Slow browsing - Do I need cable broadband? (UK)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by stringtheorist, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. stringtheorist macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #1
    I run an Orange ADSL broadband connection on a 24" iMac OSX with Leopard (using Opera or Firefox). Lately my internet browsing speed has plummeted (currently, download speed is 1918 kb/s and upload is 11 kb/s). Orange website informs me that 2MB is the maximum connection speed on my line (presumably because of BT's outdated infrastructure and distant telephone exchange).

    My question is whether changing my ISP to a cable broadband service is necessary to increase my connection speed, or whether there is anything else I can do to improve the efficiency of my connection? Since I am paying Orange for an 8MB service and only achieving a 1/4 of that, I must at least be able to save money by switching ISPs if unable to improve my connection.
     
  2. Samarium macrumors 6502a

    Samarium

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    @ home.
    #2
    As of now, you're problem is the poor 11 kbit/s you have on upload. Check SpeedTest and post us your results.
     
  3. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #3
    The fastest connection available here is 2Mb, while more is almost always better (genital warts being just one exception), I rarely see quicker than 1.3Mb and that seems enough for general browsing. Are you going to be downloading huge files?

    I'm looking forward to later this year when new equipment will see the service bumped to 8Mb.:)
     
  4. Cabbit macrumors 68020

    Cabbit

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland
    #4
    if you can get virgin in your area though cable i advise it. it is far better than my experiance with adsl. and 22Mb
     
  5. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 1, 2008
    #5
    Those are my results from speedtest.net.
     
  6. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #6
    Until recently I would agree with you (enough for general browsing) so perhaps something else has changed (besides heavy internet traffic) to slow my connection. What could this be, and how would I fix it? I have very few applications running right now (just Firefox, the finder, iChat and my mail program). Could there be an invisible application sucking up my CPU usage?
     
  7. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #7
    This is curious. I have just discovered that the local exchange is right in my town and I should be able to get up to 5MB connection... not the 2MB that Orange stated on their site. What am I to believe? Does the problem lie with my ISP or the BT network?
     
  8. smogsy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #8
    www.bethere.co.uk best isp in uk inmo ive used virgin,tiscali,bulldog,BT

    Be i been with for 2 years now pings are 5ms! and speed of 24MB and 2.5MB Upload yummy and its cheap!
     
  9. duncyboy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    #9
    While it's possible that a badly-running program can affect other services, including net connection, I dunno if that's the problem in your case. Next time you get very slow speeds run Activity Monitor and check your CPU usage.

    Another site to look at would be http://www.broadbandchecker.co.uk/

    Don't pay for 8MB if you're only capable of having 2MB. Save some dosh until your exchange gets a boost. This is a good site for all kinds of local and general info: http://www.samknows.com/broadband/checker2.php

    On the topic of ISP's I recently switched from Tiscali to Be and the difference is like night and day. I was paying for 8MB and getting nowhere near those speeds. Now with Be I get around 5MB on-peak and top 8MB all the time off-peak. Outstanding service.

    EDIT- Smogsy beat me to it :D

    Hope this is of some help :)
     
  10. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #10
    Sadly Be is not yet available in my area.
     
  11. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Communard de Londres
    #11
    Whilst I agree about *be it depends if they have equipment in your exchange if not try: http://www.adsl24.co.uk/

    I suspect a lot of the problem is Orange being a bunch of tossers.

    I see adsl24 also offer adsl2+ the same as *be but almost certainly they also will not have enabled your exchange.I was referring to the 8mb service they're good and on a 1 month contract there's not a lot to lose.
     
  12. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #12
    My experience with Orange is that you pay them 50p per second to tell them that their bloody server isn't working properly and shuts down your connection all the time. And that they insist its a problem with your Macintosh when the ADSL router does all the connecting on its own and doesn't give a damn whether it is connected to a Mac, PC, Linux box, washing machine or any combination of those.

    I'll be an ex-Orange customer hopefully two days from now; I'll probably post whether O2 is any better (at least they make the same promises for half the price, and they don't charge if you need to call them).
     
  13. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #13
    Your Mac has nothing, nothing at all to do with the speed of the connection. When people say they have a "2 MB" connection, it is actually 2 Mb = two Megabit = 250,000 bytes per second. That doesn't put the slightest amount of pressure on your Mac. What happens is that if there are problems between the exchange and your ADSL modem, there will be errors which the ADSL modem will fix by requesting the data again (slows down), disconnections when there are too many errors, and things slow down anyway because Orange made too many promises to too many people and cannot actually deliver the data.

    If there is a sudden change in quality, it could be because you bought a new phone which interferes with ADSL, or the connector isn't plugged in properly, or some idiot from the council laid a power cable just besides the phone cable; lots of reasons like this. Or Orange just can't handle millions of people watching Dr. Who on iPlayer.
     
  14. Wayne s macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Orange broadband does seem to be up and down some days, before they took over wanadoo my connection was more stable. On the whole its still quite good for me.
     
  15. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #15
    Well I talked this through with Orange Tech Support this morning and it was suggested that the problem might be down to running a splitter box off the ADSL filter into which was connected my main landline and an extension. When I removed the splitter there was an improvement in that whereas before I was unable to get any website to load up I could now load pages... but slowly. As the day has gone on there has been scant change and it is clear that either my internet connection or my browsers (all of them) are no longer functioning correctly. What to do about it I really have no idea. :(
     
  16. kaiwai macrumors 6502a

    kaiwai

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Christchurch
    #16
    Create a new user, log in as it, and see if it makes a difference. I'd say that 9/10, its the ISP's fault :D
     
  17. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #17
    OK, tried a new user account and logged in but it made no difference to browsing speed.
     
  18. kaiwai macrumors 6502a

    kaiwai

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Christchurch
    #18
    I'd say then your ISP is crap, ring them up, give them the sermon on the mount and look for other places to take your business.
     
  19. Amdahl macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    #19
    That's not strictly true in all cases, although in this case the Mac is not the likely problem. Your TCP settings do impact the delivered speed of the connection, including speed tests. For general cases, OS 10.4.6+ or 10.5 have very decent defaults, although I usually increase the TCP receive window on 10.4.x.
     
  20. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #20
    My mother lives just up the road (on the same exchange) and has a Windows Vista system running broadband with Waitrose.com. She's pulling 6.1MB download and 3.7MB upload speeds! Unless I'm overlooking something, mine has gotta be an ISP fault, no? Otherwise, is it possible my system has been changed (hijacked?) in some way to account for the slowdown?
     
  21. synner macrumors member

    synner

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    Preston, UK
    #21

    Hi,

    Are you sure about the 5.3MB upload .. :eek: No ISP in the UK offers this at present..

    You deffo have a "Pants Provider" problem. Change ISP ASAP.

    2 - 3 Years ago I would have recommended cable but not now, they are rapidly becoming a joke.
    They used to offer unlimited data transfer with no restrictions, now you get speed managed throughout the day and evening. They are also experimenting with "Phorm" which is basically spyware at the network level. They are also having capacity issues which led to me leaving earlier this year (maximum 400kb/s on a 20Mb broadband connection).

    You could check out some of the LLU providers to see if they offer services in your area (o2, sky, *be etc)

    HTH

    Bri
     
  22. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #22
    Pardon my ignorance... what's LLU?

    The upload speed was 3.7MB... Sorry.
     
  23. kaiwai macrumors 6502a

    kaiwai

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Christchurch
    #23
    Local Loop Unbundle.

    Third parties who lease the line off the line owner and resell it to you, and it uses its own equipment in the exchange. I'd still talk to the ISP - at the end of the day, its their responsibility to solve the problem not yours.

    All I can suggest is do a clean install of MacOS X - if that doesn't fix it, then you might need to check up. Have you also checked whether your modem a firmware update?
     
  24. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #24
    "Just up the road" can make an awful lot of difference. For example, between her home and yours the cable could be bent a bit too sharp around some corner, or it goes a bit close to a power cable, or some digger came a bit close to it. It's the quality and the length of the cable between the exchange and your home, and how much noise it gets from the outside, that determines the line speed.

    Anyway, the connection speed is negotiated between the ISP and your ADSL modem. There is _nothing_ that the Mac or Windows can do about it. If you have a MacBook, take it to her home and plug it in; you will get exactly the same speeds as she gets. If she has a laptop, take it to your home, and it will slow down to your speed.

    Anyway, I am switched from Orange to O2 now. £12.50 a month (£7.50 if you are a phone customer), "up to 8 MBit" which turns out to be 2 MBit for me, "unlimited" which is probably 10 or 30 GB but nobody can or will tell you; plenty to download the occasional iPhone SDK. The important thing is: It works with no interruptions at all (so far). I never cared too much about the speed, but if you don't have a stable connection, that is really really annoying. Are you just concerned that your number "2 MBit" is less than your mother's "6 MBit" or are there things that are running too slow? Very often it would be the server (like if MacRumors takes 10 seconds to reply then it doesn't matter how fast your line is); in my case it was bloody Orange disconnecting every five minutes. You could open "Activity Monitor", switch to "Network" and check how much data is actually transmitted and whether it comes anywhere close to 2 MBit = 250 Kilobyte per second.

    Your Mac does _not_ influence whether your line has 2 MBit or 3 MBit per second. What the computer can do is to influence how efficient these 2 or 3 MBit per second are used. You _could_ probably set up a Mac to run very slowly even with 8 MBit per second, but the line would still be 8 MBit.
     
  25. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #25
    Cable connections are much more prone to slow downs and general lag, especially during peak times. That is because all people in your street/area are sharing bandwidth (assuming they are on the same network provider).

    ASDL connections, you are not sharing bandwidth, so in theory you should get full speed at all times.

    I'm on a 2MB Virgin Media connection (been long awaiting the free upgrade to 8MB) and during peak times, I can only download at 60kb/s. Pretty crap.

    Bare in mind though that ISP's are cracking down on bandwidth hogs - I've fallen victim to this many a time. Virgin will wind me down to a 0.3MB connection between 4pm and 10pm because I download a lot.
     

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