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October 13, 2008 / davebirss

Farewell to my slow broadband glitch

For the last few months I’ve been really irritated with my ‘broadband’ connection. It’s felt like 1997 dial-up. And the frustration that it’s caused has probably shaved a few months off my life.

First of all, I blamed Virgin Media. It’s no secret how I feel about them. So I called them up ready to have a ruck – only to be put through to one of the loveliest and most helpful dudes I’ve ever come across in a call centre. He didn’t treat me like an idiot/PC user. Instead, he ran me through a few tests and patiently explained what the tests were actually doing. We discovered that the issue wasn’t with their own connection. It lay either with my wireless router or my Mac.

So I did some more research and found that wireless frequencies are suffering from increasing amounts of radio interference. I can often see about 20 available networks and I live across the road from a big office – so that could have been the issue. Not much I could do about that. But my wireless router was also a bit temperamental so I decided to replace it with an Apple Airport Express to see if that helped. It did a bit – but not much. So my quest continued.

I then discovered that some other Mac users were having speed issues exactly the same as mine. Some of them had got a virus kinda thing from surfing mucky sites. So I downloaded a bit of software that was supposed to detect this sexually transmitted infection. Luckily I didn’t have it. The smut-sites I go to are obviously reputable.

After more research I found the real issue. It seems that there’s a DNS problem with some ISPs that causes too much to-and-fro traffic before a page loads up. I don’t understand it – I’m not actually that techy. But it seems that it’s only a Mac problem – when I rebooted in Windows last week, the web was at normal speed. However, if you’re Mac user suffering in the same way that I was, you can sort it out by deleting your existing DNS addresses and replacing them with ones from the free service Open DNS. I’ve just done that today and my Mac is back to proper broadband speed. Yay!

2 Comments

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  1. Damian / Nov 17 2008 12:26 pm

    I have the same symtpom – fast Dell and slow MacBook – as measured by ZDNet’s performance checker. However, my DNS fields were blank when I came to them and even after replacing them with the openDNS addresses it made no difference.

    I guess mileages vary, sadly.

  2. davebirss / Nov 17 2008 1:01 pm

    I’m sorry I can’t help you Damian,

    I’m not actually that techy! Maybe you’ve got the rudie-site virus thing?! It may be worth a try downloading the free app to check your system.

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