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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Torrent client configuration

In order to apply these tips you need to know your maximum up- and download speed. You can test your bandwidth over here (stop all download activity while testing). 

Note that there’s a difference between kb/s (kilobits/second) and kB/s (kilobytes/second). To be precise, kB/s = kb/s divided by 8. In this tutorial we use kB/s (like most torrent clients do). This means that you might need to calculate your max speed in kB/s yourself if the speedtest only gives you the results in kb\s (so divide by 8 then).

Settings 1-4 can be found in the options, settings or preference tab of most torrent clients.

1. Maximum upload speed
Probably the most important setting there is. Your connection is (sort of) like a pipeline, if you use your maximum upload speed there’s not enough space left for the files you are downloading. So you have to cap your upload speed.

Use the following formula to determine your optimal upload speed…

80% of your maximum upload speed

so if your maximum upload speed is 40 kB/s, the optimal upload rate is 32kB/s

2. Maximum download speed
Although setting your maximum download speed to unlimited may sound interesting, in reality it will only hurt your connection. If you still want to be able to browse properly, set your maximum download speed to:

95% of your maximum download speed

so if your maximum download speed is 400 kB/s, the optimal download speed is 380kB/s

3. Maximum connected peers per torrent
Yet another setting that you don’t want to max out. I experimented quite a lot with the max connected peers settings and came to the conclusion that both high and low number hurt the download speed of a torrent. The following setting worked best for me.

upload speed * 1.3

so if your maximum upload speed is 40 kB/s, the optimal amount of connected peers per torrent is  40 * 1.3 = 52 .  I didn’t noticed a difference for fast or slow connections here.

4. Maximum upload slots
1 + (upload speed / 6)

so if your maximum upload speed is 30 kB/s, the optimal number of upload slots is

1 + (30 / 6) = 6

5.Change the default port.
By default, BitTorrent uses a port 6881-6999. BitTorrent generates a lot traffic (1/3), so isp’s like to limit the connection offered on the these ports. So, you should change these to another range. Good clients allow you to do this, just choose anything you like. If you’re behind a router, make sure you have your ports forwarded ( or UPnP enabled.

6.Turn on Encryption
Encrypting your torrents will prevent throttling ISP’s from limiting your BitTorrent traffic. Check out how to enable encryption in Azureus, uTorrent, and Bitcomet, the three most popular torrent clients.

7.Enable DHT
DHT stands for “Distributed Hash Table”. If a web based tracker goes down, the torrents stay alive because peers can act as “nodes” keeping the swarm intact, and the torrent alive. So you could say that the DHT layer serves as a peer-to-peer tracker. The DHT feature is available on Azureus, Bitcomet, uTorrent and several other BitTorrent clients.

To do on windows PC

1. Disable Windows Firewall
It sucks. Windows Firewall hates P2P and often leads a life of it’s own. So disable it and get yourself a decent (free) firewall, Kerio or Zone Alarm for example.

2.Optimize your internet connection
The TCP optimizer is a freeware utility that optimizes your internet connection. I found it very useful and it helped speeding up my connection for regular internet activity and for downloading torrents. Just download it, and move the slidebar to your maximum download rate (note that it’s in kb/s). Don’t try to set it higher because that will hurt your download speeds!

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