DSL speed takes a dive
September 17, 2008 11:30 AM   Subscribe

My non-profit uses a DSL service best typified as a mom and pop operation in our small city. The ISP recently switched their upstream provider and our DSL speeds got an immediate burst in speed and quality. Now it's back to being pokey again. What's the best way to see what's going on in a network sense?

Our ISP is apparently owned and managed by one guy, his accountant and a helper/administrator. Our access has been relatively good on the DSL side, since the circuit is provided by Qwest, but is characterized by frequent DNS outages. Nevertheless, our nonprofit seems determined to stay the course and keep our 1.5/768 mbps DSL with this ISP until the heat death of the universe.

A few weeks ago the ISP owner had the bright idea of switching upstream providers for his connectivity. He gave his clients about two hours notice and then tried switching all his circuits over the weekend. Carnage and consternation ensued.

Our DSL circuit, once restored, was a lot cleaner in terms of speed and quality of service than previously and we were mollified. Now though, the circuit speed seems to be degrading again and we are getting about 220kbps download with poor quality.

We run a SonicWall with VPN to several locations. Citrix is running in the VPN. Our remote users definitely notice when the circuit slows down.

My question: what's the best way to get a picture of what's happening? I would think the ISP is overbooking his circuits again. How can I collect some evidence that will give me a clue what's going on?

Since the office here has 20 or so users, it's possible there's some sort of bandwidth suck going on here which is reducing total bandwidth coming to me when I do a speed test.

I could potentially mirror the Sonicwall's switch port and run Wireshark on it to see traffic. Or perhaps there are some useful network tests? Any help appreciated.
posted by diode to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I can't answer but I can direct you toward

They have (or link to) several diagnostic tools and their forum is full of specialized sub-groups which can better answer your question hopefully. Best luck!
posted by unclezeb at 12:34 PM on September 17, 2008

Your DSL modem probably has a web interface. That'll show you how many disconnects you have and the signal to noise ratio.

Usually DSL issues aren't about overbooking but of line issues and misconfigurations. I'd call your ISP and tell them your connection has been stable since the change over.

>which is reducing total bandwidth coming to me when I do a speed test.

What you should do is disconnect the dsl modem from your lan and plug it directly into a laptop. Now do the speed test. For all your know one of your employees installed a mass mailing trojan and its eating all your bandwidth.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:53 PM on September 17, 2008

Also its worth mentioning that if they accidentally moved you to a faster plan but your line can only support 1.5mbps then they need to move you to the old plan.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:54 PM on September 17, 2008

For all your know one of your employees installed a mass mailing trojan and its eating all your bandwidth.

Or one of your employees is downloading movies.
posted by exphysicist345 at 3:20 PM on September 17, 2008

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