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Whenever I do anything much more demanding then web browsing over my internet connection (via a router), the latency goes from around 20ms to over a thousand. This makes streaming video and gaming a bit painful. If I plug my computer directly into the cable modem everything is rock solid.

I have a desktop wired into the router plus a laptop and cellphone that connect wirelessly (secured with WPA), so it's not an industrial weight LAN. I'm not doing filesharing or anything else in the background when this happens.

Thinking the router was bad (a Linksys WRT54GS2), I bought the cheapest D-Link at the nearest store (a DIR-615). Everything was fine for a week or two, then the problem returned.

I'm not really sure where to go from here. Anything else I should be checking? Or are cheap routers so pitiful that they can't be expected to reliably handle a 480p Hulu movie?

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Reset your router and disable features as UPnP. Configure basic settings and have wireless internet set to just one mode (B,G,A or N) Now download a torrent and see where that will take you. It should be able to do so, otherwise return the router... :)

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What security are you using on your wireless network? I'm wondering if someone else is "sharing" your connection without asking.

There should be a page in the routers admin interface to show you what is connected.

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Security is set to WPA. I've glanced at the list of connected computers a few times including just now before testing it again. Nothing there. – tgecho Nov 27 '09 at 14:30

If plugging into the LAN physically works fine, then the problem is probably related to the wireless. The two routers might have a problem at your residence because of interference. You can try switching channels within the router interface to see if that helps at all.

Also, can you try another wireless device, such as a friend's laptop to see if it works any better?

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Plugging into the modem is fine. Plugging into the router is not. – tgecho Nov 28 '09 at 2:57
When plugging into the router, are you the only device plugged in/connected to the router? (no other PCs plugged in or using wireless?) If there are, I would try removing everything else / turning off wireless and then connect only the single device to the router. – mpeterson Dec 14 '09 at 14:51

If you have a WRT54G, you could try putting OpenWRT on it. It's pretty easy to do so (the biggest challenge will be figuring out WHICH firmware image you want; respond with a comment if you want some guidance, I check responses).

OpenWRT really improved the performance of my router, even before I started tweaking it.

The stock firmware from Linksys probably has had a few updates, if you're afraid of using third-party software. Try updating the Linksys firmware first. Now that you have two routers, you can take one out of service and experiment.

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Are you sure its not just your ISP? Try connecting directly and see if you have the same problem. If you do, then its your ISP. If you don't, then we can start looking at other things.

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Already tried that. Plugging in directly to the cable modem is fast and steady. – tgecho Nov 27 '09 at 5:16

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