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A firewall made of molasses

I’ve been using Kaspersky Anti-Hacker as my firewall primarily because it stays out of my way just enough.

But I just did some semi-controlled experiments trying to figure out why I’m getting less than a quarter the bandwidth I’m paying for (using my ISP’s bandwidth speed test, which is consistent with DSLReports‘s). I’ve tried lots of variables, but the biggest one so far is Kaspersky. If I have it set to Medium strictness, I get a third of my rated speed. If I set it to allow all (i.e., sort of off), the volume of bits almost doubles. If I go to Settings and turn the Intrusion Detection System to off, it goes up another third, getting me close to half the bandwidth I’m paying for.

In Safe Mode — yes, it’s XP — I get 66-75% of my rated bandwidth. So I’m continue to cycle through lots of the other programs that get loaded when I start up—putting them back in one by one and restarting. But, it’s in an inexact process since my ISP doesn’t deliver a steady stream of bits to me under the best of circumstances.

By the way, you know what’s a pain in the ass? Cycling through lots of the other programs that get loaded when I start up—putting them back in one by one and restarting.

Do other firewalls reduce bandwidth less? [Tags: ]

3 Responses to “A firewall made of molasses”

  1. You probably haven’t heard this one before, but for-the-love-of-god-get-a-mac!


  2. I concur. For the love of god, dump the Windows and get a Mac. I have a Windows box sitting right next to my Mac, and it frequently sees only a tenth of my possible bandwidth. The Mac, on the otherhand, is just fine and slurps up bits like a hungry aardvark. I use Kapersky too, though.

    I keep getting booted from Battlefield 2 games for low pings when I use my Windows box, despite my having 6.0M down and 768K up.

  3. One thought… instead of trying to find the biggest culprits one at a time, in your programs that load on boot (what in the DOS days we’d call “TSRs” for “Terminate and Stay Resident”), you might try the reverse. While booting your machine, hold down one of the shift keys throughout the boot sequence, until your desktop appears to have finished loading, and that will keep all of those programs from loading automatically. Then, you can try to manually start a particular autoload program, like your antivirus, and see how that affects your bandwidth (I’d also try a baseline bandwidth test with NONE of those programs running, i.e., right after booting while holding the shift button).

    Honestly, I never gave it much thought on my home machine; I tend to get in the high 2.6-2.7 Mbps download rate most of the time.

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