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Broadband Connection Tweaking Guide

You've just upgraded to a super-fast broadband Internet connection, and you are expecting fast loading webpages and downloads? Well, in this guide Sevan shows you how to optimize your broadband connection to get the maximum speed, without any fancy programs or hacks!
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TweakTown Staff
Published Thu, Aug 23 2001 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

Broadband Connection Tweaking -

IntroductionSo you have DSL, cable or another type of broadband connection and feel like a king now? No? Or are you expecting more speed? That's what I thought! In this guide you will find out how to optimize your broadband connection to get the maximum speed, the right way, without any fancy programs or hacks!However first of all here are a few words I want you to understand before we get started:Cable modems: A cable modem is a box that uses the coax cable your cable company uses for TV signals, to transmit data. Since cable TV was designed as a broadcast system, the cable is shared amongst many people in a small area, and speeds depend on the network usage amount. If you have packet loss on a cable connection and have tweaked your system, know that the problem might be from an overcrowded network. Internet usage on a cable modem during peek times is frustrating sometimes, especially for gamers, so if you have no other choice than cable, then go for it.DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): DSL is the next generation of internet access technology. A house or business with DSL has a data socket that looks like a phone socket. DSL is a direct connection to the Internet, always on. There are few types of DSL services:- ATM: Asynchronous Transfer Mode is a high speed network protocol, especially good for real time voice and video. DSL lines normally use ATM as the underlying data-transport protocol beneath TCP/IP.- Local loop: The local loop is the line between your house, and the local central office where telephone travels on twisted pair of wires.- ADSL: Most popular type of DSL where speeds as asymmetric. Download speed is usually much faster than upload speed. You will need to be close to a central office (where all the phone lines connect in a neighborhood) in order to get 1.5mbps download/128kbps upload speeds, which is the typical speed for residential products.- SDSL: Very good alternative to a T-1 for business users where download speed and upload speed are the same. SDSL uses two pairs of wires where data and voice is split inside the phone jack compared to a filter on ADSL. You will need to give up a phone line completely if you plan on installing SDSL. SDSL is usually more stable than ADSL since speeds are symmetric and the connection is better maintained for business purposes such as running servers. Also, SDSL is excellent for gaming on the Internet.- HDSL: High bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line is a DSL modem that delivers T1 speeds (1.5mbps/1.5mbps). This requires two lines. HDSL isn't for residential, but for commercial zones.- VDSL: VDSL offers the highest speeds of the DSL types, but is only in limited commercial use. Companies require you to be 1000 to 4500 feet away from the central office but it promises data rates of up to 50mbps. VDSL has been previously called VASDL or BDSL or even ADSL. In June 1995, VDSL became the official title of this standard. As of early 2000, VDSL has appeared in some US-West areas; for example, Gilbert and central Phoenix. Those subscribers report great service, highly integrated -- TV, phone, Internet all down one short line from a local fiber connection.- IDSL IDSL is DSL at 144 kbps down and up. IDSL uses ISDN transmission coding both ISDN channels and voice all on one circuit. IDSL does not use any kind of dial up nor involve call fees. IDSL is usually the only option for those who are too far from the CO to receive regular ADSL or SDSL, but recently there has been a project launched named "project pronto" which installs mini-CO's in neighborhood and increases the chance of getting ADSL or SDSL by a big margin. That's actually how I received ADSL; through project pronto. IDSL is a little more expensive than any regular DSL service but IDSL can still be a very satisfactory solution to dialup, coping very well with online gaming, and medium quality streaming audio/video.And now, here are a few words that make up the Internet:TCP: TCP is like UDP, but the transfer is not constant. However, the packets are more likely to arrive than UDP. Slowly, UDP is becoming more popular and is used by many websites who have streams of video or audio.UDP: UDP packets are used where delivery is not guaranteed. Of course delivery of most packets is highly likely, its just that some of it may not get there. What use is that? Well, for some information like video and audio, some loss of data can be tolerated. The advantage of UDP is that the sender and recipient agree on a constant data rate. This means that you don't have to run the link as fast as you can, which is the natural design of TCP/IP. UDP is used by multiplayer games like Quake 3, and Half-Life, ect.Below are pictures of how a DSL connection works.

Broadband Connection Tweaking -

Preparing ComputerBefore we start anything, I advise you to look at the Internet Security article in unchecking bindings in the Windows Network control panel. The first thing I want every user to understand is that there is no magic in getting 20mbps download speed on a 1mbps download speed pipe.These days you won't be able to uncap (a step where the limit of amount of data being received and sent is switched to unlimited depending on the network speed, and is considered illegal by some ISP's like @home) your cable modem. DSL is a little different story where you are capped, depending on your line condition and how you may be able to handle a certain speed. When a DSL line's cap is raised, it could become unstable since too much data is being transferred at a long distance. Stay far away from any "hacks" or "patches" or certain "programs" that are suppose to make your connection much faster. They set your settings WAY too high and can cause only problems rather than fix anything. Next step, we will take a look at what your computer already can do. IF you are close to 80% of your rated (advertised) speeds, then you are all fine!!! Go enjoy your connection! Now if you aren't, then do a speed test at dslreports.comBelow is what I received with my tweaked connection (ADSL 6mbps/128kbps).

Broadband Connection Tweaking -

Tweaking: MTUThe first thing you need to know is MTU, which stands for Maximum Transmission Unit. It is the maximum packet size, in bytes, that can be transmitted across a link. The MTU determines the size of your packets, so if it is too small, your computer will be responding often. If it is too big, errors will cause each packet to be resent. What we need to do is find your maximum MTU which does NOT return a fragment message such as the below screenshot. In a minute I will talk about which is the maximum MTU size for different types of connections you want to set at!
Typically, all cable modem connections should be set to 1500 MTU, while DSL connections can vary. For example, ADSL PPPOE needs to be set at 1492, while ADSL STATIC needs to be set at 1500. Any other type of DSL connection should use an MTU of 1500, just like cable modem. Confused? Well I will make it easier for you.ADSL PPPOE = 1492 MTUADSL STATIC IP = 1500 MTUSDSL = 1500VDSL = 1500HDSL = 1500IDSL = 1500CABLE = 1500Now you are wondering "How the heck am I going to "change" my MTU?" Well that step is through the registry, or a simple to use program called Dr. TCP - Click here to download Dr.TCP.When you have downloaded Dr. TCP, run it. This program may seem confusing but it does wonders. Take a look at the screenshot below. Tab to the maxmtu field and delete the current number that may be shown. Then type in the specific MTU that is for your connection, example: 1500, for ADSL static IP.
Note: Those people who are behind an ADSL PPPOE connection, know that even if you do set your MTU to 1492, Windows will limit you to 1454. How can you still set it at 1492 without windows limiting it? Read the instructions below carefully in setting your MTU to 1492 in Windows 9x. This is a 3 step plan so follow carefully. These instructions are for Winpoet users. Please scroll down for Ethernet users. Winpoet, Ethernet, and RASPPPOE are software that connects your ADSL PPPOE or PPPOA connection to the Internet. Your ISP requires you to use it. PPPoE stands for Point-to-Point Protocol over EthernetPPPoA stands for Point-to-Point Protocol over ATMFor Winpoet v2.x+We see WinPoet with MTUs at 1362, 1454 and 1462. Ideally, they should be 1492. This is a 3 step process to get them up to 1492. Please do 1 step at a time, and make sure that what should happen, does. After step 1, MTU should be 1454, regardless of if it was 1362, or 1462 prior to. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Step #1.To be sure that the adapters and otherwise are set to default and prepared well for what is to come, do this first: Open Dr.TCP. Using the drop-down menu in DR. TCP, set your basic dial-up adapter (usually simply named "Dial-up adapter") to 1492. Set any other dial-ups to 0, and clear (blank) any value showing for NICs (Ethernet adapters). Tab to Apply and click it, Exit, re-boot, re-test, re-post. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If MTU is now 1454 (if not, find out why), move on to step #2 Note: Your MTU should now be 1454 (not 1492) which is fine. (If yours was 1362, then this is very good.) Step #2.Here is a new tweak just for WinPoet. It allows the user to break that 1454 barrier. Go to Start/Run, and type in "regedit" (no quotes), click OK, then click down through here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetServicesClassNet

Broadband Connection Tweaking -

Tweaking RWIN (TCP receive window)Open Dr. TCP and tab to the TCP receive window section. Type the corresponding RWIN matching your download speed in the TCP receive window box and press apply, exit, and re-boot. Remember that the RWIN is the single most important tweak setting that will make a difference. An RWIN limits the amount of bandwidth sent to a user in the downstream direction. Rwin sizes:1.5mbps: About 220001.0mbps: About 11000768kbps: About 10000512kbps: About 8000384kbps: About 6000256kbps: About 4000Of course you may want to experiment with different rwin sizes to see what difference in makes! Now, go do a speed test and you may see a big or small increase in download speed!!!Tweaking TTL (Time to Live)Every packet you send has an TTL attached to it that makes it expire after a certain number of hops, such as 64. Windows 98 has a 128 TTL default. People wonder if a lower TTL can improve connection stability. The answer is hard to tell. It may help, but I doubt you will notice any difference. However, there are a certain things you may want to know. How to change TTL? Open Dr. TCP and look for it on the top right!1) If you are surfing a lot of websites that are VERY far away from you (international), then you may want to try an TTL of 255 if some websites won't load for you.2) If you are surfing a lot of websites that are national (In the US), then you may want to try an TTL of 128 or 64. Try to not use 32 since the Internet is international...and not a network designed for your town. ;)Tweaking Max Duplicate AcksThis setting gives you the option to set the maximum number of packets that should be resent if a packet is dropped. Microsoft tried to achieve an optimal number for Windows 98, which is 3 by default installation, and 2 for Windows 2000. You may want to try 2 if you do NOT experience packet loss in audio or video streams on the Internet, AND Internet games.Tweaking Windows ScalingScaling is needed to enter any RWIN number higher than 65535. However, you must also have the updated vtcp.386 patch (WinME/2K does not need a patch). Relax though, most users do not need to go higher than 65535. Windows Scaling defaults to off (No).Tweaking Time Stamping (Attention satellite users)The need for this seems to be in question, at least with RWIN under 65535. If you have a line where your latency (or ping) varies a lot, or a "long fat pipe" (for example, pure satellite connection), then Time stamping should be beneficial, so give time stamping a try. Time Stamping defaults to off (No).Tweaking Selective ACKSThis improves throughput (speed) on lines that tend to lose packets, by re-transmitting only packets that were lost, if any. Defaults to on (Yes) in Win98/98SE/ME/2K and is N/A in Win95/NT (sorry Windows 95 and NT users, time to upgrade!). ;)Tweaking Path MTU DiscoveryThis automatically sets your MTU (maximum transmission unit) to what type of line you have (dial-up (576), broadband). This is the size of packets that you can receive. The highest MTU that one can have is 1500. For users with PPPoe connection software, 1492 and lower. Defaults to on (Yes)in Win98/98SE/ME/2K/NT, and is N/A in Win95.Tweaking Black Hole DetectionThis discovers routers on the WEB that cause MTU Discovery to work sub-optimally. Do not turn this on! Turn it off. Defaults to off (No) in Win95/98/98SE/ME/2K.Tweaking ICS (Internet Connection Sharing)This option is enabled only if you are sharing your connection with another computer. ICS is a program used by some who do not have a router. This is where 2 or more PCs share the same Internet connection, though only one can "surf" at a time. ICS MTU should match that of the PC. This is grayed out if ICS is not being used.ConclusionNow that you are done, go ahead and reboot! Enjoy the new speeds!!! ICQ me at if you would like to know also how to speed up your browsing speed in Internet Explorer. I hope you enjoyed this guide and will come back for more. Till then, make sure you break before every turn!

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