namebench

Get Faster Internet while Traveling

by Scott on February 10, 2011

How often have you heard people complaining about slow internet while traveling?  Enter a website, click, wait on the blank white screen to load.  Sound familiar?  Here’s a tip for all those that travel with a WiFi phone, pad, netbook or laptop to squeeze all the bandwidth you can out of that hotspot you’ve connected to.

Run Google’s DNS benchmark tool,  Namebench.  Here’s why it will help.  When you are surfing the internet the websites you are going to are actually not the words you type in the address.  There’s a number that the words get translated into in the background.

This is the analogy that best fits: When you use the phone book to call someone you don’t type the persons name into the phone, you dial a number.  When your surfing the internet this is all done for you in the background.  Your computer has the “phone book” that looks up the numbers.  The “phone book” is the address of a DNS server, the one I had been using was Comcast’s in Chicago.

If you bring your laptop to Bratislava and your from Minneapolis, everytime you enter a new URL your computer is still using the the Minneapolis “phone book” to look everything up.  This causes a delay because the request has to travel out of it’s way to use the DNS server in Chicago. (and yes, I do realize this isn’t exactly true but it helps make my point, work with me here…)

Namebench will scan for DNS servers that are fastest and closest for your location. Which are not always the same thing.  This even helps at home actually.  I switched the computer I writing this from to one that is 44% faster and definitly notice a difference. The images are from the results of the test I just ran on my laptop.  If your using a WiFi phone or pad you may need to run this from a computer however the server setting will be the same.

This will NOT help upload and download speeds.  You will notice a difference surfing, it will increase you page load speeds (technically the query before the page load). Windows by default is set to automatically get DNS server however it may not be the fastest one. I’m using Comcast right now and when windows gets new DNS numbers it will always get the Comcast server even though they are slower.  The test takes about 5 minutes to run and the FAQ at Google states the first time you run it gives you the most accurate results.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

via Unplgged (Awesome site you should bookmark it)

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