Many of us have fast internet connections as measured by overall total capacity, but rarely see maximum throughput. For example, I have a 100 megabit cable connection, but when I download a file via HTTP, I’m lucky to see more than 500KB/sec for that single file. Thankfully, there are ways to max out your connection.
Download managers open multiple streams to download the same file, and in doing so, get around limitations placed on the download speed. My favourite application to that end is Free Download Manager. There are two versions available on the website – a full featured version that offers a built-in bittorent client, video conversion and upload manager, and a “lite” version, that just has the download manager component. I only use the lite version, as I use µTorrent for my torrenting needs and have little use for an upload manager.
Once installed, Free Download Manager (FDM) is extremely easy to setup and use.
The first question you will be asked is to select your connection type. This will affect the download settings FDM uses. If you have anything above 2mbps, select 10/100M LAN and click Finish. That’s all there is to the setup!
Now, click on Options -> Settings, and then on Network in the Downloads section. Here we can tweak values as they relate to your downloads. I use FDM to download from Easynews quite a bit, as they allows HTTP downloads from Usenet. I usally bump up the “maximum number of connections per one server” to 20 and lower the “maximum number of running downloads” to 2 as per the image below.
You’ll notice that you have a little transparent box floating on your desktop. This is the “Drop Box” where you can drag and drop links into. You can turn it off by right-clicking on the FDM system tray icon and unticking “Drop Box”.
Okay, let’s see what this baby can do! For testing purposes, I’m going to try and download an AVG trial from AVG’s official website. First, the speed I get through Internet Explorer: 300-500KB/sec as per the image below.
Then, the speed I get through FDM: 10MB/sec! Yes, that’s megabytes per second. In my experience, depending on the speed of the remote server, you can usually expect to max out your connection. Neat hey?
Okay, one more thing. If you are downloading from a place that requires a username and password, once you have dragged and dropped the link into FDM, click on it and click the stop icon up the top (if it’s already started). Right click on the file and click Download Properties. You can then tick “Login is required” and enter in a username and password. Click OK, follow by the play icon up the top and the download will resume. Simple right?
If you have any questions, please ask them below. Try the test file and post your results with and without Free Download Manager!
The Free Download Manager Lite edition is available here.