I read through a number of threads regarding switches prior to posting this and couldn't seem to locate an answer.
The setup: Time Warner Cable, to support their 50Mbps connection, provides an ARRIS DOCSIS 3.0 Touchstone Data Gateway (Cable modem + router). There are several drops throughout the house. One to my office where I have a laptop and a desktop. I prefer a wired connection to both and so I repurposed an old router, as per instructions found online that were basically the same in many locations, including this website - give the old router an IP address in the subnet, but outside the DHCP range of the actual router(in this case the ARRIS) and turn off the DHCP for the repurposed router. At first I used a D-Link Wireless DIR-615 and left the wireless functionality to get an access point at the almost opposite end of the house.
After a monthish or so, my roommates began having issues with web pages loading - mild at first, but more severe over time until they were complaining, and rightly so, that it was ridiculous for us to pay ~$84/month. I honestly didn't seem to have issues, initially, and only after sometime did I start to see issues with google's instant-search and then issues where I would type in a search term, hit enter and nothing would happen - I would have to hit enter again, sometimes several times, to get the results to actually list. Everyone else would have their browser(s) showing the waiting for 'whatever site" for long periods of time - this was more acute with some sites, but eventually began to affect all sites for them. Sometimes refreshing would get them there, other times it was just insanely long waits or an inability to get to the site at all. So, I disconnected the repurposed router and just used the drop for my desktop. The horrible delays vanished instantly.
I gave this a few days and decided to try another router we had - a Cisco/Linksys WR54GT2 V1 - without mentioning it to my roommates. This time I disabled the wireless, but set it up the same as I did the D-Link. I inquired periodically if anyone was suffering problems again and initially there seemed to be no issues. But again, after a monthish, the same severe web page load times began to occur and get worse over time. Again, as soon as I disconnected the repurposed router, the issues went away.
So my question ... since the issue seems to be a function of the additional router, even just as a switch, is there something I'm missing or is this just something that happens with cheap switches and/or repurposed routers? I can't seem to find anything specific to simply having another switch as causing such things; moreover, I never saw any disclaimers or caveats on the various posts I read about using an old router in this fashion. But, and perhaps I'm oversimplifying, the presence of the switch seems to cause the problems.
I will note I was using what some might call a lot (~10-20Mbps Down) of bandwidth for several days right before one of my roommates mentioned the problem being extremely severe now, but was not for at least a couple of days while the problems still persisted. Also, there are times when I will have my desktop downloading while I work on my laptop. I do use a virtual server for two ports on my desktop and continue to do that in absence of the "switch." Not sure if there is anything else to tell - overall I would say the max items connected in a typical night might be: Roku 2(Wired via drop); my desktop and laptop(both were wired - lappy is wireless now); desktop(wired via drop); desktop (wireless), sometimes a netbook (wireless) and all our smartphones - 3 in total. With another roommate, currently gone, bringing another laptop(via wireless) and smartphone to the table. So I guess, a theoretical maximum, if people were making connections on all their devices would be: 11.
Any advice, regarding this issue, is appreciated. Thank you in advance and please let me know if more information is needed.