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Is there any benefit to optimizing my network connections (TCP) using tools like the TCP Optimizer?

http://www.speedguide.net/downloads.php

If there is a benefit, how does one do it right?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It depends. Depending on the type of network you are on and the applications that you typically access, tweaking Windows standards may or may not help.

If you're using frame-relay WAN links, tuning the TCP Window Size has a fairly dramatic impact on circuit utilization. Depending on your ISP/WAN connectivity, adjusting MTU or other parameters can improve overall performance as well. On the flip side, if you're primarily accessing hosts on a gigabit or fast network, you'll want to adjust your settings upward to optimize throughput.

There isn't a single answer. If you're looking to optimize DSL or Cable connections, I'd suggest the broadband reports forum for tips. Otherwise, in an enterprise environment its all about understanding how your users work and how your networks are implemented.

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Notably, high-latency connections can benefit from increased window sizes, which is a common thing for TCP optimisers to change. "High-latency" can be as simple as something like "I'm in Australia and servers I'm using aren't". On XP, I'd suggest that an optimiser is useful - you'll especially notice it if you can't fill your whole network connection with one download, but can if you do multiple downloads at once. On non-XP OSes (OSX, Vista, Linux) it's much less of an issue, as their scaling algorithms are generally better. –  mibus Jul 6 '09 at 3:25

duffbeer pretty much said it all but just keep in mind that when you start fiddling with such settings you have an equal chance of screwing things up. The Windows defaults, and I would assume the defaults of other operating systems, will generally be very good, if not the best, for communicating with other devices.

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Except that XP is known to have bad defaults for high latency or high bandwidth links. –  Zan Lynx Jul 6 '09 at 4:25

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