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Old 07-31-2012, 10:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 9,216
Default mac - time machine & networking questions

On one of the hearing loss lists I frequent, there is a woman who has recently acquired a new captioned telephone (the CapTel 840i). The captioning is done via a broadband connection to the captioning center and she's been having some problems. She's mac based and they have a Time Machine which is used wirelessly--she said that it can only be used wirelessly and I don't know if that's a hardware function or the fact that their dsl box does not have an extra port.

When she first set up the phone, she was using it wirelessly and ran into problems with that. I suggested that the problem was that wireless connections can be slow (depending on the network), that she should see what would happen if she connected the phone directly via ethernet cable. I also suggeted that she talk to customer support at CapTel which she finally did and customer support talked her (actually her husband) through the process of getting the ethernet cable hooked up and that resolved the initial issues she was having with the captioning on the phone.

Because their dsl modem does not have any extra ports, they plugged the ethernet cable into a port on the Time Machine. She soon reported that they noticed a slow down when online--not all the time but periodically and often enough that it's driving them crazy. I asked what the speed tier they were on and suggested that it might be because they had slow dsl connection. She checked with her provider and discovered that they were eligible for a higher speed tier (6Mbps I think) at no extra cost--money is an issue for them. Their provider finally got the speed upgrade implemented and while the slow down they had been seeing is less, it's still slower than it used to be without the new phone.

I had suggested that it might be an issue of when the Time Machine was doing backup and apparently they have it set (and don't know how to change the setting) so that the TM system backup is being done hourly--I don't know if that's the norm for TM.

My gut feeling is that the slowdown is due to using the ethernet port on the TM and that the TM is constantly polling the ethernet port--it's already slow because TM is being used wirelessly on what is essentially a slow dsl speed tier.

I have suggested that she get an ethernet switch which would allow her to plug the ethernet switch into the dsl modem, hook the dsl modem into ethernet switch and provide an additional port for the phone. She's resisting that because she's a basic bozo when it comes to technical stuff and even though ethernet switches are inexpensive, I think she sees it as too much trouble and just another expense that won't fix the problem--depending on the suggestions I receive here, I'm seriously considering buying an ethernet switch myself and sending it to her.

I think I've finally convinced her that the problem is not the new phone per se--that any device hung off the TM's ethernet port would have the same slowdown effect.


Am I correct in thinking that using the TM's ethernet port is slowing down their online access speed?

Could they have used the wrong sort of ethernet cable? I know there are "cross over" (correct term?) ethernet cables. Should they have used one of those?

Do you think that the TM's hourly backups play a part in this? Can that be changed?



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