Your Internet speed is consistently slower than you would prefer. Maybe it's time to try a few modem tweaks to improve your online connectivity. First we'll start with a few cable modem tweaks. Then we'll help those who are still using a 56k connection by showing you some dialup modem tweaks further below.
How to Tweak a Cable Modem
Due to its' popularity, high speed cable Internet is becoming congested in many neighborhoods. Of course, the Cable ISP's are constantly upgrading their networks trying to improve performance. However, you can learn a few cable modem tips and tweaks which may help you to speed up your cable Internet, at least a little bit.
Reset Your Modem by Unplugging Overnight
Sometimes your cable modem configuration can become corrupted. Removing the power from it will cause a reset. Usually unplugging for 1 minute will cause the cable modem to reset. However, if you unplug it overnight, you may get the added benefit of being assigned a new IP address by your ISP - which may help to alleviate any previous problems you had with the IP you were previously using.
Cable Splitters Destroy Internet Speed
Another installation problem is the dreaded splitter. From your main cable box outside, you should have a direct cable line to your cable modem. If your line is split to a TV anywhere along the way, you will have reduced Internet performance. If this is the case, try to disconnect the splitter and use another line (split off another TV run perhaps) for the disconnected TV. If there's no other line available, contact your ISP and ask for a direct line to the modem, and if they agree - it should be free, but there are no guarantees.
Cable Installers Usually Take The Long Road
If your cable installer runs the wire through an unnecessary long path to your cable modem - you may be getting an interference laden connection - especially if it runs alongside power cords, near electrical wires, or passes by a static-causing device such as an amplifier. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you may want to get the shortest quality cable wire for the job and re-route it through the basement or another shorter route. Whether or not your cable company will approve of this is left for you to ponder.
Check Your Cable Modem Configuration in Your Browser
Visit the following URL in your web browser to check your Cable Modem settings.
Please keep in mind that different cable modem models vary and the levels may be slightly different for your particular modem. Here is a general rule of thumb for the best levels for a cable modem.
Downstream SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) should be in the 33 to 39 dB range.
Downstream power level should be in the -6.0 to -7.0 dBmV range.
Upstream power level should be in the 45.0 to 53.0 dBmV range.
Always consider upgrading your modem if you have an older one. I recently changed to a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem from an older DOCSIS 2.0 and it has made a magical difference in my Internet connectivity. I used to get annoying stutters every few minutes on Netflix, but now it plays smooth as silk with my new DOC 3 modem with a built in router. That's another thing... having the cable modem and router together as one unit, subtracts that extra speed zapping cable from your modem to your router.
How to Tweak a Dialup Modem
Dialup modems come in various speeds including 28, 33, and 56K. Here's a few dialup modem tweaks to help you get better speed rates out of your Internet connection.
Device Manager Dialup Modem Tweak
In the Windows Control Panel, open the Device Manager. Open the Modem entry, and double-click on your dialup modem model. Once the Properties opens, select the Modem tab in the Properties window. most 56K modems will be set at 57,600 bits per second. You can try to set your Maximum Speed (Port Speed) to 115,200. You should experience a slightly better Internet connection speed with the new 115,200 bps value. You may have to restart your PC for the change to take effect within Windows.
All Dialup ISP's Have Different Connection Speeds
Do your research on all of your local service providers to get the best connection speed possible out of your dialup modem. Ask friends or if a dialup service offers a free trial period, give it a go and see if it's better than your existing service. Be careful though, some free trials require a credit card and they will automatically bill you, if you don't cancel after the free period.
Change Your Dialup Modem Access Number
Most areas will receive a few local numbers they can use to connect to their dialup providers. Try all of them and test to see if one performs better than others. Be weary of numbers that will cause long distance charges to appear on your phone bill.
Further Improve Your Cable and Dialup Speed
The secret to downloading files faster with cable Internet or any connection for that matter, is to schedule your large downloads for overnight retrieval. This is an obvious solution that constantly gets overlooked. The Internet is extremely congested during the day and early evenings. Use the twilight hours and you will find the download speed to be optimal.
There are many more tweaks that require some knowledge of your registry. It is far beyond the scope of this simple modem tweak page to dig into the inner workings of the registry. All of these very sensitive registry settings are very important for optimization. However, due to the great potential for disaster, we highly recommend you do not try to edit your registry. Just changing one value incorrectly within the registry, can cause your computer to behave miserably. In some cases, the PC will no longer reboot. A much better option is the internet optimizer software solutions which automatically perform registry tweaking among its long list of optimizing routines.
Easier than tweaking your modem, Internet optimizer software works extremely well with all connections including Cable, Fiber, DSL, and Dialup. They include extremely advanced routines that can boost your Net speed up to 300%. Of course, it is also much safer, and miles more effective, than punching values into your registry or using hack files.
SpeedupNew (a collaborative effort by our team)
All of our writers have over a decade of experience reviewing software, tweaking, and just flat out enjoying their computers. We treasure our PC's just like you do. We're here to help you get the most out of your computer.