Very erratic wireless internet speeds on my alum Macbook

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by bailorg, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. bailorg macrumors member


    Dec 16, 2008
    Got my refurbished macbook last friday and I'm really enjoying it, but I'm somewhat bothered by my very erratic internet speeds. At times, I can get the full 10Mbps that my cable modem is supposed to deliver, but at other times I've tested through as low as 1-2 Mbps. Interestingly my uploading strength seems to stay consistent.

    I generally notice speed dropping gradually during the day, especially if I've downloaded a large amount of data, such as wirelessly transferring gigs of data from my old Dell when I was setting the Macbook up, and yesterday downloading the MacHeist bundle. At it's very worst the computer would momentarily stop connecting to my router, although when it connects, the signal strength has always been the full four bars

    Even after appearing to drop due to overwork/heating, if I move closer to my wireless router, I get back to full speed again.

    My router is a Linksys 802.11g router located in the room directly below mine. I should also note I never had these sorts of problems with my old Dell laptop, which was located in the exact same spot.

    Thanks in advance for the help/advice.
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I've seen/heard of situations where heavy data transfer will cause a router to glitch out and possibly even stop responding (was apparently a big issue with BitTorrent and some routers). But since you can get better speed by moving closer, that doesn't sound like the case.

    It somehow overheating and dropping the transmission power could theoretically cause something like that, but that sounds VERY far-fetched, and unlikely.

    Are you SURE that there's not something else causing this that just happens to coincide with large data transfers? Like some sort of external interference at the time of day you're likely to do large transfers?

    What about other nearby wireless networks? If there are one or more nearby, it's possible that the heavy access on your network is causing the other router to kick in some sort of interference robustness, which in turn is interfering with your network; in that case it would make sense that getting closer to your router would help.

    You could try manually changing your router to a different channel and see if that makes any difference; that would be the way to deal with another network getting in the way...
  3. bailorg thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 16, 2008
    Let me clarify something, this doesn't only happen with large data transfers, the large data transfers just seem to make the problem worse. Even on days I don't do anything particularly heavy, my internet speeds do still tend to go down to the 3-6 Mpbs range, just not the 1-2 Mbps range.

    Also, when I still had my old Dell laptop out on the same desk as I was doing the transfers over the network, the Dell showed no dropoff in internet speed, consistently coming in at 10 Mbps.

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