I don't want to call India again...
September 24, 2008 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Why does my DSL connection keep dropping connections?

I have a DSL connection from Qwest. The last couple weeks, I have seen the following:

* My connection with a torrent tracker drops (red arrows in uTorrent)
* My connection with an IRC server drops several times a day
* Often my browser will take a long time to start downloading web pages... I have to try the address again to "reset" it, otherwise it will just spin for a long time

No major hardware or software changes, except for minor stuff like upgrading VLC player, installing Chrome, the usual software changes. (Note: I'm on XP SP3... relatively fresh install, a few months old)

Normally I'd bug my ISP, but the last time I did that, they gave me a rated-limited modem. So instead of getting 5 Mb/s down, I was getting a third of that, and uploads were also slower. So I'm sticking with my old, but trusty, DSL modem from 2006. Is it just crapping out?

Is there anything I can do? I've tried unplugging power from the modem, waiting a minute, and plugging back in. Tried rebooting the computer. My overall speed for download/upload is the same as always, but it just keeps dropping connections.

Any help is appreciated!
posted by wastelands to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
In my case with Speakeasy, it turned out that uTorrent and other bittorrent clients were flooding my VOIP telephone adapter and making it make my entire DSL connection crap out.

If this might be the case with your situation and you have a VOIP service on your DSL connection, be sure that 1/3 or so of your bandwidth is dedicated to your telephone adapter by making sure to use bandwidth throttling on your bitttorrent clients.

Otherwise, yes, I might suspect your modem. A good test would be to buy or borrow another DSL modem, try that one for a short time and try to establish whether the problems continue.
posted by kalessin at 6:21 PM on September 24, 2008


You can buy a DSL modem for $10 or $20 at Goodwill, to see if it's your modem.
posted by kindall at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2008


Try turning off bittorrent and seeing if that fixes the problem. I suspect it will.
(Which is not to say that you can't use bittorrent. But only that bittorrent can be rough on home networks, and, if it is the problem, you might have to do some optimizing there.)
posted by kickingtheground at 8:42 PM on September 24, 2008


Since this is DSL, my question is: what does the authentication for the services?

Do you have a router? Is the modem a router/gateway? Is your XP machine doing the authentication?

It sounds like an MTU issue. Could be a bad modem, too, but why not check this out?
posted by tcv at 9:28 PM on September 24, 2008


kickingtheground: good idea. Come to think of it, since the start of the fall TV season, my torrent use has been higher than normal.

tcv: I assume the modem has a router built into it? I'm not sure what is meant by "authentication for the services".
posted by wastelands at 11:19 PM on September 24, 2008


We had a problem with our modem getting too hot...?
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:24 AM on September 25, 2008


I would try calling Qwest DSL Help*. My experience with them has been good. They can examine your DSL circuit from their control panel and can maybe figure out what's going on for you. And, last time I used them, they weren't in India. They weren't working from cue cards, either, and they knew what they were doing. Has that changed?

*Note: This is not Qwest ordinary help. This is the special DSL Help staff that specialize in helping customers with DSL problems. You have to call their special number.
posted by exphysicist345 at 7:36 PM on September 25, 2008


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