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My router (pocket wifi 2 from vodafone AU) seems to download data quickly enough (1Mbps) but it takes ages (10-20 seconds) to connect to the requested site first.

All devices using this router have the same experience. Any idea about what/where the problem could be?

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linux or mac or windows ? – Ashu Jul 20 '12 at 5:47
the client doesnt matter (I've tried on winows, macos and iOS), same results. My guess is that it could be server related. Any ideas? – Ryan Fernandes Jul 20 '12 at 6:43
Does it happen when you use the SIM card in a different UMTS enabled device and enable its mobile wifi hotspot? – ce4 Jul 20 '12 at 6:47
@ce4 yes, tried that too. Same result – Ryan Fernandes Jul 20 '12 at 7:33
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You seem to have a mobile UMTS/3G-to-Wifi AP here.
If this is true you might be a victim of the bufferbloat phenomena. There's also an interesting tech talk from Google on this topic.

Search the AP's settings for something related to the above problem.

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you may be right: I used The ICSI Netalyzr and it reported 'downlink as having 5600 msec of buffering.' - Terrible. Let me wait for a while in case someone has a solution for this particular router before I accept your answer. Thanks! – Ryan Fernandes Jul 20 '12 at 7:27
If it's your provider that causes that 5.6s bloat you're probably hosed, alas. Let's hope it's just the router. – ce4 Jul 20 '12 at 7:30
dont think my ISP will own this up. :( – Ryan Fernandes Jul 20 '12 at 7:46

This relates to response speed as opposed to download speed. Every time your router makes a request, it has to wait for an answer (thereby response) and this usually takes some time on a mobile modem. The request are small, so it is not the size of the request that's taking time, it's waiting for the response. A normal internet site requires multiple requests before it is fully loaded.

However, when you are requesting a download, you only request the download to start. So after it has started, your modem doesn't have to send more requests on behalf of the download, which means that there are no interruptions. That makes your download reach the full speed that's available.

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yes, you've understood the situation perfectly! Any idea how to fix this? – Ryan Fernandes Jul 20 '12 at 7:15
Usually, it's a combination of signal strength, technology used (UMTS/CDMA/HSDPA or other) and operator limits. Check to see if you get better response time when you have a very good signal. Check again in a low signal environment. If these are very different, I don't think there's a lot you can do with it. If they are much the same, it seems probable that you have the bufferbloat error described in the answer above. Do you know how to PING? High PING is equal to slow response time. – Roger M Jul 20 '12 at 7:47

Just dropping in a different idea, could it be ISP DNS server responding slow?

You can use this tool to determine fastest DNS server for your geolocation.

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