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My home network has become incredibly slow over the past few days (access to the internet that is)

Takes around 5 minutes to load a web page, if at all. Online games are constantly disconnecting.

I have 3 computers connected to the router via ethernet, and 3 (+1 iphone) connected wirelessly.

I've checked on the router admin interface, can't see anything obvious (in regards to unwanted devices tapping wireless)

My outside connection is 0.5mbps, its not the best but its never been this bad

Are there any tools that can help me diagnose for an issue? How can I see the attached devices by IP/Mac/hostname? How can I see what device is "hogging" the bandwidth?

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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would start by getting a current baseline for your connection's actual throughput. Try disconnecting the router and connecting a computer directly to the ISP's modem. Verify that the connection is indeed working as expected, and providing the throughput you recall.

If the problem is indeed with the ISP or their modem, you will have saved yourself a lot of unnecessary trouble.

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I'll add try restarting the router (unplugging the power for 2 minutes & plugging back in will likely be more than sufficient). –  Adam Ryan Nov 3 '09 at 3:55
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When dealing with network slowness issues I usually start with the piece of hardware that acts as the gateway to the internet for the other devices on the network, which is typically the router. I'd reboot both the router and the modem and see if the issues persist. If they do then I'd take the router out of the equation by hooking one of the PCs directly to the modem and see if the throughput is still the same. If it is, you know the issue resides on the ISP's end, so you'll have to get on the phone to them (and probably be as tenacious as a terrier on a rat in order to get them to properly check into the issue).

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Are you running torrents? Excessive upload bandwidth usage or a high number of connections can wreak hell on your latency and down bandwidth.

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Run a continual ping test for a few hours. I used to work DSL support and one of my tricks when people complained about slow speeds was to look at the packet loss. High packet loss to an end user looks a lot like a slow connection (web pages wait for the missing packets and then re-request them and wait for them again)

from a command prompt run the following, the -t flag tells it to keep running until stopped (Press Control-C to stop it):

ping google.com -t

A little bit of packet loss is normal, if your seeing a lot more than a couple of percent though your looking at either an equipment or line failure, follow the advice above to rule out a flaky piece of network gear before calling your provider to fix their lines.

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