Networking & Wireless forum

General discussion

Two wireless computers - internet suddenly slow on one

by dlk9s / December 15, 2009 12:45 AM PST

Basic network setup:

Motorola cable modem ---> Ooma VOIP Hub ---> D-Link WBR-2310 Rangebooster Wireless G Router

Computer A: Dell Vostro 1500 Laptop w/integrated wireless g (Vista)
Computer B: Dell Inspiron 531 Desktop w/integrated wireless g (Vista)

Security: 128-bit WEP Key

Router location: home office on 2nd floor of house, on top of wood cabinet.
Laptop location: all over, but usually in the same room as router.
Desktop location: downstairs kitchen in a computer "nook" on same side of house as router.

The Problem:

Last week, the desktop computer's internet connection started running very, very slow all of a sudden. I have had it for two years and for the most part, it has run fine. I have always been able to download large files quickly and I play FPS games online just fine with it (was just playing Left 4 Dead 2 online with no problems a couple weekends ago). It also wouldn't complete Windows updates starting last week and started freezing up all over the place. So I decided to just wipe it clean and re-image it.

Re-installed Vista this weekend, but even with the now clean system, the internet still runs slowly. I have completed round upon round of Windows updates and have gotten Vista SP 2 installed.

I have installed a limited amount of software on the desktop so far, including Kaspersky IS 2009, Nero 9, Microsoft Office, Firefox, PC Anywhere, and some Canon Utilities. The internet slowdown was happening before any of these were installed, though.

I have noticed that even though in the Network and Sharing Center it says the wireless signal strength is "Excellent," I am rarely getting speeds faster than 11.0 Mbps. In fact, it's often down to 1.0, 2.0, or 5.5 Mbps. In the meantime, my laptop, which as far as I can tell has the same wireless settings, gets 54 Mbps consistently, never falling any lower than 36 Mbps, and that's only for a very short time. I'm getting these speeds when the laptop is next to the desktop, too.

Normally, I'd suspect computer placement as the cause or maybe the placement of an object near it is causing interference (there is a subwoofer on top of it), but considering a) I've had the computer for 2 years (1 year in this specific spot in the house) and never had this problem until last week, and b) the signal strength is still Excellent, I don't think that's it.

Any thoughts as to why my desktop's internet speed is all of a sudden unbearably slow while my laptop is fine?


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Two wireless computers - internet suddenly slow on one
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Two wireless computers - internet suddenly slow on one
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Security: 128-bit WEP Key
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 15, 2009 1:02 AM PST

This is not the forum's advised security. I can't duplicate the reasons for each member why Security: 128-bit WEP Key is dead and can't be trusted or why one machine but not the other would be in trouble.

WEP security is as good as none.

Collapse -
Security will be upgraded!
by dlk9s / December 15, 2009 1:13 AM PST

Good point. I actually do plan on upgrading the security tonight and may add MAC address control, as well (I used to have MAC address control implemented, so I have all the addresses ready to go in the router).

Collapse -
by dlk9s / December 15, 2009 2:20 AM PST

I just implemented WPA security. I don't know if that was supposed to help solve my problem (although it obviously helped my wireless security), but my desktop wireless speed is still lagging at 5.5 Mbps. Hmm.

Thank you for the security tip!

Collapse -
Sorry. The top of the forum
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 15, 2009 2:33 AM PST
In reply to: Upgraded

And the advised setup is not a cure all. It only avoids a common problem. And MAC filters, hiding the SSID is not in that advised setup. You find some machines, devices falter when this is deployed. I offer no defense for the wifi industry why they didn't get that right.

Go over the slow machine looking for clues in the HIJACKTHIS log and ask if anyone installed drivers from MSFT's windows update. Go back to what worked.

There are long discussions about this or that firewall, antivirus suite and owners writing "I didn't change" but these items auto update so we always have fun discussing that.

Collapse -
I think I fixed it
by dlk9s / December 18, 2009 11:05 PM PST

Since nothing I did, including reformatting and reinstalling Vista, helped the problem, I thought that maybe the problem could be that the wireless PCI adapter is failing.

So, I went out and bought an inexpensive Trendnet PCI adapter ($15 after rebate) and popped it in. So far, so good. Speed is usually 54 Mbps, with occasional short-lived dips to 48 or 36.

I'll post an update if things go south.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,912 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,498 discussions
Laptops 20,411 discussions
Security 30,882 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 21,253 discussions
Windows 10 1,672 discussions
Phones 16,494 discussions
Windows 7 7,855 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,504 discussions


iPhone 8: Everything we know so far

This is all the iPhone 8 reports and rumors in one place. From a 5.8-inch OLED display, reports of wireless charging and even a 3D scanner for facial recognition, it's all here.