Businesses with large networks need fast Internet connections to ensure that every computer can use the Internet smoothly. However, your system – either for a small business or home – along with some other systems in the network, may not effectively maximize your connection's bandwidth. This is especially so if your Cisco router is configured to prioritize certain applications, such as video conferencing. Maximize your network's bandwidth by disabling the Internet Access Priority feature so every Internet-enabled application can take full advantage of your connection's full bandwidth capabilities whenever needed.
The bandwidth of a router refers to many different things. If your goal is to increase network speed, then you need to consider more factors than just the router. A router's bandwidth is measured by your connection to the router, the router's ability to handle and forward requests, and the outbound bandwidth provided to the router.
The most direct way to increase a router's speed is to make sure less of its bandwidth is used for overhead, which includes the bits of information attached to every data packet that informs other routers what type of packet it is, where it's coming from and where it's going. The fewer individual packets there are, the less overall bandwidth is wasted on overhead. A more efficient packet is one that uses the Maximum Transmission Unit, or MTU. The MTU tells the router how large a piece of data can be before breaking it into another packet. Modifying the MTU to a larger size only increases your router performance when transferring large files – small transactions are virtually unaffected.
Routers often include security or compatibility services for ease of use. Each of these functions consume resources, which can affect overall throughput. Many routers, even, include Stateful Packet Inspection functions, or SPIs, for security. Disabling SPI increases the bandwidth available to your router. However, it's not recommended to disable this service without having another security measure in place, such as a firewall.
Depending on your router, channel bonding can allow you to make two or more ports act as if they were one, effectively multiplying the available bandwidth, respectively. Channel bonding is used by ISPs to offer speeds beyond what a telephone line or single cable channel normally would. This is also called link aggregation, which works more in line with adding more lanes to travel rather than increasing the actual travel speed.
Increasing speed can also be as simple as setting the performance parameters based on the data traffic's importance and sensitivity to data delay, or jitter, and latency, especially with a wireless router. Eliminating compatibility for older 802.11b-based devices speeds up the connection for all common 802.11g-based devices that are connected to your router. However, don't try this with the newer 802.11n-based routers, even though they are backwards compatible with 802.11g devices.
When possible, connect via a wired port instead of through wireless. Wired ports provide an unshared 100-1K Mbps of bandwidth from your PC to the router. With wireless, your total bandwidth is divided between every other wireless device, resulting in a slowdown. Like most of us, wireless is a convenient and preferred mode of sharing bandwidth amongst several devices, so at the very least, secure the wireless frequency, keeping the bandwidth from distributing to unauthorized users, like your neighbors or snoopers on your network.