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Slow Internet Connection Behind RV016

Hi Everyone,

I recently had a problem with the RV016.  We had a new ISP install high-speed internet in our office.  When my laptop was plugged directly into the DSL line, I was getting results of around 80 Mb/s download, 60 Mb/s upload.  Once I plugged in the RV016 between me and the the DSL, though, speeds dropped dramatically -- I would intermittently get between 10 - 30 Mb/s download, and my upload slowed to 2 Mb/s.

There are some old threads on this message board that discuss similar problems, but nobody ever seems to have found a solution.  I found what worked for me -- rather than necroing a thread from three years ago, I thought I would just write a new post so that this fix is documented for future people that may be Googling looking for a solution.

First, I downloaded the latest firmware.  This didn't help, but you may as well do it while you are thinking about it.

The fix turned out to be a problem with Auto-Negotiation of speed and duplex.  Rather than letting computers and the RV016 auto-negotiate, I had to force a method on both ends of the connection.  I chose to force 100 Mbps Full Duplex, you can choose whether you have a reason to do differently.  Here's how to do it:

On The RV016

In your web management interface, go to Port Management and select the Port Setup sub-menu.  Now, on each of the ports choose the speed and duplex settings that you want.  For me I chose 100 Mbps and Full Duplex on each individual port.  Then, make sure that you uncheck every single "Enable" checkbox in the Auto-Negotiation column. 

Click "Save" and then reboot the router through System Management -> Restart

You're not done.  I actually had done this months ago, but forcing the method on one end and letting the other auto-negotiate was not enough to fix it as you would assume it would.  You also need to adjust the settings on every computer or device that is connected to the RV016.

On Windows XP Clients

All of our office computers are on Windows XP.  I am guessing that the process may be similar for Windows 7, but don't have anything to test that.  Also, I do not know if all drivers have the same settings as ours do.  However, in general you are trying to force your ethernet card to turn off auto-negotiate and force the same speed and duplex settings that you just set on the router.

These steps are specific to our ethernet card, which was a Broadcom NetXtreme Gigibit Ethernet card.

For me, these were the steps:

1. Open "Control Panel" from the Start Menu and open the "System" control panel

2. Click on the "Hardware" tab, and open "Device Manager"

3. Click the plus sign next to "Network Adapters" to find your ethernet card.  Right click on it and select "Properties"

4. For us, there was an "Advanced Tab".  Click there, and there are several properties that can be changed.  Specfic ones that needed to be changed for us were:  Change "Speed & Duplex" from "Auto"to "100Mb Full" and I also changed "WOL Speed" from "Lowest Advertised Speed" to "100Mb".  I'm not sure if the Wake-On Lan setting change is  necessary, but I did it anyway.  Basically I got rid of anything that said Auto.

5.  Once you select Ok, the network card will reset itself and when it comes back online you should be fixed.

On Linux (Ubuntu Server 11.11)

Our servers run off of Ubuntu Linux, so I had to dig up instructions on how to do the same thing on Linux machines.  This is done with the ethtool application which I downloaded using APT-GET.

1.  Download ethtool:  sudo apt-get update

                                 sudo apt-get install ethtool

2.  Once ethtool is installed, you can use it to check the current status of your network interfaces.  For me, my only interface was eth0 so that's what I use in the commands below.  If you have multiple interfaces, or are using wireless, you need to adjust the commands below for your correct interface which you can find by typing iwconfig.

     To check the current status, type sudo ethtool eth0 .  This will give the current status, including showing whether auto-negotiate is on or off and      what speeds it is trying to connect at.

3.  To make changes to the current network interface type the following:  sudo ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full autoneg off

4.  This will make changes to the current settings on the network card.  However, these changes will not be saved on reboot.  In order to make the      changes save on reboot, you need to edit the "interfaces" file in /etc/network/

     sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Inside the file, add the following line

    pre-up /sbin/ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full autoneg off

This line should be added directly below the "iface" line for each interface that you want to change (e.g. iface eth0 inet static).

Also, you may need to double-check where ethtool is installed and adjust accordingly.  A lot of instructions around the net say to put

        pre-up /usr/sbin/ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full autoneg off

But mine was in /sbin/ , not /usr/sbin  .  If you are unsure, just go dig around your filesystem and find it.  If you don't put the correct path to ethtool in here, it will prevent your network services from spinning up altogether on reboot, so make sure you get it right.

     Save the changes to the file, reboot your system, and it should always run under these settings from now on.

Mac Users

I don't have a Mac, can't help you there.  Sorry   I'm sure you can google it.

Other Settings Tweaks

I did tweak some other settings in the router web management that you may want to try.  I don't know if these ultimately helped fix the problem too, or if they wouldn't have mattered once I fixed the problems with auto-negotiate.  But, I did want to point them out in case these make or break you on fixing the problem.

1.  In System-Management -> Dual WAN I edited the configuration settings for WAN 1 to change the "Max Bandwidth Provided by ISP" boxes to 100,000 upstream and 100,000 downstream.  My theory at the time was that the router was literally giving each client the "minimum" that was set here, but I have no idea whether that's true and don't care to test it.

2.  In System Management - > Bandwidth Management  I added the following rules under Bandwidth Management Type for "Rate Control"

     Check the "WAN 1" box, leave service on "All Traffic TCP&UDP", select direction upstream and set both the minimum and max rates at 99,999      (the most that it will let you do).  Click the enable checkbox and click "Add to List"

     Do the same, but for downstream this time.

     Don't forget to save the settings (just adding them and then navigating away will not save).

I really hope someone finds this useful.  I've spent a week trying to narrow down what was causing my speed drops -- changing all kinds of settings in the router itself, swapping out cables to see if they were bad, etc etc.  It turns out the problem was fairly simple once I narrowed it down.