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Confusion About Internet Connection

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I am using an Airport Extreme (b/g) wireless home network. The Airport Base station is connected to a Surfboard 4100 cable modem via Comcast. My "average" connection speed is around 4,800kbps download and 320kbps upload, until yesterday. I contacted Comcast to explore the "slow" speeds. According to Comcast, my service package should be providing me with a speed of 8,000-10,000kbps download and 738 kbps upload. The tech claims that the connection up to the modem is "outstanding." After checking/replacing all cable connections between the modem and the Airport and noticed no change I upgraded my Motorola Modem to the Surfboard 5101 model. I noticed a significant speed increase for the uploads - increase from about 320kbps to over 2,100kbps, however there was no change at all for the download speed which stayed just around 5,000kbps.

 

I have reset the Airport Base station, deleted all network/airport preferences, made sure Safari cache, cookies etc. were all cleared out and I even by passed the Airport Base station by connecting the Cable modem via ethernet cable directly to the computer - speed tests and results remained the same, just as I was getting via the wireless.

 

I was wondering, what would cause/prevent the "download" speed to remain "slow" when the "upload" speed showed such a significant increase after I upgraded the modem and help from Comcast. Is there something in the OS network software and/or Airport Base Station configuration restricting the download (speed). I just can't figure out why, if the upload speed showed such a significant increase, the download speed remained the same. I did contact Apple tech support just to see if they could offer an explanation - they could not.

 

Thank you in advance for any suggestions, comments or recommendations.

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Here's a theory, though, I may be totally off the mark. Upload is a sporadic circumstance, for decent sized files, it generally takes a conscious act to invoke. Most people are downloading something almost all the time. While the connection inside the house isn't shared, the connection between you and Comcasts routers or switches (whatever?) is shared with everybody between you and Comcast. I would assume they have a somewhat distributed network. If you have a lot of people online in your path, they use some of the available bandwidth all the time.

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Here's a theory, though, I may be totally off the mark. Upload is a sporadic circumstance, for decent sized files, it generally takes a conscious act to invoke. Most people are downloading something almost all the time. While the connection inside the house isn't shared, the connection between you and Comcasts routers or switches (whatever?) is shared with everybody between you and Comcast. I would assume they have a somewhat distributed network. If you have a lot of people online in your path, they use some of the available bandwidth all the time.

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Thanks for your reply - since my posting, Comcast has been to the house three times and I ruled out any issue with my computer. My service remains the same and Comcast is at a loss as to the problem. They now feel there is an issue with a "node" (?), they will be monitoring my connection for a few days to see if they can narrow down the issue.

 

My latest issue, which I didn't have before the upgraded internet service is with iChat. I am constantly loosing my audio and video quality. One moment they are both at 100% then drop to 0 %, first the audio then the video. A brief time later they are both back to 100%. Apple did recomment an iChad bandwidth limit to 500kbps which seemed to work, but the Apple Tech was dumbfounded why the reduction would ease my problem. So basically I am back to square one with my Internet speed and now have to figure out what's going on with my iChat which worked fine before Comcast increased the service to their 8meg service.

 

Again, thanks for your reply and I welcome any and all further suggestions and/or recommendations.

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My semi-wild theory may be correct. When I talked about router/switch/whatever, the whatever was a node. It's all part of the network infrastructure. I believe that Comcast really doesn't have sufficient infrastructure to support our broadband needs here in the Twin Cities and the techs just haven't figured it out. The Internet is NOT a series of tubes but tubes aren't a terrible analogy at the home user level. Only so much data can be pushed through nodes.

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Thanks. I think you are correct about the Comcast infrastructure - they are trying to offer different levels of service, but haven't figured out how to adequately control the access. I think what's going on is that by restircting my service to the subscribed level, the affect is that the control mechanism is actually restricting my usage. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I don't think this will ever get resolved.

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