What is wrong with my internet connection?

Daniel Adam June 2, 2012
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My internet provider is a local area network, and in my household, the internet connection goes in a router connecting our three computers. We’ve been using this set-up for years, and it’s worked great, until recently. Starting at various hours at night, the internet begins to perform at increasingly lower speeds, until it stops altogether.
This is where it gets weirder. When I take the internet connection out of my router and plug it directly into my computer, with all that entails, it works perfectly. When I try to plug it into the other two computers, on the other hand, it doesn’t work at all.
I’ve talked to the internet provider about this, and they’ve sent someone down multiple times to check the connection and the computers, but everything checked out each time. They’re effectively clueless. They have no idea what’s causing this.

I don’t know how to proceed. I’ve considered changing providers, but unfortunately I don’t have any good alternatives where I live.
So I have to ask, if any of you know, what is wrong with my internet connection?


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  1. Tshaia
    September 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

    whats wrong with the connection to my computer Can yall fix the connection for all websites and netflix thank you

  2. Beljacs
    June 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I had the same problem and checked my actual speeds using
    speedtest.com and discovered my router's positioning made
    the biggest difference. Try moving your router around, even
    slightly, and check the results using speedtest.

  3. Terry
    June 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Don't rule out bad network wiring it's more common than you might think. Can you swap the wires out in the configuration that doesn't work for the configuration that does?

  4. davnel
    June 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Question: have you or anyone on the network been doing a lot of UPloading lately?
    One of the problems with modern routers is TOO MUCH buffer space (RAM is cheap, you know, and the manufacturers thought it would be neat to have a huge packet buffer). The problem, in slow upload situations, is that the buffer fills up and won't accept new download packets until it empties out. The fact that rebooting the router cures it for a while makes this a possibility. So is anyone doing a lot of bit torrent activity?

    Second, the MAC address issue holds. One of the primary reasons to use a router is so the ISP will see only one MAC address (the router's). The router then retransmits the packets to and from the local network. The reason given for the failure of the other two machines responding is valid.

  5. Kev Quirk
    June 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    You're not troubleshooting this effectively. You're going around in circles and doing nothing to actually narrow down the root cause of the problem. It's only going to be a computer on your LAN or your router (could be both, but I doubt it).

    Ok, so overnight your internet all but grinds to halt. Let's say for arguments sake you have computers A, B & C plugged into it, A being yours. When the internet starts going slow/off you unplug everything else and computer A works fine with a direct connection to the internet - but computers B & C don't.

    What you need to do is first rule out the router, you think you've done this already but from what I can see you haven't, you're assuming that it's ok. Next time it goes wrong, LEAVE THE ROUTER CONNECTED and unplug other computers leaving A plugged in first. Test the interent, if ok, unplug A and connect B - test again. Do the same thing for C.

    This will do 2 things. 1) it will prove if the router is at fault, if any one of the machines works then it's not the router. 2) It will prove what the problematic computer(s) are. For example, if the internet is working on A & B through the router, but is awful/non existent on C then the problem is more than likely that computer C is chewing all the bandwidth up and your router can't keep up.

    If this is the case, you need to look at the machine, are there any scheduled tasks that take place over night that use the internet on this machine? Online backups like carbonite for example, or torrents.

    You may also want to try using all computers on all ports of the router as I have seen in the past that a faulty ethernet port on a router can completely mess the network up.

    If you could carry out these tests then reply with the results I/we will be able to help you further. But until you start to troubleshoot this issue correctly you're not going to get anywhere unfortunately.

    Hope this helps :)


    • Oron
      June 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Nice work Kev, I hope Daniel tries out your suggestion!

  6. Arthur
    June 13, 2012 at 4:40 am

    ok i MAY have a partial fix.....you have 3 computers running thru a LAN and a router but when you unhook the router and go directlly to the computers only 1 works...albiet strange not uheard of ....if the computer that works with the rj45 cord by itself was originally hooked strait up to the internet its already set up for that....now the other 2 computers the reason they probably arent working they dont have the connection set up for it (like my computer i have to set up 2 connection types one for when im running strait from the cord and one from my router to share internet between my computer and my xbox debating on what system your using (im using windows 7 and microsoft xp) they both have an automatic set up thing when you plug in a new internet device....so i think thats your problem thier and you obviously dont get the prompt for it so to force the prompt to happen which you can go to control panel and go to setup an internet connection and then should open a internet properties popup and then go to the connection tab and hit setup and that brings you to a internet connection wizard.....as for the internet getting slowermake sure your the only one on the internet so its not bogging down the bandwidth because a host of few things could be happening (you didnt say if it eventually stops if you run strait to the pc or not) if my 2 years of IT proffesional colledge serves correctly your ip is putting a drain on your bandwidtch at some point during the night (as in they let their servers sleep during the night) or sombodys using your internet which is highly unlike because it appears its a wired line....and having tried wiring a cord into a telephone line is no easy task (well its easy now that know what the hell to do its only 8 wires) if this doesnt help feel free to email me more at ....hmm i dont want to post my email out in the open...il send it to you some how

  7. Dalsan
    June 12, 2012 at 2:49 am

    This circumstance is very strange, but not unbelievable. I don't know if the DNS needs to be flushed or the winsock needs to be repaired, the DNS settings on the computer changed (like changing the settings to use OpenDNS servers) or something else. To flush the dns, open the command prompt with administrator rights and type"ipconfig/ flushdns". Using winsock repair can cause problems.

    • Daniel Adam
      June 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      I'll make sure to try this the next time it happens. Thanks.

    • Daniel Adam
      June 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Well, this is interesting.

      The issue in question happened yet again tonight, and I was trying out some of the suggestions that I've received in this thread, with no success, until I got to yours.
      I had the internet connected directly to my computer (the one that's unaffected). I entered the command you mentioned, just like you said, and then I plugged the internet connection back in my router. To my surprise, it seems to have worked. Either that, or that was an incredible coincidence.
      The internet works just fine now, both on the two computers concerned, as well as on the router.

      I can't thank you enough for having helped me out with this.

      Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, but given how stressful this problem has been, I have to ask, what exactly was the nature of this issue? I'm not too knowledgeable on networking, and I literally have no idea what I just did here. Some elaboration would be really appreciated.

      • Bruce Epper
        June 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        When you use the internet, you generally are using human-friendly names for websites. Computers don't understand those. Instead, they use a dotted-quad address (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) to identify the machine on the network.

        Your computer uses a DNS resolver (generally just called a resolver) to translate those human names to IP addresses. As your resolver gets this information from the DNS servers, it caches the responses for future use. If an address is in its cache, it does not need to issue another DNS query for subsequent accesses; it will just pull out the address that was returned previously. This makes subsequent request to the same webserver faster since it does not need to query the DNS server again.

        Sometimes this cache can become corrupted and can cause unpredictable results when accessing the web. The ipconfig /flushdns command dumps the entire contents of your resolver's DNS cache so that all requests for DNS name resolution will result in a query to your DNS server. The resolver will begin building its cache again as it gets responses to it's requests.

      • DalSan
        June 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        To be honest, I'm not very well versed with networking, either. I was giving a suggestion that is so simple that it is often overlooked as it doesn't seem to be looked at often enough. I was thinking that if the other suggestions either didn't work or is running you around in circles even though they were viable troubleshooting ideas, why not give a little extra knowledge that I had from a different experience using OpenDNS, which was to flush the DNS after changing the settings for blocking websites. It rebuilds the numbers associated with the websites like as that is the web address, whereas we use letters and words to type in. Bruce explains it better, as he usually does, lol, but I was taking a chance on a path less taken. I have many times thought things through too hard only to find simple things to work while almost everything else lead me to the same standing point, not fixed. Glad everything seems to be working as it should now, and hopefully it doesn't show its ugly self again.

        Just as another suggestion, if the internet seems to slow down again but not as bad, or even just as part of "doing cleaning" so to speak, just flush the dns again. It won't harm anything, really, but I wouldn't do it too often, either.

        P.S. Sorry for the late reply. More times than not, the email notifications doesn't send my way very often, and gets hard to keep up with all the other questions that come in.

        • Daniel Adam
          July 3, 2012 at 12:42 am

          I owe a big thanks to you and Bruce for taking the time to explain this issue in greater detail. And again, thanks a lot for the fix.

          This question is resolved now.

  8. Shehan Nirmal
    June 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    The problem must be with the router. Just change the router and try connecting...

  9. Mike DeGeorge
    June 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Sometimes freaky things happen. Example: I couldn't uninstall Java and I couldn't get to certain sites on my desktop at times...I unplugged the router for 10 seconds and plugged it back in. Everything worked perfectly. Try rebooting your router.

    • Daniel Adam
      June 4, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Thanks for your response.

      First of all, I have tried rebooting the router every time that happened, but to no avail.

      Second of all, and more importantly, whatever is happening with the router is also happening with two of the three computers in my household. I know this, because whenever the issue that I described takes place, I try to plug the internet connection into each of the three computers, and the internet works perfectly fine one of them, where it doesn't work at all on the other two.
      THAT'S my main problem and concern here, and not just the router side of the issue.

  10. Mihovil Pletikos
    June 3, 2012 at 12:04 am

    it is problem with your router it is either broken or you need new firmware... you can try to find original firmware update on manufacturer's website or depending on your router you can try to install openwrt or dd-wrt.... i had the same problem and it went away after i installed openwrt...

  11. Laga Mahesa
    June 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Problem one, gradually reducing speed: The router could be getting old and/or being overloaded with lots of connections. Torrenting does this. A router reboot solves it but it will come back. IF the speed slowdown is only happening on YOUR computer, do a malware and virus scan.

    Problem two, doesn't work at all on the other computers: In order to prevent 'sharing', your service provider locks down the connection by tying it to a specific MAC address (a special 'private' address unique to every device/LAN card). At initial setup, your router copied the MAC address of your computer and pretends to be your computer. Because your other computers have different MAC addresses, the internet connection refuses to play ball and denies access.

    • Daniel Adam
      June 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Thanks for your response.

      To elaborate more. The gradual reduction in speed issue is happening on all the computers that are connected to the router, not just mine.

      Concerning the MAC address, yes, my provider does lock down the internet connection for usage on one MAC only, and I know what it is, and I've used it numerous times in the past to plug the internet connection into one of the three computers in my household that was not the one with the original network card, that the internet connection was set-up on. Suffice it to say, that worked perfectly fine in the past, and it still does to this day, except for when the issue described in my original post is going on.

  12. Dalsan
    June 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    I agree that swapping routers to see if that would help out, and yes first swap when the problem happens to see if your router is having the issues. I would also recommend resetting the router to factory default and start out fresh with the router. I had a problem with my router just stop working completely several times a day, even though it would keep the connection, but no internet. I reset the router and it still happens, just a couple times a week now, not every day.

  13. Alan Wade
    June 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    The first thing I would do is look at the router. If you know someone with a spare router see if you can borrow it and then swap it over when the problem starts.
    That way you can narrow down the possibilities.

  14. Bruce Epper
    June 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    It does not appear to be a problem with your provider. I would suspect something with the local connection or router.

    What happens with your connectivity to the other machines on the network? Can all 3 computers still "talk" to each other or is that hampered as well?

    • Daniel Adam
      June 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you all for your responses, but it seems that I didn't make myself entirely clear as to what my problem is.

      The router is irrelevant in this story. Whenever the event that I described in the original post happens, I take the internet connection from my provider out of my router, and I plug it directly into each of the three computers in my household, one at a time, and the result is always the same: the internet functions perfectly on one of the computers, but it does not function at all on the other two.

      • Achraf Almouloudi
        June 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

        Problem is clear that the other two computers got their Ethernet card deactivated or broken so first check out if the icon light in connection on your system or it doesn't exist, could you let me know if it is a laptop or desktop and what is your operating system on the not working computers so I can better assist you .

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