I'm working with what I assume is a pretty common Internet setup: a cable modem, a wireless router and a few Internet-connected devices. Lately, I've started being more demanding on my Internet connection, and noticed that using my router slows down my download speeds considerably.
I just kind of dealt with it until Zune Marketplace on the Xbox 360 told me that a movie was going to take well over ten hours to download, and I just didn't want to wait that long. Good little scientist that I am, I tried to reduce the problem down to one variable.
As a control, I turned off all the devices in the house that use wireless Internet, and unplugged all the wired devices except for the Xbox. I also power-cycled both the modem and the router. I then tried to download the movie again, and was told that it would still take over ten hours.
Next, I unplugged the router, and connected the Xbox directly to the modem. The movie downloaded in just over one hour. As far as I can tell, this means that my ISP, other cable users near me, the remote servers, anything wireless-related and my machines' disk speeds can't be at fault.
A similar experiment that replaced the Xbox with a wired laptop produced similar results. To me, this says "the router is responsible for things taking around ten times longer to download."
I'd still prefer to use the router for a few reasons:
- it's a pain to connect and disconnect everything every time there's a big file to download
- direct connection to the modem isn't good for security
- only one machine can be connected directly to the modem at a time
What can I do to have fast connection speeds while still using the router? I don't mind turning other machines off, as long as I don't have to mess with power and ethernet cables.
After asking this followup question and then this one, I installed dd-wrt on my router, and I seem to be getting higher and more consistent speeds. Perhaps more importantly, my memory use is fairly constant. I know this isn't an answer — which is why I'm not posting it as an answer — but it is how I resolved the situation, and hopefully it'll be helpful for someone.