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DownThemAll! – Maximize Internet Connection Bandwidth for Broadband or Dial-up

Remember the 90s? I like to call that era the “days of dial up.” Most people who had Internet access at home subscribed to a slow dial-up ISP (like AOL). Those were the dark days. We tweaked Windows trying to maximize everything we could just to squeeze 5 megabyte files through a 28.8 kbps Internet connection. Talk about almost a 30 minute wait per file!

Broadband Era
Now, practically everybody has access to some form of broadband at work, school, home, or a public venue. In fact, you can even obtain “free” Wifi access from the neighbor across the street if you wanted! Generally, we don’t really care about maximizing bandwidth these days. It takes less than a minute to download that 5 megabyte file! It’s only when we download a 4 gigabyte ISO file that we start caring about getting the best speed possible. This is when I start to question what my ISP advertises. They promise that I get a 6 mbps speed. Why is it that my Linux ISO file downloads at 300 kb/sec (2.4 mbps)?

Server Allocation
firefoxthemall.jpgSomewhere along the way from my computer to the server, I’m getting shorted. I know the source of the problem is not my ISP because when I torrent files (legally!) I get higher speeds. Then where is the problem? It can only be the website server. There are two important things that the server allots for each client. 1) It specifies the maximum number of simultaneous connections and 2) it also specifies the maximum speed for each of those connections.

So, how can we exploit the server with those two values? Increase the number of connections. Pretend that a server only allows 5 maximum connections at the same time each of them with 300 kb/sec. If you download a file normally, the file will transfer at only 300 kb/sec. On the other hand, if you download 5 different portions of a file at the same time, the file transfers at 1.5 mb/sec. That’s a huge jump!

And that’s exactly what I did with DownThemAll! This simple and ingenious Firefox extension is a pauseable download manager that downloads files in up to 9 connections maximizing bandwidth! When I use this, the maximum speed I’ve achieved was 900 kb/sec (7.2 mbps). It turns out that my ISP wasn’t lying after all. It was actually underpromising!


Comparison with Download Accelerator
This concept of multipart downloading is not very new. People from the “days of dial-up” might remember Download Accelerator. That was Web 1.0. We’re now in Web 2.0. What makes this program better is the fact that it’s free, open-source, spyware-free, ad-free, and restriction-free. Download Accelerator was closed-source, full of spyware, laden with advertisements, and was full of restrictions if you didn’t buy the pro version. Plus, how cool is it that your download manager is integrated with your browser?

See what speeds you can achieve when you download them all with DownThemAll! 🙂

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10 Responses to “DownThemAll! – Maximize Internet Connection Bandwidth for Broadband or Dial-up”

  1. jo Says:

    it looks great

  2. Tim Says:

    anything like this for internet explorer

  3. blogger Says:

    Sorry there is nothing. Internet explorer does not have an open extension policy. I suggest you switch to firefox or a browser (like chrome) that has the possibility of having a similar function.

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