Internet network

I have a home network running 4 WinXp systems. They are connected up to a Linksys router with a cable modem. Only 2 computer hav SP2 installed, and when I first got this hooked up the internet runs fast but after a couple of weeks the internet is pretty slow. So I was wondering if it might be firewalls in the router or cable modems?
I configured the SP2 machine's firewall to not block internet explorer or any programs that need the net. I'm not sure what is going on but another thought it might be just the internet service or someting.
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Several ideas:

1.) Do you usually check your system for spy/adware? There is an excellent free program on called adaware that will scan for and remove spy/adware.

2.) do you have current antivirus definitions on each systems AV software?

3.) have your tried powering off the router and unplugging it for about 15 secs.

4.) Have you done any testing; is it slow with a single computer (with the others turned off). Try this with 2 different computers, where there is only one up and running...... I have seen ethernet cables that were going bad consume masive amounts of bandwidth. What happened was the bad cable was allowing only half the packets threw, thus causing the other half to be resent.(strangest thing I've ever seen) (the cause of this is was because TCP/IP is known as a 'reliable protocol', 75% of the packets were currupted because of the bad cable, thus resulting in them having to be resent)

5.) Yes, your ISP could just be slacking off.....

6.) Have you cleared the web cache on each of the machines?

These are the main things I can think of as of now, if I can think of anything else that would slow down a home network, I'll give this another post...

speed_mstAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the suggestions, and so I did try the top three suggestions but not 4 and 6 yet. I'll try those later.
speed_mstAuthor Commented:
I tried all those suggestions and it worked but why after I unplugged everything?
Just wondering if spywares eat up bandwidth?

After you unplugged the router, or after you disconnected the other computers from the network? If the problem cleared up after you power cycled the router it just needed it's memory flushed.

 If it cleared up after disconnecting some of the other computers on the network that is probably due to a bad cable. The reason a bad cable could slow down your network is because during a data transfer packets would have to keep being resent, thus consuming bandwidth. TCP/IP (transmission control protocol / Internet protocol) is what is known as a reliable protocol, meaning that it double checks that all data being sent is received by receiving computer. When you send an email, or download a webpage, all that data is broken up into Packets and each packet is numbered sequentually. The receiving computer reads the packet number while trying to re-assembol the data. If a packet is missing, the receiving computer sends a special packet back to the sender asking that the missing packet be resent. If you have a bad network cable, it would cause a lot of packets to become currupted or completly lost, thus causing them to have to be resent which creates a lot of overhead.  Think of a lamp with a shorted power cord, it causes the light to flicker, not all the electricity gets threw, same idea with a bad network cable.

Regarding spyware, some of it will eat up bandwidth. A lot of spyware will continually download advertisements to hidden directories on your harddrive so even when your computer is off line, it can still have advertisements to display and pop up. This is mainly meant to harrass people with dial up connections....

Try using different combinations of 3 out of 4 computers on your network and see if you can figure out which one is causing the problem...



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