Friday, February 16, 2007

Tip to enable faster surfing on broadband connections

Most of the DNS servers associated with our ISPs are congested and slow these days. They provide replies to domain queries real slow, which in turn slows down the whole surfing experience.

When you try to connect to a server on the internet, lets say via your browser, the following things take place:

  1. You enter in the address bar of your browser and presses ENTER.
  2. The browser asks for the IP address of to the Operating System (OS).
  3. The underlying operating system, say Windows, not having the translated IP of the requested domain, prepares and sends a DNS request to your ISP's DNS server with the name and waits for the response.
  4. The domain name server on the ISP's part looks up in its tables and provides the translated IP back to us. If the domain name translation is not found in its table, the DNS server forwards the request to another higher level one.
  5. Once received the IP translation for, the operating system caches it for future uses on the same day, and fulfils the request of the browser.
  6. The browser now has the IP to connect to, and it connects and fetches the page.

The delay in DNS resolution occurs in step 4. If the ISP's DNS server is congested with requests, it could either delay the resolution process or even discard the request. The operating system would try a few more times before giving up. Also, if the domain name is not found in your ISP's DNS table, you're likely to get a domain not found message.

The solution to this problem is easy. Use a better DNS server pair -- OpenDNS is the answer! Try these instead of your ISP's DNS servers. You can change it either in the TCP/IP properties of your ethernet card, or inside your router control panel.

Primary DNS Server:
Secondary DNS Server:

If you dont know what these numbers mean or if you need help setting these up, try the following links.

For Windows users, click here
For Linux/Unix users, click here.
Finally, for Mac, which you're unlikely to be on (I've never seen a Mac accessing this blog site, yet!), click here.

If you would like to setup your router, goto this page, select your router and follow the instructions.

Mobile users can also use it to get faster DNS responses; click here to goto mobile section.

Technical facts

These DNS servers belong to a project namely OpenDNS. Safer, Faster and Smarter. You can visit them at

Quoting from their site,

OpenDNS is a better DNS, free to all. OpenDNS uses its distributed network of DNS servers to speed up your Internet experience, increase reliability, improve security and make DNS smarter for users all over the world.

OpenDNS has the following addon advantages, over traditional DNS.
  • Its free and it requires no software installation or complicated setup.
  • It warns you before accessing malicious websites, phishing and scams.
  • Its faster than similar services. First, it runs a really big, smart cache. Second, it runs a high-performance network which is geographically distributed (see network map) and serviced by several redundant connections. It responds to your query from the nearest location.
  • It fixes typos in the URLs you enter. For example, if you're using craigslist.og will lead directly to

Saturday, January 20, 2007

BSNL traffic crawls through Bharti Infotel gateway

Ironically, BSNL's DataOne broadband internet connections are crawling like dial up connections ever since they announced the revised, high speed plans for the new year. Customers like me are getting frustrated with this miserable speed of 30-70kbps instead of the promised 2mbps, or atleast the good old 256kbps.

Please BSNL, I'm ready to forget everything you ever told about the new 2mbps dream. Just get me the damn 256kbps broadband back!

Strange but here it is, the output of running a traceroute to from my BSNL DataOne connection.

Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
2 38 ms 43 ms 41 ms
3 95 ms 85 ms 84 ms
4 84 ms 84 ms 84 ms
5 81 ms 84 ms 82 ms
6 85 ms 84 ms 85 ms
7 117 ms 116 ms 125 ms
8 116 ms 125 ms 112 ms
9 113 ms 115 ms 125 ms
10 391 ms 384 ms * POS2-2.GW12.NYC4.ALTER.NET []
11 387 ms 398 ms 386 ms []
12 * 383 ms 385 ms []
13 392 ms 403 ms 392 ms []
14 419 ms 394 ms 400 ms []
15 402 ms 398 ms 403 ms []
16 404 ms 400 ms 398 ms []
17 * 379 ms * []
18 383 ms 384 ms 386 ms
19 384 ms 385 ms 385 ms
20 385 ms 384 ms 387 ms
21 386 ms 392 ms 390 ms []

Trace complete.

The first 6 IPs seem to be okay, its BSNL gates from 2 to 6 and my router on 1. But, the items in boldface, i.e., routers 7, 8 and 9. Do they really belong to BSNL?

I ran a query on APNIC Whois Database ( with the addresses, and

They're of Bharti Infotel Ltd. ( BSNL is tied up with Bharti? I don't remember what the traceroute output was before BSNL's revision announcement and slowdown, but is this a failsafe plan BSNL has taken to keep the network running? Is this what really causing the slowdown?

A week of battle with customer care and telecom staff at my exchange, I find BSNL's customer service stupid and moronic. For 34 hours in last two days my connection was down due to a damned 'PPP authentication failure', good heavens its now vanished somehow. Yet they don't have any, any ANY, explanation for all this. Lack of an alternate ISP in my local area is what keeps me clinging on to this DataOne now.