Last week I noticed that the EV-DO speeds I was seeing on the Lenovo X301 were noticeably faster than I’ve seen with other devices. Considering the review unit I have has integrated WiFi and WiMAX, I can’t say that I’m surprised that the notebook is optimized for speed. However, I’m still not sure if the optimizations are the result of Vista, Lenovo, or both.
In any case, several readers pointed out TCP Optimizer, a freeware application to tweak and improve any network adapter connection. My first thoughts after trying it were: how did I miss this app before? I’m not going to get into the specifics of why this works… for the dry, inner workings you can catch the deets on the product page.
I’ve only used the application on my MSI Wind at the home office, so I can’t say that I have extensive information to share just yet. However, here’s a "before" test, followed by an "after" test so you can see the diffference.
While this is just a simple speed test, it shows a 15.2% bump in download speeds and a 31.2% boost in uploads. There are many variables with mobile connectivity, so use these numbers as general indicators.
Note that I ran several before and after tests to see if there were some outlier results, but no, these results were pretty consistent. When I started to use the application, it only showed the Ethernet and WiFi network adapters for my MSI Wind, i.e.: my Verizon BroadbandAccess USB 727 wasn’t showing. Luckily, there’s an option to apply changes to all network connections. Since TCP Optimizer is going to make changes to the Windows Registry, there’s a backup and restore function that I recommend you use. This way, you can go back and forth between optimized and standard settings as needed.
Also of early note: TCP Optimizer is supported on Windows 95 through Windows XP. Turns out that Vista has it’s own optimizations and since the Lenovo is running Vista, that could be why I noticed the difference. If you wan to disable Vista’s optimizations with the following from an elevated command prompt: netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled. To re-enable it, simply use: netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=enabled.
I’ll be disabling the autotuning on the X301 when time allows and do some additional testing, but this information should get you started towards a potentially faster connection. Since so many netbooks rely on the web and come with Windows XP, I might be considering this a "must-have" bit of freeware on a netbook. Once again, thanks to the several readers and commenters for turning me on to TCP Optimizer.