Slow Mac connection.
December 4, 2005 1:06 PM   Subscribe

My Mac is suddenly downloading very slowly.

Everything else is working fine, but any application that connects with the Internet is having some kind of problem. Safari takes several minutes to load any page, and Azureus is much slower than before. I started noticing this a few days ago and it only seems to get worse.

I am also having a problem with Mail.app that is probably unrelated--it is not saving messages as drafts or in the Sent folder.

I'm on a Time Warner cable connection in NYC, running OS 10.4.3. Can anybody help me with any of these issues?
posted by lackutrol to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
 
is your hard disk full?
posted by matteo at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2005


It's not even close to full. About 15 gigs available. I guess I should also mention that it's an iBook G3 with an 800MHz processor and 384 MB of memory. Not that I think it's a memory problem, considering other applications are fine.
posted by lackutrol at 1:15 PM on December 4, 2005


Update any software, lately?
posted by jpburns at 1:43 PM on December 4, 2005


Is there anyone else on your network? Are you getting a spinning beach ball in internet apps? Is Azureus flooding your upstream pipe (which will all but stop any downloading)?
posted by revgeorge at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2005


No one else on the network. It's not the spinning beach ball, just that the loading process takes a lot longer than usual. For awhile I thought that Safari was just hanging, but since Azureus is also so slow, I am guessing the problem is happening somewhere else. And this happens even when Azureus isn't on, so it can't be the upload thing (though I did find out about the potential for that problem quite recently).
posted by lackutrol at 1:48 PM on December 4, 2005


Considering how little RAM you have installed for Tiger, you just might be overtaxing it. For starters, don't run too many apps at the same time, and move all your files off your desktop. Install more RAM, though: it'll help, and it's not expensive. (Step-by-step instructions from About.com here, if you want to DIY.)
posted by rob511 at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2005


Maybe you're connected to your neighbor's WiFi by accident?
posted by michaelkuznet at 2:24 PM on December 4, 2005


well, you know, i say this in every thread about internet and bittorrent performance, but here goes.

if you are uploading anything (and usually bittorrent is the culprit) and the uploading process is not rate limited, you run into TCP congestion problems pretty fast. this affects downloading even if your download bandwidth is nowhere near 100% utilized.

if you shut down azureus and performance goes back to normal, then the problem is that azureus is saturating the uplink. you need to set it rate limit its uploads to something like 80% of your max upstream bandwidth.

anyway, this sounds like its not the problem here. you might try the dslreports.com forums to see if other people are experiencing the same thing.

do you have another computer? if not, do you have an external firewire disk that you could install a fresh copy of the OS onto and boot from that, just to eliminate any software issues?
posted by joeblough at 2:32 PM on December 4, 2005


Thanks everybody so far. To answer questions: I haven't installed any new software, but I did install the combined Tiger update a couple of weeks ago. Could this be a/the culprit?

I am aware that the current amount of RAM is less than ideal, rob511. Your suggestion is good, and I plan on getting more soonish, but considering that at least my usual other daily applications are fine (Word, Excel, Dashboard widgets) I don't think that's more than a small part of the problem.

Unfortunately I don't have another computer or firewire disk (though that's probably something I should look into).

I guess I was wondering if anyone knew of a problem somewhere on my system that might be crippling me in the bandwidth department.
posted by lackutrol at 2:58 PM on December 4, 2005


Oh, and michaelkuznet, that's not it--I am connected with an Ethernet cable and don't have a wireless card (wow, I'm practically a Luddite around here).
posted by lackutrol at 3:00 PM on December 4, 2005


My sister, who bought my iMac G4 from me a couple years back, was using Verizon DSL and Panther. She connected directly into the modem and router and found both connections to be spotty at best. She struggled for six months until we finally took it to an Apple store, at which time they discovered a faulty ethernet port and replaced the entire logic board. That's my story.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:50 PM on December 4, 2005


Your "sent mail" missing problem is something I was struggling with last week. Apparently, the files that contains your sent mail, an .mbox, will create this problem when they reach a certain size. From what I've read the sizes are 1.0 GB in Panther and 2.0 GB in Tiger. If it becomes larger it will cause the problem you're describing. The farthest I've gotten as a solution is to import the mail into a new identity in Entourage, at least that gets the messages back. How to get them into Mail again I have not solved. Google for "apple mail overstuffed mailbox."
posted by MarvinTheCat at 4:19 PM on December 4, 2005


Are you somewhere where the temperature has dropped in the last 24 hours? In NYC we almost always suffer cable internet setbacks when there's a freeze. The cable company told me that moisture freezes on their cables and damages them. We've been suffering with spotty internet service for the last 24 hours too.

It happened several times last winter too, and I was able to call and get part of my bill credited due to the inconvenience. I don't think many people know that this happens.
posted by hermitosis at 5:02 PM on December 4, 2005


ah - you know what? i remember a while back a friend of mine had a similar problem. we looked at the traffic on the cable network and we realized that there were 2+ IP networks running on the same cable.

he was using a router, and that router lets you clone the mac address of one of your PCs. usually the servers that assign you an IP address use the mac (mac == media access controller, that is, your ethernet chip's address, not macintosh) address of the device directly connected to the modem to generate the IP address... so when he cloned his Mac's mac address, he got an IP address on a totally different network, and then his performance was fine.
posted by joeblough at 5:44 PM on December 4, 2005


I'm suprised no one's mentioned the obvious. Are you running any widgets in the background? Does your browser of choice have any plugins utilizing RSS, Atom or other live tickers? Do any programs automatically update themselves? Is your browser of choice set (via Applescript or plugin) to refresh itself automatically every few minutes? All those extra background processes can turn file downloading into a screaming ordeal.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:24 PM on December 4, 2005


Another obvious. I had the same problem. My modem was (slowly) dying. Replaced modem. Problem solved.
posted by TheRaven at 7:03 PM on December 4, 2005


hermitosis, I'm in the West Village. I hope your problem is what's doing this, as it seems the least costly/complicated to fix. Also, it's gotten a little (but not much) better in the last couple of hours. If not, I'm definitely checking out some of the other suggestions. But as best as I can tell, it's something to do with the connection or the software that controls it, not the applications themselves.
posted by lackutrol at 8:19 PM on December 4, 2005


can you take the ibook and plug it into another person's broadband connection and see how it works then? that way you'll know right away whether it's a service problem or your mac's problem.
posted by jasonlatshaw at 8:19 PM on December 4, 2005


Also, Marvin, thanks for the input. That may be the problem with Mail. I'll be checking up on it.
posted by lackutrol at 8:21 PM on December 4, 2005


You may wish to double-check your DNS settings (reference your Network preference pane).
posted by WCityMike at 8:49 PM on December 4, 2005


Also, just for a lark....

Check your speed at home...and somewhere else.

Something like broadbandreports.com

In other words, establish if it is or is not your mac vs. your connection.
posted by filmgeek at 9:47 PM on December 4, 2005


TheRaven was right. I knew it when we got a new computer and it had the same problem. New modem, problem solved.
posted by lackutrol at 5:46 PM on February 4, 2006


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