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DSL Download Problems

Hello everyone,

I am not the really good at computers, although given step by step instructions I can usually find my way through things. My problem is my download speed on my DSL.

My plan is through Qwest which is rated at 1.5Mbps downstream, and 896 Kps upstream. I am using a Actiontec pk5000 which should be able to easily handle that. I have 2 computers - one a Acer Aspire with Athlon 4400+ and 2 gigs ram running vista and an Emachine with Athlon (not sure of the ram) running windows 7. Both are hooked up with ethernet cable through the Actiontec. The actiontec is also hooked up to my Direct TV box for downloading on demand.

However, I have been attempting to download the latest patch for WoW with consistent speeds of 80-140Kbps which seems awfully slow - also that it has taken over 24 hrs to get 6 gigs downloaded. I have tried adjusting the firewall - no help. I have turned the firewall off - which gets it from 80 to the 140kbps. I have erased all the cookies - no help. I have run scans which show no virus.

Should my computer download speed be this slow? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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I think so

I have 1.5 to 3 mbps DSL service and to download 6 gigs, would take me about the same amount of time depending. You have to consider the upload speed of the source. If I am hosting a large file and only uploading at 400 kbps, I get a few connections, the ppl on the other end, no matter their download speed, will only get a portion of my upload speed. What you can do is go to Speakeasy Speed Test here...


These will give you a download and upload speed estimate of your connection.

It's very unlikely you will ever get to download at the rated speed. All in all, considering I get up to 3 mbps and 4 gig downloads take me as long if not longer than yours, I don't feel it's that bad of a download time for you.

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That depends

That depends. Downloads can only go as fast as the slowest link in the chain between you and the computer holding the data you want. In between is some unknown number of different hubs you have to go through. Sort of like interchanges for freeways. If there's an accident on one freeway, traffic flow is going to be greatly hampered.

Turning off your firewall is not a very wise idea. You don't need to worry about hordes of evil hackers just waiting to break into your system, but there are plenty of ne'er do wells out there who run automated probes looking for people who aren't running some sort of firewall and might also be using some program with a known exploit. Firewalls are good for keeping these probes out, so they simply move on to the next system. Even if it makes your downloads take significantly longer, it's a better proposition than having your system consistently overrun by malware and who knows what else. It would suck if someone decided to stash their kiddie porn collection on your system, without your knowledge, and then a significant other or someone else happens to find it. Best case scenario is they think you're some kind of sick pervert, but they might call the police, and it's theoretically possible you could go to prison for something you didn't even do. That's kind of an extreme example, but you get the idea about potential dangers I hope.

And actually, 80-140K download speeds is about what you should expect from 1.5Mbps DSL. The key here is the case of the letter "b", and it trips a lot of people up. You think you have a 1.5 megaBYTE download speed, when you really have a 1.5 megaBIT download speed. MB is megaBYTE, Mb is megaBIT. You have to pay attention to those letters, because telecom and cable companies are perfectly happy to let you believe it's MB/s when it's really Mbps.

When you do the math, you basically just divide by 10 (which accounts for network overhead while making the calculation much easier) and you wind up with about 150KB/s (KiloBYTES per second) for a 1.5Mbps connection.

So, actually, if you're getting 80-140KB/s, that is pretty good. Another one of the things telecom and cable companies love to use is the phrase "up to" some speed. You're never going to get the full 1.5Mbps just because of network overhead and other factors. Those are maximum theoretical speeds. But they are happy to let you believe that you will always be downloading at this maximum speed if it means they get your money.

Finally, cookies have absolutely nothing to do with your connection speed, nor does defragmenting, "cleaning" the registry, erasing your browser cache, or probably just about any other "tip" you may find out there. There are a lot of people who don't understand basic TCP/IP networking who mistake a traffic jam clearing up, or the network giving them an alternate route, for some action they took on their computer.

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Thanks everyone

Thanks for the replies. I did re-engage my firewall which did slow it down to around 80 KB/s. I tried one of the speed tests (from Macafee, I think) that said my speed on my emachine was 500KB/s when I was not downloading anything and 200 when I was (although WoW still showed only 80-100). However my Acer computer (which is the farthest from the router at around 15 feet shows only 20KB/s. Both are connected via ethernet so why the slow one and not the other?

The WoW page indicated it might be my router and suggested some programs to try to make sure certain programs always move easily through. Has anyone heard anything like that and do they help?

Also my router is has a wireless component so i use my Ipad through it. However I am finding in order to stream a you tube video to my ipad it takes about twice as long as the video itself to buffer in order to play without interruption - is this normal?

Thanks again for the quick replies,


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