Strange behavior of my router; does my ISP have access to the device ?!?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Fly, Jan 14, 2012.

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  1. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Brief description of the situation:

    Wireless (WPA2 secured) connection from my computer to my router.
    My router is connected by cable/wire to my modem.
    The modem is connected to the internet. Broadband/cable.
    There are no other devices in the network.
    I bought the router in a store, unrelated to my ISP.
    For as far as I can see the router does not give any permissions for access from the outide. Of course it's password protected.

    I'm not familiar with terminology like 'bridged' and similar, but the modem is several years old and I can't seem to access it. I don't have a manual anyway. The modem was supplied by my ISP as part of my subscription and is currently my property. Nothing fancy, it is for internet only and it doesn't have wireless capabilities.

    My ISP (Europe) assigns IPs based on the MAC address of the device it is connected to. Since it is directly connected to my router the (WAN)
    IP address is based on the MAC address of my router.

    The software of the router/adapter states that the network type is 'infrastructure'.

    So far the general configuration. Aside from the fact that I used a different router till it broke down about two years ago, there has been no change in this configuration for years.

    For the sake of anonymity I won't use exact numbers.

    What has changed: the wireless connection between my router and my computer used to be over 130 Mbps. That's what it said anyway.
    That exceeds the speed of my broadband connection by far.

    Recently, the speed of the wireless connection (as stated) has been a bit over 60 Mbps.

    WHAT HAPPENED ? Does my ISP have some kind of access to the router ?
    I even went as far as flushing the VRAM, doing a full reset and reinstalling the firmware. No change.

    Obviously the speed of the connection isn't the issue here. The question is: why and how did it change ?
  2. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    If it was higher than what you're paying for they just throttled it on your end. The router acts as a middle man for you (and others) on your network to contact your ISP so they still have control over how fast it all goes.
  3. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    I think it fluctuates. Mine goes from anything from 45mb to 130mb. Never stays the same. Not anything to do with your ISP (some ISPs can and do update the router firmware if supplied by them).
  4. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    I'm wondering how they get your MAC ID ?

    You state that it's configured like this

    Comp - Router - Modem

    It "appears" to me that your ISP is NOT directly connected to the router, but rather the Modem !

    As far as the speed goes ?
  5. Fly

    Fly Registered Member


    The router/ISP uses DHCP. Officially the IP address is dynamic, but it is static most of the time.
    If I connect my computer directly to the modem I get a different IP, based on the MAC of my computer. I think it works like that, anyway.

    My ISP is directly connected to the modem. They should have no access to my router. On the other hand, what do I know ? I know litle about this type of technology. They can assign me a (WAN) IP address based on the MAC of my router. ?
  6. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    Hi Fly

    I'm no expert on this, just thought i'd raise a point or two. Maybe you should ask to transfer this thread to Other Firewalls where it might get the attention it deserves ;)
  7. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

    To summarize down to just the specific change that you are seeing from the past to the present... you are seeing a slower wireless connection speed between your PC and your router. Correct?

    If so, that has nothing to do with your ISP. It's merely the radio transmission speed of the wireless connection. As Cudni mentions, these can often vary. Generally, the signal strength (radio signal) is the most important factor. Move further away from the antenna of the router,, and the radio signal will likely fall in strength. The protocol used for the wireless connections have a lot of "steps" in them, and will vary things like transmission speed as the signal strength varies. A weaker connection can handle less traffic without errors and retransmissions, so, the devices step down the rate at which they attempt to communicate as the signal strength drops.

    In short, since you say nothing has changed configuration wise for as long as 2 years, the likely thing going on then is that the radio signal is weaker at present between the PC and router. That is not anything to do with what your ISP can see or control. It's local radio waves only.

    As for the MAC address, Fly's modem appears to be a modem only, not a modem - router combo, so, the device plugged into the modem is the MAC address the ISP network sees in their first hop. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
  8. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    Cudni, I get that.

    Even recently I got speeds like 28 Mpbs, 50 something Mbps.
    But usually it's that fixed number, a bit above 60 Mbps.

    That 'fixed number' used to be a bit above 130 Mbps.

    I'm not sure why the number sometimes fluctuates. Typically, I see that sort of thing when I turn of the computer, router and the modem and start it up again. Sometimes I see something similar when the wireless signal is weak.
    Network instability ?

    That doesn't explain the change from 130+Mbps to 60+ Mbps.
    That higher number pretty much used to be a constant for years. Now the new constant is 60+Mbps.

    That's the question.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  9. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    There are two real ways it can be slow - either the router is causing the slowdown (you're further from it, it's dying, whatever) or your ISP is throttling your network down to what you pay for. Honestly, I don't see why it wouldn't be the second one but that doesn't mean they have access to your router.
  10. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

    As shown in my post

    I didn't think they could see the MAC like that, but now i know they can :thumb:

    @ Fly

    Do you actually need the router ? Could you just connect the modem between your comp & the internet ? as i have. I do have a software FW too ;)
  11. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    I'm writing and responding to posts while other people are responding to my posts ...

    LowWaterMark, the way you put it in your first sentence is correct.

    You may be right.

    But if this is related to local radio waves only, why did the constants (130+ to 60+ Mbps) change ?
    I live in a residential area. And for weeks the wireless speed as listed has not exceeded the new 60+ Mbps constant.

    The signal strength seems to be normal most of the time.
    I find it odd that the speed seems to be constant. How does my router know not to exceed the 60+ Mbps ? EVER ? Even after I flushed the NVRAM, did a full reset, reinstalled the firmware and reconfigured the router and the connection ?
  12. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

    For most modems to be usable with a router you need to set the modem as "Bridge". This creates a direct pipe to the next device, sort of. Internet bandwidth is adjusted by the ISP as needed using load balancing. They usually will have a number they will guarantee. Peak times a lower number and slack times a larger throughput.

    If you want to check the router for any modifications you would disconnect it from the internet and telnet into it, check for any flash upgrades. Do this from a non-infected computer.
  13. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

    Because it is locking on to a level that it can support based upon how strong the signal is between PC and router. Do some tests by moving your PC. Move further away and it'll likely drop. Move closer together, it'll likely increase. As for why it now is no longer getting the higher rate, as HM said above, the radio devices could be weakening (decaying, dying) over time as the units both age.

    This is only up to wireless G standard, but, you'll notice that the speed changes in predefined steps for max rate possible over the radio connection...

    Everyone else, please be aware that he is not talking about the rate he is connecting to the Internet. It's not a speed test website he's viewing. He's talking only about the rate his PC's network connection applet is showing for the wireless transmission speed - from PC to router only.
  14. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    In your case ISP has no access to the router (it stops at the modem) so you can exclude it as a factor. As for why the change to 60mb+ not sure we'll ever know the exact reason. Wireless is susceptible to its surroundings, other wireless devices, routers, laptops etc etc. And you can add to equation all other devices that emit into the ether. Try maybe changing the channel (i keep mine on 5 to avoid/minimise interference from multitude of devices surrounding it)
  15. Searching_ _ _

    Searching_ _ _ Registered Member

    You should be able to determine signal quality and strength.
    Pinging would help determine latency, which can be caused by interference. (microwaves, cellphones, other wireless devices)
  16. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

    LowWaterMark and Cudni, thanks.

    Moving the router close to my computer did indeed restore the former 130+ Mbps speed. Moving it back to where it was set it back to 60+ Mbps.

    I don't think it's the equipment. Not much older than about 2 years.
    Probably some undetermined interference by radio signals/electromagnetic waves.
    Although I don't have a clue about the source.

    This is an N type router. The other wireless signals that the software picks up are not nearly as strong as my router's.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  17. Q Section

    Q Section Registered Member

    Cordless telephones use some frequencies that WiFi uses so if you or a nearby neighbor are using a older cordless telephone (in the 2.4 GHz range) then that perhaps may be a factor. Also microwave ovens use frequencies that can affect your WiFi as well. Some radio-controlled hobbyists vehicle remote controllers may also affect your signal. Lastly your neighbor's WiFi may be affecting your signal as well. The current record for WiFi range at a sustained 3Mb/s is at about 382 kilometers or 237 miles (under ideal conditions).

    What can you try besides moving the computer closer to the router? Change the frequency to a channel different than what is found nearby (which your neighbors may be using) such as channel 11. Many routers use channel 6 as a default.

    Altogether though - if you were to use a wired connection which was a 1000Mb/s LAN then even though the speed of the data between your router and your computer would be rapid it would then have a bottleneck at the router (for outbound data to the Internet) and slow down from thenceforward onto the Internet so it is almost a moot point. If one wanted to stream, for example, a High Definition/Blue Ray film from one's computer to one's television via one's local network then it would be better to have the fastest speed possible between the source and receiver (between the computer with a Blue Ray player) and the television (whose signal travels via the router if it is a networked TV).

    Hopefully this will shed a few more points of light to those reading.
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