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How to avoid bit torrent to degrade my connection performance without limiting bandwidth usage?

I'm not a regular "torrenter", but I use µTorrent occasionally to download large files quickly (the Ubuntu CD, for instance). While µTorrent is running, my internet seems to slow down to a crawl. I get about a half-second delay with games, loading web pages takes much longer, and Skype conversations break up every once in a while. Why is this? It's not a huge deal since I don't have it running 24/7, but I'm just curious as to why I can get super-fast downloads in µTorrent, yet have the rest of my internet-based apps take a significant performance hit.

Also, if this is perhaps something specific to my router or my internet connection, I would like to find a solution or workaround.

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I think this may be a duplicate of superuser.com/questions/111730/… –  goblinbox Feb 19 '11 at 1:45
    
@goblinbox: Thanks for the find, I didn't see that when I searched. Not an exact duplicate (I'm wondering why this happens more than how to fix it), but the answers are applicable here as well, so I guess it works. –  Sasha Chedygov Feb 19 '11 at 2:47
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marked as duplicate by Randolph Potter, techie007, studiohack Feb 19 '11 at 3:41

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2 Answers

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The torrent protocol is extremely efficient at maxing out your connection, so it uses all available resources to get the job done quicker.

Besides simply using all of your available bandwidth, it can slow down your connection simply by having open connections. Usually it is a good idea to limit the total number of connections/connections per torrent, as this will help to not saturate your connection.

It can also help to enable queuing of torrents, so that if you add 100 torrents, they don't all try to compete for your bandwidth and each go equally slow. Probably something like <10 active torrents is good practice.

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I have a feeling it might be my uploads, because I usually only have one, maybe two torrents downloading at the most at any given time. I'll take a look at my upload settings. –  Sasha Chedygov Feb 19 '11 at 2:56
    
Yes, uploads can also saturate easily, since your upload bandwidth is usually much less than your download bandwidth it will tend to become saturated faster. Also note that this will affect everything you do online, since viewing a web page is not purely a download process, you must first send a request to the web server for the page, the same goes for all other protocols on the internet. –  Snap Feb 19 '11 at 2:59
    
Right, which makes sense because the pages download pretty quickly, it just takes forever to connect to the server. Thanks! –  Sasha Chedygov Feb 19 '11 at 3:46
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If you do not configure utorrent to throttle the bandwidth is uses, it will hog all of it that is available to you, leaving next to nothing for browsing. Source

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