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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Networking > Wifi usually slow in morning but works fast later in day (had this problem for 2 yrs)

Wifi usually slow in morning but works fast later in day (had this problem for 2 yrs)
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And.reg
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Jun 19, 2010, 10:07 AM
 
Yesterday I would use wireless seamlessly all day.

Today, I get dial-up speeds, and/or broken page loads, took me 35 minutes to load this page only part way.

I didn't change the way I sit, the location of the modem, etc.

Now I've had this problem for 2 years (I called it "degrading wifi") and after talking with the physics dept. here, they conclude that someone is using a microwave. (What? I'm not using my microwave, what are they talking about?)


This problem just started happening in the beginning of 2008 with my aluminum Powerbook G4. Then I got a whole'nother computer, a white MacBook 2.1 GHz, and it did the same thing, both at home, and on campus. But before 2009, I could always use WiFi even at home.

Basically, 20% of the mornings, I have this problem... less often I have this problem later in the afternoon. The rest of the time (80%), I could take my computer to another room and get full bandwidth. I even recently took it outside to a BBQ and got WiFi from a building 200 feet away. But I can't get a connection from a modem 3 feet away in my bedroom? If I bring my computer one foot away from my wireless antenna, I get much faster wifi. I bring my computer right back, and it's slower than dial-up again.

This problem just seems so random, after 2 years, I still have no idea what's causing the problem.

Is it just the orientation of my computer? Is it the antenna? No, these haven't changed, and lifting my computer into the air to get better signal is met with mixed results.
( Last edited by And.reg; Jun 30, 2010 at 06:31 AM. )
     
seanc
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Jun 19, 2010, 10:44 AM
 
So you have the same problem with two different locations and thus two different routers?
Are they both the same model? What are they?
What wireless channels are you using?
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 19, 2010, 12:08 PM
 
My apt. model is a Verizon DSL modem, and the other one is the University's wireless. Most places call it tempest wireless, I guess.
I have used several different channels on my DSL modem (just switched to 11 the other day because Channel 11 "has the least amount of traffic), but I still have the same problem. I have no idea how to determine the wireless channel at my university.
     
dimmer
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Jun 20, 2010, 05:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
I'm not using my microwave, what are they talking about?
Well, it doesn't have to be your microwave: it could be a neighbor (with probably a very old microwave) using one. It's simply that the frequencies used by both basic WiFi and leaky microwaves can clash. Moving closer to the access point helps clear the interference. But unless you live right next to a Quizno's or something, it shouldn't be constant.

What flavor of 802.11 are you using? a,b,g,n? Both on the base station and on the client?

In general, allowing both base station and client to auto-select frequencies works best: they'll switch around as required, and if you have an 'n' network the number of channels increases greatly (as it'll use the 'a' channels as well as 'b' and 'g'.)

Is your network open? Could a neighbors pr0n habits be affecting you? I know I have to rub a couple out in the morning just to get my heart started.

MacStumbler (Download MacStumbler for Mac - Lists all 802.11 (Airport) wireless networks in area. MacUpdate Mac Software Downloads) may help you figure out wtf is going on.
( Last edited by dimmer; Jun 20, 2010 at 05:35 PM. Reason: life =/ live..., forgot to close a (...) pair.)
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 09:54 AM
 
How do I figure out if my modem is using 'b' or 'g' or whatever letter of 802.11 it's using?

How could someone be using a microwave for 4 hours to cause that kind of interference?

That makes no sense, I usually use my microwave for like 30 seconds to heat something up. This is like an all-morning affair, once in a while.

No one can access my network without a password, and I know that no one is hot-jumping my bandwidth, because of [1] menumeters, and [2] my modem's lights not blinking very quickly really.
     
seanc
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Jun 22, 2010, 01:18 PM
 
I forgot to ask, do you turn your modem & router off every night?
     
imitchellg5
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Jun 22, 2010, 01:21 PM
 
Hmm. I have an iMac that causes the network to slow down when it's close to my base station...
     
dzp111
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Jun 22, 2010, 01:24 PM
 
It happens to me as well, and I know why.

My ISP admits to 'throttling' my bandwidth between 4: pm. and 2: am. Outside of these hours my speed is where it should be; fast!!
( Last edited by dzp111; Jun 22, 2010 at 03:48 PM. )
.................................................. .................................................. ..................................www.DNCH.com

.................................................. .................................................. .......................www.daniel.poirier.com
     
Big Mac
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Jun 22, 2010, 03:42 PM
 
Really. That kind of sucks. That's never happened to me.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 05:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
I forgot to ask, do you turn your modem & router off every night?
Yep. I make sure people don't try to access my network, plus the blinking lights and power supply noise (an extremely faint hissing) keep me awake at night, so I shut my modem off. I also shut it off when I have my computers turned off.


This is the modem that I have:
Verizon Westell VersaLink 327W ADSL Modem D90-327W15-06 - eBay (item 250652396653 end time Jun-23-10 10:57:01 PDT)

It appears that both 'b' and 'g' are included in the modem.

My MacBook has Wireless Card Type: AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x88). Which of the 'b' / 'g' / etc. standards is this??
( Last edited by And.reg; Jun 22, 2010 at 08:27 PM. )
     
seanc
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Jun 22, 2010, 06:24 PM
 
Right.

Experiment time.
Get some electrical tape and put it over the lights so it doesn't keep you awake - is it still fast in the morning?
If yes, the electrolytic capacitors in the router/power supply have likely degraded, when the router warms up later in the day, they start to work a bit better. Note, if the PSU/modem whines when it's powered on, that's most likely the same issue.
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 22, 2010, 08:33 PM
 
Wait, why can't I just turn on and off the modem? Why should that be bad?

Sometimes I don't get to use my modem until the afternoon, because I'm up and right out, but when I do turn my modem on in the afternoon, I have never had this "slow connection" problem (except when far from the modem)

So, if I go test the capacitors, I might need weeks to reproduce the problem and know it, just to determine even if that's causing my weird WiFi signal dropoff.

Is there a faster experiment that I can perform in the meantime?
     
AKcrab
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Jun 22, 2010, 08:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
Is there a faster experiment that I can perform in the meantime?
Sure. Go buy a new modem.
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 23, 2010, 07:34 AM
 
AKcrab: [1] I am tight on cash, and [2] that experiment would require waiting for shipping and handling, so that experiment is not faster.


Alright, well I guess I got lucky.

After leaving my modem on overnight (didn't bother turning it off this time), I still have a slow connection in the morning. I still have 3 bars out of a maximum of 4 in terms of signal. My modem is only 4 feet away from my Airport card.

(By the way, reorienting the antenna on my modem doesn't help either.)

So... now what?
     
Andy8
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Jun 23, 2010, 07:59 AM
 
4ft long ethernet cable?
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 23, 2010, 08:26 AM
 
Not sure if I understand your request.
Do you:
[1] want me to use a 4 ft. ethernet cable? (I would think shorter is better, less inductance), or
[2] switch to a longer ethernet cable, like 25 ft.?
     
Andy8
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Jun 23, 2010, 08:35 AM
 
I am suggesting you try an ethernet cable instead of wireless for a while to see if your speeds stay the same throughout the day. (assuming you have one on hand)
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 23, 2010, 09:28 AM
 
The problem goes away when using Ethernet.

But my MacBook should remain Mobile even at home, I can't just plug my Ethernet cable in and out of my iMac all the time, or be stuck in one room all the time to do chatting.
     
Tuoder
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Jun 24, 2010, 12:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
If yes, the electrolytic capacitors in the router/power supply have likely degraded, when the router warms up later in the day, they start to work a bit better. Note, if the PSU/modem whines when it's powered on, that's most likely the same issue.
Busted caps make me want to BUST CAPS.

THEY ARE THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE RAAAAAGGGGGGGE.

I lost so many iMac G5s to swollen caps that the university I work for would let me solder in replacements. I also lost my gaming rig a few years ago to a blown cap in a cheap PSU.

HATE IS NOT TOO STRONG A WORD.
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 24, 2010, 09:43 AM
 
I feel your pain buddy, my iMac G5's logic board capacitors were shot years ago, luckily I got a free replacement.
The power supply slowly crapped out on me a few months ago... they wanted $400 for a replacement, so I decided I'd rather install a new power supply myself. You guessed it: overcharged X-caps.

So... I could technically open up my modem to see if the X-caps are bulging, but I have my doubts, since a quick search reveals that if I had a bad capacitor in my modem, I basically wouldn't be able to use it.

Still not sure what's going on, this morning all seems fine, maybe I should just try different channels... what do you folks think?
     
seanc
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Jun 24, 2010, 02:17 PM
 
They're not x-caps, they're aluminium electrolytic. Sounds like you were thinking of the vent stamp, they're not always X shaped, some are K, T or Y. They can fail due to being incorrectly manufactured, cheap, heat, incorrect installation, fake etc.

Capacitors will often degrade over time, so you'll notice things getting finicky. It's perfectly reasonable for the modem to work somewhat with a bad capacitor, it might not work as well.
     
Tuoder
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Jun 24, 2010, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
I feel your pain buddy, my iMac G5's logic board capacitors were shot years ago, luckily I got a free replacement.
The power supply slowly crapped out on me a few months ago... they wanted $400 for a replacement, so I decided I'd rather install a new power supply myself. You guessed it: overcharged X-caps.

So... I could technically open up my modem to see if the X-caps are bulging, but I have my doubts, since a quick search reveals that if I had a bad capacitor in my modem, I basically wouldn't be able to use it.

Still not sure what's going on, this morning all seems fine, maybe I should just try different channels... what do you folks think?
If your caps are blown in the router, you could run down to the Radio Shack and buy some with the same ratings and solder them it. It may fix it. OTOH, if you don't have a soldering iron, you're probably better off buying a higher quality router. I used to go through a router a year until I finally just dropped the cash on an Airport Express. It's the best one I've bought by far. No resets. No overheating, even when I leave the AC off, nothing. The damned thing is flawless.
     
seanc
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Jun 24, 2010, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tuoder View Post
you could run down to the Radio Shack
Most caps found at Radio Shack will be rated for 85˚C only and general purpose. You may need capacitors with a low ESR and high ripple rating depending on the application - you won't get those at Radio Shack.

If you do open the router, list the supposed brand, series and rating of the capacitors inside.
     
Tuoder
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Jun 24, 2010, 03:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
Most caps found at Radio Shack will be rated for 85˚C only and general purpose. You may need capacitors with a low ESR and high ripple rating depending on the application - you won't get those at Radio Shack.

If you do open the router, list the supposed brand, series and rating of the capacitors inside.
I did mention them having the same ratings, but I wasn't aware they were unique.
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 30, 2010, 05:59 AM
 
Update:

Guys I'm still having this same problem.

Now I'm posting at 5:50am in the morning, same pro
( Last edited by And.reg; Jun 30, 2010 at 08:51 AM. )
     
seanc
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Jun 30, 2010, 12:40 PM
 
Why did you edit out your post? The original made much more sense.
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 30, 2010, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
Why did you edit out your post? The original made much more sense.
No it didn't.

The original post had mostly me bitching, so I left only the details.
     
seanc
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Jun 30, 2010, 06:00 PM
 
Anyway, these last few days, have you been leaving the modem on at night or not?

Where is your modem/router in your place? What is next to it, what is it on?
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jun 30, 2010, 06:19 PM
 
I've generally been leaving the modem off at night, except for that one time in one previous post, where I was instructed to leave it on.

My modem is on my side desk. I have two computer desks: my primary computer desk, and my PC desk (PC is out due to a blown power supply, way to go Korea)... my modem is on this second desk. My modem is beside a volume control for my PC speakers (turned off) and a 19" monitor (turned off) for my PC.


Update: They're supposed to send me a (second) replacement modem. Things have gotten so bad that now I have to turn off and on my modem every 10 minutes to maintain an internet connection. WHAT B.S.
( Last edited by And.reg; Jul 11, 2010 at 04:40 PM. )
     
seanc
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Jun 30, 2010, 06:36 PM
 
So basically, it's not in in some strange metal shelf/desk.

Is your PC unplugged? Can you unplug the monitor and the speakers to rule out any interference?
     
And.reg  (op)
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Jul 30, 2010, 08:44 AM
 
I'm bumping this thread because we've remedied the apartment modem problem, but now today the University wireless is horrible.
How do I troubleshoot this?
I'm getting 3/4 bars.
     
turtle777
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Jul 30, 2010, 09:35 AM
 
Call and ask for a replacement University.

-t
     
seanc
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Jul 30, 2010, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
I'm bumping this thread because we've remedied the apartment modem problem
Have we? Different modem fix it?

Try different DNS servers while you're at Uni - 208.67.222.222/208.67.220.220 to see if it makes a difference.
     
   
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