Monday, January 18, 2010

Internet Problems

Since we have moved into our new home our internet access has been very poor. In Indiana we had Comcast cable internet and while it wasn't the fastest it did work very well. Moving into our new home our choices were limited to either satellite or Cox cable. The advertized connection speeds through Cox were much faster than Comcast but of course the reality once we were connected was quite different. After numerous service calls, replacement of F-connectors and splitters I felt we had a stable connection. Two weeks ago it quit working again.

This time it appeared to be a hard fault and after a few hours I was able to determine it was our six year old wireless router. After some research and a quick trip to Best Buy I was back home with a new WNDR3700 Netgear Dual Band N-Draft router. The setup was quick and easy although the only real way to do it was manually, the supplied software is not compatible with 64 bit operating systems. My home network speeds both wired and wireless immediately jumped from transfer rates of 2.0mbps to 10mbps, unfortunately my internet access was virtually nonexistent. Feeling good that my equipment was in order I made the call to Cox again and to my surprise they had a tech at my house the very next day, a Sunday even.

The tech could find nothing wrong with the connection he changed a couple of F-connectors and replaced the cable modem as a precaution. The connection was working as he packed up and before he had been gone for five minutes it went down again.

That week it worked sporadically and by that Friday night had gone completely out again. After screwing around with it all week and researching the problem I found I was not the only one having this problem with this router and I was unable to find a positive fix for it. Since I did not feel I should need to spend 170.00 on a router that obviously required a lot of troubleshooting to make it work, I packed up the new Netgear router and headed back to Best Buy to exchange it for another. They of course had no more of Netgear’s flagship so I picked up a Cisco WRT610N which didn't have as good reviews and was 30.00 more expensive.

Once I had it hooked up my internet worked flawlessly and the speeds were better than even advertized by Cox.

Speed achieved with new Cisco N-Draft router

The last speed test was done connected wirelessly. My laptop does have an Intel 5100 series wireless card which supports N-Draft at a connection speed of 150 Mbps versus the draft speed of 300 Mbps. The G connection speed was of course 54 Mbps. I never have seen much of a difference (with the original router) in either internet connection or my home network speeds wither I was using wireless or wired. The best speeds I had seen with the old G router were in the 7Mb/s range, with an average of around 4Mb/s.  The disparity between the download speed and upload speed is due to Cox using upload compression.

I'm very happy with the new router, I had not been really looking at them or keeping up on what was available. It has a USB port for ftp,http and network access to a drive. Being dual band my wife’s laptop or Matty’s PSP/PS3 connecting to it won’t drop my connection to the slower G band.

Hopefully I'll be able to get another six to seven years out of it before I need to go through that again.

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