Strange problems with my router
June 25, 2014 7:23 PM   Subscribe

My router is playing up, throttling my speeds unpredictably. I don't know where to start and the ISP quite rightly say it's my issue not theirs. Details...

My router is a D-Link DIR 632. It is cabled to my PC (so this isn't a wireless issue). It has been giving me greatly reduced speeds (about 0.5Mbits) nearly all the time. When I connect the PC straight to the WAN cable, bypassing the router, I get the speeds of 8 - 10 Mbits I'm paying for, so the problem is definitely within the router. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but most of the time it does. A power cycle or two or three is needed to fix it to get the right speeds. Obviously there is some setting inside the router that is failing to properly talk to the outside world. Any idea what I should be looking at? Apart from the account details and basic security, I haven't changed the router settings since it came out of the box.
posted by wilful to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check your system event log (right click on windows, manage computer) for any weird errors. Also, might be a silly suggestion, but maybe specify a DNS provider in internet options? I started using Google DNS, which is and and that significantly improved my internet experience.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:29 PM on June 25, 2014

I'm usually a Tomato guy myself, but... DD-WRT works on this model. Whenever I see weird problems with router hardware, recommending alternate firmware is my first reaction.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:02 PM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think this would be a DNS thing, but if it were, try checking Namebench, which can find the best DNS server for your location. I used it to test between google and my ISP, and found a third, and fastest, option.

Also: bug me next you're around and I'll give you another router to A/B with.
posted by pompomtom at 8:08 PM on June 25, 2014

Possibly a dumb question, but do you have a password on your wireless network?
posted by empath at 8:46 PM on June 25, 2014

yes, empath, I do.

As noted above, my desktop is cabled, and I don't have the opportunity I think to put the wireless password in. Also, when other things are connected wirelessly, it's slow too.
posted by wilful at 8:58 PM on June 25, 2014

Thanks for namebench. Apparently Telstra is 157% faster. Though this issue still may not be a DNS one...
posted by wilful at 9:04 PM on June 25, 2014

As noted above, my desktop is cabled, and I don't have the opportunity I think to put the wireless password in. Also, when other things are connected wirelessly, it's slow too.

The reason I asked is that someone might be stealing your bandwidth if you don't have your wifi secured.
posted by empath at 10:31 PM on June 25, 2014

have you done a 30/30/30 reset and reconfigured all your settings from scratch?

Now, my first comment is somewhat biased, but my immediate thought when reading this was that your problem is that it's a dlink. dlink makes utterly the worst routers in my experience.

It's also worth noting that routers do wear out and break. Bad solder joints, failing components, failing power bricks, a ton of other things. They all randomly fail, from multi thousand dollar commercial wireless gateways for offices and coffee shops to frys store brand junkers that only weigh a couple ounces.

That said, i've resuscitated some fairly junky routers with embarrassing stock firmware by throwing DD-wrt on it. Basically anything running dd-wrt will need to be rebooted maybe once a year max if it's a good stable build on that unit. I'd try a factory reset and reconfig(without port fowarding, or anything. just TOTALLY basic settings up to getting the wireless AP up with your passphrase and WAN settings), load dd-wrt, and if it's still flaking out just go buy something like this and forget it ever happened.
posted by emptythought at 12:50 AM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you've covered this as part of basic security, but to rule out empath's bandwidth thief, have you changed and/or hidden the SSID from the default? The default SSID often includes manufacturer/MAC address info, making the default login trivial to find.

To follow up on that, you could try running nmap when speeds are up, then when down, and seeing if there are any new devices on the network.

Also, router logs if available might have clues.
posted by quinndexter at 1:57 AM on June 26, 2014

Connect to the router's management interface. Disable wireless on it. Now look through the system log/event log on the router next time it happens.
posted by devnull at 2:11 AM on June 26, 2014

It's also worth noting that routers do wear out and break.

I had a D-Link start giving extremely bad performance after a few years of use. According to all of the diagnostics it was fine, but it was obviously not right (and connecting directly to the cable modem showed that the connection itself was fine). Reflashing its firmware didn't have any effect so it got replaced. You could try putting dd-wrt on it, but if it went from being fine to not fine and there's no trace of someone jumping on your network, I'd bet something has gone partially but not completely bad with the hardware and that it's not worth spending a lot of time on.
posted by Candleman at 8:47 AM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for advice so far folks. We're in a rural area and the nearest neighbours are 100 metres away. I'm going to reflash with dd wrt and see how that goes.
posted by wilful at 3:49 PM on June 26, 2014

So, follow up, a 30/30/30 reset bricked it. New router on its way.
posted by wilful at 5:47 AM on July 2, 2014

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