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July 28, 1997

Tools can help you monitor your Net download speed

Last week's column revealed two little-known settings, MaxMTU and RWin, that can double the rate at which Internet data downloads to your PC through a modem. If you missed that column, download into a temporary folder. Unzip the file, then right-click each of the two *.REG files, then click Merge. This inserts the two settings into your Windows 95 Registry.

Once you've made these two changes, however, how do you measure the throughput you're getting via your modem? (The change helps you only if you connect to the Net via modem, not through a LAN.)

Two tools make it easy to see the number of characters you're getting per second. Either one can help you measure the improvement you may get from MaxMTU and RWin changes.

The first is called System Monitor. You may have installed this utility with Windows 95. If so, you can click Start, Run, then type SysMon, and click OK to run it.

If you don't have SysMon, you can add it from the Windows 95 CD-ROM. Click Start, Settings, and Control Panel. Double-click Add/Remove Programs, then click the Windows Setup tab. Make sure the item Accessories is checked and selected, then click Details. Check the box for System Monitor, then click OK twice.

Installing System Monitor, however, does not quite enable it to measure the throughput on a modem. One way to enable this feature is to install Microsoft's free ISDN add-on. This upgrade is not just for ISDN users, because it updates several components of the Windows 95 Dial-Up Networking software. I recommend that everyone who uses a modem install the ISDN update.

Download the file Msisdn11.exe from into a temporary folder. Run this file once to install the update.

After this, run SysMon and implement its modem tracking features. On SysMon's Edit menu, click Add Item. Select Dial-Up Networking Adapter, then select an item such as Bytes Received. SysMon will display a window showing the number of bytes received every second or in any period you specify.

A second tool, and in many ways a better one, is called Net.Medic. It is available in a free trial version, with registration available for $49.95. The product's more advanced features are available for 30 days after you first use one. Then they go away, leaving you with just basic features unless you register.

Like SysMon, Net.Medic shows you the number of bytes received per second. But unlike SysMon, the commercial utility can tell you where a bottleneck is -- in your PC or in an Internet server. And it can generate e-mail to the operator of a faulty site to inform him or her of the problem.

Net.Medic includes a number of other nice amenities. For instance, it can automatically correct (with your approval) poor configurations of COM ports and drivers to improve your throughput. It can also optimize your local cache setting for your particular Web-browsing habits and it can monitor the performance and busy signals of your Internet service provider.

Download Net.Medic, published by El Dorado Hills, Calif.-based VitalSigns Software, at You can also order it by calling (888) 984-8259 (toll-free) or (916) 939-1003.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets Gold and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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