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Thread: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

  1. #1
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    Default Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    My parent's can only surf at 28.8k via a dial up. Seeing as how they already pay $22 a month for earthlink, I'm considering steering them towards the netzero accelerated internet for $15 a month. They claim up to five times faster web surfing. Does this really work? What is the technology behind it? Is it software related on something on the ISP end. Is Netzero pretty reliable? They offer four local dial up numbers even though my parent's are way out in the boonies. Earthlink has been pretty reliable but aren't most dial up ISP's these days?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    yes and no it kinda reduces the pictures on webpages quilty so there is less to download. it wont speed up download of files though.i bet it also useing interent cacheing in a more efective way to.im just guessing but i think im right

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    From NetZero's own page:

    http://my.netzero.net/s/signup?r=learn-more_n

    [ QUOTE ]

    3. How does it work?
    Before the text and graphics that make up Web pages get sent to your phone line, NetZero HiSpeed compresses them using a proprietary technology. Less data is sent so your surfing experience is that much faster! In addition, NetZero HiSpeed stores elements of frequently visited Web sites so they load faster on future visits. And with the NetZero HiSpeed pop-up blocker, you no longer have to wait for annoying pop-up ads to load.


    [/ QUOTE ]

  4. #4

    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    IIRC the web pages may open up faster, but you are still operating on a restricted bandwidth and transfering files may not be any faster(such as p2p, downloading large files, etc). It will still suffer from the "bottle neck" effect.

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    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    Let's do point by point;
    > Earthlink has been pretty reliable but aren't most dial up ISP's these days?

    It varies greatly by area. Some areas have good local support to maintain recently updated equipment, some don't. Netzero is cutting cost somehere, we just don't know where. If they have no headaches with earthlink, the $7 per month is not worth saving.


    > Does this really work?

    Yeah, a little. It assumes that you always go to the same web sites and that those web sites are slow. The frequently accessed pages or images are stored closer to you for fater retreval.

    If you go to a site with dynamic HTML, or a lot of server side scripts or dynamically generated links (QVC, GOOGLE, ETC) it does not help a lot. It does not help much if the sites you visit are uniformly fast and not overloaded.


    > What is the technology behind it?

    I'm not sure which way netzero does it, though I think they use a proxy.

    PROXY:
    Some ISPs use dedicated caching proxy servers so that every web page you hit is stored on their server. You configure (or they do) your web browser to use their proxy server. Juno's provided my brother a different dial-up number.

    The down side is that your private data and web surfing is stored on their server, and at times people end up seeing pages other's have accessed.

    Some banks and other services have problems with proxies.


    Daniel

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    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I've never understood thier claims of compression, BTW. Both GIF and JPG are already compressed. To compress further often increases the number of bytes.

    Most modern modems do compression already. It's the default and the exact type of compression is negotiated at the start of the dialup connection.

    Daniel

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    The difference is only $7 for the accelerated service. Netzero offer the regular service for $10 a month, a difference of $12. I just think $22 a month is a lot to pay for dial up when I can get DSL for $30. They have no other choice but dial up.

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    [ QUOTE ]
    gadget_lover said:
    I've never understood thier claims of compression, BTW. Both GIF and JPG are already compressed. To compress further often increases the number of bytes.

    Most modern modems do compression already. It's the default and the exact type of compression is negotiated at the start of the dialup connection.

    Daniel

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You can re-compress the JPEG down to a much lower quality level. Web accellerator proxies usually do this.

    Built in modem compression can only achieve 4 to 1 compression, whereas HTML can often be compressed to 10-1 or more.

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    Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    [ QUOTE ]
    evan9162 said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    gadget_lover said:
    I've never understood thier claims of compression, BTW. Both GIF and JPG are already compressed. To compress further often increases the number of bytes.

    Most modern modems do compression already. It's the default and the exact type of compression is negotiated at the start of the dialup connection.

    Daniel

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You can re-compress the JPEG down to a much lower quality level. Web accellerator proxies usually do this.

    Built in modem compression can only achieve 4 to 1 compression, whereas HTML can often be compressed to 10-1 or more.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Before we confuse people, please be sure to explain that modem compression or any compression simply DOES NOT work IF the image/file/etc is already compressed.


    Does anyone remember some software package from the late 90s that surfed in the background so it was pulling in pages and storing them while you were reading the page that had just loaded? That actually worked pretty well. I know..... I used to connect at 13k when I lived waaaay out in the middle of nowhere.

    On a side note.... a good friend did some graduate/post graduate work on a fractal graphics compression. Got it up to 10,000:1 ratios with excellent quality. Was a *tad* CPU intensive though. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

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    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I never considered doing on the fly lossey compression. That could be seamless, or it could suck. They would have to virtually expand and then recompress the file at a lower fidelity. Of course, to do this to a GIF means they have to render it, dither it and re compress it. Dithered GIFS frequently suck.

    Have to admit though, it's clever.


    Last I heard the algorithm in modems is similar to most all others, in that repeatable text like HTML is easily compressed a lot and highly random text does not. I don't recall a 4x restriction is the algorithm.

    I saw a presentation on fractal graphics compression somewhere around 1993 or 94. It was a great idea, since you only recreated a very close approximation of the original graphic. It was a lossy compression, as the recreated picture did not match the original.

    I think it lost out to the JPEG compression that came soon after. It was presented as asymetric compression, as it took much longer (I seem to recall hours) to compress than it did to decompress. That was in the days of 386 or 486 PCs. A 1 million byte image could be stored in a few thousand bytes.

    The trick to fractal graphics compression (as I recall a decade later) was that it did not try to record the exact pixel values but instead it created mathematical formulas that would recreate the basic pixel relationships. The recreated picture would differ as much as two pictures of the same scene taken by two cameras with identical settings. Technically different but essentially the same. It was spooky.

    Daniel

  11. #11

    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I have heard Netscape is now offering internet access and the accelerator technology for a little more and essentially competes with Netzero. I would look into a local ISP and pay $15 to them if they offer the technology. Many local ISPs are going to the Proxy compression, mine just started offering it but since I already have ad blocking and most pages I view don't have huge pictures it is a waste of my time I figure also just another weak point to mess with because if the proxy server ever gets loaded down you may experience even slower load times. As for the graphic compression there are sites out there that don't compress JPEGs very much and a little more perhaps 10% more loss may be almost unnoticeable and save considerable size. I wonder how much they do recompress as you may find viewing technical websites tough if thing go considerably blurry if they hit them with too much loss. I have found a 1024 JPEG with little or no loss is about 1-1.5 meg or so and 10-15% loss shrinks it down to between 80-120k in size depending on the picture.

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    $22 is way to much to pay for basic dial up. Netscape will give you that for $9.95. They also offer the accelerated option for a bit more. I have not tried the accelerated option because I am skeptical. I have a separate pop-up blocker and I want to see the pictures in full resolution anyway. The claim is UP TO 5x faster. "Up to" being the key words. Or put another way, almost always less than 5x faster.

    But set your parents up on the accelerated option and if they don't notice an improvement, then change it to the basic service. That way you know for sure, given their particular connection and their browsing habits.

    By the way, when switching your parents from their current ISP, be sure they are set up with a portable email address such as offerd by Gmail rather than setting them up on the new ISP's email. That way, If/when they have to change ISPs again, it will not disrupt their email account. This will allow them to chase a better deal or faster connection technology when it is available.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    Make sure whatever ISP you choose you check into technical support fees. Many of them offer dirt cheap prices because if you have any trouble you have to PAY someone to help you while others offer it for free 24/7. Also there are other quirks, some ISPs give you free email spam/virus scanning and additional email addresses and you do not have to use special software to get started, just enter information in new dial up adapter and go. I typically do not like front end software on a dialup because it is just more problems to mess with as when the ISP changes dialup numbers you almost have to install new software and I have had 3 ISPs over the years one of which was bought out twice, another ran out of money and vanished. My aunt has AOL and I am still trying to get her to save $100 a year by switching to my ISP, also get her to learn how to do web searches and use a browser.

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    My ISP made me an offer I couldn't refuse, and I tried accelerator for a bit.

    Due to a flaw in my character, I collect pictures off usenet. If it is a series that I mostly like, I try to get the whole thing and burn it to CD. When I used accelerater, nothing checked out by .csv files.

    So I'll take it a bit slower and accurate, thanks a lot!

    Ideally, I do my websurfing on the dsl 'puter here at "work", and do the other stuff through dialup. Except for ping time (which got a LOT faster after the Mobo change) DSL rocks!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I think I will nix the acceleration idea if it does so at a loss in original quality. If I switch or convince them to switch, I don't want to use any that require front end software as well. You can install the whole earthlink package but it also works on a just establishing a dial up connection.

    I found the tech support for dial up ISPs to be pretty much useless as it was. In my experience once I was up and running ok then I no longered needed the tech support. If the network was down and you couldn't dial in for whatever reason then the problem would be on their end not yours. If I then called tech support, I would just get walked thru a script to check my window settings which previously worked fine.

    So I am looking for reliability. If either netscape or netzero has a good track record then I think I may try to convince the parents to give them a shot. They are on a fixed, low income and $10-12 monthly savings would be significant for them. Of course it's not worth the savings if you give up reliability.

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    Doesn't Earthlink offer the same accelerator stuff? Here they are advertising a FREE Accelerator.
    http://www.earthlink.net/home/dial/

    Personally I don't believe that stuff, but maybe it works.

    One thing I'll say for Earthlink is their SMTP server works. Hypercon's only works for me about one day every six months.

    I looked at NetZero but I couldn't find how to logon without downloading their bleepin' software, so I went elsewhere.

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    [ QUOTE ]
    I found the tech support for dial up ISPs to be pretty much useless as it was.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Hey! I resemble that comment! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] I do tech support for MSN (boooo) not the greatest company to work for, but it's close and the pay isn't bad.

    Anyway the real problem here is your slow connection speed! Unless you're out in the middle of nowhere you should see if you can get that up closer to 56k. Start with useless tech support, I don't know how Earthlink does it, but at MSN we have a number of steps we can go through and then if you're still having problems, depending on where the connection speed is after we've worked with you, we refer you to either the phone company to see if the connection is bad (It really is sometimes! Don't think it can't happen to you!!) or to your computer company for modem drivers.

    How old is the cable running from your computer to the outlet in the wall? Maybe it could be as simple as swapping that out.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    If you're looking for reliable dial-up, I'd encourage you to take a look at a company called Everyone's Internet (www.ev1.net). They started out here in Houston, but expanded very quickly. My sister used them for quite a while, as did a few of my friends. I've found them to be cheap and reliable. They also offer the same type of web speedup programs for free. You might take a look and see if your parents are inside their coverage area:

    http://www.ev1.net/english/dialup/numbers.asp

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I agree, I use to be a earthlink/RCN/Earols customer and they offer it already built into the service if I remember correctly.

    Ive never saw any speed increase, then again they seem to only cache front pages of websites. So, if they had a problem, the logon page for a free email service would pop up, but you couldnt log in. The front page to your favorite news site popped up, but none of the links worked. That was similar to how it was at the college I attended who had frequenty net problems when it was raining out.

    Lastly, I heard david lawrence a computer talk show guy talk about it on a regular bases as its a common question. He said what you guys have said, most net stuff is compressed and if it did speed stuff by up cacheing, it wouldnt help for streaming media or file downloads.

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    The phone company tracked down a connection problem that was giving me fits a while back.

    I regularly (until a few days ago) got 45k or so. Now no more online except here on the DSL "office" 'puter.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I have been using the Earthlink Accelerator on dial-up since they originally introduced their HTML Accelerator (a couple of years ago?). It works fine both with IE and Firefox. I just ordered the new (and free) install CD (2005)--supposed to have an updated version of the Accelerator.

    Usually makes normal HTML pages load pretty quickly (I can believe the 3x speedup claim). If I want the full resolution graphics, I just turn of the proxy setting (in Firefox) or "Stop EL Accelerator" for IE. If you are on DSL or other faster connections, the Proxy service claims to automatically disable itself as they cannot accelerate an already fast connection (especially with their overhead).

    I have had earlier problems (year+ ago?) with the proxy service going down at times and downloading .exe and .zip files getting corrupted--but that all seems to be a distant memory now. But it was simple to get around by temporally bypassing the proxy service.

    The only downsides are that you are required to "login" to the proxy service--so privacy is an issue (only for proxy functions regarding .html, not ssl encrypted pages, ftp, telnet, etc.). Also, I find in my older accelerator software client version that I have to occasionally delete the *.log and temp/* directories or the files just grow and grow in size (one reason I am going for the updates).

    Lastly, when using the Earthlink CD--earlier CD versions would automatically load their Earthlink email software, browsers, etc... Kind of cluttering up your machine if you prefer to use other software. I will see what the new disk does next week.

    Happy New Years!

    -Bill

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I go thru a proxy server using adsubtract Pro don't I? Am I compromising my security at all by doing this?

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I tried the EV1 excelerator. (BTW, EV1is 10.83 total / month and I have had great reliability with them)
    http://www.ev1.net/english/dialup/webjet.asp

    While I was very happy with EV1, I did NOT like the WebJet.

    I took it off my PC, and was happier.

    HOWEVER, I have since switched to SBC DSL, and for 26.99 / month it is just AWESOME! I will never go back to dialup.

    I think it is a very good value,not 54.99 + for RR, and at 1.5 MB dl / 128 KB upload, it is "fast enough" . Almost all Internet Surfing is Downloading, and 1.5 MB, that is something like around 30 times faster than a 56 K connection, PLUS you keep access to your phone line.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    geepondy,

    You are sacrificing a small amount of privacy (do you trust your proxy company), but probably not your security... Especially if your browser is set up like my Earthlink proxy:

    HTTP Proxy: localhost PORT 8080
    SSL Proxy: (blank, and all of the rest too)

    Remember, your ISP has your login information, the destination web site knows approximately (via IP address and computer name) or perhaps even exactly (login and/or cookies).

    Your security may even be improved if your proxy company blocks spyware and known sites of "questionable" worth.

    If you really want to improve your privacy and security:

    <ul type="square">[*]Avoid spyware in thinks like Kaza (sp?) and other "freeware" and downloaded games/code/stuff of unknown origin.[*]Use Adaware, Spyware Blaster, Spyware Search and Destroy, Firewall (like Zonealarm or a hardware firewall), and good anti-virus software.[*]Load Firefox (or other non-IE) browser. Don't use IE.[*]Load Thunderbird (or other non-Outlook/Outlook Express) email client. Don't use Outlook.[*]Don't let kids load software on your computer--ever.[*]Keep Microsoft patches up to date for your OS (or change your OS to something else)...[*]Keep backups of everything you don't want to lose.[/list]
    The above is a basic start and has keep me pretty happy for a long time.

    Some items, like Norton Anti-Virus have other features like ad blocking. I like what Norton AV does (in terms of blocking most ads), but it is really bloated--takes several minutes extra to boot and get on the Internet while everything loads.

    Others like FireFox and Thunderbird are much safer programs than IE plus they can block all pop-ups and you can train them to ignore ads (with extension). I really don't need to run the Anti-Spyware stuff now--but I do just in the odd case where I need to run IE on a particular web site or if my wife grabs the computer and forgets. With FireFox you can block all cookies except the few you wish to keep (like the www.candlepowerforums.com login cookies).

    Zonealarm is neat because it will ask every time a new program tries to access the Internet (this is one advantage over a hardware firewall)--I have used this feature to clean spyware and other questionable programs out of friends' computers. It was scary to see how much their PC were compromised by their teenagers in just a few weeks of playing...

    Doing the above will really help your privacy and security (i.e., spyware and viruses will even make secure https/ssl connections to your bank web site useless if they are on your local computer)--even if you lose a little bit of privacy with your proxy server company.

    -Bill

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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    [ QUOTE ]
    geepondy said:
    My parent's can only surf at 28.8k via a dial up.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I hope I'm not asking the wrong question here but why are they limited to 28.8k on their dial-up connection? Are they getting 28.8k on a 56k modem?

    Chris

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Haesslich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    One note - if you're using web accelerator software, make sure your PC itself is not too slow, CPU-wise and not too limited, RAM-wise; if it's already nearing its limit, then you've just added another load to the CPU and will find pages load no more quickly than before. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    If you have to use dialup... maybe you should look at tweaking the PC instead - checking for spyware, making sure unnecessary programs aren't running (especially 'fast loaders' for various utilities), and maybe turning off the automatic loading or displaying of graphics unless they click on them at the site. If they're using 28.8 these days... well, a lot of webpages four years ago assumed you were using 56K already. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    I have dial up, several modems, all claim to be a max of 56k, at least downstream, upstream is 42 k or something. Anyway, I get a connection of 47k-19,2. I just deal with it since I share aol at a fraction of its cost and could ntoa fford dsl or cable. Ive searched, no open wifi networks near by either.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    Interesting question. Nobody in the town can get above 28.8k, regardless of modem used. Two possible explanations. The first I heard was "too much copper" as the phone connection office is more then five miles away. The second is more plausible to me. My friend from town swears at one time, he could get 56k. He thinks or was told that rather then add new necessary phone lines to the town, the phone company decided to cut the bandwidth on the existing lines to get more lines out of the bandwidth they have. Does this make sense to any of you telco teckies? Could the "too much copper" explanation hold water. It is a very small town, actually two towns combined with a total population of just over a grand. The whole county, smallest populationwise in Vermont has a population of less then ten grand with some areas not even encorporated into a town.

    [ QUOTE ]
    Chris_Medico said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    geepondy said:
    My parent's can only surf at 28.8k via a dial up.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I hope I'm not asking the wrong question here but why are they limited to 28.8k on their dial-up connection? Are they getting 28.8k on a 56k modem?

    Chris

    [/ QUOTE ]

  29. #29
    *Flashaholic* gadget_lover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really wo

    For those that don't know, The Telephone Company (telco) has two wires running from every house to the town's central office (CO). The CO is where the equipment resides that makes telephones work. Each phone service needs it's own pair of wires. If you have two phone numbers there are 2 sets of two wires.

    If you are living in a small community far from the main community, there's a chance that the Telco used a concentrator of some sort. The concentrator uses X number of lines that are quite clean (electrically) going to the central office. It then has X times some number of lines that go to people's houses. This allows the Telco to get service to new developments or quickly growing areas without having to string miles and miles of cable.

    Of course, there are many other tricks used to increase the number of houses a cable can support or to increase the distance from the Central office that can be served. There are SLC 96, Remote satellite COs, Range extenders, digital auxiliary main lines and many other tricks.

    The trick that makes a 56K modem work at better than 33.6K requires a copper path all the way from the CO to your house. There can be no distortion or audible noise, or it will fall back to a lower speed.

    Of course, there's also the possibility that your ISP is having the phone calls remoted to another office somewhere. Just like remote call forwarding. You can not have 56K to a distant city.

    You can make some guesses with a simple test. Call a friend's modem who is in town. If you get better than 28.8 there's a good chance that your line is OK and the ISP is remoting the service. If not it does not prove much.

    Take this with a grain of salt. It's been years since I was a teclo tech and years since I was an expert on modem communications. Yes, I once was.


    Daniel

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Does accelerated dial up web surfing really work?

    I think 28k is common. Where I used to live I could only get 24k. Since I've moved I get 40k. Much better.

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