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Do download accelerators really work?

marko's Photo marko 18 Sep 2011
I've never really used a download accelerator if I'm honest, I've never really seen the point - it's just another link in the chain to go wrong, I've always preferred direct downloads.

I think it's easy to confuse what a download accelerator can do, for many people they assume it will offer them faster downloads, which, under normal circumstances quite possibly isn't true ... I'm certainly no expert, but from what knowledge I do have I'd have to say it's an educated guess that they just cannot increase the speed at which you download at. Your download speed is dictated largely by 2 things, the first is the speed of the site you are downloading from and the second, probably more importantly, is the speed of your own ISP (Internet Service Provider).

To say a piece of software can increase this speed is a little naive me thinks. However, I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of a download accelerator being able to optimize your PC for a better download experience, not exactly the same thing as an accelerator, more an optimiser obviously, but for the end user one and the same I guess.

That aside, we then look at those download accelerators which work with P2P downloads and this is where most people would consider accelerators to have the biggest advantage. When you download using an accelerator which can distribute the load amongst multiple host's you get a download from not just one source, but from many. What that means is instead of downloading, say, a 1Gb file from one host you get something like a 100Mb portion of that file from 10 sources, and on completion of the downloads the portions are put back together again by the accelerator and you have your completed 1Gb download!.

In theory, it's a great concept, unfortunately the only advantage I can see is the fact that it merely only reduces the load from the sources, it doesn't necessarily increase the speed in which you download it at - in other words, lets say you have a 10Mb connection and let's assume it's running perfectly (which is a tall order for most ISP's these days, but hey, I digress!!) ... so we kick off a download from somewhere without an accelerator, the source you are downloading from can handle a 100Mb upload, but alas you only have a 10Mb download speed so that's the max you'll get. With me so far?. Ok then ... you now use a download accelerator and it finds 10 host's on a P2P network with the same file so begins downloading 10 portions of the same file from each. The first portion kicks off at your max download speed of 10Mb, then the second portion starts downloading from another host, each now downloads at 5Mb (remember you're max download speed is 10Mb so x2 downloads using 10Mb = 10/2=5 !!!). The third portion begins to downloads and then the fourth and fifth. You're now downloading 5 portions of the same file from different sources which means your download speed has to be split into 5 (10Mb/5=2Mb) - so you're now downloading each portion at 2Mb - finally all 10 portions start downloading which means your 10Mb download speed has to be split into 10 downloads meaning you are now downloading each portion at 1Mb.

You see, the way I see it is simple, you have a 10Mb download speed and nothing you do can increase that, unless of course you hack your own modem (which isn't advisable as this will land you in jail) or you upgrade your internet connection - one things for sure, you simply cannot get more speed from your internet and therefore I can only conclude that the vast majority of download accelerators are simply a means to organise files better, and not as they say, "accelerate" them!.

I could be wrong, and could have missed some point, if so, I'll gladly be corrected!!.

James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 18 Sep 2011
You'll get no argument from me Marko!!

I was on dial-up for a very looong 18 months. During that time I tried every sort of download accelerator known to mankind, none of them made a scrap of difference!

About the only advantage they offer is the ability to resume broken downloads, which is pretty much a must with dial-up.

Nice read mate!! :good:

FreeWareFan's Photo FreeWareFan 18 Sep 2011
I have download rate at 16 Mbit per second.
Most of servers can't give me this speed with one thread, so I'm using FreeDownloadManager now.
It can speedup my download speed up to 2 Mb/s.

James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 19 Sep 2011
Hey FreeWareFan - Glad to hear you have had success with FreeDownloadManager, it is very good software. I used it for a long time, made absolutely no difference to my download speed but it did offer a 'resume' feature and I liked it a lot.


marko's Photo marko 19 Sep 2011
FF, the million dollar question is really does it "accelerate" your downloads or does it "optimize" them? I'd favour the "optimize" route anyday cause as we know there is little chance of getting more bandwidth from your ISP.

Pulling simultaneous downloads from the same server isn't going to make it download any faster, this can really only happen if it's pulling portions of the download from multiple servers and your download speed is equal, or greater than the upload speed from the servers. In that case, if we had a 50Mb internet connection we could download 5 portions of the same file from 5 different servers - if each server gave us a max output of 10Mb then we could download the complete file using our max download speed of 50Mb. If it were reversed and our download speed was 10Mb and the max output of the server was 50Mb, we would only be able to download the file at 10Mb max. I know the figures aren't a true reflection of download speeds (i.e. Mb/s, etc) but I'm merely just using the download speeds as a rough guide to explain my point.

As I say, I could be wrong, I don't really know a fantastic amount about download "accelerators" but I do know that ISP limits are ISP limits and nothing we do can change those :)

marko's Photo marko 19 Sep 2011
Try downloading this via HTTP then using a download manager FF, see if there is any difference ...

Acrobat Reader

marko's Photo marko 19 Sep 2011
OK, back on track, here's a vid of a HTTP request versus a download manager request ....


marko's Photo marko 19 Sep 2011
For everyone's info, I've removed the post's regarding haozip from this thread, as it's really unrelated, but you can find them and further discussion here: https://freewarebb.com/topic/60779-haozip/

FreeWareFan's Photo FreeWareFan 19 Sep 2011
If you want to feel the difference between browser and DM you should try very big file(700-2Gb for example) and not so popular hoster with dedicated servers. :)