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I have ADSL line and my download speed does reach full speed as it is used to be when I download one file at a time.

When I called my ISP they told me I must download more than one file at the same time to reach full speed when I try that I get the full speed.

But I used to get full speed for single file for years and I usually download single large file one at a time. Now speed does not exceed 30kb/s per file please advise if there is something to fix that from my computer or I should change my ISP.

Thanks

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What operating system are you using? There are various tools to optimize systems such as XP, and some other systems automatically optimize themselves for the connection speed (Vista and Win 7) so the operating system is important. –  Mokubai Aug 30 '11 at 10:22
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2 Answers 2

When I called my ISP they told me I must download more than one file at the same time to reach full speed when I try that I get the full speed.

It looks like your ISP is throttling individual connections (let's not discuss the reasons why). Depending on protocol you use to download you should use some kind of "download accelerator". I haven't had a necessity to use such tools thus i can't recommend one.

You should look more into this issue as this may affect performance of other network applications (first of all speed throttling increases ping (actually causes fluctuations), which is one of the most important factors of observed performance in todays network applications)

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Internet download speed is dependant on a number of factors and in my experience the most notable factor that affect download speeds is the Receive Window (RWIN) TCP parameter.

RWIN
The Receive Window is the number of bytes that the remote server will send to you before it must have an acknowledgement that the data has been received. If your RWIN is too small then you will only get a small amount of data before you must send an acknowledge packet back and this can cause a severe bottleneck on faster connections.

The reason that RWIN is important is because of the delay (latency) in sending back an acknowledgement, it can take several hundred milliseconds for a packet to travel across the internet, just to tell the server that you want more data. With a small receive window this means that you are artificially limiting your own bandwidth.

To explain why two downloads at once would suddenly mean that you can download at full speed: it is because by downloading from another site you are using slightly more bandwidth and you are actually causing a extra (albeit small) delay in the process of receiving data, which gives your computer a small fraction of a second more time to send an acknowledgement.

This sounds slightly counter-intuitive but but when you think of your downloads as a stream of data that comes to you in a queue and you are effectively ticking off each portion of data as it comes in, when you put more data packets (from somewhere else) in the queue you are efectively increasing the amount of data packets in that queue and thus delaying the process just long enough for your acknowledge packets to get back to the remote server so they can send more data back to your queue.

An (online) tool that will test your internet connection, suggest appropriate settings and tell you how to adjust them in your operating system is the DSLReports Tweak Test. It does require Java, but other than that the advice it gives is sound.

Vista and Windows 7 automatically adjust their own TCP settings "on the fly", if you are getting poor performance over ADSL using either of them then chances are it is a problem with your router or ISP.

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I am on win 7 64bit - it there a tool for win 7 I can use ? thanks –  welliam Aug 30 '11 at 12:18
    
Welliam, is there any chance you could run the tweak test I mentioned and post a screenshot of your results? –  Mokubai Aug 30 '11 at 12:39
    
@welliam: You can't/don't need to do this on Win 7 64-bit, see dslreports.com/faq/586 –  martineau Aug 30 '11 at 13:04
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