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Summary:

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 […]

Tcpoptimizer

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.

Before optimizing:
Evdoxpstandard

After optimizing:
Evdoxpoptimized

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.

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  1. This is mostly effective on direct connections to the Internet I would wager, like 3G connections directly on a Windows machine, or ADSL or cable connections also directly to one Windows machine – stuff that isn’t dialup but also isn’t low-latency ethernet.

    A household with a router will probably either have decent performance or not, since the router does the talking over the broadband link. Still, interesting tip, thanks!

  2. I FINALLY got my Comcast installed this past Saturday. Sorry for the caps but the order went in Feb 14, 2007! I hope I hold the record for longest Comcast install time, I’d hate to think anyone has had to wait longer than I have.

    On the upside I’ve gotten in at DOCSIS 3.0 and my untuned network speedtest.net results through an Apple Airport Extreme router via 100mbit ethernet were 26Mbps!!!

    With that level of performance I’m not sweating TCP tuning yet. :-)

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