There is just no substitute for bandwidth when it comes to Internet speed. Whether it's water or data, the principle is the same: the bigger the pipe, the bigger (and faster) the flow. But that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do on your end to improve your online experience, especially if you're one of the many users still running dial-up connections. If you're trying to squeeze every bit of performance out of your Internet connection, you may want to have a look at Throttle. Throttle offers to maximize your PC's network settings, whether you're hooked up through a dial-up modem, home broadband such as cable or DSL, or even satellite, Wi-Fi, or LAN (there's even an Android option). It's a very simple tool that's designed to change your network settings, or change them back. Throttle is shareware that you can try for free for 28 days, though the trial version is limited to the minimum speed slider setting.
Throttle's dialog-style interface is quite simple: Boost slider, menus for selecting Operating System (we were using Windows 7) and Internet Type (cable modem), and Optimize, Restore, and Update buttons. The Help file explains how to use Throttle, but there's not much to describe: Set, optimize, and enjoy your enhanced connection speed -- assuming yours is improved! We downloaded and opened Throttle but then opened our browser and ran an online bandwidth test (several times) to gauge our connection speed; if Throttle made a significant improvement, it would show up as better results in bandwidth tests. So we set Throttle and pressed Optimize Now. Completing the process requires a reboot. We reran the bandwidth test, and our speed plummeted. We clicked Restore, rebooted, and ran the test again; our speed was restored. But we reran Throttle's optimizer again, this time with much better results -- very close to our "natural" settings.
We still had the best performance without Throttle rather than with it. But if you're reading this, you probably need help with your connection. It doesn't cost anything to try Throttle, and if it makes a difference, it's well worth its modest price.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Throttle 126.96.36.1993.