So Slow!
September 16, 2006 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Am I overpaying for internet service? I'm paying 10$ extra a month for a 500k connection (as opposed to a 200) yet it seems to not be enough. Whilst running torrents, I'm unable to load webpages, which is annoying, to say the least.

I'm using a cable connection, running througha cable modem and then a wireless router. My computer is connected through a hard line, as well as my spare laptop. My roomate uses the wireless.

I have opened and forwarded my ports for torrents, so I get the green light there, yet I can't seem to download more than 30kb/s no matter what I do or how many peers I'm connected to.

Additionally, when my torrents are going, even if just uploading, I have difficulty with opening pages. They take minutes to load or don't altogether. I keep having to close utorrent to get pages to load (which they then do within seconds) and then remember to open it again once i'm done browsing.

All in all, it seems like the connection I'm getting isnt that great. Is it possible I'm somehow not getting the 500k capacity I've been paying for? Am I wasting my money? Any suggestions on how to concurrently dl torrents and browse would be a lifesaver. Thanks so much mefites!
posted by gilsonal to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I also use uTorrent, and had the same problem (on standard cable modem bandwidth).

The solution (for me) was to set the global upload speed limit to 35 kB/s. The basic idea being if you are using all of your upload bandwidth, web requests end up suffering since there is some two-way communication there...your torrents are hogging all the upstream.

So, figure out you max upload rate based on your level of service, shave 10-15 kB/s off, and set a hard limit in uTorrent. I don't remember if the effects were immediate, but it didn't take too long, and the problem hasn't come back for me.
posted by blind.wombat at 2:14 PM on September 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yup, I was about to say the same thing, if you allow unlimited upload, you are less likely to be able to browse uninterrupted due to not being able to upload requests to the server.

Just keep lowering the Upload speed until you get a usable web browsing experience.
posted by gregschoen at 2:16 PM on September 16, 2006

A good torrent program will let you throttle your uploads and downloads. As blind.wombat said, if either one is overloaded, it can lead to you being unable to browse the web at a reasonable speed.

Have you tried checking your internet speed? There are a plethora of sites that will do it for you. This one was near the top of the google results.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:17 PM on September 16, 2006

Or, on rereading your question, do you have a message at the bottom of your screen that says "Download Limited"? If you do, you might be falling victim to uTorrent's built-in download throttling. If you have a upload speed set to 5k, this kicks in, I was having the same problem with 30k download speed until I fixed this.

Also, have you run a spyware scanner recently? You might have a piece of spyware that's hogging alot of your bandwidth. On my old network we had a problem because one of our roommates who was never home, got a piece of spyware and was transmitting tons of traffic, killing the internet for the rest of us. When we turned off the computer, we were able to surf again.
posted by gregschoen at 2:24 PM on September 16, 2006

You can check your cable modem speed at Speakeasy.

I too pay an extra $10/mo for what's called "extereme" internet and my cable modem download speeed regularly clocks in excess of 9 Mbps. That of course is not the speed at which torrents will download (unfortunately)
posted by Neiltupper at 2:33 PM on September 16, 2006

Response by poster: my uploads are limited on utorrent to 15k/s. I regularly check for spy and adware.

testing my speed at cnet says that i have a connection of 567.6 Kbps. speakeasy said my dl was 632kbps and upload was 240

So i guess my connection speed is there, I just can't make good use of it. Any suggestions?
posted by gilsonal at 2:42 PM on September 16, 2006

Does your roommate scan for spyware and limit his download/upload rate on torrents? Is your wireless at LEAST mac address filtered? Is it possible you have someone on your network leeching bandwidth?
posted by gregschoen at 2:56 PM on September 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Oh, and is your roommate having the same connection issues?
posted by gregschoen at 2:59 PM on September 16, 2006

Response by poster: nope, roomate doesnt do much beside webbrowsing, so no torrents, and she's doing just fine. the wireless is encrypted, so I hope its not being used by anybody else, or I have a real problem.
posted by gilsonal at 3:44 PM on September 16, 2006

My guess is the ISP is throttling you because you are downloading torrents. You might try changing the ports you use and see if this helps.
posted by chrisroberts at 3:58 PM on September 16, 2006

It is possible that your router (esp if it is a stock linksys) keeps a record of recent connections. When you use a torrent app, you make lots of connections, and the ip table can get full quite quickly, causing a slowdown.

Also, upload speeds depend on how well the torrent is seeded. People with fat bandwidth pipes will get priority over smaller upstreams.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 4:24 PM on September 16, 2006

Use cFosSpeed. I've tried many of these kinds of things over the years, and this one actually works, and is honestly quite amazing (although it seems to mess up the PCs of about 5% of people who use it, so be ready for a flatten-reinstall if you try it) -- it uses packet shaping to prioritize the network access of different apps. I can torrent at multiple Mb/s with no impact on surfing (and in fact can play Quake3 while torrenting with little to no impact on pings or packet loss).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on September 16, 2006

You may find that this isn't a bandwidth issue, but a concurrent connections issue. Many of the cheaper, isp-supplied routers don't handle too many concurrent conenctions.

I had a similar problem and I had to configure my torrent software to use roughtly 30 simultaneous connections only.
posted by kc0dxh at 9:41 AM on September 18, 2006

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