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Old 10-16-2003, 10:05 PM   #1
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, SUSE
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Any tips to speed up my Internet connection?

Hi, I have a really slow (~14.4 kbps on a good day) Internet connection. I don't have a network, just my desktop running Redhat 9, and a few other distros that I experiment with. Is there any way I can squeeze more bandwidth out of my dialup connection? Does Linux have any sort of "Web accelerator"? I'm willing to try Squid, Oops, anything that might help. I know about Downloader for X and a few others, but I'm more interested in something that will let me surf faster, just plain http. Any ideas? Thank a lot!
Old 10-16-2003, 10:13 PM   #2
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Well, honestly the bandwidth for 14.4 K isn't something that made of rubber (basically all dial-up speeds are fixed and limitied by your hardware - modem and telephone wires), you can use Squid for caching already visited web pages, or you can try Opera web browser with its excellent caching capabilities, but all you'll get is faster loading of already recently visited web pages.
Good luck
Old 10-17-2003, 01:24 AM   #3
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I agree with neo77777 - your dial-up connection speed is going to be dependent on what kind of hardware you have. Personally, I'd say the easiest possible thing to do is to just buy a 56K modem. Here's one link for a US Robotics model, for under $40. Assuming you might spend 4 hours messing around with Squid, etc, that's like paying yourself $10/hour for uncertain results. On the other hand, replacing a 14.4 modem with a 56K modem is almost guaranteed to at least triple or quadruple your current speeds. Obviously nobody wants to spend money unnecessarily, but personally I'd rather spend the $40 than to spend the time installing more packages. Just my 2 cents -- J.W.
Old 10-17-2003, 05:54 PM   #4
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In case you already have a 56k modem that is only getting you 14k due to poor phone line quality you may get some improvement by reducing the size of your mru and mtu values. I don't remember for sure, but I think it's found in /etc/ppp/options. You may have to google a bit to be sure. When I had a 34k modem I was only getting about 2.3-3k performance which I was able to imporve to 4-6k by this method. (A very noisy line)

The idea is that with smaller packets, fewer of them will arrive malformed, requiring that they be re-sent. I had to go all the way down to 296 but this was an extreme case.

Here's a thread from another site which may prove helpful:

Last edited by camelrider; 10-17-2003 at 05:56 PM.
Old 10-17-2003, 06:24 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2003
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Thank you all for the advice! Actually, I have a combination of a slow (14.4) modem and a bad phone line. I know my brother dialed up from my house with his laptop's 56K modem, and it was only marginally faster. With my modem, I occasionally get 6 or 7 KB/sec, but then it slows down to about 1.5 KB/sec. I figured that if I can't even sustain the maximum speed that my 14.4 modem can handle, upgrading it isn't a huge priority. But J.W., I agree, I'll upgrade anyway pretty soon. And I was hoping someone could point me to some good advice on TCP/IP settings; thanks camelrider!

Take a look at this:
Are there any (free?) proxy servers that I can connect through that will provide services similar to what RabbIT provides, such as embedded-ad filtering, data stream compression and caching? (I obviously don't have a remote server with a fast connection that can run the RabbIT proxy for me.) And can Squid do something like selective caching, where only the parts of a page that changed get re-loaded, while consistent elements of the page are retrieved from the cache? Thanks!
Old 10-17-2003, 06:44 PM   #6
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sb - of course, one other option to consider would be to go with either DSL or cable modem. Again, this would incur some costs, but given the vastly improved speeds and the productivity gains you would see (no more waiting for 3 minutes for a page to load) it may be easy to justify. When I was on a dialup connection, I paid $19.95/month, these days Yahoo is offering DSL for $29.95/month. That's only a marginal $10/month difference, but with the increased speed, you can save yourself hours and hours of time (not to mention all the frustration caused by endlessly waiting). Whether or not these options are available in your area is unknown to me, but again, if your budget can support it and they are available, I'd definitely encourage you to look into them. Personally speaking, once you experience DSL, there's no going back to dialup (and I should also say that my DSL speeds are nothing to brag about.) Good luck with whatever decision you make. -- J.W.
Old 10-17-2003, 08:41 PM   #7
Kurt M. Weber
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Of course, it's a trade-off--if you shrink your packet size low enough, the increase in overhead that comes from the increase in the number of packets overcomes the gain you get from not having to have as many packets re-sent.


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