Don’t mess with half-open connections!
September 7, 2007
TorrentFreak has a decent tutorial on speeding up your torrent downloads, but watch out for the first tip, it can cripple all other Internet apps including your web browser!
My Windows XP SP2 was installed of an nLite customised CD, with the max half-open connections setting set at 250 (up from the default 10 in XP SP2). Following the advice in the tutorial, I set my uTorrent to 50 connections instead of the default of 8. Within minutes my already open Firefox window would not follow links, new tabs would not even show any attempting connection activity.
After much checking with IE, Opera, in different user accounts no browser worked (all this with uTorrent chugging away with the new setting). Finally I reduced uTorrent back to 8 connections (lower than the XP limit of 10) and now the browser is slowly crawling back to normal. Its still a little flaky but as uTorrent closes its connections this will hopefully stabilise.
Now the kicker is this — I could max out the 1Mbit connection if I removed the download throttles, without touching the max half-open connections (set to 8 by default)! So not only is this setting not really useful, it is potentially quite disastrous for the overall health of the Internet connection.
Best to just leave it alone.