If you use Windows and you’re curious about what’s using your Internet broadband then the free TCPEye tool will probably help you.
I used it a few weeks ago when something was sucking down gobs of data and making everything else slow. Turns out it was Windows Update, but not on my desktop machine, a laptop on my network was updating.
The odd thing with TCPEye is that CNET Downloads is in the number 1 place when searching for this tool. Reviews even link there instead of the author’s homepage!
Everyone else goes wireless with radio waves buzzing through the air and I return to good old ethernet cables and a switch. Today a package came from Amazon containing the D-Link DHP-303/B Powerline 200Mbps and a 5 port switch (and an internal drive to replace the tiny one in my Dell laptop but that’s another story).
The D-Link Powerline product is actually two plugs that are inserted into your wall sockets and use the wires in your house to communicate. I was a little dubious about it working well but it’s been fine. One plug is downstairs by the DSL router, and the other is upstairs here in my office. They apparently talk at 200Mbps but I’d take that with a grain of salt. My computers talk at 100Mbps, as does the switch so I presume that’s the limiting speed. It’s plenty fast enough for my DSL but I’ll have to try a file transfer later.
For the last few years I used WiFi to bridge the gap between downstairs and upstairs but this works just as well, and file transfers between computers aren’t as dog slow as they were using wireless networking. Wifi was never as fast as it should have been, probably because the signal was weakened by:
- Travelling through a wooden telephone desk in the hall
- Travelling diagonally up the stairs
- Going through an internal wall with a CD shelf behind it
- and finally finding the antenna of my Linux laptop buried inside my desk
No chance eh? I once tried to force the connection to be 54Mbps but it failed half the time, the Xbox wouldn’t connect. It just didn’t work well. Oh, and sometimes, the cordless phone ringing downstairs knocked me offline! Didn’t matter what channel I was on.
Sheesh, I’m getting very old school. I changed back to Apache from Nginx last weekend, changed from P2 to a more traditional WordPress theme this morning, and then dumped wireless networking this afternoon. I hear vinyl records are making a come back.
I will plug in the wifi router again, for those moments when I want to work from the kitchen. Unless I get another D-Link powerline adaptor..
Wireless networking was always a bit patchy for me on my Dell Latitude D630 while running Ubuntu Gutsy version of Linux. It would work fine for ages and then freeze up suddenly, requiring a hard reboot to get things working (Apache would become unkillable, I guess because it was attached to the broken Wireless networking driver.) Problems always showed up when I transferred large amounts of data between Linux and my Macbook. Files copied fine for a few minutes and then the whole house of cards would collapse. Crash! Boom!
The first time I looked for a solution nothing turned up, but eventually I went searching again, and after digging into all sorts of forums and websites I found the simpe solution on the Dell Linux Wiki:
Create a file called /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-ipw3945 and add:
Add to /etc/modules:
Reboot after doing that and all will be fine in the world again! I haven’t had any networking issues since replacing the ipw3945 driver with the iwl3945 one!