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Here on the Internet, we see many ads promoting software products which can enhance your Internet speed.

I wonder, how could this be?

Imagine that you are using a 1 Mbps Internet connection, and the highest speed speed you can get from it is nothing above the limit. The Internet services are programmed to transmit certain-sized data packets at a certain rate. So when we can't do anything physically (like manipulating the line and such), how come those software developers claim that their products could enhance the Internet speed?

Edit :

Thanks to all people.I have got my answer.

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, CharlieRB, woliveirajr, Tog, MSalters Jun 19 at 12:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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What products are you talking about? Link them. –  NewWorld Jun 18 at 13:06
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Agreed, few examples would help to improve the quality of the question and the entire discussion –  smc Jun 18 at 13:24
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@smc you mean that a few examples would help ;-) –  lserni Jun 18 at 13:53
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I think this question would be cooler if it were titled, "Is speed enhancement software the new 'download more RAM'?" –  jpmc26 Jun 18 at 16:01
    
@smc: a few examples would be a search on google,like this " Internet speed boosters",then,a world of products just show up.By the way,i have another question,there is an answer which name is "Internet Download Manager " this program kinda improve your download speed and also when it stats downloading a file,it first rip the files apart and downloads each piece of file separately.How does this technique increase the download speed?Thanks. –  user3722727 Jun 19 at 20:25

10 Answers 10

up vote 29 down vote accepted

In short, the answer is No

First of all, as you have correctly stated you cannot exceed the speed limit set by your ISP. This just won't happen. It is a hardware restriction of the connection you are using, whatever that connection is - fiber, ADSL, DialUp, 3g, 4g, ...

A software that claims to overcome the restriction described above is clearly fraudulent.

It is important to mention that there are ways to speed up web browsing to a certain extend. However this is a very special case. You can speed up your browser by rapidly switching between multiple proxies and opening several simultaneous connections to download the same resource. However this is normally offered as an extra functionality with the browser (like Opera's Turbo mode). Yet, even with this functionality enabled, your actual Broadband speed limit remains the top limiting factor.

It is also worth mentioning that there are methods to increase actual data transfer rate. One of these methods is to use compression. However this method does not apply to some dodgy software offering to increase the speed, because compression on one side must be matched by decompression on another. For example if you send data and use some software to compress it, then whoever received the data should be aware of the compression and be capable of decompressing (and vise versa).

Another thing that is very important to note is that there is a very poor regulations about advertising on the internet. Anyone can claim anything about software they distribute, virtually no responsibility is assumed. If it is not a big company with a real name, then no one will really bother with claims.

In fact most of the programs that claim to speed up your Internet will contain either malware, spyware, trojans, advertising or all of it at the same time. By the way same applies for the software that claims to remove all viruses from you PC. Such software is intended for naive people without technical knowledge who will just click "install" and "agree" without giving it a second thought.

If you have asked this question out of curiosity, then I hope I have summarized it well enough for you. This is a good question, btw. If you were actually considering to use such software - don't.

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I don't think your first statement is entirely correct - as you mention yourself compression is a way, which increases the actual number of usable/decompressed Bytes/s. So if I can download a 1MB File in 1 Second via a compression-relay-service, which compresses it to 100KB and decompresses it on my PC, my effective Bandwith is increased to 1MB/s –  Falco Jun 18 at 13:07
    
Some of the software is supposed to work by looking at the links on the page you are currently browsing, and attempting to download the content at the other end of the links before you click on them. This can help to optimise your connection by taking advantage of otherwise unused bandwidth. However, this is likely to significantly increase the total amount of data you download, but may make it appear as if your connection is faster, as sometimes, the software will guess right and the content will have already been fetched for you. –  Bill Michell Jun 18 at 13:07
    
Software with an external service can also preload this contents and tidy up and compress them on their side and just send them to you, when you actually click the link. You will have the benefit of browsing-prediction without increased traffic on your side... –  Falco Jun 18 at 13:14
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Good comments (all three of them). And perfectly valid. I will not be updating my answer as these comments are good enough to cover what I did not. Also @Falco provided a good answer worth reading (superuser.com/a/770379/281154) –  smc Jun 18 at 13:16
    
These things aren't (or weren't) all dodgy malware things. Google used to offer one. –  user2357112 Jun 18 at 19:53

Do I think many of these offers are legit? NO

But are there ways in which a software could significantly speed up your internet experience? YES

Possibilities include:

  1. Compression - If they provide a compression server, which takes your request in a compressed format, gets the ressource on the web and relays it to you compressed, it can be a major speed improvement depending on the content type. Good examples are Opera Turbo / Opera Mini / Windows Phone compression - with websites they can even use lossy compression and filter advertising and heavy third party load at their end, or present it on demand, which can save you tons of bandwidth.

  2. Caching - this also needs an external server - speeds up responsiveness of websites by caching their contents. But your ISP can do this as well and many major services provide several caching servers... But still, if a service would provide a massive fast caching server right next to you (small distance in hops) you could have a noticeably improved response time.

  3. DNS-Service: The software could provide you with a faster DNS-Service than your default one, which would reduce response time for many usual use-cases.

  4. System-Tweaking: especially for high-bandwidth transfers, there are a bunch of settings like number of connections, packet size, TCP and IP protocol tweaks, which could affect your performance. Although your default system settings should be pretty good and self-regulating, it is entirely possible someone can tweak the settings for a bit more performance.

  5. Protocol tricks/hacks: I seriously don't know how much of this one could actually work. But several protocols support various priority levels and other options, which could possibly be used to get your traffic routed faster by e.g. lying about its contents.

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Very comprehensive answer. I'd also note that (1) and (2) usually come with a subscription fee, and (3) is nowadays mostly obsoleted by Google's 8.8.8.8/8.8.4.4 DNS servers. –  lserni Jun 18 at 13:51
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One heuristic application of (2) is for a device/software to pre-load and therefore cache resources/pages you're likely to visit next, while you're sitting there reading the current page. –  Eccentropy Jun 18 at 16:11

IMHO, there are a couple of ways, the perceived Internet speed is enhanced.

  1. Compression - basically, if the end point (say website) is using compression techniques then basically, when you connect to that site, the amount of data that you download is less than the actual size of the final page. since, you would be downloading the compressed version of the site which after the download gets decompressed on your local machine to its original size, and presented to you.

  2. Acceleration Device - Similar the above but what happens here is that the data transferred between site A and site B gets compressed and sent across the same internet line but because of the compression techniques used, you would end up transferring a larger amount of data over a short period of time. Companies like Riverbed and Silver Peak are in the business of WAN optimization and a quick search will give you what they can do.

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Ad blocking is another - a utility that scans the HTML source for URLs and decides which ones of those URLS do need to be downloaded. –  Mr Lister Jun 18 at 12:41
    
Another option would probably be a highly customized protocoll with smaller control-overhead than TCP/IP which is translated by a relay-server, which could also increase your effective payload-bandwith –  Falco Jun 18 at 13:15

I have to disagree with many of the answers here. Usually, (American) ISPs will slow down or "throttle" your access to certain websites or webservices. In general, if you live in America, you will NEVER hit the actual physical limit of data you can receive.

Youtube and Netflix are the prime example of throttled services. If your ISP sees traffic going to or from Youtube, you can bet your connection is going to be suboptimal. However, if you were using one of these services, your ISP would only see traffic going to and from the service, and they would have no idea you are currently accessing Youtube. Measuring my own traffic, I get, on average, 250 kilobytes/second of data from Youtube normally. Through a private VPN I subscribe to, I usually get at least 2 megabytes/second during prime time. (I will not name my VPN for the sake of objectivity; I don't want this to look like an advertisement)

I am not trying to imply that ALL speed enhancing software works, because we all know how many scams there are on the internet. But real speed-enhancing services do exist.

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Anything to back these claims of throttling up? –  Matthew Lock Jun 19 at 6:42

In the dial-up and Windows 98-days, I used some software that preemptively followed every link in the background for every page I opened in a web-browser. The results were stored in the browser's local cache, like any other page I had previously visited. It was still a look-ahead caching proxy of sorts, but it worked on my computer without the need of a separate accelerator proxy, and it worked really well for surfing web-pages. It made dial-up feel instantaneous; however, long downloads (audio and video) still took normal speeds, because they were simply too big to preemptively download and cache. And, it could not help AJAX and other dynamic pages. It eventually failed, because they could not keep up with browser development, and they slipped over the event horizon like most every other dot-bomb company.

If someone re-invented that wheel, they could make a lot of web-surfing feel faster, although you can never exceed the ISP-provided bandwidth, and AJAX pages would be a hairy thing to try to accelerate (i.e., look-ahead cache).

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There are a couple of ways your Internet connection speed can be improved, depending on your usage pattern.

For example, you may have noticed that Internet browsing is very slow when you are seeding some torrents. When you are seeding a torrent, you are uploading, so why would it affect your browsing speed (which is largely downstream in terms of traffic volume)? The answer lies in the way TCP/IP works. Yes, when you browse websites, you are largely downloading, but your computer also needs to send acknowledge (ACK) packets to let the web servers know that you have indeed received data, otherwise the web server won't continue to send you new data. The ACK packets are very small, but they still need to be sent, which means it needs to use a little of your upstream bandwidth. Now, when you are seeding a torrent, the BitTorrent packets outnumber the ACK packets for your web browsing. Without proper packet prioritisation and scheduling, whichever generates the most packets basically gets to hog the upstream bandwidth.

This is where some of these speed improvement programs can be legitimately useful. Some of them come as a form of custom ADSL driver. A smart ADSL driver can be configured to prioritise certain web browsing packets over P2P packets, so that your web browsing speed is largely unaffected when you are seeding torrents. In other words, it's a software implementation of Quality-of-Service. I remember having bought one that worked about 10 years ago, from a German software company. I can't remember the name though.

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One example would be, you send a request to a server with a fast connection to download the content you want and relay it to you in a low bandwidth friendly way. Essentially zipping the internet.

The Opera Mini browser does this. Opera Mini FAQ.

When you request a page in Opera Mini, the request is sent to the Opera Mini server that then downloads the page from the web. The server then wraps up your page up in a neat little compressed package (we call the format OBML), and sends it back to your phone at the speed of ninjas with jetpacks. ... By using Opera Mini, our servers do most of the work, so it works well with basic phones or older models. Pages are often smaller (saving you money) and load faster due our server-side compression. Mobile Classic can also compress pages by enabling Opera Turbo.

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There are a lot of tricks which can be sold as a service. For example, there could be a transparent proxy gateway between you and a server farm with a really good network bandwidth. Some tricky coding-recoding of the communication (for example, forcing caching/compression, or caching parts of html pages) were also possible.

The main problem with these solutions, that these goodstanding people before me simply don't understand, how they could work.

And yes, there are really a lot of fraudulent offers on the market.

But it is possible, although not as a guaranteed service.

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I assume this software guides user through a number of procedure to test maximum bandwidth. It could ask user to check LAN connection with all services turned off. Then check a Wireless connection. Then offers your a kind of list of running services with options to turn them of in order to decrease other traffic.

They should advise not to run many programs simultaneously.

However anyway, it is all about the maximum your ISP, plan and hardware permit.

By the way, you can run some test by your self, for example here: http://www.speedtest.net

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99% of all "Speed up/Tweak your PC" are fake or do nothing but the very basics that every good SysOp will do anyways. There are however some tweaks for unusual system settings which in fact might result in a speed advantage.

For example Windows isn't really prepared for 100 mb/s DSL connections and is noticeably slow (like ~80 mb/s only) unless you tweak the Registry properly. In this case a tweaking tool might save you some hassle, but usually appropriate tools are freely available either directly from Microsoft or from third parties.

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