Why is my network hectoring AJAX?
March 13, 2006 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Does my router hate AJAX? When I access Google Maps (or certain other sites that make use of similar technology) it consistently triggers network freezes and delays on my home network.

Google Maps is the biggest offender because I try to use it most often, but the similarly-structured Windows Live Local does the same thing. As I navigate around the map it gets to this point where a few map segments will load but others will be missing, and my entire network connection hangs for several minutes. Sometimes this happens as soon as I go to the maps site, other times I can fly around for a while. But it almost always ends up happening. These freezes are very rare when I'm doing anything else, and I assure you I make pretty heavy use of the Internet in general.

I suspect my router (an SMC Barricade with four LAN ports and 801.11g) may be causing this trouble. The most direct evidence that the router is the problem is that cycling its power can get my network connection working again, but this is hardly proof, as breaking and restoring my internet connection by doing this is causing a variety of other things to reset themselves. I'm on the latest router firmware, but it's not all that new.

I'm running Windows XP Professional, service pack two. I've got the Kerio firewall running. I have cable internet access which in other respects has been largely stable and generally pretty fast at least in the downstream direction.

Can anyone positively identify the router (or anything else) as a source of this sort of problem, and if so can you suggest a viable alternative? I'm willing to replace the offending bit of my network but I'd like to be reasonably sure the same problem won't crop up after I do.
posted by Songdog to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
 
what browser? it could be the browser's not pulling the data as it should.
posted by mrg at 8:08 AM on March 13, 2006


Firefox 1.5.0.1 at the moment. I upgrade when new versions come out of release candidate status. But I've had this problem for many months, with many different versions of Firefox. At first I figured, "it's new technology, things will catch up with it." I was pretty sure that many people would suffer from the same problem, that complaints would be aired, that discussion would follow, and that eventually some firmware or software update would be released and resolve the situation. Unfortunately, so far as I can tell this hasn't happened.
posted by Songdog at 8:19 AM on March 13, 2006


Can you directly connect your computer to your modem (cable or ADSL variety), and verify it's OK? Then, perhaps you can sequentially add bits back to your setup and see where things break. That includes deactivating your firewall, at some point.

Yesterday, I hit a snag with my new router because it's a little *too secure*. I couldn't watch the TVoIP signal on my laptop because the router thought the streaming signal was a UDP packet flood. I guess it was.
posted by gsb at 8:43 AM on March 13, 2006


I should have tried that and I will try it this evening and see; I wish there was a 100% certain way to reproduce this so that I could be sure whether or not I'm prone to the problem under given circumstances.

Still, has anyone else tracked such a problem (with AJAX/Google Maps in particular) back to a router or similar issue?
posted by Songdog at 9:38 AM on March 13, 2006


Could it be that a lot of AJAX apps simulate "push" by making an HTTP request and leaving the connection open until the server has something to report? Your router could be timing out or having issues maintaining these connections.
posted by ny_scotsman at 10:13 AM on March 13, 2006


Not sure if this helps, but I've seen the same behavior occur (and consistently, on Firefox and IE) with one computer on a friend's home network while it works perfectly fine on the other computers in the same network.
posted by the jam at 1:25 PM on March 13, 2006


I've been testing. Respectively,
  1. The router is an SMC Barricade g, model number SMC2804WBR. I gather there were a couple of versions of this model. Mine's Sub-Assy number 720.9915, Supplier Part No. 750.9915. The firmware has runtime code version 1.18, from Nov 2 2004 14:52:23 (I know, but that's the latest), and boot code version V1.3B.
  2. This happens over the wired connection.
  3. I just disabled Kerio Personal Firewall 4.2.2 and I was able to reproduce the problem, so I don't think Kerio is implicated.
  4. I don't have Opera installed and I almost never use IE (I've got 6.0 installed). I just tried reproducing the problem in IE and I could not. But then I tried reproducing it in Firefox again without success so it's inconclusive. I beat on both browsers for a while but they're teasing me at the moment.
  5. I tried connecting directly to the cable modem (sans router) and at the moment I cannot reproduce the problem this way, but since I couldn't reproduce it a few minutes ago with the router I don't know what to think. Like I said, it happens a lot, but it's not 100%.
  6. I'm not trying all of those, skallas! It's never happened with A9.com, Flickr, or Gmail that I've noticed. It has happened with MSN Virtual Earth (now Windows Live Local), as I mentioned. I reproduced it with that site when trying to answer your third question. Maybe there's something particular the map sites do in loading those quads? That's usually what it's doing when it freezes.

posted by Songdog at 7:14 PM on March 13, 2006


Just to follow up I have now experienced this with and without the router hooked up (still just in Firefox so far).
posted by Songdog at 12:18 PM on March 28, 2006


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