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I do not currently have access to the computer with the issue, to I am sorry if this question is a bit vague. I only need to know how to troubleshoot and not the actual solution.

Right, I have a USB WiFi dongle, its a D-Link Wireless N type, with the RTL8192CU showing when doing a lspci.

My WiFi works fine after booting my computer, but after some use, opening some tabs in firefox, my 8Mbit connection seems more like 512Kbit, instead of download rates of 700+ I get 40 or 50. It stays slow even after I close all tabs, and halt all internet activity.

However, sometimes I reset the connection by reconnecting, and it speeds up again, if not, and sometimes that does not work, I pull the dongle out and plug back it and speed is back up to full.

I thought maybe its my linksys WRT54GL router, but I connect to that using my phone while the slowdown is happening, and I do not experience the same slow less on the phone. So I have ruled that out. The ping times are also ok, with 0.8ms pings to the router, or thereabouts. Also worth noting is that I have been using this same dongle under Windows 7 and 8 for a year and never had any issue.

How do I troubleshoot this issue? what kind of things should I be checking?

Running an up to date Linux Mint 17.1.

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You will have to monitor the bandwidth to see if something else is using your wireless connection. For example you could run something like:

$ speedometer -r wlan0 -t wlan0

This way you can see if the bandwidth is what it should be.

Moreover, pinging concurrently from other consoles your local gateway and let's say www.google.com would also be a nice idea.

Next, you can also monitor your wireless signal with something like:

$ while true; do echo $(date); iwconfig wlan0 | grep "Quality\|Rate"; sleep 5; done

This will show something like:

Wed Jun 10 01:10:44 EST 2015
      Bit Rate=48 Mb/s   Tx-Power=20 dBm   Sensitivity=8/0  
      Link Quality=91/100  Signal level=-39 dBm  Noise level=-87 dBm
Wed Jun 10 01:10:49 EST 2015
      Bit Rate=48 Mb/s   Tx-Power=20 dBm   Sensitivity=8/0  
      Link Quality=91/100  Signal level=-39 dBm  Noise level=-87 dBm

So if the signal quality/bit rate drops when you experience the slowdowns will be a good indicator that something is wrong.

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