Ethernet NIC card: slow browsing/downloading and buffering

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Supashaka

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My custom PC developed slow browsing/downloading and buffering of video. All other devices (laptop, tablets, PS4 and PS3) work as normal with fast speeds even wirelessly. I have tried:

1) Ran anti-virus/malware scan with avast and then malware bytes and in safe mode also.

2) Tested with spares (ethernet phone cable/micro filter/RJ11 from router to PC).
Connected the router to the micro filter/BT phone master socket and even tried direct without the micro filter into the test socket.

3) Tried 2 other browsers and with antivirus uninstalled.

4) Deleted the Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller driver and updated to the latest from the MSI website.

5) In Device Manager right clicked on ethernet/network adapter - Properties - Advanced tab; for the 'Speed & duplex' property tried changing to different values, beginning with 100 Mbps full duplex to 10 Mbps full duplex

6) Bought a new SSD and did a fresh install of Windows 7



I custom built my PC and for the first three years it handled fast (for my area) broadband internet (12 MBPs) and 1080p video smoothly without any problems. Now all my other devices (laptop, tablets, PS4 and PS3) work as normal with fast speeds even wirelessly, so it seems my PC have developed NIC card (network interface controller)/ethernet adapter problems.

We mainly use the PC for browsing and BBC Iplayer. Then about a month ago video started buffering on sites extremely slowly (coincidentally after heavy rain). It would play for between 1-2 minutes for fine, and then pause to buffer for a minute or even longer, and it would do this continually, with the quality of the video changing to low and then changing back to HD. For some strange reason it didn't affect video sharing sites such as youtube/vimeo/dailymotion etc. We checked netflix and Prime video and the quality would change from HD to very fuzzy low resolution in a similar fashion, although the playback was smooth, it still had problems where as on PS4 and PS3 it is still flawless 1080p. We've since had to start experimenting on multiple unofficial websites to test the problem, and they all buffer the same as Iplayer. I've tried a different browser and that made no difference either.

I thought I would try testing if my spare cables would make a difference, but they didn't. Also when I unplugged and re-plugged the ethernet phone cable (connecting the router to the micro filter/BT phone
master socket and even tried without the micro filter directly plugged into the test socket) for some reason the PC wouldn't connect to the internet (the internet symbol showed a yellow exclamation mark instead of the PC symbol). I unplugged and re-plugged it again and at one point it even notified me that the ethernet cable wasn't plugged in! It took a few minutes after which it connected (without me doing anything).

But the buffering problem remained. Since then the problem has got a bit better occasionally (temporarily), and sometimes a lot worse, but it hasn't gone away.

I am with Origin Broadband and my average speeds are 9.3 Mbps, and in general since this problem has started the strange thing is that it hasn't affected the speeds recorded on speedtest.net, I do now get drastic drops to around 3 Mbps or even 1 Mbps occasionally but they only last a few moments-I re-do the tests and they are back to normal speeds, so I'm not sure if they're an error in the test.

The strangest thing is that it happens on PC, but not on other devices connected such as tablets and the laptop which all run at full speed as normal. I've never experienced this before! It even stops me downloading anything, if I try to download a 200MB file it will take hours and keep failing, stating network error. I think it's an ethernet issue (Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller) so I deleted the driver and updated to the latest from the MSI website but it made no difference. I also bought a new SSD and did a fresh install of Windows 7 on that but it hasn't changed anything.

I am now thinking the only solution is to buy another motherboard to get a new ethernet adapter, but am worried if even that doesn't fix the problem I would have wasted money. I contacted Scan and was told the motherboard was out of warranty, but buying a 3rd party external USB ethernet adapter wouldn't actually 'replace' the onboard one, so it would only provide a solution if the actual physical port to the onboard adapter is damaged (and not the adapter itself).

I can't see any damage on the actual physical port/connector where the ethernet cable plugs in. I'd love to be able to buy some cheap ethernet adapter that would fix the problem but am guessing that won't help so instead of possibly wasting money on something I'm thinking I should just look for a cheap motherboard compatible with my current build, unless someone can help diagnose/fix the problem with an alternative solution. Any ideas ?

My Build:
CPU: Intel - Xeon E3-1231 V3 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£230.77 @ PC World Business)
Motherboard: MSI - Z97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
On-board network interface controller: Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
Memory: Kingston - HyperX Fury Black 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory (£58.36 @ More Computers)
Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£81.24 @ More Computers)
Video Card: MSI - Radeon R9 285 2GB Video Card
Case: Corsair - SPEC-03 Red ATX Mid Tower Case (£44.99 @ Novatech)
Power Supply: XFX - TS 650W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply (£101.38 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: BenQ - GL2250HM 21.5" 1920x1080 60Hz Monitor (£89.99 @ Amazon UK)
Keyboard: Cooler Master - CM Storm Devastator Gaming Bundle Wired Gaming Keyboard w/Optical Mouse (£39.99 @ Amazon UK)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
Antivirus: Avast free
 
Last edited:

TerryNet

Terry
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If the following stack repair does not help I suggest you disable the integrated NIC and try a new ethernet adapter--either a USB one or, if you have a spare slot, you could get a PCI one.


TCP/IP stack repair options for use with Vista through 10.

Start - All Programs - Accessories and right click on Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator" to open a command prompt. [For Windows 8 thru 10: <Windows Logo> + x - Command Prompt(Admin)]

Reset WINSOCK entries to installation defaults: netsh winsock reset catalog

Reset IPv4 TCP/IP stack to installation defaults. netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log

Reset IPv6 TCP/IP stack to installation defaults. netsh int ipv6 reset reset.log

Reboot the machine after all three commands; no need to boot after the 1st and 2nd.
 

Supashaka

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
12
If the following stack repair does not help I suggest you disable the integrated NIC and try a new ethernet adapter--either a USB one or, if you have a spare slot, you could get a PCI one.


TCP/IP stack repair options for use with Vista through 10.

Start - All Programs - Accessories and right click on Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator" to open a command prompt. [For Windows 8 thru 10: <Windows Logo> + x - Command Prompt(Admin)]

Reset WINSOCK entries to installation defaults: netsh winsock reset catalog

Reset IPv4 TCP/IP stack to installation defaults. netsh int ipv4 reset reset.log

Reset IPv6 TCP/IP stack to installation defaults. netsh int ipv6 reset reset.log

Reboot the machine after all three commands; no need to boot after the 1st and 2nd.
Said 'there's no user specified settings to be reset' on the 3rd command, the first 2 succeeded...what does that mean?

Also what does the slot look like? I am looking at this and was wondering if I had the required free slot and if it's compatible:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/8111E-PC...202370915170?_trksid=p2349526.m4383.l4275.c10
 

Supashaka

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
12
Probably means that IPv6 is not enabled.
Above was copied w/o permission from What Is A PCI Slot & For What It Use For?.
The card on Ebay needs a PCI-E x1 slot, the 2 small black sockets on the motherboard as shown here :- https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/Z97-PC-Mate/Gallery#lg=1&slide=1
Thanks guys. both of those small black slots in the middle are free, I checked. So I assume you think the ebay one should be suitable? The only thing is since it's unbranded I read that windows auto-installs a driver, but that shouldn't be a problem right?

Also should I enable IPv6 or check it's status or something? What's it used for??
 
Last edited:

managed

Allan
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That Ebay card is from Hong Kong so it could take a few weeks to arrive. I think it's a Realtek chip going by the 811E. If windows installs a driver that should be ok. I think you can ignore the IPv6 stuff.
 

Supashaka

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
12
That Ebay card is from Hong Kong so it could take a few weeks to arrive. I think it's a Realtek chip going by the 811E. If windows installs a driver that should be ok. I think you can ignore the IPv6 stuff.
Thanks I looked it up on realtek and you're right, good to know :)

With Windows 7 and earlier it is best to avoid IPv6.
I checked it out and it actually IPv6 was enabled so I've disabled it. I've been playing around with the speed/duplex settings. I've already signed up to virgin media fibre optic up to 100mbps which activates next month so was wondering should I switch it back to auto negotiation? To be honest I don't really fully understand it lol.
 

Supashaka

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
12
If the following stack repair does not help I suggest you disable the integrated NIC and try a new ethernet adapter
The card on Ebay needs a PCI-E x1 slot, the 2 small black sockets on the motherboard as shown here :- https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/Z97-PC-Mate/Gallery#lg=1&slide=1
So I wanted to update you guys since you helped me. The network card arrived the same day as the virgin media installation. On the new 100MBPs virgin media connection I got 110 MBPs and....all the problems were completely solved (with the original built in network card)!

When I changed back to the old origin broadband connection I disabled the normal network adapter in device manager and installed the new one, and that also solved all the problems. The speed is now constant and doesn't jump up and down, the buffering is (mostly) gone and downloads are back to normal (original) fast speeds. I think the fact that some buffering does still occur (3 times in 15 min on Iplayer) reflects the only thing which hasn't changed: the max speed is still coming up as 8.9 MBPs (but at least it's now consistent).

So the big question: what actually caused all this? With the original NIC when I plug in the virgin ethernet the problems are gone, so at 1st I thought the culprit must be the Openreach connection (probably within my premises). Then the new NIC solved the problem also so I'm back to thinking it could still be the old NIC which somehow developed a fault (taking into consideration the fact that all other devices were always working fine)?

Before we had the torrential downpour of rain that day, we used to get around 12 MBPs and immediately after that day and all the problems it brought (re-read the OP) it was 9 MBPs max and completely unstable. Now it's still 9, but stable. The problem is when my current Virgin contract expires the price will go way up and I'll have to go back to an openreach connection, so I really do want to try to figure out the solution. But Origin broadband (and any other company I'm guessing) say if they send out an openreach engineer and their equipment shows my PC to be at fault then I'll be charged £175 or whatever it was!
 

Supashaka

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
12
I infer that you are using different routers (or modem/router combos) for the two ISPs. Are you?
Yup true. I never stopped to consider this actually...The Origin BB router when plugged into the new NIC has no problems (other than as I mentioned, it still has max 9MBPs connection as opposed to 12 before the heavy rain) whereas the virgin connection (with it's own router) is absolutely fine using both NICs
 

TerryNet

Terry
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Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
81,397
Let L1 be a LAN port on the first router.
Let L2 be a LAN port on the second router.
Let N1 be the original NIC.
Let N2 be the new NIC.

Consider the four combinations:

L1/N1 - "sputtering" connection.
L1/N2 - stable connection.
L2/N1 - stable connection.
L2/N2 - stable connection.

Seems that the first router and original NIC just won't play nice together. Usually setting 100 Mbps full duplex or similar (which you have already tried) is an effective workaround.

I remember a case years ago when JohnWill, a network guru and retired moderator, had a router and NIC that were each good but did not work together. His fix was to stick a simple ethernet switch between the two.
 

Supashaka

Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
12
Seems that the first router and original NIC just won't play nice together. His fix was to stick a simple ethernet switch between the two.
Strangest thing is that they used to work perfectly together before the rain! So how did the Ethernet switch fix the problem? Tech can be so mysterious sometimes...
 
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