Stupid question, but AEBS is a router, correct?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Michael CM1, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I've been dealing with a dang conundrum ever since I moved into my house a couple of years ago. As more and more stuff is downloaded -- software, games, music -- this becomes more troublesome.

    I have 6.0 Mbps DSL service through Windstream. The speed is always fine. But the trouble comes when I am downloading one thing -- say a music album -- and want to do anything else. It's as if the download I already have going tells everything else, "Wait your turn!" I cannot ever remember this being an issue when I lived with my parents and was on BellSouth/AT&T.

    The reason I ask about the AEBS is because I just want to make sure I'm not crazy. I mean a router is supposed to handle exactly what I'm talking about above, but it doesn't seem like it is. For a while I thought it was my setup, and I found out last year that my DSL modem/gateway had been handling some of these duties. It also had a wireless access point enabled by default. I think I have finally turned it into nothing but a gateway that sends all data to my AEBS.

    So if anybody knows a path forward on checking this, I would love some help. I got a two-year degree in networking back a decade ago, so this is quite frustrating. I even tried to figure out whether I could use the AEBS as a gateway to eliminate the frackin' 2wire product, but that didn't end well.
  2. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    Am I interpreting you correctly when you say one download on your computer seems to block other downloads on that same computer? That's how I'm reading it anyway so I'll answer it that way. :)

    A router does indeed route things - network packets, in this case of course - but it's really the internal network stack in your computer that manages multiple simultaneous downloads on the same computer. The router handles different streams from different computers/devices and shunts packets to their proper destinations.

    If your router supports QoS (Quality of Service - Apple routers do not), you can have the router try to prioritize time-sensitive packets, so that for example your bittorrent client doesn't clog up your web surfing or cause your internet video download to theory, anyway. Consumer routers being what they are (IE: cheap), these things don't always work quite as expected so YMMV, of course.

    Now, if I read you incorrectly, and you're having trouble with one computer hogging all bandwidth from other computers on your network, then you might have a crappy DSL gateway on your hand that doesn't do a good job at routing. You should be able to set it in bridge mode to bypass that bit, and let your AE take over routing duties instead. Access its internal menus and see what you can find, it's usually not that difficult, or at least not for someone with a networking degree. :)

    You may also want to run a bandwidth test to see if there's an issue with your connection, in particular with the upstream performance. If you have very low upstream performance it can be difficult for your computer's network stack to send out acknowledgment packets properly to signal it has received data it was sent, especially if you're also uploading something at the same time (bittorrent......... ;)) Lack of ACKs often have the result of causing downloads to throttle or even die completely, so this might also be worth investigating.
  3. Michael CM1 thread starter macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lenny, I think you've got it. If ANY device on the network is downloading something -- a 5GB game on my Xbox, music on my iPad, an OS update on my iMac -- doing anything else on any device is nearly impossible. If I'm downloading something on iTunes, I cannot play any Xbox games that require a connection to Xbox Live.

    Thus, it has nothing to do with anything in the computer or any device. I also have the phone line cable going into the gateway and an ethernet cable going out to the AEBS. No other cables affecting it aside from power.

    I also don't think uploads are an issue. My service has 768k upload speed, which isn't bad comparatively. It's not T1 speed, but it's better than the 512k it was when I first got the service.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I have turned the DSL gateway into a bridge. I think by default it was trying to route traffic and create a wireless network. But I changed that in the middle of last year with no success.

    The one weird thing I notice in the Gateway admin settings are three ethernet devices listed as local devices aside from my AEBS. There are four ethernet ports on the back, so I wonder if for some reason it is assigning IP addresses to the not-in-use ports. The IP addresses being used are .254.107, .254.109 and .254.101, which is kind of weird because my AEBS distributes them starting with 192.168.1.x. I would dig into the advanced settings -- if I could recall the darn password. I guess a call to Windstream tech support looms.

    I had none of this trouble with my parents using an older AEBS with AT&T DSL. Maybe I can call Windstream and tell them to send me the dumbest router on the planet that does nothing but log me in and do the bidding of my AEBS. Thanks for the advice. It's just hard to figure all these stupid crap products out. Honestly if they all used Cisco's router OS it would probably be easier because that at least made sense to me a decade ago.


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