InKline Global – Modem Booster review

more bits for nothing
Photo of InKline Global – Modem Booster
£12.15 approx. ($19.95)

Now that we seem to have finally reached the limit of analogue telephone connections, at 56kbps, digital seems to be the only way forward. This is especially true since 56kbps is rarely achieved in the real world, with the mid-40s being more common. But while you’re waiting for cable, satellite, ADSL and other technologies to arrive, there’s something you can do to boost your existing connection.

Modem Booster is a small piece of utility software that tweaks the TCP/IP settings of your PC in order to reduce data fragmentation during transfer. To do this, it adjusts settings such as MTU (maximum transmission unit), RWIN (receive window), TTL (time to live) and cache size, which will theoretically increase download and upload performance.

This is not a simple case of connect and forget, though. Far from it. In order to run the automated test routine, Modem Booster will dial your ISP no fewer than 36 times, carrying out data transfer rate tests each time. This is a tedious process, but at least you don’t have to sit and watch it happen. Go off for a pint and come back after an hour or so, and it should be finished.

Once complete, Modem Booster gives you an idea of how much – if at all – it could boost performance, as a percentage increase. Ideally your dial-up settings will now match those of your ISP, and if you want to make use of the new settings, clicking on the dialler icon will launch the program and dial your ISP automatically.

The program seems more likely to squeeze out that bit extra if you’re using a 56kbps modem, since in our tests, 33.6kbps in urban areas is likely to be close to optimal. Using BTClick with a 56kbps modem we had a potential 30% gain, while using FreeDotNet with a 33.6kbps gave just a couple of percent increase. The terminally curious can modify the settings manually if they wish.

Company: InKline Global


Verdict
The program can be used with any standard Dial-Up Networking accounts, and will support multiple accounts, but not AOL or other non-standard connections. It may improve the performance of your modem, or it may not, but since it's a 'try before you buy' shareware tool, you can't really lose. It certainly seems to have improved our BTClick connection, and for heavy users could pay for itself quite quickly.