Get high-speed modem up to speed

Question: Are there any tweaks and tips to speed up my high-speed modem? – G.C.P.

Answer: High-speed internet modems include cable and DSL (which stands for “digital subscriber line”) modems. You have one if you have an always-on connection and get your internet through your cable TV provider, through the phone company’s high-speed service, or through a third party DSL provider. On the other hand, if your computer dials a phone number with your modem each time you visit the internet, you don’t have a high-speed modem.

The best way to increase your modem’s speed is to tweak a setting in the Windows registry, which is a hidden filing cabinet of information in Windows 95/98/ME/NT or XP. What you want to do is change the value in the TCP receive window. It sounds complicated, but it’s not.

First, determine the latency in your connection. Latency is the delay in how long it takes for a chunk of data to be sent to a remote website over the internet. To do this, go to Start > Accessories > Command Prompt. A little black window will open up. At the prompt (>) type ping yahoo.com and hit your Enter key.

Then a bunch of text will appear. Look for the line that says approximate round trip times in milli-seconds. There will be an item that says Average=. If that number is below 100 ms (milliseconds), you have low latency. If you have latency of 100 to 200 ms, that’s considered average. If you have latency over 200 ms, that’s high.

Do this a few times with different sites that are far away from you. Use other website addresses such as amazon.com, cnn.com, msnbc.com. Don’t forget to use the ping command with each one. This will give you a good average of the averages.

Next go to this page and download the appropriate REG file to your computer, saving it somewhere you can find it. Be sure to choose the correct file for both the type of operating system that you have as well as the correct latency. Then locate it and double-click it. Your system will update the registry.


To find out how to download a file from the internet, see this how-to column. Alternately, you can use the automatic patches found on this site: http://www.speedguide.net/Cable_modems/cable_patches.shtml