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Internet Slowdown?


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#1 hever50

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:52 PM

Hey Community,

My friend recently moved in and is having weird internet issues that I'm stumped on. The issue is his internet randomly slows down when multiple people are on it, however, his router and modem are top-of-the-line quality and his download/upload speeds are incredible ( 20mb/s download using an online speed test).

He doesn't use the cable wire to connect his house but instead uses a satellite to relay. I'm guessing it has something to do with his bandwidth or his satellite might be damaged or his ISP is throttling it? (which is weird because the download speed is really fast) but I'm not entirely sure? I would appreciate any help, thanks!

Extra Info:

  • House has 2 wifi networks, when one slows down he switches and the other one functions normally until it slows down and he switches again and so on

  • The ethernet doesn't ever seem to slow down, its just on his Wifi

Thanks!



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#2 smax013

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:34 PM

An Internet connection with say 20 Mbps (as in your friend's case) is not the speed that each person will get if multiple people are connecting...that is the "speed" that is effectively divided between all the people who are actively connected.

In reality, it is not really a "speed" (although that is what most common people call it), but rather a more accurate term is throughput.

Think of it like a water hose. No matter how many people try to drink water from that water hose, the same amount of water comes from that hose. So, if one person drinks from the hose, then that one person gets all the water. If two people drink from the hose, then that water is divided between the two of them. And so on. So, the more people drinking from the hose, the less water each person gets even though the same amount of water is coming from the hose.

The same principle applies to your Internet connection. If you have one person watching some streaming video, then they might "eat up" between 2 to 5 Mbps (or maybe more...all depends on quality of the video...i.e. 480p, 1080p, or 4K?). That would then leave 15 to 18 Mbps left for other people on your friend's connection.

The point is that if you have more than one device (whether multiple devices per person and/or multiple people with one or more devices) actively using the connection, it will appears to everyone as if their connection is slowed down compare to just one device using the connection. The more people and/or people using the connection, the slower it will seem.

So, that is likely what is happening.

Now, there can be other reasons, but that seems the most likely case for your friend.

#3 hever50

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:50 PM

Thanks for the reply, I assumed that it was his bandwidth. Is there any way to remedy this? As in change ISP, or get a better router/modem or is the only solution just having one person on at a time?



#4 smax013

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 06:27 PM

Thanks for the reply, I assumed that it was his bandwidth. Is there any way to remedy this? As in change ISP, or get a better router/modem or is the only solution just having one person on at a time?


The answer to that is not necessarily simple.

The first thing is what level of overall use is needed.

If everyone is only surfing webpages and doing other low use data tasks, then it might be fine as it is. After all, unless you are browsing to some REALLY graphic loaded web page (i.e. loads of larger size images to download), you should nominally no notice much difference between 5 Mbps and 100 Mbps when just browsing a web page. Of course, even with low data usage type stuff, you will reach a point enough people using those low data usage things will still add up to a decent amount and still potentially overload a 20 Mbps connection...and you likely will start to encounter some of the other factors that I alluded to (i.e. how well your router can handle all that traffic, etc).

If OTOH, there are several devices at a time that are streaming video, then 20 Mbps can get tight real quick. The quick and easy fix for that is more bandwidth (i.e. increase the 20 Mbps) if possible. If your friend is using satellite, then that may not be possible. And there might not be other ISP options if using satellite...most people who go with satellite tend to because that is their only option.

Just as a side note, the other reason more bandwidth can be useful is for downloading rather large files. This is likely where people get the urge to think in terms of speed. The more bandwidth/throughput you have, the faster you can download that large file. I have a connection that is officially listed at about 70 or so Mbps if memory serves, but I can frequently get up to about 90 Mbps. I can download a 5 GB file in about 10 to 20 minutes if memory serves.

Now, there can be other factors as I alluded to.

For example, if there are enough connections, especially over WiFi, then you might encounter bottlenecks from that. Your typical router cannot actually handle simultaneous traffic...it can only handle it one at a time. It can do so quickly that is seems like it is doing it simultaneously, but it is just serving up small chunks to each device in turns (your Internet connection is not a single piece of data but rather little chunks). If there are relative few devices, then there will be no lags and it will like it is simultaneous. As you get more devices, the cycle of one turn gets longer, so each device has to wait a little bit longer with each added devices for its turn of chunks of data to be sent or received. MU-MIMO is supposed to help with this on WiFi, but MU-MIMO is relative new and not all WiFi routers support it...and any device that connects to that router and wants to benefit from MU-MIMO would also need to support it. The other factor is the processor of the router. The faster the processor, the faster the router is able to serve up the chunks of data to each device.

So, the short answer is you first likely need to truly figure out where the bottlenecks might be and address them. There is a rather good chance that at least part of the answer is to get a "faster" Internet connection (aka get more bandwidth/throughput). That may address the issue, but you may then find there are other factors to address.




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