Advice needed - WiFi Modem

Jesterarts

Likes Dirt
Good morning/afternoon/evening RB IT brainstrust,

I need some advice on a new WiFi modem for my place.

The other day I bought a couple Chromecast Ultra's and got Netflix. During the installation process, the Chromecast's advised that if I want to have the best experience streaming 4K I need to get a 5Ghz modem.

Started looking at them and I can't really work out what I'm looking for or add, as as far as I see there are 5Ghz modems from $150 through to $700 and I don't understand the difference.

Any help or recommendations would be great.

It's for home use and the router lives in my study which is in a central location to the house. Essentiallyall devices that need to have a signal are within a 20m radius and in most cases just one internal wall away.

There are approximately 9 devices that access the network on wifi; 2 x Laptops, 2 x mobiles, 1 x tablet, 2 x chromecasts and 2 x printers.

I would like something that would be capable of streaming 4K to at least two devices simultaniously.

I'm in a smart community so the internet connection is optical. Ideally I wouldn't want to be spending more than $250 on the modem if possible.

Really appreciate any advice on what to look for, or outright suggestions.

Thanks in advance
 

Haakon

Banned
Bear in mind Netflix does amazingly well on crappy connections - I get only about 4mbs over ADSL using an ancient ADSL (not even 2+) modem and I still get full HD.

The wifi part of your system is unlikely to be a relevent bottlenexk.
 

stirk

Wheel size expert
Get a dual band modem, you basically get two wireless networks to connect to but only ever one at a time. 2.4ghz is good for distance and going through walls upstairs, around corners and 5 GHz is twice the speed if the device is close to them modem. You connect diffent devices to the two diffent networks depending on location and demand to spread the load and optimise speed of data you can get from your internet link to the devices. I've got a tp link vr 600 which I'm happy with, my laptop's use the 5ghz and all other devices the 2.4.
 

Jesterarts

Likes Dirt
One option is to keep the modem/router/wifi and just turn off the wifi and add an external wireless access point.

For wifi Access points, ubiquiti cannot be beaten, but it will take some effort to setup.

Ubiquiti AC Pro @ $225 will deliver amazing 2.4 and 5ghz speed and coverage.

http://www.wireless4now.com.au/ubiquiti/unifi-ac-ap/unifi-ac-pro.html?gclid=CNeS2puSmdUCFdcnvQod-z8Lwg
Hmm. Simpliticy and "plug-and'play" is probably more the flavour I would be looking to go with.

Get a dual band modem, you basically get two wireless networks to connect to but only ever one at a time. 2.4ghz is good for distance and going through walls upstairs, around corners and 5 GHz is twice the speed if the device is close to them modem. You connect diffent devices to the two diffent networks depending on location and demand to spread the load and optimise speed of data you can get from your internet link to the devices. I've got a tp link vr 600 which I'm happy with, my laptop's use the 5ghz and all other devices the 2.4.
Thanks. Handy to know. I was looking at the VR600 the other day and it looked interesting.
 

Tubbsy

quadragenarian
Staff member
Guys,

I have a modem (supplied by ISP) which I think is the cause of annoying internet slowdowns. It mainly seems to happen uploading and downloading large files, and playing things off youtube. I've tried different browsers: Chrome seems to do better than Firefox and Safari, but still succumbs to the issue.

The modem is by Technicolour. It has 2.4 and 5ghz networks.

When I restart the modem, I seem to get good speeds (40mbps down, 7+ up). After a while, it's almost like things are clogging up in there. Regular browsing can be ok, but a big file will bring everything to a halt including regular browsing. The download will time out, can't load simple pages, and after a few minutes it's working again. But try and download the file and it'll keep happening. A restart will fix things again, sometimes for a few days, sometimes not for long.

I should point out that when everything slows down, that includes a computer hard wired to the modem so it's not just wifi.



Anyway, I'm sick of restarting the modem all the time. Do I need a fancy modem to fix this issue?

What, for example, does this modem do to make it so expensive?

 

Nambra

Postmeridian
Hey @Tubbsy, are you sure this isn't a network problem on the NBN ie. external to your modem? NBN slowdowns are being widely reported due to ISPs not purchasing enough bandwidth. The fact that your speeds recover after a modem restart suggest it could be the problem though. Perhaps test your speed at www.speedtest.net several times over a couple of days and when things appear to be getting slower to see if the upstream pipe is being throttled.

I have a similar issue with my ADSL service - the modem on reset syncs up at ~11mbps/1.2mbps, but over a few hours settles back to about 8.4mbps/1.2mbps, even though it is stable at higher speed. We have 2.2km of cable between us and the exchange according to the ISP, but they're old lines and are not in great condition. We should be getting 13mbps or so, and as the NBN is "coming soon", Telstra has no interest in checking quality for us. I don't know that NBN technology is similar though, and if VSDL sync speeds can slow down over time like this.

Have you contacted your ISP and asked them if they can swap your modem out as you suspect it is faulty? Is it possible that it might need a firmware update to improve performance? If you want to try a fancy modem, I'd suggest you buy from somewhere that will let you return it for a refund if it fails to solve your problems. That D-Link one is $$$ because it has things like VoIP, very fast WiFi, QoS (traffic prioritisation), a cool name and an app so you can monitor it when you're out on your mtb! JB are also expensive - it's a lot cheaper here if you can wait a week or so for stock.
 

Tubbsy

quadragenarian
Staff member
Thanks @Nambra

I'm on VDSL (a Canberra thing, similar to NBN), and have a business plan so I wouldn't expect to be deliberately throttled.

I have done the ozspeedtest thing a few times, but sometimes even when it reports acceptable speeds, larger files will provoke a slowdown. Then the speediest will show pathetic results. It's almost like it gets provoked by large files.

I did some speed tests with the person over the phone today, and the modem was doing 28mbps down, but only 700 kbps up. Restarting the modem and it jumped right up to 40mbpsdown/7mbps upload!

I don't understand why a re-start makes such a big improvement?

The firmware has been updated, and ISP did say they could swap out the modem. I guess I'm just wondering if I can pay to improve my situation... I just don't see how the modem could be half-faulty if you know what I mean? Why would it work well at times, and then collapse at others?

Someone is going to attend the premises in a week to do a line test, but I have a feeling they're going to claim it's fine. And since re-starting the modem does seem to help, they may well be right...

That's why I'm wondering about just buying a good modem, I don't have time to fuck about troubleshooting with these people. I just picked that D-Link at random because it was expensive...

Priorities are fast upload and download of files, and audio/video streaming. No gaming, no VOIP.


(apologies for the rambling post, not my field of expertise)
 

Daniel Hale

Likes Dirt
I'm in a smart community so the internet connection is optical. Ideally I wouldn't want to be spending more than $250 on the modem if possible.

Really appreciate any advice on what to look for, or outright suggestions.

Thanks in advance
i presume you are on NBN cable [or wireless it doesn't matter], in which case you are just after an NBN capable Router with wifi antenna's -you don't need to pay for the modem bit..which city are you near?
 

stirk

Wheel size expert
I had issues with speed and it was traced to the wall socket. Socket has a circuit board which had started to fail.

Can you try another socket or even another modem?

My understanding of modems is limited but I believe they alter speed setting based on line noise and interference which causes packet loss in effort to lower or stop the packet loss. Sounds like what is happening as you start the file transfer of large files. A reboot sets the modem back to normal which will be at non throttled speed.

Best thing I did was to get rid of the Telstra supplied tg modem
 

Tubbsy

quadragenarian
Staff member
Good advice @stirk, I'll mention that when they come to check it out.

They were the ones who put in the wall socket (actually up through the floor)
 

Nambra

Postmeridian
Do you have access to the settings on the router @Tubbsy ie. type in the router's IP address into your browser and see what the sync speed is? Just wondering if you see a degradation in sync speeds as the modem slows down?

@stirk is correct in that your router will attempt to connect at the most stable speed, unless you have the ability to override the setting. I'm with Internode and I can actually alter the profile on their DSLAM in the exchange for "maximum stability" or "maximum speed" and a few others in between to tune the connection for the best throughput across my line & modem. I can also override my own router so that it tries to sync with a lower signal-to-noise ratio 'target' than what the automatic setting tries to achieve. On good quality / short lines, you can squeeze a few extra mbps out of a connection by experimenting.

If you have an intermittent line though, speeds will be great after a restart as the line is behaving properly, but as soon as a glitch occurs, the router will drop back to a lower sync speed to try to maintain stability (or may even be forced to by the box at the exchange end?). I don't know if a router will then sync back up to a higher speed when it detects that the line quality has recovered - mine certainly doesn't and logically I wouldn't think it would. Line quality issues could be due to any number of things - poor connections at sockets, dry joints at termination points, water in pits and so on, none of which you'd think would manifest in the slowdown issue you are experiencing. It could possibly be crosstalk on the line - interference with adjacent pairs in cables; when you pull large volumes of data, you're statistically likely to see more data errors in a shorter period of time - perhaps the modem looks at the number of errors in a period of time and throttles back accordingly?

At the very least, when you get the line tested, make sure you demonstrate the problem you are observing since you seem to be able to repeat it.

Oh, and a google search reveals all sorts of issues with technicolor modems with WiFi speed slow downs - anecdotally when you have more than a few devices connected via WiFi, although that might not even be the same model you have (but the software running on them is generally similar from model to model). Can you disable wireless so you have no devices competing for data and connect directly to the router using an Ethernet cable? That will prove whether it's WiFi related or not.
 

goobags

Likes Dirt
I had a similar experience with random slowdown and also unresponsive routers. Ended up being a downstream Ethernet switch on its way out and taking down the entire network - wifi and all.

Now back on the ISP provided $2 router and an elbasico switch and my internet speeds have been excellent. Current $150 dlink router is now going on the bin


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Tubbsy

quadragenarian
Staff member
Do you have access to the settings on the router @Tubbsy ie. type in the router's IP address into your browser and see what the sync speed is? Just wondering if you see a degradation in sync speeds as the modem slows down?
I did log in to the modem while on the phone to support and we did look at this. I'm a bit vague about the sync speed thing vs my browser speed, so I'm not certain what this means.

At the very least, when you get the line tested, make sure you demonstrate the problem you are observing since you seem to be able to repeat it.
It's somewhat repeatable, but I suspect that they're going to try and blame the modem so they don't have to crawl around under the house. We'll see.

Oh, and a google search reveals all sorts of issues with technicolor modems with WiFi speed slow downs - anecdotally when you have more than a few devices connected via WiFi, although that might not even be the same model you have (but the software running on them is generally similar from model to model). Can you disable wireless so you have no devices competing for data and connect directly to the router using an Ethernet cable? That will prove whether it's WiFi related or not.
At our previous address where everything was super quick there was a different modem. Can't recall what brand, so it could well be that this new modem is the culprit.

I can disable the wifi, but since the slowdown happens to wired connections as well, is this something that wifi devices could cause?
 

Tubbsy

quadragenarian
Staff member
I had a similar experience with random slowdown and also unresponsive routers. Ended up being a downstream Ethernet switch on its way out and taking down the entire network - wifi and all.

Now back on the ISP provided $2 router and an elbasico switch and my internet speeds have been excellent. Current $150 dlink router is now going on the bin
What is the downstream ethernet switch? Is that something in my house, or is that up with the poles and wires?
 

Nambra

Postmeridian
I can disable the wifi, but since the slowdown happens to wired connections as well, is this something that wifi devices could cause?
If it happens on wired connections too then I'd suspect the VDSL connection speed is possibly dropping over time. If you check out this link to some iiNet information, and scroll 2/3 of the way down to "On a TG-789 Broadband Gateway", you'll see what I'm referring to in terms of sync speed and being able to check it at times when you're experiencing a slow connection.

If the following is TL and you DR, the basic idea is that if your sync speed drops over time, so does your internet speed and you probably have line quality issues, or your router and the FTTN box don't play well together. If sync speed is stable over time, your router is possibly UTS.

.....

The DSL sync speed is basically the speed of the physical data 'pipe' between your router and what's at the other end, expressed as bits (1's and 0's) per second (bps). The bigger the pipe, the more data you can push through it. The actual data rate (ie. your internet data speed) achieved is always less than the sync speed, because there are overheads in the way the underlying data is transmitted. Overheads include the small time gaps needed between packets of data, error correction and checksum information, and the additional data 'wrappers' around the actual data, like source and destination IP addresses. For example, it you had a connection sync speed of 40MBps, an actual internet speed test might reveal a real data rate of perhaps 80% of that, or 36Mbps, noting that this is still bits per second.

The underlying sync speed essentially sets an upper limit on how fast your internet connection is. If you're old enough to remember the good old dial up days, we has speeds in the 20-50 kilobits per second range, now it's ADSL at up to 24,000kbps (24Mbps), and NBN up to 100,000kbps (100Mbps)! If we all got fibre to the premises, our connection speed could be 10-100 times faster than NBN again, but there's no way the telcos have enough backend bandwidth to deliver data at that speed to lots of people at the same time.

When you reset your router, it resets the connection with the device in he FTTN node that you're connected to, and they both have to re-negotiate a new sync speed, which starts off at the best (fastest) stable connection they can get working between them after a short period of time. If you have line quality issues, the devices will see excessive error rates at times when the line is poor and they'll renegotiate a lower sync speed to reduce errors to an acceptable level. There can also be compatibility issues between the electronics in your router and that at the other end, so that they don't sync well together and drop speed over time.
 

goobags

Likes Dirt
What is the downstream ethernet switch? Is that something in my house, or is that up with the poles and wires?
It’s just an Ethernet switch. Unless you have more than 4 things connected to the router hird wired, you won’t have one


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bear the bear

Is a real bear
Guys,

I have a modem (supplied by ISP) which I think is the cause of annoying internet slowdowns. It mainly seems to happen uploading and downloading large files, and playing things off youtube. I've tried different browsers: Chrome seems to do better than Firefox and Safari, but still succumbs to the issue.

The modem is by Technicolour. It has 2.4 and 5ghz networks.

When I restart the modem, I seem to get good speeds (40mbps down, 7+ up). After a while, it's almost like things are clogging up in there. Regular browsing can be ok, but a big file will bring everything to a halt including regular browsing. The download will time out, can't load simple pages, and after a few minutes it's working again. But try and download the file and it'll keep happening. A restart will fix things again, sometimes for a few days, sometimes not for long.

I should point out that when everything slows down, that includes a computer hard wired to the modem so it's not just wifi.



Anyway, I'm sick of restarting the modem all the time. Do I need a fancy modem to fix this issue?

What, for example, does this modem do to make it so expensive?

We have one of these, changing from the previous ISP supplied router made a big difference.
 
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