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What Is Download Acceleration?

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  • Written By: Eugene P.
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Download acceleration is a process that computer software initiates to increase the speed of a download by creating multiple connections to a single server or host system.‭ ‬The software usually is integrated into a web browser and operates on a hypertext transfer protocol‭ (‬HTTP‭) ‬connection.‭ ‬The premise of download acceleration is based on the‭ ‬fact that an HTTP connection could limit the amount of bandwidth that is used by a single connection.‭ ‬Using download acceleration‭ ‬means creating multiple connections to the server,‭ ‬each working in tandem to download different segments of a single large file,‭ ‬or multiple smaller files,‭ ‬simultaneously.

Web servers attempt to increase their efficiency by balancing the load from all of the active connections from users who are‭ ‬requesting information.‭ ‬The practice of limiting the bandwidth of a single connection is meant to allow numerous users to be able to send and receive information without a single connection monopolizing all of the server‭’‬s resources.‭ ‬A download accelerator connects multiple times to a server with each connection having the equivalent bandwidth allocated to a single use.‭ ‬This causes the system to assign more bandwidth overall to the accelerator.

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Almost all download accelerator‭ ‬software is part of a much more complex download management package.‭ ‬Download managers are capable of parsing a website,‭ ‬isolating all of the media files,‭ ‬then creating multiple connections to download all of the files at the same time.‭ ‬For a single large file,‭ ‬the‭ ‬manager will create multiple connections and download a different segment of the file through each one.‭ ‬Each segment is saved to disk and,‭ ‬upon completion,‭ ‬reconstructed into a single file again.

The concept of download acceleration is similar to segmented downloading.‭ ‬Segmented downloading is used in peer-to-peer file transfer programs.‭ ‬This process involves connecting to multiple‭ ‬peer computers and transferring small segments of a larger file from different sources to distribute the bandwidth usage.‭ ‬This‭ ‬is distinctly different from what a download accelerator does because accelerators connect to only one server.

Download acceleration is not always effective,‭ ‬especially as the speed and availability of bandwidth increases worldwide.‭ If the speed of the connection of the server sending the file is greater than the speed of the connection of the receiving computer,‭ ‬then the acceleration will not work, because it is limited by the receiving speed.‭ ‬Using download accelerators is discouraged by large websites because it can cause the server to become overburdened and reduce the sending speed for all visitors to the site.

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