Saturday, 8 January 2011

How to make your internet connection faster ?

At-least 10,000 times, since 2000, in last 8 years I have google-d / MSN-ed / Yahoo-ed / Altavisat-ed and all other search engine-ed to find the right answer or tips and tricks or tweaks for the question as how do I make my Internet connection faster ?
No matter what type of connection I use, Dial up, EDGE, ADSL, broadband, cable or any such, I always feel to be slower than usual !!!
Why ??
While searching, I have learned few very important lesson and hard facts which I would like to share with my readers. Some of the facts are not that satisfactory for our mind but what to do, facts are like that.. Most of the time they are hard to believe !!
First and most important is to understanding our own limits
Many of us tends to overlook or simply forget the difference between Kilo Bytes and Kilo Bits. Many of us wants to view Windows or our download manager reporting download speeds of 200 kbps+ with a connection in which ISP have promised to offer 256 kbps.
Matter of fact, all of our ISPs advertise their bandwidth in Kilobits per seconds, which is 8 times higher than Kilobytes per second, in which Windows or any other download manager would calculate the file transfer rate.
Meaning, in case of a 256 kbps connection, we are suppose to get 32 kilo bytes per second of download speed.
Important Note:
Although data rates and data storage both use bits, bytes, kilobits, etc, there is an interesting difference. It is generally accepted that when discussing data rates, kilobytes are measured as 1000 bits (not 1024 bits as used in data storage). This FAQ is specifically for data rates only.

Bits and Bytes are binary data units.

Bits are the smallest binary data unit. A bit can only represent two binary values (1 or 0)

kilobit = 1000 bits
Megabit = 1000 Kilobits

A byte is a combination of 8 bits. One byte can represent 256 binary values (any number between 0-255).

Kilobyte = 1,000 bytes
Megabyte = 1,000,000 bytes
Gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes

Important Note:
BellSouth advertises their speeds in bits/second not bytes/second:
Lite is 768 kilobits/second (Kbps) or approximately 96 kilobytes/second
Ultra is 1472 kilobits/second (Kbps) or approximately 184 kilobytes/second
Extreme 3.0 is 3000 kilobits/second (Kbps) or approximately 375 kilobytes/second
Extreme 6.0 is 6000 kilobits/second (Kbps) or approximately 750 kilobytes/second

Bit to Byte Calculations:
You can divide your speed (kilobits) by 8 to get your kilobytes or use this handy calculator tool for converting these measurements.

How do I make my Internet connection faster ?
Here is a hard fact. There are not much what we can do as an end use to make the actual Internet connection faster !!

Why cant I make my connection faster ?
In case of our Internet connection, there are very little control, which, as an end user we have over the allocated bandwidth by our ISP. For example, if I have subscribed to my ISP for a 256 kbps plan, then there is no way to obtain 300 kbps apart from upgrading the plan to a higher one.

Can any software tweak help ?
Most of the application builders try their best to provide their software with best and optimized settings to utilize the maximum available bandwidth, hence there are very little what we can to do squeeze more out of them. However, having said that, few application tends to perform better than others when it comes to using the bandwidth.
Try and use alternate browsers like FireFox / Opera against Internet Explorer. Some users like FireFox over Opera or IE where as many other would prefer to browse with Opera !!! By the way, do you know, Microsoft is coming out with Internet Explorer 9 ? The beta version of IE9 is available for download.

Blah Blah.. Read all that, but I still feel I am slower
Although there are not much we can do in terms of making the connection faster, but there are much can be done to make sure that we don’t waste the available bandwidth.
  • Auto-update of Installed software can run as a background process and eat up your available bandwidth to make your browsing experience slower. So you may turn off the auto-update of installed software and Windows to cut down the bandwidth utilization.
  • While we browse, we should look and stop any background application eating the available bandwidth. So many times I have found my P2P client is running in background, (under taskbar) hiding from my eyes and uploading the Linux distro which I have put on for download the other night.
  • Malware like Virus or a Spyware can always slow you down by utilizing your Internet connection for their own use. Always make sure you are using an up-to-date AntiVirus and AntiSpyware protection to keep the PC free of Virus and Spyware !! Mind you, your Windows comes with a built in AntiSpyware called Windows Defender (Vista or Win 7, in case of WinXP, one can download free)
  • Use of a firewall can help to stop unwanted apps to access the Internet.
  • If you need to download a large file, say about 50 MB or more, always try and use a File Transfer / download manager. There are many free options available, FlashGet / Free Download Manager (FDM) / Internet Download Manager (IDM).


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