Is my laptop slowing the family desktop?
December 16, 2007 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Is my laptop slowing the family desktop?

I've just come home from college for the holidays. The family desktop is where the wireless router is hooked up. Since I've been home and using the wifi, the rest of my family has complained that the desktop's connection to the internet has been excruciatingly slow. My laptop, my sister's laptop, and my dad's laptop are all working fine. Is is possible that the recent arrival of my laptop is slowing the connection for the desktop?
posted by andythebean to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is the desktop directly attached to the router? If the desktop is connecting via wireless, it's possible that all the other computers in the house are 802.11G and your laptop is 802.11B. A B device on a G network forces the network to drop down to B speeds.
posted by nathan_teske at 2:10 PM on December 16, 2007

Best answer: I suppose it's possible that your laptop could be doing some continuous network-hogging activity that would affect other computer's network speeds--say, running BitTorrent all the time? It depends on the speed of your main connection & your computer's connection speed to the router whether that would actually slow down other computers connected to the same router.

However it seems that would affect all computers connected to that router rather equally.

A little troubleshooting seems in order--like is the desktop just as slow if you unplug your laptop's network card, or turn the laptop off completely?

There is always the possibility of some obscure network issue (say, both computers set up for the same IP address--though likely that would cause worse problems than you're having--or your laptop somehow sending a flood of network requests to the desktop).

Also there is the possibility that your laptop is infected with some virus, spyware, or whatever that spread to the desktop over your network when you connected to it (perhaps it didn't affect the other computers because they were better set up or had some anti-virus program the desktop doesn't have, or some other reason).

But my guess is, another problem struck the desktop causing it to slow down and it is simply coincidence that it happened about the same time your laptop appeared on the scene. (I've had that happen so many times I can't even count them--"how in the world could X possibly cause problems with Y??!??" Then after 13 hours work massaging X, re-installing X, going back to the store to turn in X and get a new X, calling tech support for X, etc., finally realizing X is just fine and Y just happened to pick that moment to fail.)
posted by flug at 2:25 PM on December 16, 2007

You really need to make sure to check that your computer isn't using bittorrent and isn't infected with spyware or other malware, as has been mentioned. Also newer versions of bittorrent come with something called "Bittorrent DNA" which is a bit (I said a bit!) like that "shadow network server" that kazaa used to install, and which adds a lot of network traffic through your computer. Be sure to deinstall that.
posted by clevershark at 2:43 PM on December 16, 2007

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