Why do large file downloads stall (with no error message or any feedback)?
October 28, 2009 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Why do large file downloads stall (with no error message or any feedback)?

I am not sure how to troubleshoot this.

Pertinent info: Win7 (also had the problem with previous OS, Server 2008), Firewall disabled, Gigabyte motherboard with LAN (Nforce 570 SLI), Asus router with DD-WRT installed behind an AT&T U-verse 2Wire RG.

I can't seem to download a large file. Anything in the single MBs is fine, but larger files stall out in both Firefox and IE. The progress meter remains still, "x minutes remaining -- xx of xx MB (xx KB/sec)" remains still, no error message or timeout of any kind. It will stay this way for days. Incedentally, there is no issue with torrent downloads in Vuse. I am also having trouble with Netflix Watch Instantly (via WDTV Live) giving me "Your internet connection has slowed" errors, and think that it might be related.

I did a few random trials: Foxit Reader (5.1MB) downloaded fine. Batman Arkham Asylum Demo (2.0 GB) currently stalled at 62.9MB, and two attempts at XBMC for Windows (81.1MB) stalled at 25.9 and 26.7.

I tried disabling the firewall and AVG antivirus. I updated the Nforce drivers.

Any other ideas?
posted by bradn to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Have you tried using another computer on the same Internet connection? Also, you could try using a Live CD to boot into another OS and see if you get the same issue.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2009

Ah, AT&T U-Verse.

Have you tried taking the computer to a friend's place? That's one of the first things that I would try. Use another computer at your own place, or take your computer somewhere else.

See if it's specific to your computer or your internet connection. And this might be a dumb one.. but have you power cycled your DSL modem? So far it seems that your troubleshooting methods are sound.
posted by drstein at 12:36 PM on October 28, 2009

Work backwards.

- Try connecting via ethernet directly to your modem. Still slow? Either your modem is not working/configured correctly or you have downstream problems. Contact your ISP.

- If it's faster, hook up the modem and router, and connect via ethernet to the router. Chances are at this point your router is misconfigured, but that'll tell you whether it's a wireless or general config problem.

(always power cycle everything at each step)
posted by mkultra at 1:00 PM on October 28, 2009

If you're on gigabit ethernet, check your NIC settings for something like "jumbo frames" or "large frames" and disable it. Kind of a wild guess, though.
posted by scatter gather at 1:36 PM on October 28, 2009

Sounds like you're using the download manager built in to your web browser. They're not great. I used to have this problem downloading large .iso files for Ubuntu install discs. I can't explain the problem, but I recommend using a better download manager, like DownThemAll for Firefox. This way, even if the download does hang, at least you can resume it.
posted by reegmo at 2:35 PM on October 28, 2009

Wireshark might be able to tell you what's going at the TCP/IP level, though it'll be hard to interpret. Also, Windows has "Event Viewer". Check Event Viewer -> Windows Logs -> System for anything suspicious.
posted by aye at 4:47 PM on October 28, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. I had a few minutes last night to try a few things, so I connected wirelessly with my laptop to the DD-WRT router and tried to download the 2GB Batman demo. Same result, it hung at about 1%. Then I dug out my wireless key for the Uverse RG and connected to that. The file downloaded at full speed, all the way with no problems.

So it looks like I have problem with the Asus router or DD-WRT. That was the extent of my testing at home, but I also remoted in to my machine and rebooted the DD-WRT router this morning via the software, tried the download again, and same deal.

Can any DD-WRT experts shed some light on this?
posted by bradn at 8:51 AM on October 29, 2009

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