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Tuesday, 10 May 2011

How to Maximize the Speed of Your Internet Connection

  1. Check to see if faster internet connections are in your area. Fiber optic and cable internet tend to be faster than DSL and Dial-Up.

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  2. Do some basic maintenance on your PC. Run Disk Defrag, a scan disk, a virus scan, a malware scan, and clear your recycle bin. An unusually slow Internet connection experience is often the only sign that your computer is infected with viruses or other malware. Delete old files and temporary files. Never allow the free space on your C: drive to be less than 10% of the total size or twice the installed RAM (which ever is larger). A well maintained PC will operate much better than a PC that has never had any maintenance. Google or your local computer repair store should be able to help you with this if you don't know how or you can use any good system cleaner and PC optimizer tool for free such as freeware Ccleaner or Wise Registry Cleaner and Wise Disk Cleaner or purchase something.
  3. Reset Your Home Network. Sometimes restarting (or unplugging and replugging the electric power on) your home network or your router -- if you have one -- will drastically increase the speed of your connection.
  4. Check your home network equipment in general. If you have multiple computers sharing a connection, make sure all the computers are physically connected to a router or switch, and not just to a hub. Hubs are "dumb", low-level equipment, while routers are capable of prioritizing and directing traffic effectively.
  5. Optimize your cache or temporary Internet files. These files improve your Internet connection performance by not downloading the same file over and over. When a web site puts their logo graphic on every page your computer only downloads a new one when it changes.
    • Caution: If you delete the temporary files (graphics and such), they must be downloaded again when you go to that site. If you disable the cache (loaded software, data), then it must be downloaded every time you view the page that uses it. This can be fixed by opening Internet Explorer, clicking on "Tools" at the top and choosing "Internet Options". On the General tab, click the "Settings" button next to Temporary Internet Files. Set a check mark for newer versions to handle downloading new versions "Automatically". Set the amount of disk space to use to 2% of your total harddisk size or 512 MB, which ever is smaller. On Firefox, click "Tools" then "Options," and go to the privacy tab. Then click on the Cache tab within this to set it to automatic.
  6. If you are using a Wireless router, make sure it doesn't conflict with a cordless phone or wireless camera. Wireless routers come in three varieties; 802.11 b, g, and n (2.4Ghz) or 802.11 a (5.8Ghz) If you are using a 2.4Ghz Cordless phone and 2.4Ghz Wireless router then your Internet connection speed will slow while you use the cordless phone. The same is true of wireless security cameras. Check on your phone and camera, if it's 900Mhz then it's fine. If it says 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz then it could be the cause of your slow connection speed while they're in use.
  7. Call your Internet service provider (ISP). Sometimes you just have bad service. They can usually tell if your connection is substandard without having a technician come to your home. Just be nice and ask.
  8. Upgrade your computer. If your computer is slow, it doesn't matter how fast your Internet connection is, the whole thing will just seem slow. You can only access the Internet as fast as your PC will allow you to.
  9. Upgrade your router/firewall equipment. Specifically, look into any speed specifications (many older routers are not capable of transmitting to/from the internet faster than 10 Mbps, even though the local ports transmit in 100 Mbps). Also, older routers may be underpowered, so that even though the theoretical speed is 10 Mbps, the processor on the router is too weak to reach maximum speed.
  10. Upgrade your router firmware. Check the manufacturer's web site for firmware downloads for your router. Compare this with your version, and upgrade if necessary. Most routers have web interfaces for managing this, check for any labels on your router specifying default adress, username and password.
  11. Replace your old cable modem. Any solid-state electronics will degrade over time due to accumulated heat damage. Your broadband modem will have a harder and harder time 'concentrating' on maintaining a good connection as it gets older (signal to noise ratios will go down, and the number of resend requests for the same packet will go up). An after-market cable modem as opposed to a cable-company modem will frequently offer a better connection.
  12. Often your connection speed is slow because other programs are using it. To test if other programs, such as anti-virus and other updates, are accessing the Internet without your knowing, Click Start, Click Run. Type "cmd" (without quotes). Type "netstat -b 5 > activity.txt". After a minute or so, hold down Ctrl and press C. This has created a file with a list of all programs using your Internet connection. Type activity.txt to open the file and view the program list.
  13. Try pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete simultaneously and open up the Task Manager. Go to the process menu and close those processes that may be stealing your valuable bandwidth. (NOTE: Closing processes with unknown filenames may cause known programs to not function properly). There is a column with the User Name, and if that is "System", you'd better leave it alone until you stop using the program that needs it. But if the User is your own login name, then it is not crucial to the operating system, but may be needed by other programs, however you may experiment. Often the system will not allow closing of -- or will reopen -- needed system programs.
  14. After you have tried some of this try your connection again and see if it's running any faster. If it is better you may need to close those extras each time you restart your system until you set the startup list to not open them anymore.
  15. Check to see somebody else is using the internet on your home network. If somebody is downloading a lot of media from the internet, such as watching video or downloading large files, the host computer is using a lot of bandwidth and the other computers are using the remaining bandwidth.
  16. If you are using satelite internet, your internet connection might be altered because of wind (vibrations) and electrical activity in/among clouds, heavy snow, or rain and lightning, static, or other electrical interference.

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