Question DSL Internet Randomly dropping

nolanklutz

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Apr 22, 2016
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I have a low bandwidth 5mb down .5up DSL internet connection, however on my line I use I am the only one using it so it's not terrible when it works. However, I have been having this issue where at seemingly random points while gaming my dsl light will go yellow for 30secs -2mins and my internet is down for that time. In the past few weeks this has been happening every time I first start my PC for the day. I have had a service tech out from my internet company 3 times in the past 2 weeks to try and resolve the issue and the last one who visited claimed it may be an issue with my network card. So to at least entertain the idea (even though I think it's on their end most likely) I used a USB to ethernet adapter yesterday, which seemed to work fine for a full day of gaming up until it started having some strange issues where it would also drop connection from my router, but in this case my modem lights were all green so i'm not sure what was causing that. Anyways part of me thinks these random drops may just be inevitable with a low bandwidth connection and there is just genuinely nothing these service techs are going to be able to do, but there is another part of me that is wondering if they have any validity to saying something might be wrong on my end still?
 
Mar 26, 2021
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5 mbps is fine for gaming cause.. well gears of war 4 only needs 512 kbps. And I’ve ran the test, and it does indeed in fact run properly on 512 kbps, the ping never sky rocketed either. Problem is, on PC updates can start without your knowledge and there is some other programs that aren’t obvious can use all bandwidth as well. And if the modem is a router combo with wireless, any device connected especially in this day can use all 5000 kbps that you are getting on the connection. I’ve been forcing myself to use only 4 mbps on PC since the start of the year, I got it down so well I know a lot of things can be done with 2 mbps. Whatever is going on, use the task manager, click performance, and it should display Ethernet and if the graph and statics aren’t showing, enable it. And if you have a 2nd monitor or a HDMI cable that can reach a TV, I’d move task manager on the TV or 2nd monitor and see what the readings say while you game. Without full information of your set up, it can be anything.
 
I would leave a ping run to some ip like 8.8.8.8 in the background. What you are looking for is mostly packet loss. If you also see a large number of high ping times especially 3 or 4 in a row that could be a overloaded connection.

On most routers that have a light for the WAN/DSL if that light changes color it almost always some issue with the circuit. It is not going to be your PC or the nic card. You have to be careful though that you are looking at the correct lights. Some also have lights that go to the lan ports and those can indicate a problem going to your pc.

I suspect you have a intermittent issue with the internet. When it is really bad it will completely go down but other wise you will just get random packet loss that is not bad enough for the modem to actually restart the connection. Some routers have a log but dsl devices are not good as say a cable modem about logging errors. These are really hard for the ISP to fix because they always seem to not happen when they come out to test.

In any case you need to some more testing. As mentioned above when you only have 1 pc it is pretty easy to see the loads on the event montior network tab. You can open mulitple CMD windows in the background and leave one run to 8.8.8.8 and the other to your router IP. If there is a pc or ethernet issue you will get packet loss to the router.
 
May 1, 2021
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I have a low bandwidth 5mb down .5up DSL internet connection, however on my line I use I am the only one using it so it's not terrible when it works. However, I have been having this issue where at seemingly random points while gaming my dsl light will go yellow for 30secs -2mins and my internet is down for that time. In the past few weeks this has been happening every time I first start my PC for the day. I have had a service tech out from my internet company 3 times in the past 2 weeks to try and resolve the issue and the last one who visited claimed it may be an issue with my network card. So to at least entertain the idea (even though I think it's on their end most likely) I used a USB to ethernet adapter yesterday, which seemed to work fine for a full day of gaming up until it started having some strange issues where it would also drop connection from my router, but in this case my modem lights were all green so i'm not sure what was causing that. Anyways part of me thinks these random drops may just be inevitable with a low bandwidth connection and there is just genuinely nothing these service techs are going to be able to do, but there is another part of me that is wondering if they have any validity to saying something might be wrong on my end still?
Former DSL tech support guy. I used to get this type of complaint/problem all the time. I could write a book on the topic, but I'll try to keep this brief and get to the point.

5mb down is fine for most casual internet usage as long as you don't have too many devices trying to do too many things at once. .5mb up sucks but that's pretty standard for DSL.
Usually this type of problem is because of the low upload bandwidth. It doesn't take much to cause a bottleneck. You're going to want to kill any programs or devices that would be constantly uploading data to somewhere. That's probably why you're seeing it happen right after you turn on the PC. You have a bunch of programs all trying to connect and phone home whatever their spyware/adware has collected on you, and they're all trying to do it at the same time.

The biggest problem programs are the ones that sync data from one device to another. Think, dropbox, box.com, google drive, amazon drive, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive...and there's literally hundreds more. Anything that lets you save a file on your computer, and then later access it from your phone, that type of program is what I'm talking about. To sync the data they have to upload it through your .5mb up connection. This affects your download connection because your computer doesn't know what to download unless it can send out, or upload, a request for the specific data you want to download. So all these download requests have to queue with the files being uploaded to your cloud storage program.

Another cause of this type of problem is often overlooked, but it's essentially the same problem I described above but from a different device. Your cell phone. Or any smartphone or tablet device that's connected to the same network. Most people have their phones set to auto connect to their home wifi to save on mobile data.
Smart phones are data whores. Full of apps constantly phoning home. syncing your files to the cloud. downloading updates. looking for push requests. checking your email. updating your news feed. reporting everything you do to facebook, etc... iPhones were usually the biggest offender when I was still doing that type of work, but today they're all just as data hungry.
Unless you specifically go out of your way to disable or limit the amount of data you allow to be sent out into the ether, all phones are constantly uploading something.
Most have at least one, probably more, of the types of programs I described above like dropbox or icloud.
Disconnect your phone from your wifi and see if your problem goes away.

another offender most people overlook is home security cameras. or ring doorbells. that sort of thing. If you have a security type camera at home that you can view when you're away from home that can choke your bandwidth. especially if you're having clips or screenshots constantly uploaded to some cloud drive which most do.
Same thing if you have an idiot kid constantly uploading <Mod Edit> to TikTok, or streaming their games to twitch.

TL; DR -
  • Disable any dropbox, iClound, OneDrive type programs for any computer on your network.
  • Disconnect your phones, tablets, etc.
  • Disable any camera or video feeds on your network.
I'm pretty sure your problem is one or more of those three things.
 
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