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neddie

Wireless network slow

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A friend of mine (non-techie) has a single PC at home running XP with a wireless connection to the single modem. But the network is really slow, and it would be nice to know if this is because:

- the signal is weak and/or hardware is manky so network will always be slow (not fixable)

- some kind of misconfiguration or something (hence maybe fixable)

- the neighbours are sneaking in and using up all the bandwidth (hence stopping or limiting them might fix problem).

 

So is there any way to tell what the network is doing? Either from that XP PC or from my Mandy laptop (assuming I could get the wireless to work on it, which I've never tried...) Sorry I haven't got the hardware specs of the modem to hand but one thing I do know is that they think it's more convenient to just leave the modem plugged in, so that when they turn the PC on it's ready. How do I find out if there is any kind of authentication going on, and how do I see how much traffic is flowing through the wireless? I can see in the task manager very little network activity but I guess that's just the traffic through the PC, and won't necessarily show all the traffic through the modem?

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I think every decent access point has a web interface for you to login and setup dhcp, filtering, etc. rules. You should be able to see MAC addresses of laptops connected, and there must be some sort of log for you to check as well.

 

If security is a worry, I would enable as much security as possible, including WPA encryption of the traffic, narrowing down the range of IP addresses, using static LAN IPs instead of dhcp, MAC address filtering. But it can also be that signals are week, and the laptop loses connection. In XP, make the WiFi interface appear in the systerm tray (you must click a checkbox somewhere), and you will see if you are losing connection.

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Normally the wireless access point will tell you what machines are connected and their mac addresses. At least my Netgear WG602v3 does.

 

Does the modem have an activity light in that when someone accesses the internet, it flashes to show the activity? My router does do this, so gives me a good idea if my connection has gone down/inactive or if there is some kind of routing problem.

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Sorry for the delay, this PC in question is in a different city from where I live so I don´t get to see it often. Some more information which may help the diagnosis though:

The connection is from cable, which comes into a modem. A phone is plugged into this, and also a network cable running to a D-link wireless router. In the other room is a desktop PC running XP, with an external antenna plugging into the USB port.

According to the task tray icon the signal strength is at maximum, so it doesn´t seem like that´s the problem. I was wondering if it was the USB connection limiting the speed but apparently that´s normal for a desktop? Anyway the theoretical speed should be 256 kbps but it´s noticeably less than that, more like a slow dial-up.

I´ll check out the web interface to see if there´s any configuration going on or if there´s a list of connected machines in there. Thanks for the tips!

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Your problem possibly could be related to IPv6. Unfortunately not all ISP's that are yet in compliance with IPv6. You can disable it and see if your performance improves.

 

Edit /etc/modprobe.conf by adding the following line:

 

install ipv6 /bin/true

 

Test and see if it makes a difference.

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That would enable ipv6 as far as I can see! :unsure:

 

Normally, it's done with:

 

alias net-pf-10 off
alias ipv6 off

 

either one or both of these in /etc/modprobe.conf, or in /etc/sysconfig/network with:

 

NETWORKING_IPV6=no

 

or can also be done at interface level as well if not system wide.

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Bit of a hack though to do it, to get it to run an alternative program than to find the correct method :)

 

Interesting though.

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Thanks for the tips, I had a dig around and this is what I found:

The router does indeed have a web frontend, very cool. Shows connected users (just the one PC) and also as mentioned earlier a log of accesses. This indicates that this one PC is indeed the only machine connecting to the wireless router, so the poor speed isn't because of neighbours.

 

Secondly, security is non-existent so even if authentication / encryption whatever was adding an overhead, it's not activated. You're right it probably should be, but it isn't the cause of the poor speed.

 

Thirdly, I searched for download speed tests and came out with a result of 92 kbps. Now this is slow enough, but it even took time to ramp up to this speed. I get the feeling it's not a speed issue but a latency issue, in that each connection takes time to get set up. Downloading a big web page takes about the same time as loading a small web page, but a web page with lots of graphics (ie lots of separate HTTP connections) like eg google maps, takes forever. Is there any possible explanation for this, that setting up each connection takes a long time?

 

By the way, if it is ipv6 causing the problems, how do I disable this in XP? Or is it never an issue with XP?

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By the way, if it is ipv6 causing the problems, how do I disable this in XP? Or is it never an issue with XP?

Yes, it can be an issue with any OS. From what I understand, it really depends on your ISP whether this is a problem or not.

 

For the IPv6 protocol for Windows XP with SP1 or later or Windows Server 2003, do the following:

1. Log on to the computer with a user account that has privileges to change network configuration.

2. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network Connections.

3. Right-click any local area connection, and then click Properties.

4. Click Microsoft TCP/IP version 6 (for Windows XP with SP2 or later or Windows Server 2003) or Microsoft IPv6 Developer Edition (for Windows XP with SP1), and then click Uninstall.

5. When prompted to confirm the removal of the Microsoft IPv6 Developer Edition or Microsoft TCP/IP version 6 protocol, click OK.

 

Alternately, from the Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 desktop, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt. At the command prompt, type netsh interface ipv6 uninstall.

To remove the IPv6 protocol for Windows XP with no service packs installed, do the following:

1. Log on to the computer with a user account that has local administrator privileges.

2. From the Windows XP desktop, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.

3. At the command prompt, type ipv6 uninstall.

 

Unlike Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, IPv6 in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 cannot be uninstalled. However, you can disable IPv6 in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 by doing one of the following:

•In the Network Connections folder, obtain properties on all of your connections and adapters and clear the check box next to the Internet Protocol version 6 (TCP/IPv6) component in the list under This connection uses the following items.

This method disables IPv6 on your LAN interfaces and connections, but does not disable IPv6 on tunnel interfaces or the IPv6 loopback interface.

• Add the following registry value (DWORD type) set to 0xFF:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters\DisabledComponents

This method disables IPv6 on all your LAN interfaces, connections, and tunnel interfaces but does not disable the IPv6 loopback interface.

You must restart the computer for this registry value to take effect.

IPv6 for Microsoft Windows: Frequently Asked Questions

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