Please help me diagnose my wifi problems
February 8, 2013 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I'm having problems with my home wifi network. I'm seeing sporadic periods (a couple of hours a day) where websites load slowly, partially, or not at all. How can I diagnose this problem? Are there router settings to try setting differently? Should I just get a new router?

Sometimes a site stalls out on the message "Looking for [server]..."
Sometimes reloading a few seconds later works fine.
Sometimes sites are just dog-slow to load. Sometimes they load partially, then hang.

Restarting the router helps for a while, then it slows down again.

The problem started a week or so ago. I can't think what would have changed.

I'm pretty sure that problem lies with the router -- I just tried connecting directly to the cable modem via Ethernet, and the connection was fine.

Comcast Motorola SB5120 cable modem
D-Link DIR-655 router
Mac OSX 10.8.2 / 10.6.8 (on different laptops)
posted by ottereroticist to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Is the wireless secured?
Do you have neighbors?
What is the name of the wireless network?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:25 PM on February 8, 2013

Response by poster: The wireless is password-protected with WPA2 security. We do have neighbors. The name of the network is PureWholesomeButter.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:34 PM on February 8, 2013

Best answer: Have you tried a different channel? A nearby neighbor on the same channel can create a problem that looks exactly like this.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

What happens when you restart the cable modem but not the router? Also, are you using BitTorrent?
posted by kimota at 1:04 PM on February 8, 2013

Response by poster: Changing the channel from 6 to 11 seems to be helping.

If it slows down again, I'll try resetting the modem only. No BitTorrent.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2013

Did you have the router on auto channel before?
Do you have transmit power cranked up?
On your Mac, click on the wifi menulet in the upper right, while holding down the Option key. Check out the signal strengths of the routers in your area.
posted by PickeringPete at 1:26 PM on February 8, 2013

Response by poster: Yes, it was on auto channel before.

Wifi strength is four bars -- I'm generally using these laptops within 10 feet of the router.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2013

On the 10.8 system, try the diagnostics as outlined here:
posted by PickeringPete at 1:51 PM on February 8, 2013

Do you know what DNS settings you're using? Sometimes routers and/or ISPs have really flaky DNS. You may want to try using Google DNS for awhile, and see if that helps.
posted by vasi at 8:04 PM on February 8, 2013

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