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Thread: Solving slow BitTorrent download speeds

  1. #1
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    This guide relies on the use of Azureus or Yet ABC as they are highly recommended. The ABC core is currently slightly dated, but this will be updated soon. (For those using BitTornado - ABC uses the BitTornado core, but has a queuing system for better control of multiple torrents). Azureus requires Java. If after installation the application will not load, it is because you do not have Java. You are not the first to think you have Java when you do not! More information is available on the Azureus site.

    If you are not currently using ABC or Azureus, before starting this guide:
    Beginners: Please change to either Yet ABC or Azureus now.
    Intermediate: It is recommended that you change client now. If you choose not to, remember to come back to this section if you get stuck during the guide.
    Advanced: You will likely be able to find the equivalent options in your current client, assuming your client has all the necessary options.

    Other BitTorrent clients are available to switch to after working through this guide.

    This guide has been updated for Azureus 2.3.0.4 and ABC 3.1. Different versions may vary.

    Contents:

    1.0 Why are my downloads going slow?
    - 1.1 Reason 1: Your ISP is limiting your download speed
    - 1.3 Reason 2: You have a “NAT Error”
    --> 1.3.1 How do I know if I have this problem?
    2.0 Fixing a NAT error
    - 2.1 Azureus users - Switch off UPnP
    - 2.2 Configure Your XP Firewall (ICF: Internet Connection Firewall)
    --> 2.2.1 Configure ICF in SP1
    --> 2.2.2 Configure ICF in SP2
    - 2.3 Configure Your Router
    - 2.4 Configure Your Firewall
    3.0 Multiple BitTorrent users on a LAN
    4.0 Other things that could be wrong
    5.0 Freezing torrents and/or 100% CPU usage
    6.0 Asking for further help

    1.0 Why are my downloads going slow?

    1.1 Reason 1: Your ISP is limiting your download speed

    Some ISPs are limiting download speeds by controlling the bandwidth allocated to traffic using the default BitTorrent ports, which are 6881 to 6999.

    This is not just a problem for those who have nasty ISPs, it affects everybody. To avoid ISPs from damaging the efficiency of a torrent with their controls, some stringent tracker owners are blocking users trying to connect on the standard ports.

    So whether your ISP is limiting you or not, all BitTorrent users should stop using the default ports.

    For simplicity, this guide recommends the use of port 16881. Adding a 1 to the start is simple administratively, and is in a range unlikely to be used by other programs.

    You then need to set up your client to use the new port.

    AZUREUS
    Tools -> Options -> Connection
    -> Add a “1” before the current listen port number. For example, 6881 will now be 16881.

    YET ABC
    File -> Preferences -> Network
    -> Type 16881 for the port number.

    Whatever client you use, make sure you update anywhere else you have entered the port numbers to account for the change.

    By completing this section, you have helped to avoid problems later down the line, but this will not solve the majority of slow downloads. Therefore, move on to reason 2.

    1.2 Reason 2: You have a “NAT Error”

    BitTorrent works on a credit system. By uploading parts of a file other people, they allow you to download parts of the file from them. This is BitTorrents anti-leech measure. However, if you have a problem with your NAT (anything between you and the internet, such as a router or firewall), you will not get credit for what you are uploading. The only downloading that you can do is from people who upload a small amount to you in the hope that you will return the favour. Since their client will not recognise your response if you have a NAT problem, then they will stop uploading to you shortly after. This is what is causing your problem. You may also notice that torrent speeds go very high for 5mins, before slowing back down to 0-5kb/s.

    1.2.1 How do I know if I have this problem?

    You might not have a problem at all. Before continuing with this guide, leave your torrent running for at least ten minutes. If the speed hasn't picked up, stop and restart the torrent. If that fails, try at least two other torrents. If you are still having problems, continue on...

    Start to download a file using your chosen client.

    AZUREUS
    Wait a while for the torrent to get started; this may take up to five minutes.
    Look in the “Health” column. If it is showing a yellow spot, then you need to configure your firewall/NAT/router. If it is Green then all is OK. Your slow downloads are being caused by something else.
    A full list of the different colours can be seen [http://azureus.sourceforge.net/faq.php#21]here[/url].

    Azureus can also check your configuration for you.
    Select “Tools” -> “NAT / Firewall Test”
    The default TCP listen port is 6881. If you have changed the listening port, enter the new port in the “Incoming TCP Listening Port.”
    Press “Test”
    If the result is “NAT Error,” please continue with the guide.
    If the result is “OK”, then your slow speeds are being caused by something else.

    PLEASE NOTE: The Azureus checker can report a false NAT error if you are running PeerGuardian or Protowall. Make sure these are disabled before using the Azureus wizard.

    YET ABC
    Wait a while for the torrent to get started; this may take up to five minutes.
    Look at the colour of the torrent. If it is yellow (sometimes appears slimy green. If it is green then you will know it), then you need to configure your firewall/NAT/router. If it is green then all is OK. Your slow downloads are being caused by something else.
    A full list of the different colours can be seen here.

    2.0 It’s showing yellow, I have a NAT error – what do I do?

    You need to configure your computer and/or network to accept incoming BitTorrent port connections. The tracker port is 6969. If this port is not correctly configured, downloads will not start at all. The download/upload ports used in this guide are 16881-16889. It is these ports that are causing your problems.

    2.1 If you are a Azureus user, then switch disable UPnP
    ** If you are not using Azureus, skip to 2.2 **

    Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), it is an Azureus feature that works with some compatible routers to open the required ports automatically. However, some routers, even if they are compatible with UPnP, have problems with this.

    Tools -> Options
    Expand "Plugins" on the left hand tree.
    Select "UPnP"
    Deselect "Enable UPnP"

    Check if the torrent/health has gone green. If not, move on to section 2.2.

    2.2 Configure Your XP Firewall (ICF: Internet Connection Firewall)

    Please go to the appropriate sub-section.
    - “Configure ICF in SP1” if you have NOT installed Service Pack 2
    - “Configure ICF in SP2” if you have installed Service Pack 2

    2.2.1 Configure ICF in SP1

    Open up your “Network Connections”. Right click on your internet connection or LAN connection and select “Properties”.
    ->Select the “Advance” tab
    ->If the “Internet Connection Firewall” is not ticked, then this is not your problem. Research into whether you need the XP firewall or not and jump to "Configure Your Router" below. If it is ticked, please continue:
    ->Click “Settings…”
    ->On the “Services” tab press “Add…”
    ->Description of service = BitTorrent
    Name or IP address of the computer hosting this service on your network = 127.0.0.1 (this means "the local machine.")
    External Port number for this service = 16881
    Internal Port number for this service = 16881
    TCP/UDP = TCP
    -> Press OK.

    -> With ABC, make sure File-> Preferences -> Network -> "port” is equal to 16881.

    -> With AZUREUS, make sure that "Tools -> Options -> Connection -> Incoming TCP Listen Port" is equal to 16881.

    Check if the torrent/health has gone green. If not, move on to section 2.2.

    2.2.2 Configure ICF in SP2

    -> Open your Windows Control Panel and select “Security Centre.”
    -> Scroll down to the “Manage security settings for:” section and select “Firewall”
    -> Decide whether you want to keep the firewall on or off. Make an informed decision based on more than the information provided by Microsoft. If you decide to switch it off, then do so and move onto section 2.2. Otherwise, continue this section.
    -> Select the “Exceptions” tab.
    -> Select “Add Port…”
    -> Name: = BitTorrent (or anything of your choice)
    -> Port number: = 16881
    -> TCP/UDP = TCP
    -> Press OK.

    -> With ABC, make sure “Action-> Preference -> Network -> Minimum port” is equal to 16881

    -> With AZUREUS, make sure that "Tools -> Options -> Connection -> Incoming TCP Listen Port" is equal to 16881.

    Check if the torrent/health has gone green. If not, move on to section 2.3.

    2.3 Configure Your Router

    If you are on a LAN with a router or hardware firewall, you may need to configure it. You need to forward BitTorrent’s connection ports to your specific PC on the LAN.
    If your connection is shared using Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), go to section 2.3.
    There are too many routers to cover in this guide, so it is time to head to Google. Search for port forwarding, BitTorrent and the name of your router. Lots of manufacturers provide specific information on their sites. A generic guide to port forwarding for most routers can be found at PortForward.com.

    -> With ABC, make sure File-> Preferences -> Network -> "port” is equal to 16881.

    -> With AZUREUS, forward port 16881. Make sure this matches "Tools -> Options -> Connection -> "Incoming TCP Listen Port"

    Check if the torrent/health has gone green. If not, carry on:


    2.4 Configure Your Firewall

    As with routers, there are too many to cover here, so time to head to Google. Unlike with other sections to this guide, ports only have to be opened, rather than forwarded.

    With both AZUREUS and YET ABC, open port 16881.


    3.0 Multiple BitTorrent users on a LAN

    The same port can not be forwarded to different computers, so decide who gets which ports, for example:
    192.168.0.2 = 16881
    192.168.0.3 = 16882 etc.

    Set up your router or ICS to forward the ports to the chosen computers.

    Now you need to set up the BitTorrent Clients:

    AZUREUS
    Each computer only needs one port forwarded to it.
    -> Tools -> Options
    -> "Connection" on the side menu
    -> On “Incoming TCP Listen Port” enter the port number that is being forwarded to that computer. Taking from the above example, computer 192.168.0.3 would enter 16884.
    -> Repeat for all the users

    YET ABC
    File -> Preferences -> Network
    -> Set "port” to the port number that is being forwarded to that computer. Taking from the above example, computer 192.168.0.3 would enter 16884.
    -> Press “OK”
    -> Repeat for all users.

    4.0 Other things that could be wrong

    Try limiting your upload if you have ADSL/DSL. Sometimes BitTorrent can try to upload so much that it floods your upload, making it difficult for incoming connections. Slyck.com explains further:
    It might seem strange to hear that your upload speed can directly affect your download speed, but it can, and quite dramatically. The reason behind it is based on the way the Internet works. When you download a file (or in this case, chunks of a file), your computer sends a tiny message back to the source computer, called an ACKnowledgement packet. These ACK packets tell the source computer that chunk #1 has arrived OK, please send #2. When #2 is down, it sends another, and so on. The source computer will not send #3 until it gets the ACK from #2. It uses a small amount of your upload bandwidth to do this. This works fine when downloading files off the Internet, but with P2P, you tend to upload as well.

    This is especially true with BitTorrent – because you upload as well. If done efficiently, downloads can be very fast. The problem lies with the fact that you upload *so much* that the ACK's do not get sent out fast enough, which slows your download. The simplest way to solve this is to limit your upload bandwidth. 80% of the maximum is usually recommended, but I find I can set it to 90% with no adverse effects. This gives your ACKs a bit of breathing space to get out with.
    CCSDUDE makes this recommendation on limiting your upload:
    Originally Posted by CCSDUDE
    Try 11kbs up as your limit on a 128k upload package...double it for 256/1.5mb lines and keep going up as you hit 384/ect. That seems to be the sweet spot on BT. Enough to keep everyone happy whilst not slowing your downloads down or slowing your surfing.
    5.0 Common BitTorrent problems

    This section covers other problems which BT users may be suffering from.

    5.1 Client or program freezing

    Symptoms: Torrent starts well, achieving good speeds. Speed then falls to zero. This is followed by the client freezing, computer freezing and/or loss of internet connection.

    Solutions:
    1) This is a common problem with ZoneAlarm 5. Switching it off may not solve the problem. It is recommended that users switch back to version 4.5.
    2) Norton Anti-virus sometimes tries to scan the chunks which make up the files you are downloading. Get yourself a decent anti-virus program!

    5.2 Freezing torrents and/or 100% CPU usage

    Make sure you are running the latest version of your favourite client, as many have now solved this bug.

    -RaZ- has provided help for those who are still having problems:

    You need to limit the number of peer connections to 60.

    AZUREUS
    Tools -> Configuration -> Connection -> set the "Maximum number of connections per torrent" to 60.

    YET ABC
    File -> Preferences -> Network -> Advanced -> set the "Max peer connections" to 60


    Original Created by Malicious Intent @ Zeropaid.com
    Last edited by {I}{K}{E}; 07-08-2006 at 10:12 PM.

  2. Guides and Tutorials   -   #2
    thedazman's Avatar WaReZeR
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    May i add a note?

    In your preferred client, the setting for 'max connections per transfer' or something along those lines may have a default value of less than 100.

    If you have a torrent which has lots of peers, which you usually do, well you should set that to a higher value.

    Well in my experience i have found that could cause a problem connecting to the optimal number of peers.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by thedazman; 04-19-2005 at 08:48 PM.

  3. Guides and Tutorials   -   #3
    Just to add again to the last post, if you do set 'max/infinite outbound connections per torrent or globally then be prepared for a high CPU usage and clogged port. Its a bit of a double-edged thing whereby you can get the optimal # of peers but end up with slow everything-else. Unless ofcourse you have a beast of a PC .

    Also for Azureus users with torrents downloading slow and uploading obscene amounts i.e. 1.2kB/s-Down / 43.23kB/s-Up! , a little trick if you have time while downloading. Open up the details tab for the torrent and look for the 'Details' tab.

    Then, if you can be bothered to scrutinise every connected peer you can see how much each peer is sharing with you under the down & up columns.

    You will find that there are some cheeky sods that are uploading huge speeds from you but only giving you tiny download speeds with them.

    Please use discretion though as some peers are just starting up and will even out given a few minutes.

    But in anycase if you do catch and kick the obvious culprits you will free a slot for another peer with (hopefully) better speeds in sharing.

  4. Guides and Tutorials   -   #4
    Member
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    This was very informative

    I configured my Torrent-client and now I should get a bit better speeds

  5. Guides and Tutorials   -   #5
    Poster
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    With Azureus 2.3.0.4 I have found that installing the "Multi-port Trackers" plug in has greatly increased my speeds. I am however on a stand alone PC and have no Network problems to contend with. I have 2.2Mbps ADSL and am experiencing high contention rates at present due to exchange congestion. Nevertheless I can download in the 100 - 180 kBps range with upload set to 20 kBps with this plug-in installed. Previously I was crawling along in the 0 - 25 range.
    Last edited by oldjagman; 10-26-2005 at 12:36 AM.
    DOWNLOADING IS FUN - SHARING IS SUBLIME
    When all else fails - read the instructions!!!
    LEEDS UNITED - WE'LL BE BACK

  6. Guides and Tutorials   -   #6
    nukie
    Guest
    thanks for the useful info..
    U ROCKS!!!

  7. Guides and Tutorials   -   #7
    i have a quick question, i'm behind a network firewall and was wondering if the above method would work for bitcomet also?

    thanks in advance!

  8. Guides and Tutorials   -   #8
    brianhu458
    Guest
    thanks a lot
    here is another great guide for newbies:
    http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/229385

  9. Guides and Tutorials   -   #9
    I solved my NAT error yesterday. I dont knw what triggered it to work because before i had my ports forwarded on my router but uTorrent still gave the NAT error.
    What i did was to forward ports frm 50000 to 50003 TCP and the same for UDP. And it worked! Hope it helps somebody.

  10. Guides and Tutorials   -   #10
    thanks ,its the way simple to manage you speed to download

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