Help with internet speed for a friend, some ideas, please.

I have a friend who is being tortured by her internet speed and we’re trying to figure out what in the world could be the issue.1

It’s intermittent, and she has struggled with it on DSL and Cable both.

She’s Mac (as am I), and yesterday, for other reasons, she bought a brand spankin’ new iMac, and when she logged on… sloooooooooooow.

She’s currently on TIme Warner with TurboBoost (as am I), but as I say, she was complaining about the same issues when she was on DSL.

She lives in the foothills near Universal City, which is a very heavily networked neighborhood.

Now that she’s switched from DSL to cable, and she has a brand new computer to boot, I’m really stumped as to why she might be having these issues or what to look at to try and solve them.

Any ideas?

Is she using the same wireless router, if so try changing the wireless channel.

How does it work if she plugs in via Ethernet connection?

The first thing to check is whether it’s a bandwidth or connectivity issue. Do you know how to do a continuous ping test? I’m not sure how to do it on a Mac, but on a PC the command is “Ping -t”

You should see replies with consistent numbers. Variability in the reply times (more than a ten percent or so) implies a crappy connection. Dropped packets are bad.

when you get DSL you get a dedicated bandwidth to your ISP. the ISP could have issues or the path after that.

with cable you have a shared path from your house to your ISP and the path after that.

high traffic on shared paths is intermittent.

It doesn’t sound like it could be anything on her computer(s), UNLESS she’s doing the same thing on both to slow her down… IE: torrenting lots of movies and also allowing other people huge bandwidth to download files from her.

Odd that the same thing happens with both DSL and Cable. Maybe the wiring in her house is really bad?

Has she called TWC and had a tech out to take a look?

I had a problem like this. Turns out that there is an issue with dns prefetching on Macintosh. Google around for it. The fix is to replace the DNS server entry with something like OpenDNS.

I had the same problem with my DSL, and it turned out to be a phone line quality problem. Specifically, it was the plug inside my house. My dad (who used to be an TV repairman) spliced a new connector, and the problem went away.

Eventually, though, the phone line between the surge protector and the modem went bad, and I had the exact same problem again. I solved it by plugging my modem directly into the wall (though dad’s splice, of course).

On a Mac, you would go to Terminal and type:


The ping is continuous by default. Control-C to exit.