Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Speeding Up My Connection

Over the past few weeks it seemed like my internet connection was a lot slower than it should've been. I do a fair amount of roaming around using StumbleUpon, and frequently watch the videos that turn up. It was taking a lot longer than it used to for stuff to load. I tried some speed testing from and the results were pretty bad.

I thought about it and recalled resetting some stuff to try and maximize downloading. I'd made changes in the download application and I was pretty sure I'd made some changes even in the registry, but I'd thought at the time everything was OK. Obviously I was wrong.

Yesterday I turned on one of my other machines, got online and went to Speedtest. Things were worse than I thought on the main machine. According to the results from the second machine, I was getting a little better than 10% of the download speed I should've been getting. In fact, download speeds on the second machine were about four times faster than I recall seeing on the main machine even before I'd messed around several weeks back.

There was no way I was going to recall what I'd done. I recall printing out some instructions, but since I didn't realize right away things weren't right, I didn't still have them. After some Googling around, I came across a site offering optimization. Of course, it was a site selling an optimization program, but it did offer a scan. I figured I'd do the scan and see if the results would give me some avenues to explore.

I came across one recommendation to reset the MTU, or Maximum Transmission Units. It required going into RegEdit and changing a value for MTU to 1500. And the complete path to the value was provided, except the last step led me to four registry folders way down deep. So I took a look at each of them, and only one had a key for MTU. And instead of 1500, the value was 189. A little mental math told me if my speed on the other machine came with an MTU value of 1500 (I'm assuming because I didn't check the registry in the other machine), then a value of 189 would give me the speeds I was seeing on the main machine. So I changed that one value from 189 to 1500, got out of RegEdit, and restarted the machine. And I crossed my fingers, although I didn't think that one change would do any serious damage, but with registry changes, there's always some risk.

When the machine came back up, the first thing that happened was the new program nagged me to buy it, so I'll be deleting that right away. Once I got Firefox opened, I went to and ran the test. This time I got far better results, equivalent to the other machine's. Problem solved, I hope.

It'll be interesting to see if Flickr responds faster. On one of my lenses on Squidoo, I'd had about 15 photos linked from my three photosets on Flickr, and they were taking forever to load and getting in the way of editing that lens because changes wouldn't take while the photos were still loading.

[Edit] This one change also fixed another problem I was having - I couldn't access one of my credit card websites or a popular weird news site. Now I can. Also, Flickr loads faster on the lens.

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