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Old 12-21-2012, 07:17 PM
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Default Slow apartment building internet (pictures)

I'm attaching pictures of the network room that's set up in an apartment building. There are about 30 units, wired with ethernet ports in all rooms. Routers are set up in bridge mode, and average speed is 5mbps download and 1mbps upload. Sometimes it will crawl to 1-2 down and .5 up. I'm trying to help management sort it out, because when we connect a modem via ethernet directly into a switch port and test the speed, it is 15 down 2 up. They are clueless about what all these devices are, and so am I. I'm assuming there's a VPN gateway, firewall, in addition to the switch and modems. Can any help help identify each piece of equipment?

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Old 12-21-2012, 10:56 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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hard to tell. But the SMC box with the F-connector (coax) might be a cable modem.

The question is what is the internet service provider's (ISP) speed that this system shares among all units. If it's a cable modem, (and SMC is definitely bottom shelf in this world), then you need to start with who is the ISP and what contract is in place. To share among multiple dwellings units (MDUs) , a certain kind of contract is needed. Or someone bootlegged a single-residence ISP contract to server MDUs - hope not.

After that, you come to what bandwidth capping device is used in this lash-up, to keep any user from hogging too much bandwidth due to file downloading, or too many Netflixes going at once, for the ISP's capacity in the contract. The Netopia might be such a device.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:24 PM
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- SMC is a cable modem, no doubts there.
- Netopia could be a DSL modem, possibly a router, but in bridge mode.
- The other device behind them looks to be the actual router, tipped off by the colors of Ethernet going into the ports labeled "WAN" and "NA". The other port on the router (beige Ethernet) looks to be going to the rack and into one of the two Ethernet switches. Can you get a make and model for that router?
- I'd imagine the two switches are linked together (can't tell from photo).

Start with the SMC cable modem.
1. Unplug the Ethernet.
2. Power off the modem for, oh, 30 seconds, so it releases the MAC address of the router.
3. Plug in a laptop to the SMC's ethernet port.
4. Power on the SMC and wait for the all the lights to come on.
5. Check to see if you're getting an IP address. If so, go to 6. If not, go to 7.
6. Speedtest
7. You'll need to find out what static range is being used and manually set an IP address on your laptop to test.

Same basic steps as above.

If things went correctly, you'll at least have an understanding of the available bandwidth coming in. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that router has inadequate horsepower to deal with the full bandwith the cable can provide. Also, it looks as though the DSL is being used as a backup line, or possibly some load sharing.

stevech has already alluded to the possibly questionable nature of how this is being shared, so I'm not going there.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:36 PM
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Ok, confusing. There are also 2 modems, the black boxes to the right side of all those boxes. Why are there 2 modems, and then possibly another modem via the SMC? It is a business bulk account with Time Warner. I think all the different access points, modems, routers are hogging the system down. Like I said, when I connect the black modem with the white ethernet into a WiFi router, speeds are almost doubled.

Thanks for the help.

Last edited by mlg321; 12-21-2012 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:14 AM
clintb clintb is offline
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Nah, not confusing at all.

You have three cable modems, of which it looks like one (the silver SMC) is actually in use. All three are being fed from the three way splitter. I would guess the two, smaller black cable modems were for tenants that wanted their own connections, and paid for them, but have now been abandoned. Cable modem in the closet, plugged into the Ethernet patch panel feeding the apartment and the tenant has their own router...simple.

Plug a laptop into those smaller cable modems (with a good security suite installed on the laptop!) and see if you get an IP address. If you don't, they're probably cut off from service. Also check the lights... If you do get an IP address and can connect to the internet, you now have more bandwidth, but will have to work it into the router in one of the "NA" ports...if the router can handle it.

In reality, and from what I see, you have two internet connections going into one router, which then feeds two Ethernet switches. Like I previously stated, test your speeds while plugged DIRECTLY into the cable modem, then the DSL modem/router. Eliminate that questionable router from the equation.

Oh, and the smart jack was probably installed for a T1/fractional T1 some time ago...looks to be abandoned now.

edit: Saving the jpg killed some of the text I added. The cable splitter is above the SMC cable modem.
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File Type: jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1356131743.032941.jpg (68.0 KB, 13 views)

Last edited by clintb; 12-22-2012 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:36 PM
upnorth upnorth is offline
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Thumbs down problem

looks like a old telephone installer did this one "choke"

personally I would re-termiate the job and install some nice 48 port switches
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