I'm having a weird slow internet issue from time to time. I'm not sure if it's the problem with my wireless router or ISP or what's going on. Here's the symptoms:

From time to time, my internet connection becomes very very slow. I turn off the router(wireless cisco Linksys ea4500) and the DSL modem (as in unplug every cord, wait 15 minutes, plug back in). That does not solve the problem. The internet will just stay super slow until I do the following: I disconnect the network cable going from the modem from the router and plug it into my laptop. This causes my ISP to ask me for my username and password agin (because a different piece of hardware has been plugged in). This changes my IP address (I think that's the key here). Once the IP address is changed I can then plug the network cable back into the wireless router (it often asks me to re-authenticate again switching the IP address again). After this the internet (wireless and all) works at acceptable speeds for about 3 weeks to a month. Then I have to do the whole dance over again. I also do "netsh i i r r" that my ISP's customer service told me to do. I don't know if that makes a difference or if it's just connecting to a new device and switching IP that does it.

I know that the usual advice is to not do wireless or router and see if the problem happens on wired internet. But my house is not wired for network. Since the problem takes about 3 weeks to a month to arise after I plug something new in, I can't really be tripping over wires and stuff for a month. I don't want to buy another router if the problem is most likely not the router. I mean just restarting the router doesn't fix anything.

Do you think it's a router problem or no?

(sorry if it's a n00bish question. As you can see, I don't know anything about networking. I did some internet searches and they all say to see if the problem persists with wired network. But since the problem does not appear again until 3-4 weeks after you plug the internet into something new, that would be difficult to do.)

As far as how slow it is during the bad times, yesterday when I did the speed test it was 0.13mbps download speed. During the fast times it's about 5.something download speed.

EDIT: here's the traceroute:

C:\Users\myuser>tracert www.superuser.com

Tracing route to superuser.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  Astral-Net []
  2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  3    45 ms    44 ms    47 ms [108.160.233.
  4    75 ms    62 ms    50 ms  ins-kb3-et-0-6-0-0.kmrr.netins.net [
  5    91 ms    77 ms   258 ms  ins-kc1-et-9-3.kmrr.netins.net []
  6    58 ms    57 ms    57 ms  sl-crs2-chi-lc1-.sprintlink.net []

  7    57 ms    58 ms    57 ms
  8    61 ms    61 ms    61 ms
  9    76 ms    98 ms    75 ms  0.so-1-0-1.XT1.NYC4.ALTER.NET []
 10    97 ms    86 ms    87 ms  GigabitEthernet6-0-0.GW18.NYC4.ALTER.NET [152.63
 11    77 ms    75 ms    76 ms  internap-gw.customer.alter.net []

 12    77 ms    74 ms    76 ms  border1.po1-20g-bbnet1.nym008.pnap.net [216.52.9
 13    91 ms   129 ms    74 ms  stackexchange-1.border1.nym008.pnap.net [74.201.
 14    96 ms    75 ms   127 ms  stackoverflow.com []

Trace complete.

  • What kind of internet connection? Cable? DSL? Fibre? Fixed wireless? – Mark Henderson Apr 4 '14 at 1:42
  • It's a DSL connection. – Creature Apr 4 '14 at 1:47
  • Can you provide some traceroute examples? And what do you mean by slow? can you define what slow vs normal is for you? – MaQleod Apr 4 '14 at 2:01
  • Yesterday was insanely slow: 0.13 mbps download (slightly higher upload, like 0.3 or something). Just now, after I re-set it by switching my IP, I'm gettign 5.25mbps (which is high for me. (never gets higher than 5.5 mbps) download and 0.37 mbps upload). I'll put traceroute in the main post as an edit (too large for comment) – Creature Apr 4 '14 at 2:06

Your router is misconfigured. If your ISP requires a username and password, then the device connected to it must be configured to supply them. Most ISP links don't require any authentication and thus typically no WAN configuration is needed. But if yours does, then your router has to be configured to supply it. Log into the router and properly configure its WAN port. If you're not sure of the configuration needed, call your ISP and get the information from them.

| improve this answer | |
  • if it were reconfigured, wouldn't it just refuse to connect to the internet at all? Or would it connect and be fast for a few weeks and then slow down but still connect? Because it's connected, just gets as slow as 0.13mbps until I re-authenticate with it. Then it's back to fast speeds for about 3-4 weeks. Then I have to re-authenticate again or suffer painful slowness. – Creature Apr 4 '14 at 3:23
  • It would be fine until the ISP demands new authentication. – David Schwartz Apr 4 '14 at 4:32

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