The popularity of the Internet has made it child's play to find and download many types of software. But this popularity comes at a price. There may be a file that you'd like to download, but many others may want the same file. And there's only so much bandwidth to go around.
Some servers and other network hardware may attempt to limit the bandwidth for a specific connection, such as HTTP or FTP. Fortunately (for the downloader, at least) one can open multiple connections to the same server. Plus, modern transfer protocols usually support a resume feature, to help with aborted downloads. This combination of features makes it possible to open multiple connections to obtain a single file.
Speed Download is an application which will let you define the number of simultaneous connections you'd like to open in order to obtain a specific file. You can use HTTP or FTP protocols to obtain the file. Once you submit your request, the number of connections you specified will be opened, and each will download a part of the file. If all goes well, you will see download speeds far beyond what you'd expect.
Before and After Download Speeds
In The Mac Observer Labs, using a cable modem, we were able to download a file using IE an achieve a rate of 190K a second. When downloading the same file using Speed Download, the speed increased to a whopping 543K a second. Your results may be less dramatic if you are using a modem connection, but even these can benefit from Speed Download to some degree.
Keep in mind that this is beta software and a work in progress, so expect some odd behavior. Although successful most of the time, we did run into situations where the download would stall at the end, or the machine would lock up. Such are the risks when one chooses to run prerelease software. But if you want to see what speeds you can achieve, first make a backup, and then check out Speed Download.
Have any other Mac OS Internet Gadgets you'd like us to look at? Let John know via e-mail, or share it with the rest of us in the Mac Gadget Forum.
Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you with those cool things that we all just have to have on our Macs. Shareware, Freeware, Postcardware, Emailware, and even commercial apps, Monday's Mac Gadget is here to help you find and use the best of these programs.
John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at