Odd DSL speed test behavior - slow wired & fast wireless

By ajkamath ·
Hi all, I'm stumped about some network testing I've been doing lately. I've been running a number of speed tests using various sites including and

However, I seem to be getting very strange results. Any computers connected wirelessly get the full-speed connection (2600 down / 325 up) while any tests on a wired connection run much slower with stability problems (1600 down / 300 up). For some reason, tests on the wired connection fluctuate wildly between 800-1700 down.

I have tested the wired connections with two different routers as well as a direct connection to the modem. The results are always the same. I've tried several different cables, new and old, both CAT-5e and CAT-6.

I am using a Speedstream 4200 modem to get service from Windstream in Florida. The routers are a Linksys WRT350N and a Netgear WPN824.

We've been having problems with our DSL service on and off for a long time now. These are my latest efforts to troubleshoot our connection. I have looked through a number of other forums for similar problems and tried many different things including adjustment of the MTU on the modem.

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All Answers

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Might it be a bad modem?

by Nonapeptide In reply to Odd DSL speed test behavi ...

Sounds like the simplest solution to me. Were I in your situation, I would be talking to the ISP's support line and asking for a new modem (and maybe some line tests just for fun), especially if you're paying for business class (although, with speeds like that, it sounds like residential class to me).

When you say that you've been having problems for a long time now, does that mean a few months, nearly a year, or even longer? Beware, I don't think ISPs like to hear that their modems have been tinkered with... :-|

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Bad modem unlikely, but possible.

by ajkamath In reply to Might it be a bad modem?

You've got a point. Are there any tests that I can perform on the modem before trying to get useful help from Windstream? The erratic service speed issue has been around for a while, and Windstream replaced the modem back in July. The tech told us that the model of modem that we originally received had already been out of production for two years at the time and he had no idea why they would have foisted it on us. The new one is up to date. I'd like to go to another provider, but the service that we have is the only option available where we are.

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Do you live next to a sub station? :)

by Nonapeptide In reply to Bad modem unlikely, but p ...

If there was no appreciable difference in service with a new modem, I'm stumped. I don't know much about tweaking and testing modems. Sorry.

I'm assuming you've used multiple computers for both the wired and wireless tests? The only thing that seems to add up in my mind is the client machines have some common faulty element that is only present on a wired connection. I recall one user of mine had a slow connection to the LAN and nothing seemed to add up. On a whim I unplugged the network cable, blew on it and blew in the network jack and voila! Instant 100Mb ethernet! :)

The scenarios that run through my mind are these:

1. The cables / jacks were all faulty or dirty (unlikely)
2. There an enormous amount of electrical interference in the air (when you look out a window, do you see something like this: )
3. All the routers used were faulty. (again, unlikely)

Have you tried plugging a computer straight into the modem? Does the modem have both RJ-45 and USB out?

Keep us posted.

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No sub station nearby. We're in the boondocks.

by ajkamath In reply to Do you live next to a sub ...

Thanks again. I've tried three computers (2 laptops and a desktop), with various cables (including old and brand new, various lengths, CAT5 and CAT6). Also tried connecting directly to the modem to bypass router issues. The problem is not due to a duplex speed mismatch. I am beginning to suspect that the tests themselves may be questionable and am arranging to try some seriously heavyweight downloads from a friends server - he has monster bandwidth available.

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Rather than running speed-tests - try an ACTUAL download

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Odd DSL speed test behavi ...

Perform the SAME DOWNLOAD - once wired and once wireless.

Compare the times.

I've never been entirely happy with 'Speed-testers' because you can never be confident which end of the signal they are reporting on. Your 'high' reported speed could be from the wireless card to the router, rather than inside the 'net connection.

Do the download comparison.

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Actual download test in the works

by ajkamath In reply to Rather than running speed ...

Thanks for the suggestion. Actually, I was planning to do comparisons of some huge file downloads this evening. I have a friend with some serious bandwidth available, but we couldn't do the tests over the weekend. I'll post the results.

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