Improving dialup connection sharing using wireless gear

by gldnspud on January 5, 2007

OK, the title is a little misleading. But I am experiencing an interesting phenomenon: Even though I'm connected at one of the lowest speeds that our modem negotiates with the ISP (24kbps), the experience seems smoother and pages seem to load faster.

Previous setup: Windows XP on a laptop, set up to share the dialup connection with the LAN. Workstations connected to a switch, which is also connected to the laptop.

New setup (in preparation for satellite internet installation): Windows XP on a laptop with connection sharing, no config changes made. Laptop connected to a Linksys WRT54G. Workstations connected to a switch, which is also connected to a WAP54G configured as a wireless client.

What causes the improved performance, which feels snappier with 24kbps on the new setup than 36kbps on the old setup? My only guess is that perhaps the WRT54G's NAT code handles things better and perhaps splits packets up with a smaller MTU, thus requiring Windows to do less work in its own NAT implementation.

Either way, I'm looking forward to the satellite connection, and I'm pleasantly surprised by the breath of new life into the dialup connection that we (hopefully) will only need to use for just a few more days.

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