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For the past 3-4 weeks I have been experiencing slow Internet speeds starting in the evenings (normally around 7pm, but sometimes as early as 5pm) and normal again in the mornings. These speeds have been as slow at 6 kb/s.

I have called my ISP (Bell Aliant) and the following things have been done, with no results:

  • Modem reset
  • Plugging directly into the modem instead of going through the router first
  • The line has been tested by a technician
  • The connection on the poll which runs to the house has been checked
  • Disconnected old phone jacks that could have been causing interference on the line

Here is a capture of my modems's administration panel: DSL modem

Are the numbers under dropped and errors significant?

Is it possible there is an environmental cause for this, seeing as how it happens in the evenings? Let me know if I can provide any more information that could be helpful.

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Did you try plugging the modem directly into the demarcation point? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 13 '10 at 22:00
I haven't, no. A new cable was run from there up to where the modem is now a year ago, so I'm a assuming it's still fully functional. I will, however, see if I can test that. – Tim Cooper Oct 13 '10 at 22:04
Since it happens at roughly the same time every day this would suggest an issue with your ISP's network. They would need to test it at the same time you are experiencing the bandwidth drop, otherwise it will show ok. – Moab Oct 13 '10 at 23:24
@Moab, I called tech support when I was experiencing the issue and they said everything checked out on their end. Unfortunately, I am not able to have a technician here when the problem's occurring. – Tim Cooper Oct 13 '10 at 23:38
This is a difficult one to test, but does it degrade if you don't have your machine plugged in? Perhaps you could try another box on your network and see if it does the same thing. Can you rule out the fact that your box isn't downloading anything? (Personally though, I think your ISP is oversubscribed, and you're fighting a high contention ratio in your area.) – user3463 Oct 14 '10 at 2:15
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's because your ISP has (badly) oversubscribed the line in your area. In the evenings everybody is else using their computer too so the available bandwidth drops.

This is a very common practise that ISP's like to keep on the quiet so of course the tech support isn't going to mention it.

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Say this is the problem, is there a way for them to change my connection so it's on a different line or something from these other clients? The technician is going to try changing the port for our connection (not sure what that means) to see if that will help. – Tim Cooper Oct 14 '10 at 10:33
@Tim Cooper - No, no, no. This is just lousy practice and while there are minor things they can do if you complain enough, it's not going to get any better. It's like trying to cram rush hour traffic onto a two-lane road - their infrastructure can't meet demand. – Shinrai Oct 14 '10 at 14:28
Yup, I also think it's the contention ratio in the area. They need to provide more lines at the exchange for it to make any dent. – user3463 Oct 14 '10 at 19:42
This was the problem. The ISP is now putting in a larger line for the area. – Tim Cooper Oct 26 '10 at 21:39

Since I know that our company is not, or usually not, over subscribed, I tend to find other faults.

On several occasions I have seen problems with customers using wireless routers with no security. I actually checked out this one customer at his prem and determined 5 nieghbours were getting free internet using his router. 2 of them were downloading big time. So during the day neighbors were at school or work.

I have also seen customers who dont realize that if there are other users in the house all on line at the same time that can restrict usage.

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