Is half of the internet broken or something?

I know that’s a weird way to put it, but I don’t understand what’s going on with my Internet connection. It’s like half of the internet is working fine and the other is slow as molasses, and on the same sites, even. I’m trying to preview songs on iTunes, and half of them play right away, and the other half stall every 3 seconds. Same with videos on YouTube and Funny or Die. What would cause that?

An unstable internet connection on your end? A bad wireless signal? Too much interference? The fallout from Japan?

Packet loss. Could be anywhere along the path between your PC and the web servers. or will generally tell you if there’s a large scale outage somewhere.

If you aren’t wireless, and are using DSL, it’s likely a bad phone line or connector. Try replacing cables. Heck, even if it’s not DSL, try replacing cables. That’s always the first thing to try for this sort of thing (after resetting the modem).

Also, you may want to call your ISP and see if they are having problems. It may not be on your end.

March Madness, maybe?

There has been an intermittent problem with nodes in the Eastern U.S., particularly NYC and Atlanta, through which much of the Internet’s packet traffic passes. (A friend has a reseller account with Host9, one of the major server-host/domain-name purveyors, and gets reports on this sort of thing from time to time.

Things seem to be working fine tonight, but after posting the OP last night I ran some tests at… The tests in Madison and Chicago were fine, 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. But when I tried the server in San Francisco, it was more like 500 Kbps down. And though the ping times were fine, it took a really long time before it began the download and upload tests. So I’m thinking Polycarp’s explanation is the answer.

I’ve had this happen when one of the ISP-specified DNS servers was wonky. Try changing the DNS servers to something different, such as or the ones from Open DNS or Google.