Internet slowdowns/outages and Carbonite
Enthusiast - Level 3

I've just spent several hours of quality time with my home FIOS network, trying to track down intermittent network slowdowns and outages, and the culprit in my case turned out to be:

Carbonite, the back up software package.

I've seen a bunch of other posts here from people beating their heads against the wall over intermittent Internet slowdowns and outages, so I figured I would post my experience.

I was dreading the usual futile call(s) to Verizon support, so I was determined to rule out as many things as possible before calling them.  By running traceroute (I have a Win 7 machine, so it's actually "tracert")  to the Google DNS servers ( while systematically disconnecting my machines from the network,  I was able to determine that one of my computers was causing the problem.

Then, again while running tracert, I stopped various suspect processes and applications on that machine until I found the one that was causing the problem. In my case, it was Carbonite as it tried to back up large TIFF files.

Because all of the devices on my network (including the Video on Demand feature on my set top cables boxes) experienced the slowdowns at the same time, I made the mistaken assumption that the problem was upstream of my devices: either at the router, the ONT, or the network coming into my house. I was quick to assume that it was Verizon's fault. However, Carbonite was hosing performance between the router and the ONT, and ALL my devices suffered from the slowdown.

Hope this helps.


If you're not sure how to run tracert on Windows:

1. On a machine with a wired connection direct to the router, bring up a command prompt as administrator. (Doing this through wireless or through a hub adds an additional layer of complexity and potential problems. Stick to a machine going straight to the router, and not via a switch or hub.)

2. While the network is acting slow, run traceroute to the Google DNS servers:

> tracert

3. Your first line (the router) should be quick: probably less than 1 ms, but at least 2 ms or less:

     Tracing route to []  over a maximum of 30 hops:

        1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  Wireless_Broadband_Router.home []

4. When the network problems are present you will probably see numbers in the high hundreds through several thousand ms beyond the router. Or you will see an asterisk if the connection is so slow it's timing out:

          2     *        *     3452 ms [71.16n.nn.1]
          3  1013 ms   817 ms  1023 ms [130.81.nnn.nnn]
          4   927 ms   912 ms  1125 ms [130.81.nn.nn]

5. Disconnect things from your router until the numbers suddenly drop back down to double-digits. The system you disconnected just before this happens is your culprit.

            1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  Wireless_Broadband_Router.home []
            2    46 ms    46 ms    46 ms [71.16n.nn.1]
            3    45 ms    46 ms    47 ms [130.81.nnn.nnn]
            4    46 ms    46 ms   300 ms [130.81.nn.nn]

6. Now repeat this process, but with just the problem machine and the other wired machine connected to the router, and try to identify the application or the process causing the problem. Note that the the results may not be instantaneous. In the case of Carbonite, it can take up to a minute after you pause it through its GUI before it finishes whatever it was doing and shuts down. Likewise, it can take a minute or two after it resumes backing up a big file before your network performance goes to hell again.

2 Replies
Contributor - Level 1

I believe what you stated about Carbonite but I'm very leary now about using any online backup service ever again.

I myself am a computer technician and know my pc better than anyone, as I built it!

Well, Norton Online backup crashed on me June 29th and refused to run for 4 days  (July 2d) until I called Symantec tech support.  They actually blamed my FIOS connection to their servers. My small backup started taking over 2 hours to connect and attempt a backup, until I received the dreaded red X that it failed to connect.  My backup generally took a few minutes to complete.

Long story very short:  after their backup ran flawflessly for 1 year, I made the dreaded mistake of allowing their tech to do a remote access to my business pc.  Spent 10 hours ( 5hrs for 2 days!) with them troubleshooting and I told them if they were able to access me via my FIOS connection, then it was not me, but their servers which had connection issues.  They installed 2 pieces of software against my wishes and Vista crashed, never to see the desktop again.  I wanted to choke the tech but he was lucky I'm in NY and he was in India, I guess.  Lucky I didn't have to depend on their awful restore process and I had a full PC restore on my external drive which worked!   I'm not sure how Carbonite's restore process works, but from my understanding, most online backup restorations can take days to restore!  No joke.  Never again....although I was looking into Macrium Reflect free edition.


great info !