Intermittent drops in internet download speed

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0
I live in an apartment where internet is included as an amenity. We have a 20 Mbps plan, which I know is not much. If that is the entire problem then please let me know, but I am not convinced that it is.

Our download speed is usually pretty consistent at around 19 Mbps when checked with speedtest software. If I am downloading a video game on Steam, I can usually expect to get 2.4 MB/s. Everything generally works well. Ping in video games is acceptable, browsing speed is fast, videos stream at a decent quality.

Unfortunately, we have a problem where the internet speed will randomly drop to < 1 Mbps download. It will stay that way for about 30 seconds, then go back up. Some days it seems to do it more than others. It happens regardless of usage. Even if the only active device is a wired connection desktop, the drops will happen. If you are watching Netflix, the quality will drop significantly. If you are playing an online game, your ping will spike to an unplayable level for that period of time. If you are downloading something, the download essentially stops.

We have had this problem even with a desktop plugged directly into the modem. Playing Rocket League and viewing Task Manager so that we could see that total network usage was only 0.1 Mbps, the drop still occurred.

I have contacted our ISP about this. They put some sort of "check" on our internet, and when I called to hear what they found, they said that everything looks perfect from their end and that we are maxing out our service. I can't say for sure that we never maxed out our service while that check was on, but when we can see the same drops even if the only thing being done is playing a game of Rocket League, I find it hard to believe that it is just us maxing things out.

If it matters, we have a Linksys EA6350. We have troubleshooted everything we could think of, including different ethernet cables.

Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks!
 
To a point you can guesstimate the total bandwidth that all the users share. You can take about 40mbps times the number of downstream channels.

When they limit you to 20mbps that means to guarantee 18 users can get 20mpbs you would need 9 channels.
 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0


It is cable internet. We plug in to the same place the TV would plug in.
 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0


If I keep task manager on my second monitor I can see that playing a game is, according to task manager, taking up 0.1 Mbps, which seems sort of negligible. It works well 90% of the time but then drops for those 30 seconds. It happens with other things though, too. Streaming videos or downloading, you'll see these intermittent drops, and I just haven't been able to tie them to anything using up the internet. If gaming or downloading or Netflix alone were too much for the internet, wouldn't it be struggling all of the time instead of just for these small periods?
 


when you are streaming video are you streaming it in high definition or standard?

 
you want to talk to the building managers. if they have account with comcast or the local isp. you have to see how each unit is wired to the internet. here in my condo with 80 other units. that was built in 87. there a comcast cable box for 20 units on the floor. from this box is our tv and internet goes to each unit. in your unit there can be old wires or splitters that are causing issues or there bad connection at the cable block for the apt. also on some of the newer cable modem/routers there are two radios in them. one for owner and one for isp hot spot or gust networks. make sure those hotspots are off or gust networks are off so your apt dont have leachers. one thing an isp wont tell you is if there service in an area is over loaded. try using google dns servers in the router/modem set up. se if the slow downs still happen. whe nyou do have a slow down check to see how many people are on your router/network. one thing to ask the isp to check see if more then one ap[t is on the same cable wires.
 
Your cable modem should have a screen that shows the signal levels and hopefully error counts. There are sites that show the recommended numbers based on the type data encoding the cable company is using. The key number though is how many error you see. The numbers don't really matter if you are getting no errors. You will always see some errors on each channel but what is important is how fast these number increase. A small change in a hour is nothing but a even small changes with a couple minutes indicates issues.

In a way you hope this is your problem because it can be fixed many times by making changes to the physical cabling.

Other wise you likely have some kind of over utilization problem. If it has less issues say in the middle of the night then your ISP has likely put too many people on the same cable segments. They will seldom admit that they over sold their network and have no way to actually deliver what they promise without spending money to upgrade their systems.
 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0


Thanks for the advice. Can you elaborate on the using Google DNS servers thing? I am not familiar.
 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0

I have not been able to figure out how to check errors on my modem. I have read that there are often modem diagnostic pages at 192.168.1 but that doesn't seem to do anything in my case unfortunately. I am afraid that it is an overutilization issue that cannot be fixed.

 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0


Thanks, that worked. It is not showing any errors. I am uneducated on this stuff, but I went to an Arris website to find acceptable values for the status section of the diagnostic page. If I am reading it right, it implies that accptable upstream power values for my modem fall between 58 and 45 dBmV. I am getting between 36.50 and 38.50 on my the four channels. Is this possibly related at all or should I move away from something so over my head?
 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0
It has been behaving consistently worse in the evenings recently but decently well when I wake up in the morning. I am plugged directly into the modem and getting between 0.10 and 3 Mbps download right now. I guess it is an overutilization issue. I feel doubtful that I will get this fixed, which is unfortunate because it can feel rather unusable at times.
 
https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/
if you have your own router ue the 192.168.1.1 log into it.
under ethernet/network settings look for dns. most default have it set by isp. unclick that box and put in the google dns info and save it. the power cycke your modem/router and pc. the ncheck if any of the issue are gone.
 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0


Sorry for continuing this thread. I had a long phone call with my ISP where I was continually told that there is no issue, only that we are maxing out our service. I understand why they say that though, because it certainly would appear that way. I get a solid 19.2 Mbps during speed tests almost every time. However, with my PC plugged directly to the modem and no other device or router connected, with only my Firefox brower open to run the speed times, one test every 5-10 minutes will return a download speed of about 0.22 Mbps.

If I play a video game and my Task Manager says it is using up 0.1 Mbps, but occasionally speeds dip like I patterned out with the internet speed checks... do you agree that there is a problem? Do you think that it could be something else in my apartment or computer? I had what eventually came to be a somewhat heated discussion and I feel bad and nervous about it. I want to be sure that I am not crazy.
 
Its been a while since I used a linksys router but the last one i used had a utilization screen that showed devices and how much each was using.

That should show if something else in your house is using it.

What you may want to try is download some huge files like windows 10 image. Leave the event monitor open and see if the rate drops or stays steady. This will be a longer term test than speedtest but it still does not show why you would get slowness.

 

cadco96

Honorable
Jan 31, 2013
61
1
10,635
0

I've done that with video games. It has the same behavior, e.g. it downloads at a steady 2.4MBps and then drops to like 100 kbps for a bit, then jumps back up. They said that 18 modems are on our line.

 
To a point you can guesstimate the total bandwidth that all the users share. You can take about 40mbps times the number of downstream channels.

When they limit you to 20mbps that means to guarantee 18 users can get 20mpbs you would need 9 channels.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY