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These are the network specifications:

  • 6 desktops, all with Windows XP Professional SP2
  • 3 of these desktops have wireless cards
  • 3 of them are connected through Ethernet cable to router
  • Router: LinkSys WRT54G
  • Bill says "3 Megas Broadband service"
  • Recent Speedtest.net test: 10 ms ping, 2.9 Mbps download speed, 1.5 Mbps upload speed.

The problem: internet connection is slow (none of these computers use a lot of bandwidth), and sometimes there is no connection for a couple of minutes, and a router reboot is necessary to get it working again.

The diagnosis given by the internet provider guy: the router is saturated.

The solution: you tell me :P Buy a new router? Keep the router and buy a switch? Tweak the router?

Thanks!

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closed as off topic by Grant, Jacob, HopelessN00b, MadHatter, mdpc Apr 5 '13 at 19:40

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That smells fishy. If there's only 6 desktops on the router, I'd be very, very surprised if the router was "saturated." That's kind of a ridiculous answer, if you ask me. How fast is your connection to the outside world, and what kind of internet is it? –  David W Apr 5 '13 at 17:10
    
@DavidW, i've updated the original post. –  l19 Apr 5 '13 at 17:17
    
That Linksys is pretty ancient by now... –  Michael Hampton Apr 5 '13 at 18:00
    
@l19 - Is this a professional environment (office, company, etc.) or a home environment? –  voretaq7 Apr 5 '13 at 18:01
    
@voretaq7: it's a small office. –  l19 Apr 5 '13 at 18:03
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1 Answer 1

Based on the fact that you're on the right site (you're working on a network in a professional environment, even if the equipment isn't really "professional-grade"), I'd suggest you do the Right Thing -- Replace that Linksys.

I can't tell you if your router is "saturated" or not based on what you've told us, but it's definitely old, and subjectively kind of a lousy device in terms of monitoring and statistics so tracking down the actual problem is going to be tough.

**

I would replace the Linksys with two devices:

  1. A good quality gigabit Ethernet switch
    (You don't have to break the bank, but go for at least 16 ports, and a "managed" switch of some kind)
  2. A good-quality dedicated router.
    This can be a Cisco device, or if you're on a tight budget a pfSense install on a dedicated machine with gigabit NICs can do the job.

The benefit here is twofold:

  • You'll have good equipment, and probably an easier time getting support.
  • You'll get better diagnostics with a dedicated router and a managed switch, so you can determine where bottlenecks are coming from (a local machine spewing junk traffic, or a saturated upstream connection)
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What about the internet connection speed? Should I request an upgrade to 6 megabytes? Or 10? –  l19 Apr 5 '13 at 18:29
    
@l19 That depends on if you're saturating your upstream connection (which I don't think your Linksys router could tell you, but your ISP could). If after installing a router that gives you some useful traffic information you see that your upstream connection is saturated, yes - you may need to upgrade (or identify the person chewing up the bandwidth and if it's not legitimate use of the network make them knock it off). If your upstream connection is not saturated a bigger pipe won't help. –  voretaq7 Apr 5 '13 at 18:34
    
I don't quite understand what you mean. Why should I care about the upstream connection? Shouldn't I worry about the downloading speed? –  l19 Apr 5 '13 at 19:16
    
Also, you said I should get a Cisco router. Is the brand TP Link as good as Cisco? –  l19 Apr 5 '13 at 19:18
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