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Downstream and Upstream speed issue

Posted on 2014-07-26
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Last Modified: 2014-08-04
OK.  In detail, here is the scenario...

I have Comcast internet service.  I have subscribed to 54 mbps down and 10 mbps up, speeds.  The Comcast router is a passthrough, hence no wireless or DHCP is enabled on it.  Behind Comcast, I have Zyxel's Zywall USG 20W firewall/router.  At present, this firewall/router is handing out IP address and active WLAN.  

If I hard wire my laptop to a switch or Zyxel or Comcast router/firewall, I get about 56 mbps down and 12 mbps up.  Superb speed, no problem.  If I go wireless, my down speed drops to about 18 mbps and my up speed remains around 12 mbps.  Not sure why my downstream just drops drastically and not affect my upstream on wireless.

FYI:  I spoke to Zywall tech support and they were puzzled too.  They had remotely logged into my Zywall router to look at the config and nothing seemed out of line.  The firmware on Zywall is up-to-date.  In fact, they had shipped me a new and replacement device thinking there might be some hardware problem but after swapping the device, I still encounter the same issue.  My WLAN is set to channel 11 b/g/n with WPA2 for security.

Any suggestions on where and what to look for?
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Question by:kaushalk
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by:John Hurst
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You have a G card in your laptop or the router is set for G and/or mixed.  That is where I would look.

I have an N card in my laptop and an N wireless router. I get pretty much the same speed wireless as my wired desktop.

My older G laptop get much less speed when wirelessly connected.

Make sure the wireless path is not impeded or too far away as all these things affect wireless.
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by:kaushalk
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Not sure if I have G card but definitely something to look into.  The slow speeds mentioned is the same on my iphone and ipad.   My laptop and my mobile devices are 3 feet from wireless router.  So distance is not an issue here.  

But I am curious, if all this is a factor, then why am I getting excellent up speed and slow down speed (<50%)?
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by:John Hurst
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My iPhone is not particularly fast. I don't think it has an N card in it. I do not have an iPad.

Concentrate on your laptop and router setup. I got a new laptop and a new router and I do get excellent wireless speeds.
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by:kaushalk
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so let's say I don't have N card on my laptop, should I bother adding an external wireless adapter to it or go into my Zywall and setup the WLAN config for anything but N?
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by:John Hurst
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That is up to you. Your wireless speed is decent for general work anyway. Also, check your laptop as you may be able to purchase an N card for it.

Is the laptop new?  It may not be real fast overall, so if not new, your speed is decent and perhaps not worth further investment.

My top ISP speed where is am is about your lower wireless speed. I am not impeded in any way. But I know I get the same wireless as wired in my environment (about 20Mbits) and so I know all is well with the equipment .
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by:kaushalk
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I wish I could say I do general work over wireless but that is not the case.  Most of my work is remote support and sometimes I hop on my laptop to do and other times I use my iPad.  That is why I am struggling and trying to resolve the issue and upgraded my ISP speed from 18 mbps to 54 mbps.

Laptop is about 4 years old.  I do have a wireless N USB card which I will try in few minutes and see if that is the issue.
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by:John Hurst
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Try it out. I cannot get that kind of speed as my ISP does not offer it. I work remotely for a living and I am not impeded by 20Mbits.

Think about it. 5 years ago we worked the same and speeds were half as much.

Try out the N card in your laptop but don't be surprised if you don't get full speed in an older laptop.

My new laptop is Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit which is faster than Windows 7 and well mated to the faster card speeds.
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by:kaushalk
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I just tried.  Now my up and down speed is 10 mbps.  Worse than before on down speed.  I am using Linksys Wireless N adapter USB.

I am using Windows 8.1 x64 as well.  Not sure what it is.

LOL.  Understood 5 years or 10 years ago we were in dial-up as well.  5-10 years ago, not much was demanded either.  Now, time is money and those that can provide good service, WINS.  10 years ago we didn't have Windows 8.1.  Now we do.  LOL.  I come from those era......
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by:John Hurst
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A USB card could be affected by USB speeds. A N card (mini PCI) is bus-connected and will work faster. Then faster speeds are also a function of how fast a machine will run.

Windows 8.1 is fast on a new machine; I never tried it on a 4 year old machine.

I do not lose money, customers or anything else by working on my own systems. As I noted, my ISP does not yet offer such speeds.
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by:kaushalk
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I guess I have such option in my area to get such speeds.

At this point, my iPad is giving me better results on down speed than my laptop with N USB card
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by:John Hurst
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USB is not particularly fast. And likely a 4 year old machine has USB2 which is slower than USB 3.

If speed is so utterly important to you, consider a much faster laptop. By your own description it will pay for itself in days.
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by:kaushalk
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I will find a solution on my own but thanks for your help
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Of the 54 wireless networks here at my apartment (yes 54!), all of the 2.4GHz networks are operating as 802.11g with a maximum throughput of 18Mbps according to Nirsoft's Wireless Netview.  There are 5 5GHz networks with a max of 54Mbps.

I have my 2.4GHz network set to WPA-TKIP because I have an older wireless adapter that doesn't support WPA-AES.  WPA-TKIP in my Netgear WNDR3700 is limited to 802.11g with 54Mbps raw speed which always seems to translate to 18Mbps effective speed.  If it did, WPA-AES would allow me to run at 145Mbps in 802.11n mode.

About the upload speed staying the same, wireless speed is the same in both directions.  As long as you are under that max like you are with the internet upload speed, then the wireless won't be a limit.

Oops, I'm up to 64 wireless networks...  tells why I don't use wireless here.
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by:kaushalk
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Seems like there is a cap and tug-of-war between speeds and bands and NIC cards and technologies
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Yep.  I think you have to have all the newest versions and turn off the low speed options in your router to get high speeds.
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by:kaushalk
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low speed?  where in my router?
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by:Dave Baldwin
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Page 36 of the User Guide shows that on the WAN tab on your router, you can select which 802.11 bands you want.  ftp://ftp2.zyxel.com/ZYWALL_USG_20W/user_guide/ZYWALL%20USG%2020W_v3-00_Ed2.pdf
Zywall Wan Setup
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by:John Hurst
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After you check your router (I suggested that a while back as well), make sure you are not chasing your tail.

Wireless is always slower that wired. I connect my laptop wired to my desktop to move a 50Gb file (machine) because wireless (even good N) cannot keep up.

Also, I find the story about going broke because you can only get 20Mbits on the laptop very suspect. What happens when you take the laptop to work, to a client, to a coffee shop, or whatever. The chances of 50Mbits down is just about zero in these places.

And so you have a N USB internet card. I have one (Nokia CS18). It is only good to 3 or 4Mbits in most places.

So then you only have 50Mbits down in your home office and your laptop is 3 feet from the router, so just plug the laptop in by Ethernet when you need it.
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by:kaushalk
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Understood all comments but then here is my concern:

3 weeks ago I had 16 down and 3 up from comcast. At that point I was getting 18 down and 3.5 up on same hardware and mobile device.

Now that I have upgraded to 54 down and 10 up, I am getting about 11 down and 10 up. Speeds slowed down on down speed?  That's puzzling. Theoretically that makes no sense.

If anything, I would expect the same down speed upon upgrade and not degrade my speeds. I expected somewhat decent down upon upgrade.
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by:kaushalk
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John, the idea in Experts-Exchange is to resolve an issue and not just look for convenience. Yes, I can solve my problem by connecting Ethernet cable, but that is just a way to cover up the issue in this thread.

Dave:  I have tried different bands too. I had also lowered my encryption level including switching different channels. The frustrating part is, a sudden drop in wireless speed upon upgrade.   I can try creating a new wireless profile and see if that works any better.
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by:Craig Beck
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You are not using the 802.11n speeds, as you're not using AES encryption.  Therefore the fastest speed you'll ever see is 54Mbps "over the air".

This 54Mbps speed is the radio data-rate, not the data-throughput rate.  The data-throughput rate is theoretically half the radio data-rate (as the transmission is half-duplex), so on paper the fastest you could ever get at 54Mbps is 27Mbps data-throughput.  As well as this though there are overheads which further reduce performance.  As a general rule we usually say that you should subtract a further 10%.  Again though this is theoretical, so in a lab you'd see around 24-25Mbps.

Given the fact that you have 54 other 2.4GHz networks in the vicinity I'd say that 18Mbps is amazing to be perfectly honest over wireless using a 54Mbps radio link.
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by:John Hurst
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OK, I just transferred a 4+ Gb folder from my ThinkPad X230 to my ThinkCenter M90p using my wireless connection. I measured with DU Meter. The speed of the transfer was about 80Mbits/sec.

This is a commercial laptop, properly engineered internally with Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and a built in (bus connected) Intel N card.

The router is a Cisco commercial wireless N router.

The Desktop is connected by wire to a Cisco commercial VPN wired router.
================================

So:

You have a 4 year old machine with a G card which limits speed. Trying to a USB card will limit speed further.

You are using what I think is a consumer wireless router built to work but not necessarily for speed.

I agree with craigbeck that you are getting very good speed with what you have. I am not being "convenient", I am being practical. I can solve most any problem at that speed and I have been solving client problems for nearly 15 years.

If you want to use the equipment you have, you have adequate speed. If you need faster wireless speed you probably need newer equipment.

Certainly my computer will work at the rates you want.
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by:kaushalk
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John:  FYI:  Unlike Linksys, Netgear, D-Link, Zywall is not a consumer router/firewall.

Craigbeck:  if your theory on signal loss holds, why was I getting 110% down speed on 16 down from comcast before? Forget down, why is my up speed more than 110% now?

Initial question posted is Why am I getting slower speeds on down with upgraded speed and how to resolve it based on the info provided. NOT, if my speed is sufficient and I should be happy and can get work done OR use Ethernet to work around.

16 down 3 up. I was getting 18 down 3.5 up

54 down 10 up. I am getting 9 down and 11 up.

Explain that.

I am not sharing bandwidth with anyone.  I have 5 static IP from comcast. I have business line. Wireless is secured with MAC filter. Hence no one can hop on my wireless. I see no reason to get 9 down when before, I was getting 18 down. EXPLAIN THAT.
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by:kaushalk
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Hello. I just did another speed test and pathetically I am getting 5 down. That's more than 80% signal loss. Any explanation?  Or should I say this is normal and sufficient to do my work?
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by:John Hurst
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If the Zywall is a commercial router (I have not seen that), and it is set properly, then the answer must be in your computer.

Like I said I can get 80Mbits/sec with my N card.
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by:John Hurst
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Hello. I just did another speed test and pathetically I am getting 5 down

If you are doing this on your wired machine, then ask Comcast. Do not forget you are sharing the bandwidth with other (unknown to you) people.
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by:kaushalk
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Still not convinced about laptop and cards. Please see my last to comments above
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by:kaushalk
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I am not sharing. Please read my comments above
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by:John Hurst
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Do you understand Internet? EVERYBODY is sharing a connection. It is out in your neighbourhood somewhere. The ISP supplies many people.

If you have your own private pipe, that is very different to what I and others around me have.
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by:Craig Beck
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EXPLAIN THAT.
Hmmm, calm it down.  People are trying to help here.

Wireless is secured with MAC filter. Hence no one can hop on my wireless.
MAC filtering is as good as a chocolate fire-guard.  It only stops opportunists.  I could be on your wireless in 10 seconds if you are only doing MAC filtering, and using TKIP doesn't add much more value to your security these days either.

I am not sharing. Please read my comments above
Actually, yes you are.  Although you're not sharing your internet connection you ARE sharing the same wireless channel.  That shares bandwidth.

As I just said, I find it amazing that you're getting anywhere close to 18 down given the fact that you have 54 other networks close by.  The fact that the speeds are fluctuating so dramatically usually means there is interference on the same channel as your router/AP.  If you change the channel to something else which is not as busy you may see it increase, but when channel-utilization increases your experience will deteriorate again.

The fact that your internet circuit is faster is of no relevance here.  It does not affect your wireless connection in the slightest.  If the speed has drastically decreased around the same time as the line was upgraded I'd put it down to coincidence.

As a test, try using WPA2/AES only and see what one device can achieve wirelessly.
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by:kaushalk
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John:  I understand Internet. Would love to know the meaning of "sharing" from you.

I take it big corporations are sharing Internet?  Yes?
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by:John Hurst
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An ISP supplies bandwidth into a "neighbourhood". People (other than you) access the same bandwidth. It someone on your circuit decides to download a video while you are doing a speed test, you will notice it.

I take it big corporations are sharing Internet?  Yes?  <-- It depends on their size. Small and medium businesses share circuits.

I am using my experience where I live. Comcast may have given you a special circuit.
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by:kaushalk
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I am looking into various variables and see if I can figure this out.

Once I find the solution to my problem, I will post it here
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by:John Hurst
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There is not much you can do with an old computer and a G card. That is as good as it gets.

Consider doing a hardware reset on you Zwall  back to factory specifications and set it up again.

When you do that, unplug your Comcast modem, wait 2 minutes and plug it in to restart it.
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by:kaushalk
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Lol. Original comment mentions that I got a replacement Zywall hardware. Obviously I had set everything from ground up.

Rebooted comcast router more than 20 times.

I will post my results and solution once I get there. Thanks everyone
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by:Dave Baldwin
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For what it's worth, my wired Comcast connection runs Speedtest.net at 38ms ping, 56.74Mbps down, and 11.61 Mbps up.  My wireless connection thru my Netgear router and Comcast connection runs 40ms ping, 11.84Mbps down and 11.61 Mbps up.
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by:John Hurst
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So what have you found?

I have two wireless laptop computers - one like yours (4 plus years old) and one nearly new with integrated bus connected N card. The new one will do 80Mbits/sec and the old one will not come close to that.

Please check the profiles of the experts who posted. They have significant network experience. It seems to me (along with the others) that millions of us work daily and productively at 5Mbits/sec or less. It seems that 20Mbit/sec wireless is really very good.

Wired connections are ALWAYS faster that wireless connections. It was ever thus.

Please let us know what you have found.
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kaushalk earned 0 total points
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Coming from engineering background and working as a network admin for more than 20 years, I normally refuse to accept a solution without knowing the root cause of the real problem.  Replacing a hardware is not a solution.  LOL

A week ago, I had trouble installing Windows 2008 server on an old 2005 Dell PowerEdge server.  Posted a question here and got response from ....LOL... "a PowerEdge technician".  His response was that, my model of PowerEdge does not support beyond Windows 2003 server and he stood by his claim.  He refused to help me further.  After 5 days, I responded back to him that I got Windows 2008 server installed on the same hardware without a glitch.  His jaw dropped.  I closed the case with my own solution.  The server is running beautifully and without a hiccup since.  Plan to setup Exchange 2013 server as well, so that I can host my own email.  

It takes technical skills, knowledge and deep understanding of what is preventing a problem from being solved.  I always start out with "WHY and WHY NOT" and not accept "JUST BECAUSE" scenario.

Having said so.....here are my findings and solutions on my wireless concern on this thread...

1.  I downloaded InSSIDer (http://www.inssider.com).  A free tool to diagnose wireless issues
2.  Found out that I was using outdated DNS IP from my ISP on my WLAN tab of Zywall Firewall/Router.  Fixed it.
3.  I reduced my wireless output power from 100% to about 75% to reduce collisions and interference from my neighbors
4.  Played around with various channels to find the best throughput based on surrounding wireless signals
5.  Created VLAN to separate wireless network from wired network, giving me customized bandwidth to respective wireless devices.

Although I have labeled only 5 points above which has NOT been suggested by any experts who responded here, I plan to setup QoS on my router/firewall and continue to streamline more to get the best throughput from my up and down streams.

End result..... laptop is giving me approximately 28-30 down and 11 up.  iPad and iPhone is now giving me approximately 25-28 down and 11 up.  MacMini which is wired, of course is giving me around 57 down and 11.5 up.  These results are from http://www.speedtest.net.  Much better results than what I had been struggling with.

Reason for posting my concerns was to see if someone really knew and understood Zywall to resolve issues quicker than my taking the time and investigating.  Apparently I did not get much successful response than to replace my hardware or accepting the fact that it is what it is.

Thanks for everyone's help as I close this thread by accepting my own solution.
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by:John Hurst
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I think you got modest improvement and not as fast as I can get with newer equipment.

You are now willing to accept a lower speed than the 50Mbits you wanted.

[Off topic conversation removed]
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by:kaushalk
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Thanks John. I never expected wireless to get to 50Mbits. If you follow the thread, I have mentioned before that I don't expect wireless to get same speed as wired network.

But thanks to all for your help.
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by:John Hurst
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But thanks to all for your help.  <-- Obviously I was of no help so no thanks needed. I will stay out of your questions going forward
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by:Craig Beck
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With respect, let me highlight some things...

1] The server 2003 issue was resolved by installing a 32-bit version of Windows Server.  The suggestion was made by an expert that the CPU wasn't 64-bit - you obviously ignored that.

2] Poweredgetech stated that Dell don't support past Server2003 on your box.  That I correct.  The fact that the chosen OS will run is irrelevant and doesn't mean the manufacturer supports it officially.

3] DNS has no effect on throughput.  Once you resolve the host's IP further connections will use a locally-cached result meaning resolution I instant until the record's TTL expires.  You proved DNS wasn't an issue anyway by testing over the wire and admitted that speeds were satisfactory.

4] Inssider is no longer free.

I won't go on, but I too will refrain from adding to your 20 years experience in future, especially as I obviously have nothing of value to add.
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by:kaushalk
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Excerpts from Dell PowerEdge Technician

"Dell supports only 2003 on this system.  2008 and beyond are not supported.  Dell typically supports any Server OS on their hardware that they test and validate to work.  For example, the 2850 is the same generation server as the SC430, and Dell provided drivers for Server versions up to 2012, as they were released; there are no drivers for the SC430, which probably means there is something fundamental about newer OS's that doesn't work on that model.  

 You won't find a version of Dell's installation utility that both supports 2008+ and the SC430."


Ignored?  NO.  After I resolved the issue by installing 32 bit server OS and posted and closed my question, Dell technicians reverts his comments to add "The system supports 64-bit, but the ability to actually run a 64-bit OS will be dependent on the installed processor.  I suspect yours is a 32-bit processor.  Of the Prescott P4's that the SC 430 can take, some are 32-bit, some are 64-bit:
".

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Zywall has a whole new set of configuration page for wired and wireless info unlike other home based router.  Please take the time to read this over on Zywall website and read details on my router model and then explain.  Will appreciate that effort.  

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

True, InSSIDer is no longer free now, but I had this free tool from the time it was free which was not too long ago and I installed and used it to get a better picture of wireless concerns.  No tools were ever suggested by any experts here in this thread.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Any other comments on "Output Power", "VLAN configuration"?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Possible solutions to problems should be posted prior to closing of the questions and not after the fact.  A pat in the back goes to those who solve the problem before the problem gets solved mysteriously.
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by:Craig Beck
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Excellent, so you agree with me that Poweredgetech's comments were correct - you're reading it wrong or ignoring what was said.  You installed 32-bit because your hardware was not 64-bit... That's what Poweredgetech said.

You said you downloaded Inssider... That implies you just got it, not that you had it already, otherwise you'd have said that.

The Zywall config is nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not anything that I've not seen before. I design and deploy wireless solutions covering continents for global enterprises using kit far superior to yours so this is not an exceptional case for me.  The fact you were suffering from interference is not a configuration problem nor is it a hardware problem therefore configuration is not the cause.

Don't worry, I'm not disappointed about points; I just like to help. What does get me though I when people get shirty when help is offered and maintain that the help was of no value.
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by:kaushalk
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Apparently we still have issues comprehending what was said and what was read between dell tech and me. Anyways you were not part of that post, hence I will not go deeper into that issue. It's OK

I had it all along and never thought of installing InSSIDer because I figured Experts-Exchange "experts" would solve issues quicker without me resolving my own question.  It is your assumption that I downloaded now. Not a good assumption from "experts" that I would expect.

With your wireless expertise, I would expect deep technical questions regarding configuration pages on Zywall to fix such an easy question and inferior router. But I never got such posts from you.
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by:kaushalk
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Solved own problem with wireless speed
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