Saturday, January 08, 2011

Asus RT-N12 running slow? Here's a possible solution.

This technical blog is particularly relevant to Virgin Media cable Internet broadband customers in the United Kingdom.

The background
Routers are a pain in the poo pipe, they always have been and they always will be.  But that might just be my jaded view after spending so many years troubleshooting and fixing them.  As a rule of thumb expensive routers work a lot better than very cheap routers, so for a couple of years I've been using a very nice D-Link DIR-655 but when an iPad arrived in the home I had to buy a new router because for some reason the iPad and the D-Link DIR-55 router just didn't get along.  So in a bit of a flurry I bought a Asus RT-N12.  I didn't even know Asus made routers, and in a twisted logic typical of us IT professionals I fancied trying something new so I bought it.  The iPad loved it.

Slow computers are a thing of the past 

  The problem
The Asus RT-N12 worked a treat for a few weeks then all of a sudden the Internet connection on all the devices on my network ground to crawl.  Using http://speedtest.bbgmax.co.uk as a speed measuring tool I was only getting 300kpbs down and 19kbps up from my 20mbps Virgin Media broadband!  Naturally I blamed Virgin Media (and bizarrely they responded to me defensively on Twitter), but a few fancy tests later (meaning I connected direct to the modem and ran another speed test) it became clear that the problem lay with the Asus router.

Getting to the solutionJust as I was preparing to pop out to Pc World to buy a new router I decided to have one last plunge around in the advanced settings of the Asus RT-N12, and I'm glad I did.  Ever since I first set up the RT-N12 I've been logging into it and tinkering with the EzQos settings.  The EzQos settings allow the network admin (or in this case the bloke what does computers in this house -me) to give certain types of traffic priority (surfing, streaming, ftp or gaming). I tinkered with them and ran another speed test and it improved a little bit, so...

The solution (finally)If your Virgin Media Internet broadband connection is running slow try this:
  1. Log into your Asus RT-N12 router and click on the 'advanced setting' button on the left hand menu. 
  2. When the advanced setting page loads click on 'Qos' (it's in the WAN sub-section).
  3. In the 'manual uplink speed' box type in '50000' (without the quotes) and hit 'apply'.
  4. Run a speed test at http://speedtest.bbmax.co.uk and with any luck your Internet connection should now be running a LOT faster.

ConclusionWhen I went through the above steps I found out that the router was kinda guessing the uplink speed when it connected to the Cable Modem and had set it at just 600kbps!  I have no idea what difference the speed you enter in the manual uplink box makes, but I do know that when I upped it from 20000 to 50000 and ran another speed test the results were even more impressive.

It seems like a bit of a bizarre fix to me, but if your Asus router is running slow it might just save a lot of yelling at your screen and phone calls to Virgin Media!



UDPATE - 09/04/11
Shortly after this post was written I upgraded to Virgin Media's 50mbps service and they gave me a nice new router.  I tried setting this RT-N12 as a repeater router but (despite the fact I've been an IT professional for twelve years) I couldn't get it to work and ended up getting so frustrated with this shitty router I stamped on it and threw it out.