DialUp speed boosters- How do they work?

I have always what methods these use to "Enhance speed". I know somethings with error correction and signal loss. These are the things i ponder:
1: boost speed by optimizing Browser cache - The problem is these only work with sites you've been too already
2:Compression - problem: how do these correct when a bit is lost due to signal phase drop. There has to be error corrections in the compression
3:using multiple connections to the same site - problem: these still adhere to the max signal rate w/o errors. Mainly under 48Kbps
any others i don't know about?
I have been wanting to find out the means that the programs do this,
any ideas?

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Jon's picture

RE: 2: Compression IIRC GZip

RE: 2: Compression

IIRC GZip is allowed by HTTP (1.1?) specs to transfer data, BUT it must be supported by either the HTTP server or the ISP server or a proxy server. Thus, the ISP will charge you for the CPU time to cache, compress, and send you the "accellerated" pages. They might use a custom compression method that requires local software (ie. their custom dialer) to do the decompression. As for signal problems, how does your connection handle transfering compressed .zip, .gz. or.sit files? Just like anything else, it handles errors on a differnt layer of the transfer protocol. A bit error on the modem line is not the same as a bit error in the packet level, or the file level. And, if it is compressed, it's probably gotsome sort of CRC built in to the compression scheme anyway...

It's funny that you should mention this...

coius wrote:

I have always what methods these use to "Enhance speed". I know somethings with error correction and signal loss. These are the things i ponder:
1: boost speed by optimizing Browser cache - The problem is these only work with sites you've been too already
2:Compression - problem: how do these correct when a bit is lost due to signal phase drop. There has to be error corrections in the compression
3:using multiple connections to the same site - problem: these still adhere to the max signal rate w/o errors. Mainly under 48Kbps
any others i don't know about?
I have been wanting to find out the means that the programs do this,
any ideas?

It's funny that you should mention this topic; I distinctly recall watching, with great interest, I might add, Leo Laporte discuss this very subject on TechTV. I don't recall whether he discussed this subject on Call For Help or ScreenSavers, and, for the life of me, I can't recall a freakin' word he said about it. Although, I'm pretty sure that you will probably find some show notes if you search TechTV's website or the website for Call for Help.

If I recall correctly, I seem to remember Leo saying something about lossy compression and something to do with getting really crappy graphics. I don't do the "dialup" thing so my organic memory banks must have flushed this information after having deemed it to have no practical merit to me.

coius's picture

I have a cable modem

and have never used a dial-up booster. But I was watching a commercial on tv about this Dial-booster and it sparked my curiosity on how the thing works. I have friends who have dial-up, but they never used the booster. If it would be possible to learn how to write a program for free (ie Freeware.) why hasn't someone done this already and make a plug-in for a browser to handle it, instead of paying 19.95 to the ISP to do this. I mean, you should be to get an off the shelf ISP and use this feature if the server supports it.
I never really thought to look it up on Wikipedia, but am going to do it right now.

Reverend Darkness's picture

Most won't apply...

Every "Dial-Up Booster" I've had the opportunity to try have been Windows only and browser specific. My ISP has a compression based speed booster than only works with IE6+ on Windows. I've also seen Netscape specific, and even Opera specific, but alas, they were all Windows only.

Also, most of what takes time doesn't get compressed, anyway. The last I heard, the boosters dealt with HTML, txt, GIF, and JPEG only...

When I tried the one through my ISP, I never noticed a difference between IE6 boosted and FireFox unboosted.