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Here: Home > Legacy 9x Tweaks > Modem & Net Tweaks


Get a 30% - 300% improvement in just a few minutes with these 11 simple and easy modem, browser, and Internet speed tweaks.

You can implement these important tweaks with a minimum of effort.

ALL home users will show a big gain in Internet access and downloading.

The improvement will be highly dramatic for most users.

First test your current connection.
Then use speed tweaks 1 - 7 (one at a time).
Finally test your connection again.

Let's make that modem and browser purr a little.


First measure your current download speed

Sure, when you complete these simple modem and Internet speed tweaks you will notice faster connections and improved download speeds. However if you run download speed tests you will have the figures to prove it. Repeat a test for greater accuracy.

Test at the same time of day before making any changes and again after the changes. If at all possible run the tests at off-peak hours. As the Net is very volatile, always compare under similar circumstances.

Download speed tests: These sites run download speed tests for you. They are all free and automatic. You need to note the speed of connection to your ISP yourself.

Bandwidth Forum
Modem Speed Test Page
Lucas Arts FTP Site

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Step 1: Make your browser work for you

Open your Browser's Options or Preferences

Open to a blank page:
Why always open to a specific page unless you always use it? A blank page snaps open.
1. Locate the item that refers to Home page.
2. Select Blank page to start your browser much faster.

Don't waste time checking for newer pages:
The pages you recently visited are stored on the disk (for faster access) in case you return to them again soon.
1. Locate the item that refers to the Temporary Internet files
2. Select Never for the item like Check for newer versions of stored pages
Just hit the Refresh, or Renew, button on the occasional time you need the newest page(s)

Control your cache:
1. Locate the Temporary Internet files folder.
2. Set the Amount of disk space to about 30MB if you often return to the same sites; otherwise use about 5MB. Ignore the % (IE) as it can be very deceptive with a large drive.

Click Apply, or Save, or OK, for each of the above, and Close the browser.

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Step 2: More making your browser work for you

Open Multiple Windows:
Often, the delay you experience is due to the slowness of servers that send you the pages. Therefore there can be periods during which your connection is doing absolutely nothing except waiting! This occurs quite frequently today.

You can usefully utilize this wasted time by opening a second (or third, or fourth) browser window and accessing the next Web site you intend visiting. You may well get two for the time of one!

An added advantage is that you can still see the page you came from, which is very useful with links, lists, and search engines answers. It's a well worthwhile bonus.

1. Right-click on the link you'd like to visit
2. Select Open in New Window

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Step 3: Increase Maximum speed & tweak the Port

Open Modems in Control Panel

Maximum speed:
The Maximum speed is the speed at which your modem communicates with the computer. The default setting is often set too low. Don't let it throttle your downloads or Internet access speed.

1. Click on Properties
2. In Maximum speed select 115200 (56K modem), or 57600 (33.6K), or 38400 (28.8K).
You can try higher settings if you have a crystal-clear phone line with 'no' line noise.

Port speedup:
We will increase the modem's Port speed next. Meanwhile, let's tune it's settings a little.
3. While in Properties, click Connection • Port Settings
4. Enable the Use FIFO box
5. Move both sliders to the right (High)

Click the OKs to Exit.

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Step 4: The default Port speed is too low

Open COM Port in Device Manager

The Windows 98/95 default speed for all Serial Ports is just 9,600 bit per second - unacceptably low for a modern modem. This low setting is to prevent potential problems with very old computer systems. You should be using a much higher speed.

Port speed:
1. Double-click System in Control Panel
2. Click on Device Manager tab
3. Click the plus sign (+) to the left of Ports (COM & LPT)
4. Double-click the COM Port your modem is connected to
5. Select Port Settings
6. Select the new Port speed ("Bits per second" box)
    use the same speed you used for the Maximum speed (read Modems, this page)
7. Click OKs

Advanced users using an internal modem can edit Win.ini by entering a line such as COM3:=230400,n,8,1,p in the [Ports] section (read Com Port & Maximum speeds)

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Step 5: Save 50% connect time

The default installation is likely to enable some items you never need, especially the very slow Log on to network.

Open Dial-Up Networking in My Computer

Server types:1. Double-click My Computer
2. Double-click Dial-Up Networking
3. Right-click the connection you are using
4. Select Properties
5. Click Server Types tag
6. Disable Log on to network
7. Disable NetBEUI
8. Disable IPX/SPX compatible
9. Click OK

ONLY TCP/IP should be Enabled in Server Types (unless you use a Winmodem, a software modem, in which case you can experiment with 'Enable software compression').

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Step 6: 30% to 300% faster downloading

* * * The IP Packet Size (IPMTU, or MTU for Win95) setting is critical for all home modem users with a dial-in connection along a phone line (Win95 users should download the MTUSpeed utility (freeware, 152KB), run the utility, and set the MTU setting to 576).

Open Network in Control Panel

Network - Dial-Up Adapter - Advanced:
1. Double-click Network in Control Panel
2. Click Configuration tab
3. Click Dial-Up Adapter
4. Click Properties
5. Click Advanced tab
6. Select No for Enable Point to Point IP (Win98+, Win95b/c with DUN13) - its for dial-in calls
7. Select Small, or "Automatic", for IP Package Size (using Win98+, or Win95b/c with DUN13)
7a Win95 users: MTUSpeed will set the Packet Size (or MTU, the Maximum Transmission Unit)
8. Select No for Record a log (unless you are troubleshooting a problem)
9. Select Yes for Use IPX header compression (many gamers find OFF is best!)
10.Click the OKs to exit Network.

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Step 7: Drivers are dramatic

Get the latest modem driver from the manufacturer, and do so every 6 - 12 months. Newer drivers are usually faster, have more functionality, have greater compatibility, have bug-fixes, and are free. Some modems have a flash BIOS and it is vital to have the latest version. Visit for modem flash upgrades (includes 3Comm).
Read the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Driver updates: If you can not locate a driver update, try one of these Web sites:
HelpDrivers Large data base, updated daily
DriverGuide Large database of device driver resources. Membership (free)
Windows Device Drivers Large database of hardware drivers, and links
ZDWinodws: DriverFinder Search, or ask them
The Driver Zone Alphabetical list | search by company | older equipment drivers
Drivers Headquarters

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Your Internet experience is now much improved

There is more you can do, but your overall modem and Net usage has much improved already.

Back to download speed tests:
Run another few download speed tests.

Compare with the earlier tests. Looks good, doesn't it! You will have a 30% to 300% improvement, depending on each individual case - variables such as location, phone line, ISP, phone company, and a large variety of other factors.

If you achieve less that 70% improvement (or thereabout), it means (1) your system was already well tuned, (2) you are suffering badly from line noise, (3) you use an inadequate ISP, or (4) some other, as yet unknown, factor is involved.

When you have time, or an immediate need, you should read the rest of this Modems section. It is quite large, reflecting a substantive subject, but is well organized into concise topics.

The remaining items on this page are also important.

Read on . . .

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Step 8: AT String commands can have a dramatic effect

AT strings: These strings are a set of commands that control your modem. The initial strings come as part of your modem's factory settings. You can customize these with entries in the Extra settings input box in Modems.

You can safely experiment with a variety of combinations for your own modem.

Visit to locate the string most suitable for your modem make and model - just remember there are different requirements in different parts of the world.

For a US Robotics (3COM) 56K modem you could try : ATS27=64S15=128S11=50S28=0S36=7&F1M0
For a US Robotics (3COM) 33.6K modem you could try : AT&F1&K0S32=16S27=16^M

Enter the string command in the Extra settings box (Control Panel > Modems > General tab > Properties > Connection tab > Advanced button > Extra settings), and click OK. You just remove it if it does not benefit your connection and you are back to your original state.

Tip: You can, temporarily, create a #2 new connection in Dial-Up Networking and use this only for experimenting with new string commands. Then you can delete #2 when finished.

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Step 9: Line noise is the BIG download killer

Phone line noise is the most common cause of poor connections.

Lift your home phone hand piece, clear the dialing tone (try pressing 1), and listen.
  If you hear absolutely nothing, you are 'probably' OK and can, thankfully, skip this.
  If you hear a noise (like frying eggs), you have a large dose of line noise and have a problem.

Normally there is a little noise (inaudible) on a phone line and the modem copes with it.
If the noise is higher, it contaminates some of the downloading files (the data Packets), effectively destroying their usefulness. Resending these takes time. If it re-occurs on the resends, then they are resent yet again! This can be so bad as to cause disconnections.

Good news:
There is good chance the noise originates from within your home. Read Phone Line for a fix.

Bad news:
If the noise originates outside your home, you have to involve your phone provider for a fix. Line dampness and/or a bad connection are likely causes if of sudden onset. He is very unlikely to have any legal obligation to provide a modem-quality noise-free line, so maintain civility and pray for his co-operation. He MAY be obliged to supply a fix if you can claim Fax usage!

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Step 10: Are you low on main memory?

Perhaps you experience a slowdown during browsing or downloading. Or perhaps you hear a lot of disk drive activity while surfing. If you are short of free main memory (RAM) the whole process slows down with intermittent pauses due to excessive use of Virtual memory.

Therefore, if you have less that 64MB RAM, choose from these options:

1. Close all programs not in use
2. Use RAMpage to free more available RAM (put a Shortcut to it on the Desktop)
3. Use the Win98 Configuration Utility (msconfig.exe) to remove unnecessary Startup programs - Win95 users should read Startup
3a or Reboot holding down the CTRL key while entering Windows, and then run only what's necessary.
4. Empty Clipboard - just Copy a single word or letter
5. Empty your browser's Cache if you use a large cache
6. Do not use a RAMdisk
7. Use the Custom option if reinstalling Windows - install the minimum
8. Buy more RAM if all else fails

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Step 11: Faster access to disk files always helps a little

Running Defragmenter regularly is a routine matter for all Win/PC users. Defragmenting will allow the browser and mail program load faster.

Windows 95:
1. Click the Start button and select Programs, Accessories, System Tools
2. Click Disk Defragmenter
3. Click OK to run 'Defrag'

Windows 98+:
1. Click the Start button and select Programs, Accessories, System Tools
2. Click Maintenance Wizard
3. Click OK to run it

Advanced users can also use WMAlign to load the browser even faster (requires Office to be installed).

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

Copyright © LarryM 1998-2015