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Adding Extra Horsepower to Your Internet Connection

What kind of changes can you make to your Internet connection by adjusting the Registry or making other Windows configuration changes? You can adjust the following:

  • The maximum speed at which your computer talks to the serial port (also called the DTE speed)

  • The size of the data block you can receive with your modem

  • The ping rate (which can improve the performance of Internet games)

Changing the Computer-to-Modem (DTE) Speed

There are actually two places where speed is important in modem communications. So far, we've concentrated on the speed at which your modem can connect to another modem. This speed is sometimes referred to as the DCE rate. However, your modem must receive information from the computer before it can transmit or receive data from the Internet. The computer-to-modem speed is sometimes referred to as the DTE rate.

Don't Miss This!

You'll find an excellent online reference to editing the Registry, along with additional backup tips at http://www.halcyon.com/cerelli/regedit.htm

The normal speed at which computers connect to modems (DTE speed) is 115200 bps, although the modem-to-modem (DCE) speed is far less. If we can raise the DTE speed to 230400 and still connect to the other computer, we will also improve our modem's true data throughput.

Unlike other changes, this change does not require that you change the Windows Registry.

Acronyms Anonymous

DTE—Data Terminal Equipment—The computer-to-modem connection.

DCE—Data Communications Equipment—The modem-to-modem connection.

To adjust the computer-to-modem connection speed in Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me:

  1. Click the Start button and select Settings.

  2. Select Control Panel.

  3. Open the Modems icon.

  4. Select your modem, and then click the Properties button.

  5. Look at the value for Maximum speed. If it is already set to 230400 or higher, leave it alone. If it is set to 115200, click the down arrow and select 230400 if you can. If you cannot, the connection cannot be adjusted through the control panel.

  6. Click OK, and try to connect at the higher speed.

If you can connect at the higher speed, you can keep the new setting. If you cannot connect, change the setting back to 115200 by repeating the previous steps.

Many PCI-based internal modems and modems that connect to the USB port can run successfully at DTE speeds above 115200.

The next options require changes to your Windows Registry.

Changing the Registry for Faster Gaming and Downloads

Before you decide to change the Windows Registry, you must make sure you understand what it is and what it does. Starting with Windows 95, Microsoft decided to put virtually all hardware and software settings into two files, User.dat and System.dat, which together form the Registry. Whenever you install new hardware, the Registry changes to reflect the new hardware. Add a program to Windows, and the Registry changes again.

The Registry files (User.dat and System.dat) are hidden by normal Windows Explorer settings to make it harder to delete them or change them. Microsoft prefers that nobody ever change the Registry directly, but because you can't make all the settings you'd like any other way, manual changes are sometimes the only way to get things done.

Tread Carefully

Making changes to the Registry can be hazardous to your system if you don't do them correctly. A messed-up Registry can refuse to start Windows, preventing you from logging on to the Internet (or even playing a quick hand of Solitaire!).

So, be careful! I recommend that you take the following precautions before editing the Registry:

  • Make a backup copy of the Registry, as discussed earlier in this chapter.

  • Carefully review the proposed benefits of any Registry change.

  • Remember when you use Regedit, the Windows Registry editor, that any changes (intentional or not) you make are automatically saved as soon as you exit Regedit; there is no "cancel" option.

  • Whenever you can, try a utility program to make the changes because the Registry's settings are strange-looking and vary from option to option.

  • Don't use a Registry setting that isn't intended to work with your version of Windows. All versions of Windows from Windows 95 up (including Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 2000) all use a Registry but in slightly different ways.

You can change the Windows Registry to

  • Use 230400bps DTE speeds on systems that don't offer that setting—Reduces the ping rate (the delay in the round trip that signals take from your computer to an Internet server); makes Internet gaming run faster

  • Change network values—Enhances speed for downloads

To increase the DTE speed to 230400bps on systems that don't support this feature normally, use one of the following options:

  • Download and install Laessig Software's Powerup.Com program; it will make the correct Registry changes that will enable you to select the higher speed on most internal modems.

  • Make changes to the modem properties in your Registry manually.

To make the Registry changes for your modem, follow this procedure:

  1. Make a backup copy of the Registry!

  2. Open Start, click Run, and type Regedit in the field provided. Press Enter or click OK to start the Regedit Registry editor.

  3. Regedit displays two windows; the left window displays registry keys (which look like a folder); the right window displays values for the current key.

  4. Click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the left window.

  5. Click the following keys in the left window:

    • System (see Figure 3.2)

    • CurrentControlSet

    • Services

    • Class

    • Modem

Figure 3.2 Regedit after clicking on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\.

  1. Click the plus (+) sign next to Modem in the left window. You should see a folder called 0000 beneath Modem in the left window. You might also see additional folders 0001, 0002, and so on.

  2. If you have folders beyond 0000, you will need to see which folder lists your current modem (the others are for modems that have been installed previously).

  3. Click the first folder (0000), and its contents are displayed in the right-hand window.

  4. Look at the DriverDesc in the right-hand window to see if your modem is listed there (see Figure 3.3). If the name is correct, proceed to step 10; if not, return to step 8 and choose the next folder.

Figure 3.3 If DriverDesc lists your modem, proceed to Properties to make the changes in step 10 and beyond.

  1. When you have found the correct folder, scroll down to Properties in the right-hand window. Double-click Properties to display the current values listed there.

  2. Before making the changes listed below, record the current values for the fourth line here (the line beginning with 0018): _______________________.

  3. Click after the first 00 on the line starting with 0018. Your cursor should be on 0018 00 [CURSOR] C2 01 (see Figure 3.4).

Figure 3.4 Modem Properties before replacing values on line 0018.

  1. Replace the C2 01 with the value 84 03.

  2. Delete C2 01 by pressing the Delete key twice.

  3. Enter 84 03.

  4. The line should now read 0018 00 84 03 (see Figure 3.5).

Figure 3.5 Modem Properties after replacing values on line 0018.

  1. Review your changes carefully, and then click OK to exit this editing window. Close Regedit (click on Registry, Exit, or click on the X in the upper-right corner of the Registry window). Your changes are saved automatically and will take effect when you reboot your system.

Now you can set the speed as described earlier in the section called "Changing the Computer-to-Modem (DTE) Speed." If you cannot connect, you can follow the preceding steps to restore the original values for your modem. In either case, you might also need to install a modified serial.vxd (serial port driver file) if you have an external modem. Some internal modems also require this file. If you prefer to patch your system's copy of serial.vxd, you can download the Shsmod 1.7c program to make the changes for you.

For the Full Scoop...

You'll find links to Powerup.com, Shsmod 1.7c, and more information on making the Registry change described above at http://www.downloadit.gr/~v_laessig/ping.html

You can adjust four important settings to improve the download speed of your computer: MaxMTU, RWIN, TTL, and MaxMSS.

If you're mainly concerned about faster downloading of large files, use the values shown in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2  Registry Settings to Optimize for Large File Downloads

Key

Value

Registry

MaxMTU

576

System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\NetTrans\000x

MaxMSS

1460

System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\NetTrans\000x

RWIN

32120

HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\MSTCP

TTL

32

HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\MSTCP


There are two ways you can make these changes:

  • Automatically, with a utility program such as MTUSpeed Pro or others

  • Manually, through Regedit or a similar Registry-editing program

To make the changes manually with Regedit, follow this procedure:

  1. Make a backup copy of the Registry!

  2. Click Start, Run, and type Regedit in the field provided. Press Enter or click OK to start the Regedit Registry editor.

    Regedit displays two windows. The left window displays Registry keys (which look like folders), and the right window displays values for the current key.

  3. Click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE in the left window.

  4. Click the following keys in the left window:

    • System

    • CurrentControlSet

    • Services

    • Class

  5. To make the changes for MaxMTU and MaxMSS, click NetTrans; you will see one or more folders numbered 0000 and up.

  6. Open the first folder and look at the DriverDesc line in the right window. If it says TCP/IP, you need to modify or add the values for MaxMTU and MaxMSS to this folder; otherwise, try the next folder until you see the correct DriverDesc.

  7. You will usually need to add entries for MaxMTU and MaxMSS to this folder. To add an entry for MaxMTU, click New, String Value, type MaxMTU (check spelling and capitalization!), and press Enter.

  8. To change the value for MaxMTU, click Edit, Modify, and type 576. Press Enter.

  9. To add an entry for MaxMSS, click New, String Value, type MaxMSS (check spelling and capitalization!), and press Enter.

  10. To change the value for MaxMSS, click Edit, Modify, and type 1460. Press Enter.

  11. When you are finished, the Registry window should appear similar to Figure 3.6.

Figure 3.6 The NetTrans 000x folder after adding values for MaxMTU and MaxMSS.

  1. Repeat steps 7–12 for any other 000x folder that has the DeviceDesc TCP/IP.

  2. To add the values for RWIN and TTL, click VxD in the left window, scroll down to MSTCP, and click the MSTCP folder (ignore any folders that appear beneath it).

  3. You will usually need to add entries for RWIN and TTL to this folder. To add an entry for RWIN, click New, String Value, type RWIN (check spelling and capitalization!), and press Enter.

  4. To change the value for RWIN, click Edit, Modify, and type 32120. Press Enter.

  5. To add an entry for TTL, click New, String Value, type TTL (check spelling and capitalization!), and press Enter.

  6. To change the value for TTL, click Edit, Modify, and type 32. Press Enter.

  7. When you are finished, the Registry window should appear similar to Figure 3.7.

Figure 3.7 The MSTCP folder after adding values for RWIN and TTL.

  1. Close the Registry; the changes will take effect when you reboot your system.

If you play Quake or other games over the Internet, you might find that different values will work better for you. A downloadable program called MTUSpeed Pro 4.x (see the next section) can help you optimize the correct settings.

More Help

To learn how manually to make the changes listed in Table 3.2, go to http://xtrememhz.com/reviews/how_tos/tweakinternet.html

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