Network connection speed (geeks say bandwidth) - are you getting all the speed you pay for? Probably not...
What can you do to make your internet access faster
You start your computer, you open your browser and connect to your favorite
web site, and wait, and wait, and after some time the page actually starts to
load. Whoa! What is going on?
Your internet bandwidth is to low or it is in need of optimization.?
So how do you go about optimizing your network connection speed
Well there are some things you can do but first there are some things you
need to know about networking, some acronyms and jargon (geek / nerd stuff) that need to be
- NIC - Network Interface Card the network adapter in your computer.
- MTU - Maximum Transmission Unit - Each packet is made up of
different parts depending on the protocol, header, sequence, data, trailer
just as a sample. To keep the packet from becoming too large and parts being
lost between the sending and receiving NIC's a control was created to
minimize the loss of data it specifies the maximum size for the packet. Thus
the MTU size may be calculated by sending data to a test NIC and gauging the
time for the reply to return and how much of the data was received and how
much was lost.
- Link speed - The speed that the NIC connects to another NIC
measured in Bits per second - such as 100 Mega Bits Per
Second 100 MBPS
- Duplex - Duplex setting is either full or half. Half means the NIC
will transmit a network packet and wait for a reply. Full means the NIC will
transmit and receive at the same time.
- Packet - A packet is the format of the data that is sent across
the network, depending on the Network Protocol the packet will be of
- TCP Receive Window - The amount of data the NIC will receive in to
it's buffer before sending it on to the computer or transmitting it to the
network. Be careful with modifying this parameter setting it too high or too
low will cause packet loss.
- ISP - Internet Service Provider
- Ping - Packet Inter-Network Groper, a
small program that sends out a standard packet (this packet is uniform for
all computers/operating systems) the packet is received and a reply is sent
back to the sending computer. The ping program tests the time it takes to get
the packet to the receiving computer and back, how many times the packet has
to be routed from one device to another (hops) and how long the packet has
before the network drops it, TTL (Time To Live).
- Ack - Acknowledge this is a signal from the receiving NIC, it will
send Ack back to the sending NIC and if it receives a bad packet it will send
a no-Ack at which time the sending NIC will transmit the packet again. If you
are getting a large amount of no-Ack messages then there is a hardware
problem between your NIC and the receiving NIC. I would suggest starting with
the wiring from your NIC and work outward.
- TTL - Time To Live, how long the network will keep the packet
before dropping it. If you suspect the service you want to connect to is a
long ways away from you (do a ping and look at the hops and the TTL) then you
may want to increase the TTL and decrease the MTU/Packet for transmission to
- Hops - Each time a packet is received and then transmitted between
the sending NIC and the receiving NIC is called a hop. The device does not
decode the data only the header then forwards the packet on.
- IP - Internet Protocol this is a numerical address assigned to
your NIC either automatically or statically.
Network connection speed setup:
Now lets see what we can do to speed up your network connection speed and get that page
to download faster.
Network connection speed optimization comes in two parts, your network card in your computer and your
router if you have one.
Network connection speed for your network interface card (NIC) you need to know what the speed and
duplex are set for. To find them you got to My Network Places, right click and select
Once you open the properties right click on your network card
and select properties, when the properties page opens go to the network card at
the top and click the 'Advanced' button.
When the page opens look in the left had box, you are looking
for 'Link speed' and 'Duplex' you want to change those two properties to '100'
and 'Full duplex'.
Now days all routers, cable/DSL modems, and switches are set at
100/full as default. Any thing less will cause the connection to be
intermittent, that is the connection will drop then reconnect thus causing the
your browser to look like it is setting there not doing anything or it will
come back with a time out error. It isn't the browser or the web site you are
connecting to it is your network.
Network connection speed for the router you can go in to the settings (if this is a home router) and
check the 'link speed/duplex' it should be 100/full. (There may not be a
setting in any options on newer routers).
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The other thing you can do
in the router settings is set the MTU, the optimum setting should be 1500 for
the MTU although it could be higher or lower depending on your network
connection to your ISP. You can run a test with this program -
Use the TCPOptimizer to check you network
Note: The TCPOptimizer program will work from behind a firewall but not with
a proxy server. If you have Windows Firewall Service you could disable the
service while running the tests, just don't open your browser or connect to
anywhere while testing.
If you are behind a corporate firewall or have a home
router with firewall turned on use the router settings to do your testing. Use
the 'Gateway' IP for the test. If your network uses a proxy server to go
the firewall then you can only test settings on your side of the proxy server,
again use the 'Gateway' IP address to do your tests. The program will error out
but the test will see the MTU for your NIC.
If you are connected directly to a Cable/DSL modem you can not modify the
settings, nor can you see the speed/duplex setting. If you find with your
testing that the MTU is wrong you may have to contact your service provider to
get the modem settings changed or a new modem.
By changing the MTU and the TCP Receive Window you will see a
boost in speed. As I pointed out in the definitions section modifying the TCP
Receive Window may cause more problems. Do not modify this setting unless it is
the last thing you can do to stop the dropped packets causing the connection to
appear to be slow.
The only thing left that will speed up your connection is the 'Bandwidth'
that your are getting from your ISP. Bandwidth is calculated in BPS -
Bits Per Second.
If you are on dial up the maximum you can
send/receive is 56,000 (56K) Bit Per Second.
If you are on Cable or DSL
then the game changes, you can get from 64 KBPS up to 20 Giga
Per Second (above 20 GBPS range is very expensive and normally only large
corporations have this type of connection) for the home user or small business
the speed will be in the range of 128 KBPS to 40+ MBPS (these are US
specifications only other countries will be different).
08/19/14 - After a
month of calling, talking, calling, talking to my ISP I have 20 MBPS
connect speed for my DSL, however this is only DOWN LOAD speed or what
they call down stream, what I receive on my computer in my office. My UP LOAD
or what they call upstream is still at 894 KBPS, and I upload a lot of data to
my web sites so in reality the extra money I am paying is for nothing, I need
the speed to be the other way around...
Something to consider if you are thinking of upgrading your internet network
You can use
these network connection speed terms to baffle your friends and talk to geeks, however your friends may
call you a geek... :)