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1st Published, Dec. 2004

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Optimizing & Measuring the "Speed" of Internet Connection.

There are Internet sites that provide the capacity to measure your Broadband Bandwidth, aka Internet “Speed”.

Example: DSLreports.com Speed Test

Doing these tests few times would yield a good approximation of Upload (from you to the Internet) “speed”.  However, as far as my experience shows, using online Broadband Metering to evaluate the Download "Speed" (from the Internet to you) is like conducting life according to "coffee-mud  readings".  I would not count too much on any of the online speed tests. 

Network Bandwidth (Speed) can be stated in Bytes or bits.

1Byte = 8 bits.     1MB/sec. is 8 Mb/sec.

Usually bits are symbolized using b (lower case).

Bytes are symbolized using B (upper case).

So what do to?

First Optimize your TCP/IP Stack.

Network and Internet is depending on packet of information and variety of buffers that handle the information through the Network.

Optimal size of Packets and adequate Buffers would yield the fastest connection possible through your specific Internet Service.

 The settings are part of the TCP/IP stack which is the protocol used by the Internet and your Local Network (LAN).

 Optimized TCP/IP Stack will improve your LAN traffic as well.

How to Optimize?

Download: DrTCP from DSLreports.com

Run the program, it will show the current settings of TCP/IP parameters. Write them down.

You can change any variable that you want, click Apply, and reboot the computer.  If no good; you can always change to your original values.

Start with:

MTU -   Cable = 1500. DSL = 1492.  ISDN=1322.  DialUp = 576.

Tcp Receive - For Broadband = 256960. For DialUp = 65392.

Window Scaling  - Yes

Time Stamping - No

Selective Acks - Yes

Path MTU Discovery - Yes.

Black Hole - NO

Max Duplicate - 2

TTL - 64

You are Optimized!

Log to a fast site (Microsoft.com, IBM.com ) and download 10MB file.

At the beginning you usually get a surge of huge speed (it has to do with the ISP speed control, and the way the browser averages the “Speed” reading). 

Look at the stable Download speed as shown by the browser. (i.e. the constant speed after the download stabilizes).

The rule of thumb is x10 if you get a download speed of 200KB/sec. (B=Byte) your download connection is about 2Mb/sec.(b=bit).  You can measure the actual time that it took to download and compute your actual speed.

Measuring this way reflects what you really get from your connection.

1Byte=8bits, so why are we using a factor of x10?

ISP's contracts are not defined by the "Speed" that you get on your computer, but by what the ISP "Pumps" into the connection at their side.

Your "Functional" speed depends on a lot of other components; Quality/Length of the lines and even your Hard Drive's performance would contribute to the equation.

No Matter What there is always loses.

Usually, there would be at least 20% over head, so it is fair to assume that the ISP pumps more than what you get.

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