - Xfinity's speed test claimed I was getting 250 Mbps, although their beta tester put it in the low teens. And the others were pretty much clustered around 30 and below. Why so much inconsistency?
     
  4. Tiberian

    Tiberian Finger Me

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    Give the wireless card a shot, if that doesn't help alleviate things (it damned well should) then I'd say just grab 100 feet of CAT6 and be done with it thrown against the baseboards and up the stairs if needed. ;)

    Powerline networking is a last ditch "I don't have any other fucking choice..." kind of solution in my opinion and I wouldn't use it unless it literally was the last thing I could possibly attempt to make use of.
     
  5. Cmustang87

    Cmustang87 2[H]4U

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    The quick answer is because speedtests are unreliable because of caching, etc... I would suggest using ISPgeeks Capacity Test - http://www.ispgeeks.com/wild/modules.php?name=CapacityTest

    You are getting bullshit results from Xfinity because they can easily cache those speedtests and give you fluff results that are in no way indicative of what you actually get in a real-world scenario.

    As for the Time Warner issue - you are just going to have to raise absolute hell with them. Demand that they send a tech with maintenance on site and that anything less than what you are paying for is unacceptable and don't be afraid to threaten with cancellation if there are other options. This is a crappy situation you are in, and that sucks. Best of luck to you.
     
  6. Quartz-1

    Quartz-1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Get yourself a long ethernet cable. They can be up to 100m long. That's plenty long enough to be neatly routed round doors and up the stairs. I have a 40m cable between this PC and my router. It goes around 4 doors (5m apiece), round a corridor, and there's still a huge amount left over.
     
  7. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, that was kind of my thinking when I bought it and installed it.
     
  8. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for the link. I'll try it. I think by "Time Warner" I think you mean Comcast - I don't have TW. All my problems are with Comcast. I spoke to a very helpful customer service rep this morning who helped me request a maintenance supervisor onsite for Tuesday. She agreed a fourth tech visit (and a likely fourth modem change) wasn't likely to solve my problem. IF (a big if) it gets resolved I'll be very happy. If not I'll be more mad. Either way I'll follow up here.
     
  9. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    That is a possible solution - I did my own internal wiring at my home - through the basement and crawlspace up to the outlet in the family room, although it doesn't seem to work really well. I'll have to check my speeds there, too. For the rental apartment it would indeed have to run across the family room floor, up the stairs, through a doorway and a bedroom to get to the small office I have.

    I did get a Netgear Nighthawk to help me out for the time being. I've got both the upstairs PC and the HDTV hard wired into it and it seems to work a little bit better than the powerlink. The real issue is the speed coming into the house - if that were better then everything would be more acceptable.
     
  10. MikeRotch

    MikeRotch Limp Gawd

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    Before you go wireless, download an app on your phone or PC that can scan for all of your neighbouring SSIDs on the 5G band, because you will be wanting to use that. 2.4G is saturated and you should only use it if your wi-fi signal needs to go through 3-4 walls and the wi-fi client is far away. On that 5G band, if you already see lots of SSIDs on it, you might not get a good experience. If you have coax runs in your house, you might want to look into MoCA (coax to Ethernet) adapters. They work very well and contribute to only maybe an extra 2 or 3 ms of latency. Be careful when you look up coax to Ethernet adapters. Make sure you are looking at MoCA and NOT HPNA (which is SHIT).

    A good free PC program is WirelessNetView. For Android a good one is Wifi Analyzer. I don't know of any in the Apple world.
     
  11. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    Thanks. Android wireless scan (using the built-in program) only shows a few around. I do have both 2.4 and 5 with the comcast router and the netgear extender. I'll take a look at your suggestions next week (away for the weekend).
     
  12. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Check with your landlord for the OK and the next time one of the Comcast maint folks come out, see if they will add a drop to the upstairs. They might even do it for free to improve the upstairs service.

    Perform a speed test by sending and receiving a file of known size from a friend with a service enough faster then yours that it won't be a choke point.
     
  13. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for the idea. I'll try it when they next (Tuesday - fingers crossed) come out.

    FWIW I'm much happier with the Comcast service at my home in NJ. Seems more like what I expected.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. PTRMAN

    PTRMAN Limp Gawd

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    It is still early, but a few tests throughout the evening have shown much improvement. It took yet another visit by a comcast tech and much bitching and moaning on my part to get the maintenance guy to come out and check the poles. Not sure what they did but it appears to be working. This is for the second floor PC, wireless via the Netgear extender, in the apartment.
    [​IMG]