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PC Hardware Annoyances by Stephen J. Bigelow

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CABLE ANNOYANCES

STREAMING DATA GETS CHOPPY

The Annoyance:

Why is my streaming video choppy now that my son is sharing the cable connection?

The Fix:

This happens because average bandwidth drops as you add more PCs to the network. You’re only buying a certain amount of bandwidth from your cable provider, regardless of how many PCs are networked to your Internet connection. When your PC was the only system using that connection, you had enough bandwidth to play streaming video without any difficulty. But when your son connected his PC to the home network, it reduced the amount of bandwidth available for you. So if he’s downloading a file on his PC while you’re playing streaming media, your streaming video will probably appear choppy or erratic. If it’s any consolation, your son is probably wondering why he’s getting such crappy download speeds.

The easiest solution is to increase the buffer size for your streaming video, or “time share” your download-intensive tasks. For example, if you watch streaming videos from 8pm to 9pm, your son can start downloading after 9pm when you’re done. This takes a little cooperation, but it’s free. Otherwise, you may need to increase your Internet bandwidth by purchasing a faster service plan. Fortunately, broadband costs are falling, so see what alternative plans are available.

SPEEDING UP THE BROADBAND CONNECTION

The Annoyance:

Can I wring any more speed from my broadband connection by making changes in the Registry? I’ve heard that there are settings that ...

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