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Slow Internet on All Computers But Becomes Fast when I remove one

Posted on 2011-03-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have  roadrunner broadband router and a wireless device hooked to it.  I have changed the wireless device and still get this scenario....   All computers (4) in house are connected to wireless but two (6 total computers).  Our speed is usually 20mbps download and 1mbps upload.

recently it has gotten slow, barely 1 mbps.  we turned off one of the wireless workstations and the speed returned.  Turning it back on and connecting it to the wireless it goes slow again.  This has only started to happen after years of the same internet service.  The slow down affects the hard wired pcs as well.

What can cause a slow down of internet speed to all workstations and laptops by one pc??  
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Question by:the-miz
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by:cjrmail2k
ID: 35036865
can you try adding back one machine at a time to the wifi to see if it is one machine?
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by:Martin_J_Parker
ID: 35036988
If one PC connects at a or b speeds instead of g or n speeds then it might cause the router to downgrade to slow connections for all devices.  It shouldn't do that but wireless devices are notoriously dodgy!  

I would just try a new wireless card on the iffy workstation to see if that helps - or alternatively connect it in with a couple of homeplugs through wired ethernet.
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rindi earned 84 total points
ID: 35037039
Scan your system for malware, particularly the PC which when not connected slows your system down. If it isn't malware, check for other things running on that PC, like P2P services etc.
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by:the-miz
ID: 35037111
I have already narrowed it down to one PC.  And I do not think it can be the wireless slowing down the router since we have other computers connected by wire to the same wireless router.  the wireless slow down would only affect the wireless computers....  Am I not right about that?

I will run a malware check and I do know the PC in question has Limewire (or equivalent) and who knows what other P2P software.
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by:Martin_J_Parker
ID: 35037139
Is Malware likely to slow download times that much?  How could it be just crippling download bandwidth?  Even if it did download a lot, you should still be able to get more than 1/20th the download speed on the other machines as it should be an equally shared connection.  I would expect that you should get equal shares at worst.  It sounds to me more like the wireless connection has downgraded the speed of the network on the router for some reason.
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by:lancecurwensville
lancecurwensville earned 166 total points
ID: 35037144
does it matter which wireless computer you disconnect?  If it is only the one, try hard wiring it and see if it has the same effect on speed degradation.  I suspect Rindi is correct that you have some p2p service or other bug that is causing it to swallow the bandwidth.
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by:Martin_J_Parker
ID: 35037165
Yes, I would expect any wireless slowdown to affect wireless connections.  The only other thing I can think of is that it is spraying so much rubbish at the router that it is causing timeouts - maybe constantly connecting and disconnecting, so that the whole router hangs up or something like that.

Does it cause problems if you connect that workstation through wired ethernet?
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by:cjrmail2k
cjrmail2k earned 167 total points
ID: 35037166
Yes you are right, the wireless slowdown should only affect the wifi pc's. Also, if you were connecting at G (which most pc's under 10 years old do) it would only slow down to G (54Mb)

If its one PC, you are looking for a local issue on that PC. SO yes as you mentioned above. When I hear the word Limewire I cringe, it is horrendously bad for virii and malware. I suggest you backup the data and rebuild the machine if you can. It may be overkill but its the safest way to ensure you are not using a machine that is potentially violated.
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by:rindi
ID: 35037167
That would explain it. P2P software will often take all or most of the available bandwidth which of course will slow down everything else. Personally I don't know the configuration of limewire, but most of them allow you to limit their bandwidth usage for both uploads and downloads.

Also malware, particularly spam bots, can use lots of bandwidth.
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by:Martin_J_Parker
ID: 35037191
Even if one PC was using maximum bandwidth all the time with P2P, surely a second PC on the same line would only experience a drop from 20mbps to 10mbps speeds as it would get an equal share of the line?  A 20x slowdown sounds too high.
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by:pony10us
pony10us earned 83 total points
ID: 35037240
There are other possibilities as well.  

Is there any streaming media such as videos, stock tickers, or other dynamic programs running that are pulling from the internet running on the computer causing the slowdown?

Is the computer in question up to date on all updates for all installed software? Not just Windows. If it is trying to download 1 or more large updates and it keeps getting interrupted by being turned off it will keep trying everytime it gets turned back on.

Some routers allow you to see how much/what type of traffic is being generated by each machine. That might also give you an indication of what that machine is doing.
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by:rindi
ID: 35037246
Most consumer routers will not equally assign the bandwidth to the attached systems, rather they don't make a difference and if one is using all if it the others are out of luck. Maybe professional routers can equally assign the available bandwidth.
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by:the-miz
ID: 35037264
The drop in speed was shocking to me...  20x slower!  Apparently my kid is using something called Frostwire...  not limewire... but its the same idea.  We definently know its her computer and the wireless card is a year old.  So it is connecting at G

I am not able to connect it directly, but I'm going to run some diagnostics on it later tonight.  We are keeping it off until I figure this out.  Will let you all know.
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by:cjrmail2k
ID: 35037286
theres a little program called netmeter (free), it will tell you how much bandwidth is being used by the machine that its running on. will be handy in this case.
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by:cjrmail2k
ID: 35037298
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by:lancecurwensville
lancecurwensville earned 166 total points
ID: 35037314
If your kid is running frost wire, then you may have multiple issues, aside from the legality of what they are sharing/downloading.  You are running at minimum a P2P networking share; and likely, due to the amount of malware/viruses on p2p sites, probably a bunch of malware and/or viruses on that machine.  You are going to need to run security scans on that machine; I'd recommend malwarebytes and microsoft security essentials.
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by:pony10us
ID: 35037379
Frostwire has no bandwidth limits so it can consume as much as it wants/needs to download. I don't have access to the program but it is my understanding that you can possibly go into the settings of the program and set limits.
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by:the-miz
ID: 35037572
yes, i'm not happy knowing she has it and at this moment, planning to rebuild her entire machine and put protection software on it.   Will keep in touch
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by:the-miz
ID: 35094038
I found a executable file that was loading on startup, each time I killed the process my speed increased.  I searched everywhere for the file name and no one knew what it was or where it came from.  I removed all references to the executable with regedit.
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by:cjrmail2k
cjrmail2k earned 167 total points
ID: 35094526
excellent, have you tried restarting a few times? sometimes these things re-propogate from another file...
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by:the-miz
ID: 35094576
Yes the computer has been restarted and the connect is good.  Thanks for all the help.
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by:pony10us
ID: 35095898
Can you tell us what the executable name was. It might help others in the future with a similar issue. Glad it's working for you now.
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