Can someone please explain random internet slowings which can only be fixed by unplugging router...
July 16, 2009 3:56 PM   Subscribe

What is causing my Qwest DSL internet connection to get slow several times a day. Unplugging the router fixes the problem temporarily.

We have Qwest DSL hooked up to an apple time capsule/time machine thing which serves as our wireless router. We've had this problem for several years where the internet connection suddenly gets molasses slow and the only fix is to unplug the router, leave it unplugged for 30 seconds, then plug it back in and wait for the connection to come back up.
Recently though, this has been happening with more frequency, to the point where it happens 3-4 times a day now, and the connection can take as long as 5-10 minutes to come back sometimes (this time varies wildly though).
2 questions:
1: Can someone explain in layman's terms what is happening and why unplugging the router fixes the problem?
2: How best to address this problem. Is the router just wearing out? Is there something that Qwest can/should do on their end to fix things? Would a new router solve the problem?

Thanks AskMe!
posted by dan g. to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
There's no way to tell what's wrong from the information you've offered. What are you doing as it becomes slow? Bittorrent?
posted by rhizome at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2009

Sounds like...

1. Bittorrent
2. bearshare/kazaa/etc
3. Spyware


4. Provider issue, and a modem scaling back on communication speed.
posted by SirStan at 5:02 PM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies...
Just to provide some clarification, we're on an imac, latest version of OS X.
No bittorrent or P2P filesharing kinds of stuff.
Try as I might I can't identify any specific trigger...just at some point during the day when you go to open up a browser window it will take noticeably longer to open up a page.
As another data point, it takes forever to load, say, the metafilter front page, but then once that has loaded I can navigate through various links on the blue with relatively normal speed. But if I want to go to a different site altogether it will take forever contacting that site, etc.
Once the connection is made, the page seems to load relatively quickly.

I'd be happy to share any other relavent information.

Thanks again for your help so far.
posted by dan g. at 10:43 PM on July 16, 2009

Your problem sounds like it could be due to very slow DNS resolution. You could try changing your DNS servers in the router to point to IP addresses of openDNS servers instead. It's possible that your modem is telling your router to filter all the DNS requests through the modem and the modem has a buggy DNS server.

If that doesn't work, I'd look at the modem and router. Is this (or this) the modem that QWEST gave you? If so, it might be the problem; these two modems are pieces of junk and everyone I've known who has had one (including myself) has eventually had problems with them.

I'd make sure the firmware of both the router and modem are up-to-date (the modem's update instructions are on the above linked page).

If that doesn't work, you are going to have to try a different modem and/or router to see which one eliminates the problem. Obviously the best way to do so (without wasting money) is to try to find someone to loan you a replacement of each. If you can't do that, you can buy a different brand of modem on eBay or craigslist for $10-$30 (see: this FAQ for info on compatibility) or maybe just ask QWEST if they can send you a different modem.
posted by helios at 4:27 AM on July 17, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks helios!
I am indeed rocking one of those gt701-wg's.
I'll try changing the DNS servers and/or doing the firmware update.
Will report back...
posted by dan g. at 8:26 AM on July 17, 2009

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