Is there a way to accelerate downloads over a cable modem?

I use a cable modem for home internet use and have a question about download speed. Currently when I download a large file (no, not porn :stuck_out_tongue: ), I get, depending on site, time of day, etc., anywhere from 250 - 950 KB/sec download speed. The brochures and such for the tier I subscribe to tout up to 1.5 megs/sec. So right off the bat I’ve never gotten more than 66% or so of available speed.

During lunch I was talking with some coworkers about some new sites we’ve found for little toys, apps and tools. One mentioned a program he uses that increases dowload speed, but being at work I didn’t have the time to really get into the details. And the curiosity is killing me so I thought I’d ask here rather than wait until Wednesday as he’s off tomorrow.

So, is there a way to increase download time? Or at least that would keep speed a little more consistant? From what I can figure out, based on pure conjecture, is it somehow holds open more ports for the file. I don’t know if this means it opens more ports than I’m supposed to have (and I have no idea if I’m limited, the cable rep wasn’t able to answer any of this) or just prevents other’s from being used for other apps like IM and e-mail and such.

BTW, I tried to describe this in detail to the cable guy, and he had no idea what I was talking about. He also said he couldn’t find anything close to this being illegal or against their rules. Now I’m wondering if I was wooshed.

To recap, a guy that has never steered me wrong mentions an app I really want. I can’t find it and I’m rather impatient (surprise), and the ISP rep can’t find anything wrong with what I’m attempting to do. (Ifigure since they limit bandwith they don’t care what I do as long as I don’t go over the 1.5 megs.)

So is there a program that helps out with downloads? From all my inquiry there isn’t anything illegal about it. Though, of course, I’ve been proven wrong many times before. Any help?


I think I know what he’s talking about, but as it is also often used for illegal filesharing (although by no means exclusively so), I think I’d better not mention it. It works by opening multiple threads to download parts of the same file from different locations; it only works on files that have been distributed in such a way as to make this possible.

I was not aware there was cable technology advertized at 12Mbps like you describe, however, most peers will NOT send you data at this speed to conserve their own bandwidth. There’s several programs for HTTP, or P2P that will let you max out your connection by using multiple hosts at once. Download Accelerator (spyware warning) is one for HTTP/FTP, and BitTorrent is one for P2P. There are others. Occasionally an HTTP host can send you data much faster if you configure your accelerator to download from the same host in 4-7 different sessions, although this behavior is rather unethical.

There are some software programs out there (and sorry, but I can’t remember the name of any of them) that claim to tweak certain settings on your machine which will allow for faster downloads. IIRC, Maximum PC has mentioned some of them in the past in their magazine, you might check their website to see if it has any info.

Mangetout, if you’re talking about Bit Torrent, they just agreed to yank any links from their site that go to pages where one can download things in violation of copyright law. (So I think that it’s safe to mention it.)

There are any mumber of applications and registry tweaks that can boost your transfer speed. All of them work pretty much the same way: by screwing around with various TCP/IP timings, packet size and various registry entries you can optimize your network for maximum performance. There are some apps here you might look into. Depending on your current settings, drivers and ISP you may or may not see any measurable benefit from tweaking these settings. Be sure to back up your registry and/or set a Restore Point before messing around with this stuff.

The tweak test can help you configure some things. Unless you have things set very strangely it will probably not make much of a difference.

You can also test your speed there.

The speed your getting sounds about right for cable, if anything its a little high. 250 - 950 Kilo Bytes (KB) a sec is very good. The problem I think your having is the diffrence between Bytes and Bits. When companies advertise their broadband speeds they use bits, so you probably have 1.5 MegaBITs, not MegaBYTES per a second. 1.5 MegaBITs a sec is about 192KB a sec.

So you know how to compare bits and bytes, there are 8 bits per 1 byte, and there are 1024 bits or bytes per a kilo bit or byte.

Yes, I was. I’m aware of this agreement, however, it is my (perhaps flawed) understanding that this will have little impact on the volume of illegal material being transacted by their software, since (as I understand) torrents can be (and are) set up completely independenty of their website.

BitTorrent itself, and downloading files through it, are not inherently illegal, regardless of what it is primarily used for. Just like giving advice on sharpening knives…

No, it’s 1.5 megabytes/sec. I know the difference between bits and bytes. No way I’d pay this much for 1.5Mbits/sec.

I don’t think it’s any sort of P2P-type file sharing deal. For instance the one site I download from daily is a subscription service. There is no file sharing even possible with it. I mentioned it was a private source, members-only, and it sounds like it would work in that case as well.

Maybe it’s a red herring, or something completely different from what I’m thinking. I was hoping someone would know what the hell he was talking about. I’ll check some of the links. I’m leery of messing with my registry blindly, but I have a pretty good idea of how far I can wade into a project before destroying everything around me. :slight_smile:

And for God’s sake, please don’t anyone link to P2P sites or mention anything involving them other than to say flat-out that’s what the app really is. I’ve travelled that road and prefer to not revisit it.

Thanks again for the responses so far.

The speed of a communication link is normally specified as bits per second. Bytes and words are higher level abstractions and are avoided. A byte is not always 8 bits, thus the use of the term octet in many standards documents. Kilobits, megabits and gigabits are always powers of 10, not 2. 10 megabits is exactly 10,000,000 bits.

I also say there is a more than excellent chance that you have 1.5Mbits/sec service. That has been one of the standard cable rates for some time. If really is 1.5 megabytes/sec like you say then that would translate 12Mbits/sec and only a few test sites in the U.S. have service that fast rolled out to cable subscribers. I am sure that you would be made aware of it on a daily basis.

Huh. And they’re told me twice or thrice it’s megabytes. Serves me right for trusting them at their word. sigh Excuse while I try to resurrect the bubble so that nefarious company can burst it yet again. :frowning:

OK, I ran the test again. Maybe this can be better explained, because it looks like a half-MB/sec. What the hell am I reading wrong? I’m getting more confused than I normally am.

Welcome to BBR! Run more tests! see forums
2005-12-05 20:44:38 EST: 4652 / 237
Your download speed : 4652 kbps or 581.5 KB/sec.
Your upload speed : 237 kbps or 29.6 KB/sec.

So do I have an unusually good download speed for a private connection? (I know for more money I can increase the badwidth with a commercial account, but I don’t need 5MB/sec or whatever the hell it is).

That is about what I get for speed with my cable modem. So it is not unusual.

duffer, you are already getting close to 5 Mbps service, which is a very good speed. The program you’re looking for is “Download Accelerator Plus,” as mentioned above, which has a free version supported by ads within the program itself. It basically opens up 4 or more simultaneous channels to allow it to download stuff faster. It helps when downloading large files from a site that has really small bandwidth allocations. For example, a file downloading at about 100 kb/sec will jump up to 580 kb/sec (or whatever maximum speed your cable company will allow) when using this software.

This I also understand; indeed the same thing could be said of any filesharing application, however (and this was my point) ‘Not inherently illegal’ does not always (as in this case, I believe) equal ‘OK to discuss on the SDMB’.

duffer, I work for an ISP / Datacenter, so I know what I’m talking about.

Firstly, Hirka T’Bawa’s right… you’re cable speed is probably a T1 connection, which means you’re rate-limited at 1.54 mbps - megabits per second, not bytes. Most Cable-internet / broadband connections are connected to the ISP on 10/100 swiches, which means the fiber to your house has a maximum enabled carrying capacity of either 10 mbps or 100 mbps. Again, this is in megabits.

Secondly, and more importantly, most people don’t realize that Internet speeds are a two-way affair. You can only retrieve data from a data source (read: server) on a network (read: LAN or Internet) as fast as the data is being served from the host machine.
So, if the site you’re accessing cant serve you your favorite girl-on-girl jpegs at a speed of more than say, 256 kbps (maybe its a free porn site, and they probably cant afford to buy a lot of bandwidth from their ISP), then that’s that. Despite the fact that you have a 1.5 mbps connection, you’ll never see more than a 256 kbps downstream rate from that site, and you’ll just have to sit there, drumming your finger impatiently on the desk, waiting for your favorite hi-res shots to load.

As MaceMan mentioned, you could try GetRight , or DAP . Be careful when you’re installing generic download accelerators, because some of them install spyware on your machine.

One other factor to consider is that your machine may be limiting your effective download speed. The native settings for Windows assume that you’re on dialup, and are tweaked to optimize that. If you’re sitting on some massive pipe (ahem), then it may be good to do some tweaking.

Installing the registry tweaks found here ( may help. I found that my effective speed increased when I did so.

I don’t know why people are so insistent that the OP’s only got 1.5Mbps. I’ve got a 10 Mbps home link, some U.K. ISPs are advertising 20+ Mbps links, and some dopers in the Far East have 100 Mbps links.

What I haven’t seen mentioned is that the bandwidth he has may be shared. He may share that bandwidth with 30-50 other people - the contention ratio. So if nobody else is using it, he’ll get full speed, but otherwise, it depends how many others are using it. And that’s just on the local link. All the way through to the other end, each hop has a maximum bandwidth. You should be able to tell where the congestion is occurring by using tools like Pingplotter.