G4 Sawtooth, DSL/25 capping out at 8-9 Mbps

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
I'm on a G4 Sawtooth with processor upgraded to 1.4 GHz running 10.4.11, 1.75 GB RAM, stock 10/100 ethernet card, wired connection to modem (no Wifi).

My ISP just upgraded my DSL to 25 mpbs (from 5 mbps), but the highest speed I can get is around 8-9 mbps down (a year ago I had the 15 mbps service and then too the most I got was 9 mbps, but I never questioned it at the time). The ISP technician was in yesterday to upgrade the wiring in the wall, and while I was only getting a maximum of 9 or so on the speedtest at speakeasy.net, his computer, also wired to my modem, was getting 26, so the slowdown would appear to be originating not in the connection itself or the modem, but in my G4. (I am getting 4-5 mbps up, btw.)

The fellow at a local used Mac store (which no longer sells or supports PowerPC-era hardware or software) basically said, when I described my problem, "What do you expect? Your hardware and software are years out of date..." and that they basically can't keep up with current speeds, but he obviously had no patience for anyone still happily and productively using their G4 (not to mention a vested interest in guiding anyone he speaks to towards a newer system...). Is there any truth whatsoever to the claim that a G4 running Tiger cannot get speeds greater than 8-9 mbps down on a faster DSL line?

Interestingly, the poster in this question: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1621146/
also mentions a much faster DSL line capping out mysteriously at 8 Mbps (though he does not come back to say if he ever solved the mystery of what was causing it).

Anyone have any idea what might be causing this, and how I can fix it? I've looked through a number of posts here, and subsequently checked various Network settings in my System Prefs which people mentioned as being possible contributors to internet speed issues, but they were all set appropriately. Any particular reason why different people would find their internet capping out at 8-9 Mbps?

Thanks in advance for any clues, suggestions, and/or solutions!
 

ctmpkmlec4

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2014
373
36
Lyons, KS
Although the hardware should be capable of 100 Mbps, I bet there is some truth to what your local Mac guy said. Make sure you're using at least a Cat 5 cable to connect between the Mac and your router/switch. These Macs were built in a time when 1.5 Mbps was blazing fast. 8 or 9 isn't so bad. How many devices share your bandwidth?
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
Yeah, I'm using a Cat 5e cable to connect the G4 to the modem. After reading http://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/bjc-cat-network-cable-quality-interview though, it seems like it wouldn't hurt to try out another cable or two.

The bandwidth is not shared with any other device, just the G4.

Although the hardware should be capable of 100 Mbps, I bet there is some truth to what your local Mac guy said
If that is the case, though, I think I'd be seeing way more people raising this issue in forums such as this than I have so far. I mean, DSL speeds of 25 and 50 Mbps are not uncommon by any means these days, and there are still plenty of people using old PowerPCs like mine, but I really haven't come across many posts on the subject in the searches (using obvious keywords) I've done. So far there have been 70 views of this page, and only one response. If this was a known and common issue with old hardware/software such as mine, might we not expect even a handful of replies from others who had "been there and suffered that," if only to say that it happened to them as well, but there's nothing to be done, you can't push this PowerPC beast further than he's able to crawl?

The absence of posts on the subject just leads me to think that it's something about my own specific hardware or system that is causing the issue, rather than the inability of PowerPCs running Tiger to keep up with the (faster) times.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
3,674
3,516
Lincolnshire, UK
You could try disabling the IPv6 config in the network preferences - it sometimes speeds things along?
It's maybe worth investigating all the config settings in the modem/router - there might be defaults that haven't been set to accommodate older hardware.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
478
Elkton, Maryland
If this was a known and common issue with old hardware/software such as mine, might we not expect even a handful of replies from others who had "been there and suffered that," if only to say that it happened to them as well, but there's nothing to be done, you can't push this PowerPC beast further than he's able to crawl?
Does your modem have link activity lights? Are they indicating 10 Mbps speed, 100 Mbps, or Gigabit speed?
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
Have you a PCI card gap?
Why not take a cheap Gigabit Ethernet card ?

Gigabit Ethernet PCI cards compatible article from banned Zen

Thank you for that link! That's the first thing I've read where the person clearly identifies the stock Sawtooth 10/100 ethernet card as the culprit (note: read "MB" as "Mbps" in the following):

I am the proud owner of several Sawtooths; these were the last PowerMac to have 10/100 ethernet.

I bought two Trendnet TEG-PCITXR PCI gigabit ethernet cards for only $12 each on ebay.

After further testing I have found that these cards do work under 10.4.11. I had one working on both my G4 upgraded G3 tower, and one of my spare Sawtooth. Both were running 10.4.11.

I have been using the two cards under 10.5 for over a year and they offer very reliable and consistent performance. I get around 27MB/sec on average, and up to 34MB/sec when transfering between my two Sawtooth. Far better than the 4-11MB/sec I get on the built in 10/100.
So I guess that's it; I need to get a gigabit ethernet card! (Unless anyone here can tell me that they are getting speeds of up to 25 Mbps with the Sawtooth's stock 10/100 ethernet card...)


To the other responders: I don't have any other connected machines here besides the G4, so I can't check the speeds I get with those. I have tried adjusting settings everywhere: no change. My modem doesn't seem to have lights for 10/100/gigabit. But thank you for the suggestions!
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,886
380
Inside
The 4-11 megabytes per second as quoted below is the normal maximum speeds of 100 megabit Ethernet, such as that within the Sawtooth. The 27-34 megabytes per second is the maximum of the PCI bus when used with the stated card.

A Sawtooth's standard built in 100 megabit Ethernet is able to fully utilize your 25 megabit internet connection. If you are only getting 8-9 megabits, you have a problem with either the machine, connection, modem, or other networking equipment. In summery, a gigabit Ethernet card is unlikely to correct your problem unless your logicboard is starting to fail.
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
The 4-11 megabytes per second as quoted below is the normal maximum speeds of 100 megabit Ethernet, such as that within the Sawtooth. The 27-34 megabytes per second is the maximum of the PCI bus when used with the stated card.

A Sawtooth's standard built in 100 megabit Ethernet is able to fully utilize your 25 megabit internet connection. If you are only getting 8-9 megabits, you have a problem with either the machine, connection, modem, or other networking equipment. In summery, a gigabit Ethernet card is unlikely to correct your problem unless your logicboard is starting to fail.
Many thanks for that clarification! I originally read the material I quoted correctly as MB/sec (as written) rather than Mbps, but then decided he must have meant Mbps, since that maximum of "4-11" accords with my experience in Mbps.

So if both my DSL connection and modem (both proven capable of at least 25 Mbps by the technician's speedtest results here using his computer with my modem) are both operating as expected, and my networking settings have all been adjusted for optimal speeds, and there is no other networking or computer equipment involved (just the G4 and the DSL modem), how would I go about identifying the source of the problem? If the problem is definitely with my G4, what steps can I take now to figure out what it is?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
478
Elkton, Maryland
Many thanks for that clarification! I originally read the material I quoted correctly as MB/sec (as written) rather than Mbps, but then decided he must have meant Mbps, since that maximum of "4-11" accords with my experience in Mbps.

So if both my DSL connection and modem (both proven capable of at least 25 Mbps by the technician's speedtest results here using his computer with my modem) are both operating as expected, and my networking settings have all been adjusted for optimal speeds, and there is no other networking or computer equipment involved (just the G4 and the DSL modem), how would I go about identifying the source of the problem? If the problem is definitely with my G4, what steps can I take now to figure out what it is?
Look at your modem and determine it the link activity lights signify the 10 Mbps speed or 100 Mbps speed? Do you have another machine you can swap in to verify that the port and cable are working properly? It only takes one bad twist to damage the end of the cable causing it to not function at full speed.
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
I went out and picked up a new Cat 5e cable. The results are no better than before (in fact, down speed is much worse!):

Download Speed: 4244 kbps (530.5 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 6698 kbps (837.3 KB/sec transfer rate)


I don't see any lights that indicate 10 or 100 mbps speed, and my ISP tech says the modem has no such indicator light.

Any other ideas?
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
Test it with a different machine of similar age.
Alas, in my present location and circumstances, that would not be very easy to do.

But just so I am clear: is there any reason why a properly functioning Sawtooth G4 running 10.4.11, with stock 10/100 ethernet card and an undamaged Cat 5e cable, should not be able to download at 25 Mbps if that speed is achieved by other computers connected to the same modem (as was insinuated by staff at a used Mac resale store)?
 
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Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
478
Elkton, Maryland
Alas, in my present location and circumstances, that would not be very easy to do.

But just so I am clear: is there any reason why a properly functioning Sawtooth G4 running 10.4.11, with stock 10/100 ethernet card and an undamaged Cat 5e cable, should not be able to download at 25 Mbps if that speed is achieved by other computers connected to the same modem (as was insinuated by staff at a used Mac resale store)?

You could have improper software settings.
 

ctmpkmlec4

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2014
373
36
Lyons, KS
One thing you may not be considering is the path data packets take between your computer and whatever server is being used for testing your bandwidth.

I pay for a 50 Mbps pipe from Cox Communications. Here are three test results from two different computers on the same network. Both of them directly connected to my router with Cat5e cables. The first is my G4 Gigabit Ethernet tested @ MyBandwidthPlace, the second is my Windows 7 PC tested @ Speedtest, and the third is the same Windows 7 PC tested @ MyBandwidthPlace. The reason a different site is used for the Mac is because Speedtest.net utilizes Flash to run the test, and I wanted to use the same site to test each computer as a control. The tests on my Windows 7 PC were run just a couple of minutes apart and notice how one shows a ~50 Mbps download speed, while the other test ran on the same computer shows a download speed of ~10 Mbps. Why the difference in reported download speed? The only difference that immediately comes to mind is that Speedtest.net used a test server based in Hays, KS, while MyBandwidthPlace used a test server based in Chicago, IL.
 

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goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,077
1,096
Is your modem capable of those speeds? Modems have maximum speeds. The problem might not be between your computer and your modem.

Edit: Ah, I saw someone else was getting higher speeds on the same modem. Did he connect via ethernet or USB?
 

SlCKB0Y

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2012
3,139
203
Sydney, Australia
So I guess that's it; I need to get a gigabit ethernet card! (Unless anyone here can tell me that they are getting speeds of up to 25 Mbps with the Sawtooth's stock 10/100 ethernet card...)
I dont get it? If your NIC *is* actually connecting at 100mbit, then that is ample bandwidth to handle a 25mbit WAN connection...

Open up a terminal and run "ifconfig"

Look for your ethernet interface - it will contain something like "media: autoselect (100baseT <full-duplex>)" if you are connected at full speed.

Rerun your speed test and check CPU and disk I/O utilisation whilst the test is happening - if one of those if high, it could be bottlenecking your transfer (i.e if your speedtest is flash-based, you could be maxing CPU before maxing out your net connection, giving you an artificially low result).
 
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ctmpkmlec4

macrumors 6502
Jul 4, 2014
373
36
Lyons, KS
Is your modem capable of those speeds? Modems have maximum speeds. The problem might not be between your computer and your modem.

Edit: Ah, I saw someone else was getting higher speeds on the same modem. Did he connect via ethernet or USB?
I have a DOCSIS 3.0 Modem/Gateway provided by Cox.
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
One thing you may not be considering is the path data packets take between your computer and whatever server is being used for testing your bandwidth.

I pay for a 50 Mbps pipe from Cox Communications. Here are three test results from two different computers on the same network. Both of them directly connected to my router with Cat5e cables. The first is my G4 Gigabit Ethernet tested @ MyBandwidthPlace, the second is my Windows 7 PC tested @ Speedtest, and the third is the same Windows 7 PC tested @ MyBandwidthPlace. The reason a different site is used for the Mac is because Speedtest.net utilizes Flash to run the test, and I wanted to use the same site to test each computer as a control. The tests on my Windows 7 PC were run just a couple of minutes apart and notice how one shows a ~50 Mbps download speed, while the other test ran on the same computer shows a download speed of ~10 Mbps. Why the difference in reported download speed? The only difference that immediately comes to mind is that Speedtest.net used a test server based in Hays, KS, while MyBandwidthPlace used a test server based in Chicago, IL.
I just wrote out a long response that was vaporized when I went to post and found I was no longer logged in here. So here's the short version:

I tried DLing a bunch of well-seeded torrents this evening, and got close to 15 Mbps (and could perhaps have gotten even more...), so I'm clearly not getting reliable results from online tests based on java or flash or even html5, and I'm not alone in that, it seems:

http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/102511-internet-speed-test-without-flash

I couldn't get the speedtest at MyBandwidthPlace.net to load, speedtest.net and speakeasy.net won't rate me at more than 9 Mbps, and even the ones that are linked to at the spiceworks page above give very low or wildly variable results. Anyone know of any online non-Java, non-Flash speedtests that will give reliable results on a G4 running Tiger?

Thanks again for all your responses!
 

asph

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 24, 2014
16
0
Canada
Turns out I had the full 25 Mbps capability the whole time, even though no speed test site showed results anywhere near that on my machine!

Still happy on my G4/Tiger!
 

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