There are many possible reasons for an Internet connection to be slow. People are always asking “How can I increase my Internet speed?” This article gives a number of practical tips for increasing your Internet speed. Choose the tips that apply to your computer environment. First, however, you should try to eliminate the more common reasons for slow Internet speed.
1. Make sure that the connection between your computer and the router is good. Over time, Cat 5 cables can become loose, torn, or frayed. One of the least expensive hardware replacements is this connecting cable so check this first.
2. Check your computer for spyware/malware/bots. It is possible that the security of your machine has been compromised and someone may be stealing part of your CPU cycles and Internet bandwidth for their purposes. Personally, I recommend using Kaspersky software for this because if anyone knows about Internet security its the Russians! :-)
3. Always check to make sure that your hard disk space is at least 20% unused. If your computer is not running correctly you should check and clear your browser cache but you only need to do this if the machine is not running correctly. Otherwise, you can set the browser cache to maintain a years worth of data and never think about it again. Each time you clear the cache your browser will have to start over again with a new cache of your favorite website pages. Each new load will affect your Internet speed instead of being pulled from the local cache.
4. Make sure your wireless network is password protected to prevent your neighbors from “borrowing” from your Internet speed for their surfing needs.
5. Consider if your computer/network equipment is too old and outdated to provide a high performance experience. Internet speed is always related to equipment speed.
If you have checked all of the above but the machine is still performing poorly, contact your ISP and have one of their technicians troubleshoot it with you. Once you are sure that none of these common problems are causing your slow Internet speed or if you are simply looking for faster performance review each of the techniques below.
a. Optimize DNS settings Each time your computer is given an Internet task it must first do a distributed lookup to convert the relevant pneumonic string (e.g., iTechGuide.com into its corresponding numeric equivalent 188.8.131.52. This lookup is performed by the Domain Name Server (DNS) pointed to by your configuration. Not all DNS's are created with equally fast responsiveness. Fortunately, Google provides an free application (Windows, Linux, OS X) called Namebench that performs an analysis on your machine and recommends the best (most responsive) DNS server for your location. Download the OS appropriate application code for Namebench and use it to optimize your Internet speed response via DNS.
b. Windows QoS On Microsoft Windows 7 or later, Vista, and Server 2008 R2 it is possible to obtain up to a 20% Internet speed increase by disabling the Quality of Service (QoS) feature. The idea behind QoS is good for those who want/need it but that isn't everyone. QoS reserves/witholds a percentage of your Internet bandwidth so that time dependent applications such as Voice over IP (VoIP) are not disrupted by applications such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP); both applications could experience Internet speed delays without significantly degrading their usefulness. Before you disable QoS be sure you understand that it may cause you to experience performance issues with QoS dependent applications. Here are the steps to disable Windows QoS:
- Press Win+r, then type regedit.exe into the Run pop up box and hit OK or click on Start and then type regedit into the search box.
- Now that the registry editor is open go to the HKEY_Local_Machine\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows folder.
- Right-click on the Windows map, go to New, click on Key, and name it as a platform-specific hardware error driver PSHED folder; in other words name the new folder PSHED.
- Single left-click the PSHED folder and then right-click in the empty white screen on the right. Select New and click on the DWORD (32-bit) Value from the drop down menu. Name this registry entry NonBestEffortLimit.
- Right click on the NonBestEffortLimit key and select Modify.
- A window will pop up and you choose to place any value between zero and one hundred (0-100) to correspond to the percentage of your Internet bandwidth that should be reserved for QoS traffic.
If you later decide you want to go back to the Microsoft recommended setting of 20% you can simply delete the PSHED folder.
c. Apple Broadband Tuner If you happen to be using a Mac via Verizon's FiOS service you can take advantage of a FREE broadband tuner offered by Apple to optimize your Internet speed. FiOS can achieve speeds of 622 Mb/s downstream and 155 Mb/s upstream. Visit Apple.com to download Broadband tuner. Then, simply install and run the application to increase your Internet speed. This application increases the default values for the size of the TCP send and receive systcl variables. I performed the before and after Internet speed tests depicted below using Broadband tuner. Remember, however, that Internet speed is dynamic and other factors not associated with the broadband tuner could account for the slight Internet speed improvement.
FIGURE 1. INTERNET SPEED TEST BEFORE INSTALLING BROADBAND TUNER
FIGURE 2. INTERNET SPEED TEST AFTER INSTALLING BROADBAND TUNER
d. Speedguide TCP Optimizer is a FREE program for Microsoft Windows systems that provides a graphical interface for tuning TCP parameters including: MTU, RWIN, QoS/ToS/Diffserv prioritization mechanisms. It can be downloaded from http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php
e. Enable Jumbo OS X Frames The typical TCP frame size is 1500 bytes. In Mac OS X 10.3 or later it is possible to enable jumbo frames, which are 9000 bytes. This configuration is commonly used in Internet2, the Energy Sciences Network Esnet, and various other high speed (gigabit) networks. You will need to connect the Mac 1000 Mb port via hardwire to your router gigabit ethernet port. Most router equipment (Cisco, etc) allows you to set jumbo frame sizes on a per network (not per interface) basis. However, most systems also support 1500 byte frames even if the network is set for jumbo frames.
If you've followed this guide the result should be that your Internet speeds are performing at optimum levels.