Computer Slow? This Might Help
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Slow I recently moved my desk and computer to another room in the house. I wanted to have a better view and I find it less distracting than sitting in the same room with the TV and my book collection. Somehow both those things seem to whisper to me while I work, so moving out on them seemed to be the right solution. Working from home is fun, but it has it’s challenges.

I had forgotten my earlier struggles with internet connection. When I first set my home office up, I found that my Wi-Fi connection was having some trouble reaching from one end of the house to the other so, since the cable modem and wireless router are at the other end of the house, the wireless connection sometimes wasn’t there for my iMac’s wireless connection. Sometimes metal in the walls of the house or other things seem to block certain signals. So, I had someone come and run an Ethernet cable from one end of my house to my office.

Ethernet Moving my desk and computer to another room yesterday brought back all those memories of the struggle I had gone through to make my computer work as well as it can. It was almost enough to make me move back. But, then I remembered that the wireless connection may be better in the new location since there were less walls and it was somewhat closer to the modem. I decided to try it out for a couple of days to see how it would work.

It hasn’t taken a couple of days. It’s barely acceptable. I get a very strong signal on my iMac. And the internet is pretty fast still. But, not nearly as fast as it was in my other office. What I’ve noticed is my whole computer has slowed down, sometimes to a crawl. I expected slower web page loads. I even expected a little less speed with my email, but I didn’t expect my other programs to be so much slower.

What I had forgotten was that almost every program I have now syncs to the internet. Most every program I have on my computer also checks for updates every time it’s loaded up. If I’ve left my browser open, which I most always do, it’s constantly updating pages such as Facebook. If I have more than a couple of windows open on my browser, which I most always do, then it’s constantly updating many pages. All of these are taking a toll on my internet connection and therefore, my total computer speed.

I often got ahead of my keyboard when typing before, now I could go have a cup of coffee while I wait for it to catch up sometimes. Of course, having several other computers in the house on the network doesn’t help either. I can tell a significant difference when the kids are streaming movies, etc. But, I couldn’t before.

My new frustration reminded me of what I realized when I set up my office the first time. Ethernet is just WAY more faster than Wi-Fi. Period. My Wi-Fi connection can only get about 54Mbps max and probably gets closer to 34Mbps because of overhead used by the network. My Ethernet can get 100Mbps which is WAY faster. What is Mbps? Megabits per second. You don’t really have to understand what that means except that it is the speed at which data travels over a cable or through the air. The important thing to note is that 100 is way more than 54 or 34. Twice as fast. An Ethernet connection makes my computer work better in every way.

No, I don’t like running cables. No, I don’t like hiding cables. No, I don’t like tripping over cables, But, it will be worth the time I save every day waiting for the little beach ball on my monitor or waiting for my keyboard to catch up with me. I just ordered a 100 foot Ethernet cable from Amazon for less than $10. I’ll run it down through the floor next to the modem and into the basement. Then I’ll run it up through the floor where I find the already drilled hole closest to my computer. I’ll tack the cable to the baseboards so it will be out of the way and I don’t break my neck on it. I should be frustration free yet again on Tuesday! Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and the free 2 day shipping. Hopefully, I can do all that handy work myself without having to call anyone. Until then, %&$#?@!

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Early Morning Today’s new header was taken a couple of months ago from my Mom’s drive way here in Middle Tennessee.

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6 Responses to Computer Slow? This Might Help

  1. Thea Westra says:

    Let me know how it goes. Greg and I were just talking of doing something similar just the other day. After all, the Universe love speed! :) lol Not that we want to ‘live’ with the wire either (would be good if they were not so bright blue & a neutral color, instead). Plus, I believe that ethernet is a more secure option also, is that right? Cheers, Thea

    • Cindy says:

      Thea, I found a white cable on Amazon because I didn’t want the blue either. I’ll let you know how it goes. If my computer survives until it gets here. I’ve been spoiled because It certainly worked better when I had the computer in the other room. I almost threw a few things through it a couple of times yesterday because I’m not a very patient person :) I should have spent the extra shipping to get it here next day! But the view is great! I can see all my bird visitors at the bird feeder now, get more sunshine, and fewer distractions. So, I certainly hope this works!

  2. Now, I’m not a Mac guy, but that sounds funny to me. What kind of ISP hookup do you have? Cable, Fiber? Most DSL can’t touch 50 Mbps (mine is close to 1.5 Mbps), let alone 3G or Satellite. Not in the US, anyway. 4G will get you close, but you have to practically be in Chicago for that to work. The average internet speed in Wonju, South Korea, the highest in the world, is only 49.74 Mbps. ( http://bit.ly/cVypBD ) Now Google Fiber, that could get you to maxing out your Ethernet connection. Reported as high as 150 Mbps: http://bit.ly/wOYWIh .

    My money is on the wireless card in your iMac. Probably hardware related, since it is a mac, and macs aren’t supposed to have driver issues. It might be the driver, though–I couldn’t tell you. Normally, laggy text comes from a maxed out CPU, sometimes the RAM. Maybe a short somewhere, maybe something QoS related running as a service, or whatever Macs call services? ;-)

    You’ll most notice a speed increase with wired when you are A. transferring data internally, or B. using many devices on the same 54Mbps wireless connection.

    My 2 cents.

    – Jonathan

    • Cindy says:

      Jonathan, I have a Cable hookup and it’s a very fast connection (just checked this morning on speedtest.net and I’m getting over 21 Mbps. I have no problems when I’m connected with Ethernet. I don’t know a lot about hardware, so I can’t answer for all that, but I do know that wired has always been faster in this house, at this end of the house, regardless of which computer I’m using. It could be my router (but I’ve tried several) or it could be the distance from my router or it could be the construction of my house? I’m not sure, but tests with different computers tells me that it’s not the computer.

      I will admit that my problems are usually at peak hours of the day when I’m working at full production with several windows open, several tabs open on my browser, several uploads and downloads going, streaming pandora, kids streaming movies, games, etc. I have a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, wireless printer, etc. So, I know I am pushing my wireless connections (I also have another wireless router at this end of the house to help spread the load) as well as my CPU to the max. But, somehow that Ethernet connection gives it that extra bit of speed and support that keeps me from getting so frustrated. I’m not sure how or why. By the way, the CPU is 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 with 4G memory. I use Firefox with several developer extensions – Firebug, FirePhp, Developer’s Toolbar, etc. and it always shows it’s a HOG in my activity monitor. So, not sure why the wired gives it that extra boost, but somehow it does. I am spoiled. I need my speed.

      • Cindy says:

        Hooked up my new Ethernet Cable and things are back to speedy. I just did another speedtest and got over 32 Mbps. I haven’t given it the full workout yet, but so far it’s keeping up with me. Now I just have to figure out how to hide this cable. At least it’s white.

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