You’ve probably thought to yourself, “How fast is my Internet service? And can I make my Internet connection even faster than it already is without spending any money?”
Often, people are so happy with how much faster and convenient their new High Speed Internet is compared with old fashioned dial-up that it never occurs to them to verify they are getting all the speed they are paying for. I’m going to show you how to make sure you’re getting every ‘bit’ (pun intended) of Internet performance you’re paying for!
We have prepared our own speed test for you to check your speeds. Then you can ask yourself, “Do I need my Internet connection to be faster?”
If you have a bill or contract agreement available from your cable provider, see what Internet speed you are paying for. There should be a reported upload speed (the maximum speed of how fast you can send data) and a reported download speed (the maximum speed of how fast you can receive data.)
If you cannot find this information, you can always contact your Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) technical support, via telephone or email, and ask for this information. Mostly, you are interested in the download speed, as most consumers use their Internet connections to receive much more information than they will ever send.
Next, we need to determine how fast your Internet is now. There are numerous Web sites that offer to measure your Internet speed for free. We have added a quick and easy test here at Digital Landing in our tools section that will show you what your upload and download speeds are and compare them to the State and National average.
Please note: Each time you test your Internet speed, expect to get a different result. This is because millions of people are using the Internet at the same time. Some servers will report faster speeds than other servers. I recommend running the same test three times from the same server to determine your ‘average’ speed.
Now that you’ve determined your average Internet speed, here are four free things you can do to boost the speed of your Internet connection right now:
1. Fix LAN Settings: Start Internet Explorer. Click on “Tools,” then “Internet Options,” then select the “Connections” tab and click the “LAN settings” button. If you see any check marks in any of the options listed, please uncheck them. Ensure everything in this window is NOT selected, as shown in the example below, then click “OK.”
2. Rebuild your Winsock: Windows uses something called “Windows Sockets” or “Winsock” to control the input and the output of data through a network connection. The Winsock can often become clogged with Spyware and other miscellaneous software knowingly and/or unknowingly acquired through every day “normal” Internet usage. Regardless of the condition of your Winsock, you can safely reset it (whether you need to or not), using this free Winsock rebuilding utility. Please note: You will need to reboot your PC immediately after running this application, so please be sure to save all of your work and close any running programs before you begin this procedure.
3. TweakTester: By default, Windows XP sets something called the “Receive Window” (sometimes referred to as RWIN) to a value much too low for today’s modern High Speed Internet demands. By changing this low default value to a specific larger number, your Internet performance should improve. To determine what value your “Receive Window” should be, use the free Tweak Tester utility.
Scroll down the website until you see the Tweak Tester, as shown in the following example.
If you do not see the screen shown above, you may not have Java installed. (Java is free and easily installed.) Then repeat this step.
Next, click “Start” on the Tweak Tester tool and wait while it sends data to your PC. Once complete, the “Results” button will become clickable. When this happens, please click the “Results” button.
The next screen is going to ask you what kind of High Speed Internet access you have (Cable, DSL, etc.), what download speed you are paying for, what operating system you use and what your connection type is. In the exampled below, we have selected “Cable” as our High Speed Internet service, 10 Mbps (megabits per second) as our speed, Windows XP as our operating system and our connection as normal.
Once you’ve entered the requested information, click the “recommend” button. The Tweak Tester results page will then be displayed, similar to this example:
While the results contain a lot of technical information, the summary listed below each column is all you need to understand. An exclamation mark inside a yellow triangle, such as in the first column of the example above, is drawing your attention to a setting that needs to be changed for better performance. The happy face, shown at the bottom of the second column, means everything in that column is configured correctly. You’ll notice the top of the third column says “unpingable.” This means our firewall is working, and that’s a good thing! The third test is unnecessary for our purposes here. However, if the third test does NOT say “unpingable,” this means you either have no firewall installed, enabled or properly configured.
Column 1, in our example above, recommends we choose an RWIN between 94900 and 251120. That requires a small, free program they offer called DRTCP. Click on the “download/use DRTCP” link found under column 1.
Run DRTCP and select your network card (not your dial-up modem or your 1394 adapter) from the drop down box located at the bottom of the DRTCP window under “Adapter Settings,” as shown in the example below.
Please note: If your cable modem is plugged directly into your PC with a USB cable, be sure to select your cable modem from the drop-down list instead.
Next, enter the highest recommended RWIN value next to “TCP Receive Window,” ensure that “Window Scaling” is set to “Yes” and then click the “Save” button, as shown in the example below.
A window will appear confirming your settings have been saved. Click OK, then close the DRTCP program and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
When your computer restarts, repeat step 3 and you should see only happy faces (no recommended changes) after running the Tweak Tester this time.
4. Put the pedal to the metal: By now you’ve probably seen many self-proclaimed Internet speed-boosters advertised for dial-up users. Most folks with High Speed Internet access have never considered the potential usefulness of a Web Accelerator. Sure, your web pages load fast now, but they can load even faster if you install Google’s free Web Accelerator. Google uses a number of ingenious strategies to get the Web pages you desire on your desktop lickety-split.
Please note: After you install the Google Web-Accelerator, the speed testing sites will not run until you disable it for accurate results. This is why we saved this as the last step. To temporarily disable the Google Web Accelerator, right-click its icon in your system tray (located by the clock in the lower-right corner of your desktop) and click “Stop Google Web Accelerator.”) It will start again automatically when you restart your PC, or you can start it up manually as you would any other program found under your Start Menu.
My Internet Connection Rocks!
While writing this article, I followed these very steps on my own PC. I have a Cable Internet connection with an advertised speed of 7 to 9 Mbps. Rather than averaging, I took the slowest speed test and compared it with the fastest speed test after the changes were made. You can see just how dramatic these settings affected my Internet connection. I went from 9 mbps (shown below as BEFORE) to almost 15 Mbps (shown below as AFTER).
These results may not be typical, but you should see a marked improvement in your Internet speed after following these easy steps. The changes are permanent, unlike the air in your tires, so now you can focus on enjoying every ‘bit’ of High Speed Internet service that you are paying for!
My Internet Connection — BEFORE
My Internet Connection — AFTER
Now that you know how to make your Internet connection faster, you’re probably wondering how you can make your Internet service cheaper, too! If your Internet Service Provider doesn’t offer you a deal you like, see what other Internet services are offered in your area.