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My internet connection has slowed to a crawl. Help!
June 7, 2011 4:54 AM   Subscribe

My internet is all wacky: I can torrent at full speed (Around 1.1 mb/s), but both direct downloads and regular http:// web requests are crawling at around 10 to 20 kpbs, even when I'm not torrenting. I've robooted and reconfigured. I suspect Port 80, but I have almost 0 experience in diagnosing and solving network issues. Thoughts?
posted by GilloD to Technology (24 answers total)
 
To troubleshoot, have you tried a different web browser? If another browser is fast, then clear the old one's cache and if that doesn't work, reinstall it.
posted by inturnaround at 5:07 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm no expert, but I think some additional info would help here: browser? router model? cable modem? service provider? OS?
posted by Grither at 5:07 AM on June 7, 2011


Turn off the torrent application /then/ reboot the cable modem and router. But like Grither says, more details required.
posted by Leon at 5:15 AM on June 7, 2011


Browser: Chrome.

The router is a DLink DIR-300

Running Windows Vista. It's a Korean service provider, none of my neighbors have issues. Haven't had a problem for almost 2 years
posted by GilloD at 5:16 AM on June 7, 2011


Just checked Firefox and IE, same story
posted by GilloD at 5:19 AM on June 7, 2011


What happens when you hit a web speed test? Eg http://www.speedtest.net/
posted by Leon at 5:25 AM on June 7, 2011


Download a torrent of a Live CD like Ubuntu's and boot from it. That should tell you whether it's something to do with the OS settings or with your connection.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:36 AM on June 7, 2011


My guess would be that they have HTTP running through a proxy. There may be no way around it.
posted by gjc at 5:45 AM on June 7, 2011


My Speedtest is coming in at 7.5mpbs
posted by GilloD at 5:46 AM on June 7, 2011


I also have a game DLing from Steam at 785kpbs. It's just web requests, YouTube etc.
posted by GilloD at 5:49 AM on June 7, 2011


First things first, be sure you're looking at the same units. There are "bits" and "bytes" which are represented as b and B respectively. So, 1KB/s is different from 1Kb/s, just as 1MB/s is different from 1 Mb/s

1.1 Megabit per second = 140.8 Kilobytes per second

If your browser is showing kilobytes/s and your torrent app is showing megabits/s, that's a long way to explaining the discrepancy.
posted by odinsdream at 5:50 AM on June 7, 2011


My browser numbers are just estimates- It's taking like a full 20 seconds to load a page of MeFi. My torrents are cruising at 1.1 Megabytes a second.
posted by GilloD at 5:52 AM on June 7, 2011


Could be that someone in your ISP has imposed a per-connection throttle. Torrenting works so well because you have dozens of connections, and limiting each of them to 20kbps won't drastically decrease your total throughput. But browsing and direct downloads use just the one, so a throttle there is pretty killer.
posted by valkyryn at 5:58 AM on June 7, 2011


Many routers don't work well with torrenting because of the number of simultaneous, rapidly-changing connections. This usually causes slowdowns in things like DNS queries, which absolutely kill your web-browsing experience.

Loading Mefi requires looking up several domain names, other commercial sites require literally dozens of lookups.

Try executing nslookup from the command line with a domain name you've never looked up before. If the answer takes more than a second (literally) to display, you've got a DNS resolution time problem caused by your router.
posted by odinsdream at 5:58 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many routers don't work well with torrenting because of the number of simultaneous, rapidly-changing connections.

Yeah, this is why I suggested killing the torrent client then rebooting the network hardware. Make sure it's really dead, not just minimised or anything.

Given that your speedtest came back with a reasonable number, which lets your ISP off the hook, I'm tending towards your router dealing poorly with many small connections. Probably not DNS requests specifically, because they'd be cached in the browser. More likely TCP connections in general.
posted by Leon at 6:08 AM on June 7, 2011


Nthing router processing overload - torrents can tax the computing processor of routers, especially if there are hundreds of other participants in the torrents all sending data to/getting data from you. Keeping track of all those simultaneous connections chews up router CPU cycles and memory.
posted by de void at 6:28 AM on June 7, 2011


This is a silly suggestion but many torrent programs don't actually quit when you click the red X; they just minimise to tray. Are you sure you aren't accidentally leaving your torrents going in the background?
posted by katrielalex at 6:41 AM on June 7, 2011


You can try using https to see if it's just limited to port 80, fwiw.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:55 AM on June 7, 2011


Sharing your network with anybody/have unsecured wifi? Even if you turn off your torrents, other people might still be uploading...
posted by beerbajay at 7:51 AM on June 7, 2011


What you describe sounds to me like your ISP has forced every customer to pass by its transparent http proxy. They can set up the proxy, configure their firewalls to route to it, and you are using it even if you configured No Proxy on your browsers.

These ISP level transparent proxies are often slow and overloaded, and can only handle http, so they also only slow http down. I have often found them in African countries.

Detecting Transparent Proxy Servers

If you route your web traffic through a VPN or ssh to a (good, different) proxy you will be rid of this transparent proxy. Also if you use TOR, but that is slow on its own. The problem is that since your ISP is slowing web traffic, your web traffic must look like something else and be translated at some server so as to not be slowed down. That requires that some server that is rarely free.

I would switch ISP.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:45 AM on June 7, 2011


You might try running namebench to see if switching DNS servers will help. It helped my download speed tremendously. It is really easy to use, you'll just need to know how to change your DNS setting parameters. I use a mac, so cannot help you with PC, but there is a PC version available for download. Best of luck—these kinds of issues are a PIA, because there can be so many different problems in networks.
posted by konig at 3:59 PM on June 7, 2011


try googling + shaping or throttling , see if any other users are experiencing the same; however it doesn't sound very likely for an ISP to throttle http and not torrents.

seconding rebooting the router after closing all torrents ; mine will act strange under heavy torrenting.

posted by 3mendo at 7:07 AM on June 8, 2011


sorry, googling %ISPNAME% + shaping or throttling
posted by 3mendo at 7:07 AM on June 8, 2011


Also, make sure you test http using korean webservers .
posted by 3mendo at 7:08 AM on June 8, 2011


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