In this age of high speed Internet and wireless capabilities, the dial up is all but forgotten. But dial up connections still exist in the rural areas where the broadband cables are yet to make inroads. The dial up also serves as a back up when you have something important to do over the Internet and the broadband fails. There are still people who are not frequent Internet users and depend highly on dial up connections. The dial up connection when compared to the broadband can be horrendously slow and irritating.
Dial up connections can be enhanced up to a certain limit by using either software or hardware.
One such hardware method is modem bonding. As the name implies, it involves combining the power of two modems to get a better bandwidth. This involves extra cost and the technicalities involved would be hard to comprehend for a layman.
The other method is if the web server uses compression technology. It involves compressing the images and text in the web pages so that they occupy lesser bandwidth. The compressed data can be uncompressed by the browser. Compression frees up a lot of bandwidth and hence more data can be transferred resulting in better speed.
The other method is by using software called web accelerators. Web accelerators are based on the concept of page caching and pre fetching. The web accelerator software downloads the pages most frequently used in to the local computer. So the next time the user opens a web page it does not go to the web server but loads from the local copy resulting in a huge improvement in speed. Pre fetching is based on the pattern that the user follows while browsing the Internet. For example if the user is reading something on-line he in all probability will be going on to the next page till the article is completed. Web Accelerators detect this pattern and fetch the pages beforehand when the Internet connection is idle. This results in an increase in speed again since the next pages are loaded directly from the computer.
Web accelerators also tune the IP address of the computer for better packet transfer.
There are some very good web accelerators available in the market, the best being:
NetSonic is very easy to install and has all the standard features expected of a web accelerator. It also features pre fetching and smart caching.
2. Surf Express Deluxe
Surf Express Deluxe is easier to install than NetSonic and has a very efficient smart cache system. It can cache up to 10 MB and loads pages already cached comparatively faster. But it lacks pre fetching capabilities. Due to this pages which the user might visit are not pre fetched and cached. It also cannot compress graphics larger than 100KB.
There has always been a debate about how much the web accelerators actually contribute to speeding up the dial up connection. There have been instances when the pre fetched pages have not exactly what the user would have expected.
All in all web accelerators do speed up the Internet but it is a choice between the acceleration they provide and the price tag attached.