Calamities Bring Up Broadband Speeds

Who would have thought that I’d get speed ups whenever there is a calamity? I know I shouldn’t be happy,[1] but who wouldn’t? I’ve been downloading at a semi-steady rate of ±100 kiB/s, and have been getting boosts of up to 175 kiB/s on BitTorrent and above 200 kiB/s on linear HTTP downloads.

I’ve posted about this certain speed up last December after the Pacific earthquake that destroyed international underwater communication lines connecting South East Asia. The test result from that entry was already gone, but I have another bookmarked result dating around that time, which probably is just below to what speed I’ve had back then:

TestMy.Net Test Score: 775 kbps or 95 kB/s

And now, during the rage of Egay in this storm season, I get this:

SpeedTest.Net DL: 2275 kb/s UL: 508 kb/s

Amazing, isn’t it? Thinking that I still have that cheapest old myDSL plan, which isn’t NGN yet, advertised at 384 kbps. I think I’ve currently downloaded 2.5 GiB of data within the last 24 hours, not including what my father had on our desktop. Any more ideas on what to leech? I have to get the most out of this before the Sun comes. Heh.

Anyway, are you experiencing this as well? One friend of mine have had comparable results, but not everyone on the same ISP. I really don’t think PLDT has had my connection upgraded yet, for they required me to pass a speed increase application form for old subscribers that I still haven’t done yet.[2]

Test your speed now, and comment below to tell me I’m not the only one who should be happy. ^^

Footnotes:

  1. ^ well, about the calamities
  2. ^ I know, what the hell, right? It should be automatic!

On Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

I think this is the first time I will be reviewing a hardware component. I am just happy that I could again share my Internet connection between my desktop and notebook. I have borrowed a router from my uncle before, but he already took it back for use on their home. I’ve only used [that] one router other than the WRT54GC that I currently am using.

Since the bigger WRT54G has dual antennas, it has an expectable wider signal range[1] than the compact with only one.[2] It provides a high speed Wi-Fi connection of [close to, if not] 54 Mbps with the notebook and the access point approximately 15 meters away from each other,[3] while the compact could only provide approximately 11–24 Mbps under the same conditions even though the Windows XP Wireless Network Connection manager usually reports Very Good signal strength.

That may be a good compensation for its bulkiness, but I have had problems with the Linksys WRT54G when using the BitTorrent protocol.[4] As answered in the µTorrent FAQ, this router[5] has severe problems with P2P applications using a lot of connections. Also answered on the above linked FAQ entry is a fix, which includes installing one of two third-party firmwares. Remember that the router wasn’t mine in the first place. Besides, installing and/or upgrading firmware risks the router being bricked, and add to that the fact the software recommended was made by hardware hackers and wasn’t official.[6]

Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

I have been trying to borrow the router from my uncle again, but he came to our house with a Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 instead. Of course, I was surprised, but I still do not know if he will give me this one or sell it to me.[7] I’ve installed it immediately, and I’ve been testing it using µTorrent with a huge download task and several seeding tasks for three days almost continuously already.

The only problem I’ve had with the Compact Wireless-G Broadband Router is its Static DHCP feature, which should take care of Static IP addresses without configuring the client manually. I really want to utilize the said feature for Port Forwarding since I use BitTorrent and it has to have an open port for incoming connections. The problem is that whenever I place my computer on the list of clients with static IPs, and change the DHCP IP range to something excluding the static IPs, it still gives the client an IP within the DHCP range and not the listed static IP.

With the hopes of having no slowdowns like the experience I’ve had during the WRT54G period, I’ve searched for responses from WRT54GC users on various fora. Thankfully, I’ve found no significant problem other than users trying to get the version 2.0 external antenna to be replaced by a High Gain Antenna. But I still haven’t encountered an unambiguous response to one question[8] I would have asked myself, so I stopped searching and continued testing. Through the past three days of downloading 6 GiB of data, I’ve encountered minor slowdowns more possibly linked to an ISP issue rather than a router issue. The last two afternoons were probably the best evidences I could offer regarding the performance of this product—the download speed reached 85 kB/s[9] when I was connected to a nearby peer. Therefore, no signs of slowdowns due to high amount of connections were exhibited—a sickness, I may say, about the stock WRT54G/GL/GS.

Other features of the Linksys WRT54GC includes [among others]:

  • Compact and portable design: approximately 4″×4″×1″.
  • 4-port wired Ethernet switch; Wireless Access Point for 802.11b/g devices.
  • High security with WPA/WPA2 Personal, Wireless MAC address filter, SPI firewall.

Disclaimer: The above Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 photo was taken from the official product information page without permission.

Update note: Photo from the official Linksys Web site was taken down and replaced with my own shot of the router to avoid copyright issues.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ Our neighbor two houses away across the street claimed to have received my SSID broadcast.
  2. ^ The C in WRT54GC stands for compact; version 1.0 of the compact has no built-in external antenna, only an internal one—I am using a version 2.0.
  3. ^ With concrete and wooden walls, and everything else in between.
  4. ^ And when I say, using, I mean always.
  5. ^ Along with similar routers, WRT54GL and —GS.
  6. ^ But, responses to the alternative firmwares were mostly positive.
  7. ^ I really, really hope for the former.
  8. ^ The question of how it would perform on a lot of connections.
  9. ^ I’m on a 384 kbps connection [as advertised], so my theoretical maximum download speed is 46.875 kB/s.

Internet Connection Problem Resolved?

I would have blogged the buggy Internet connection I was experiencing since December 26 after I heard from my father news about the Taiwan earthquake that damaged undersea communication lines, but it was all over the Philippine Blogosphere with news from Jhay, Yuga, et al. that I decided to stay quiet instead—its no use blogging the same entry all over again.

The early times during the lowered bandwidth period, I ,as well as my friend Jayson, noticed that we could still connect to our ISP, but it cannot resolve host names. I immediately turned my PC on and searched my browsing history for IP addresses. Alas! I found a Google cache URI of my site where Google used its IP address instead of its domain name. Great Google! Since it is a search engine in itself, I immediately searched for a Google cache of OpenDNS—I could not open its homepage in itself as my ISP currently could not resolve its domain name to the IP address—thus a cache is more than sufficient. My [and Jayson’s] DNS issues are resolved.

Though I sometimes experience the reduced bandwidth and intermittent disconnections, I guess it’s still enough to say that it could have gotten worse than that, and I still feel somehow satisfied. But after reading Euri’s recent rant about crappy Internet connections from a café, I decided to test my own connection.

Results from testmy.net

I was shocked with the results considering I was downloading bittorrent files at 30-40 kBps, I’m on PLDT‘s slowest myDSL, plan 999, and test results from testmy.net prior to this one never reached 400 kbps! I even tried the Speakeasy Speed Test but got these lower but similar results from its Seattle, WA server:

Last Result:
Download Speed: 502 kbps (62.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 114 kbps (14.3 KB/sec transfer rate)

I really can’t tell whether or not I am the only one experiencing this, but I know the intermittent connections would likely last for several weeks. Was it really resolved so fast this time?