Speed is usually the feature that many of us value most for Internet connectivity. It's not only the connection speed that your provider brings to your modem but also the TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) settings on your workstation that can have quite an influence in this matter.
If you are an XP user in most cases you'll get a faster connection if you tweak your connection's TCP parameters.
Users of Windows Vista or Windows 7 should note that any changes they make will only last until the next system restart. Microsoft has decided to take control of these settings.
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Many consider MaxMTU to be the most important TCP/IP setting, perhaps with RWindow coming a close second. MaxMTU needs to be set to the largest value possible without your data being broken up into smaller chunks en-route. Those of a technical nature will determine MaxMTU by trial and error, pinging, or using different packet sizes but it's a tedious procedure and definitely not for beginners.
For those of us that don't carry around Request For Comments in our head, TCPOptimizer will generate values automatically following some simple tests. It is worth remembering that the product is aimed at the North American market so the web sites used for the latency test are all based there. These are simple to change and will give a more accurate result.
There are commercial programs that will do much the same thing but TCPOptimizer does it just as well and is totally free. The only minus is the lack of in-program help, however, you'll find a useful FAQ at the SpeedGuide website.
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