Slow Broadband Download Speed

  Wooden'ead 00:56 22 Sep 2006

Hi there,

While it’s not totally serious, I am getting frustrated with the download speed on my broadband.

I’ve got 2 meg Tiscali, running through a Sagem [email protected] 800-840 USB modem and the download speed that Dan Elwell’s BBST keeps showing is 141 Kb/s. I know that download speeds are usually lower than the broadband rating but that seems abysmally low! For starters, any ideas on what I should reasonably expect.

My computer is based on an Athlon 64 3800+ with 1 meg memory.
The modem connects well and is solid on line. I’m not on line all the time, and the system regards it as ‘Dial UP – USB ADSL WAN adapter’ in Network Connections. All cabling and filters are OK.

BBST shows the following ping times – UK 19.5 to 22 ms, Europe 22 to 38 ms, USA East Coast 90 to 109 ms, USA West Coast 94 to 150 ms. Also, BBST shows 0% packets dropped to UK connections.

But BBST keeps on showing a 141 Kb/s download time from UK – every time I run it, no matter what time of day, it’s always the same 141 Kb/s! As it’s still an unregistered version, I haven’t got an Upload speed.

I’ve tried optimising with CyberTweak but it made no difference, so I reset it back to the old readings.
I’ve viewed the connection using DrTCP. The Receive Window already has 65535 showing (is this a registry reading or is it pre-inserted as to what it should be?). Windows Scaling, Time Stamping, Selective Acks, Path MTU Discovery and Black Hole Detection are set to default – Max Duplicate Acks and TTL are blank. Then, Dial Up (RAS) MTU shows 1460. The actual MTU box is blank.
Under Adapter settings it shows ‘NVIDIA nForce Networking Controller, Marvell Yukon 88E8001/8003/8010 PCI Gigabit Ethernet Controller and 1394 Net Adapter’ all of which are in Network Connections under Lan or High Speed Internet. Although I’ve looked at the set up through DrTCP, I’ve not tweaked it because USB ADSL WAN Adapter was not showing in DrTCP’s Adapter Settings selection.

I’ve downloaded the new Sagem driver but not updated with it as I was not sure if it wasn’t wisest to see if the problem could be sorted with the original before upgrading – I didn’t want to complicate things. The Hardware version on the Sagem is, the driver is version
The Marvell and Nvidia drivers are up to date versions.

It looks like something is putting a cap on the speed – it seems strange that it’s always 141 and as the connection is working, I don’t want to tinker without informed advice.

Sorry it’s all a bit long-winded but I thought it best to put all that I knew in.



  ade.h 17:16 22 Sep 2006

That's the result of contention, I suspect. When I was on a 2Mbit service, I experienced up to c.250 Kilobits per sec when downloading files from good servers at quiet times.

  Wooden'ead 21:20 22 Sep 2006

Cheers for you reply ade.h.
I sort of discounted contention as there was no variation even at 3am, when I would assume that I'm not being crowded down to slow download speeds and I'm only half a mile from the exchange - still it could be just that. I'd be pleased if I was getting 250 Kb/s - it would be an improvement.
I also thought it might be some software cap on my machine (some wrong setting) but a download will start fast for a second then quickly drop to slow. I would have thought if it was my software capping it, it would start at the capped rate.
Ah well!

  ade.h 22:08 22 Sep 2006

Downloads have always started quickly, then settled. That's normal. Did your line pass Dan Elwell's ping test?

  ade.h 22:09 22 Sep 2006

Oh, yes. I see you mentioned the absence of dropped packets.

  Wooden'ead 22:32 22 Sep 2006

All of the ping test showed the caption "The results of this test indicate no problems" and the same for the dropped packets test.

Although Dan says OK, do you reckon the results I've shown are reasonable from your experience?

  ade.h 22:50 22 Sep 2006

I have not used Elwell's test before, so I can't comment on its accuracy. I have never been one for benchmarking anything, least of all an internet connection.

You could ask BT to test the line, but that tends to result in a "yeah, it's fine" sort of reply in most cases.

  Wooden'ead 23:27 22 Sep 2006

It's not so much benchmarking, just to give me an idea of what's happening.

I suppose getting BT to test the line is worth a try. Although, if it was the line I would think that the download time results would show some variation - not exactly the same slow speed all the time but I'll do it anyway.

In fact, even though it's slow, I would expect to see some changes in the number - depending on time of day etc. That's why I keep thinking something's capping it or throttling it back.

Even though I can live with it, it's become a challenge so ... I must find out why (even if there's nothing much I can do about it. Cheers

  mikeatsea 16:21 28 Feb 2008

I appear to have a very similar problem. Constant download speed of 129Kbps irrespective of connection speed, time of day etc. (a month ago usually around 1,4Mbps!). Tried most of the things you have and came to a similar conclusio - it must be capped somewhere.

My upload speed is 377Kbps - yes faster than the download - it is reliable so line must at least currently support this rate!

If you have any joy I'd be glad to know.

I'm with Metronet (Plusnet) and they have raised a fault - if I learn anything I'll post it in this thread.


  Wooden'ead 17:42 28 Feb 2008

I should have really updated this, so sorry for not doing so.

I went through to Tiscali helpline again, more in hope than expecting something and I got someone who was actually clued up and helpful. After him doing this at his end and me doing that on my machine, he said that for some reason or other, when I went on with Tiscali at 2meg, the right things were done at their end, it all indicated it had been done and it all indicated that I was getting the 2meg package but there was a glitch and the throttle was not wide enough. While I was still on the phone to him - he fixed it and the proper speeds were there.

Since then, I've upgraded to 8meg and I'm getting that without problems which certainly proves that my line is up to it.

I'm not stating download speeds - they are spot on with what you would expect at various times of day etc - but the connection speeds are around the 8meg.

I don't use Ipod or similar high bandwidth stuff so I can't say if this would be up to scratch as I have seen a lot of complaints about ISPs capping, throttling or generally blocking that kind of use(usually at busy times).

Hope this is of help.

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