Saturday, February 10, 2007

Optimize Your Broadband Connection

Windows XP’s default settings are not optimized for broadband use. There are several ways to optimize your broadband connection speed. Perhaps the easiest way is to use the free utility TCP Optimizer. It does not need to be installed. Instead, just run it from whatever folder you saved it to. Here are the items you need to get started.

  1. TCP Optimizer
  2. Adobe Flash Player
  3. Internet Explorer 6 or later
  4. Firefox 1.5 or later


Before changing any settings, you should create a system restore point – just in case things go wrong. Afterwards, you need to measure your current connection speed. This will serve as a baseline to compare connection speeds after changing the settings. There are several websites which can measure your connection speed. I recommend Speakeasy Speed Test. Go to Speakeasy Speed Test website. On the left side, there is a list of web servers. Choose the one geographically closes to you. Click on the button and the site will start measuring your speed. During the test, do nothing. After measuring your download speed, it will also measure your upload speed. Be patient and wait until both tests are completed. You can tell when it is completed when both your download and upload speeds are displayed. Jot down your download speed in kbps (kilobits per second).




Double click TCP Optimizer to launch the program. On the menu bar, go to File > Backup Current Settings. Give the backup file a name > [Save]. You can never be too careful. Now, you can start tweaking the settings. Just below the menu bar is a scale. On this scale, slide the bar to the speed you jotted down from Speakeasy Speed Test. Next, under “Network Adapter selection,” select the adapter you are using to connect to the Internet. Usually, it is the name of your router, cable modem or DSL. If you are not sure then check “Modify All Network Adapter.” On the bottom right hand corner, you will see 3 settings: Current settings, Optimal settings and Custom settings. Select Optimal settings and then click [Apply changes]. You will need to restart your computer.


After restarting your computer, go to Speakeasy Speed Test and measure your connection speed again. You should see an increase in the download speed. Unfortunately, you will most likely not see a significant increase in the upload speed. Once you got a hand on things, you might want to customize the settings. You can find some helpful tips on Speed Guide’s website. PC Tool’s website also has some helpful tips.

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