Two days ago I set my computer up to dual-boot with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 11.04. On windows 7, my download speed averages around 500kb/s, regardless of time of day. On Ubuntu, downloading simple updates from the Software Centre, my average speed is about 15-20kb/s rather than 500-540kb/s which I get on Windows 7. I am on a wireless network. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Also, my father is on Ubuntu 11.04 as well, and his connection speed is no slower than it was before. could that be because he's wired in to the modem itself rather than running wireless? I'm unsure of what to do to bring Ubuntu's speed on my laptop back up from the stone age to where it should be.

  • 1
    Just for future answer-seekers, the repositories where the updates are hosted can also be slow. You should try changing the repositories to servers more near to your locations, by going to Software Center > Edit Menu > Sources > Download From (dropdown box) > Select Other. Choose the one closest to you, or do a test, to determine the fastest. May 18 '11 at 7:40

It might be irrelevant, but are the Windows download speeds after using a download accelerator? I think windows did not report its download speeds for updates.

In case you are wondering why the software center downloads are slow, it might be because it uses wget (which does not use an accelerator) and is like downloading files using plain firefox.

Try installing axel, apt-fast and see if that might help :

sudo apt-get install axel
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tldm217/tahutek.net
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apt-fast

And then use apt-fast instead of apt-get for eg. sudo apt-fast upgrade or apt-fast update.

I cannot speak about any other reasons for slow speeds on Ubuntu, and am pretty sure that I've gotten better download speeds in Ubuntu than ever in Windows. Try taking a look at your network usage in gnome-system-monitor and see your network usage. Also since you are on a wireless network, try updating your network drivers.

  • Thank you, I will try what you suggested and report back.
    – Jesse Alan
    May 17 '11 at 18:41
  • Also I checked System Monitor before posting, I'm mainly sticking right around 10kb/s download, less than 1kb/s upload.
    – Jesse Alan
    May 17 '11 at 18:43
  • Your advice about updating the network drivers worked in combination with @Broam's advice. I'll sum it up for future solution-seekers in a minute.
    – Jesse Alan
    May 18 '11 at 4:13

My guess it's a driver discrepancy between Windows / Ubuntu. Also a guess is Bufferbloat.

Give this line a shot and see if anything changes:

sudo ifconfig eth0 txqueuelen 0

This tends to fix the issue of latency under heavy load - not so much raw download speed, but you may notice some improvement.

  • It is still much slower than on Win7, but that line did improve webpage loading speed. I can deal with that 'til I figure out the rest. Thank you!
    – Jesse Alan
    May 17 '11 at 22:05

If you want increased speed downloading 11.10, use a torrent program like 'transmission' or BitTorent. You will get the data from multiple places (simultaneously) and your download bandwidth will be used to the max (or whatever max download speed you set).

  • 2
    He said that he is downloading WITH Ubuntu 11.10 NOT trying to download Ubuntu 11.10.
    – DexterP17
    Oct 15 '11 at 13:04

I also tried http://www.jonboy60.com/2011/11/02/how-to-increase-internet-speed-in-ubuntu/

I could take out the code if it didn't work anyways. I just applied the settings a few minutes ago; it seems to have sped up my connection.

Nice tip! I'm using Ubuntu 11.10. I'd recommend for anyone who has a crappy DSL connection to try it. If it doesn't work for you, just remove the extra code.


*After testing for a few hours* Okay. I did a laptop to laptop comparison. My laptop against my wife's laptop -- both on Ubuntu 11.10 -- mine, with the tweak; hers, without -- ran both laptops on speedtest.net.

And the results are... they have the same internet speed, which is why I am going to go against my earlier comment.

What seems to have happened was that my ISP was erratic at the time of testing after I first added the code, and the spike I witnessed was probably a fluke.

I'm taking the extra code out.



Try this : In Firefox, go to about:config, search ipv6 and change the value of network.dns.disableIPv6 to true.


Are you just seeing these slower download speeds when downloading from the Software Center or system updates? Try downloading an ubuntu ISO (from the website or via bittorrent) or seeing how quickly a long youtube video takes to load.

If the slow downloads are just for software center / updates, you should try "Select Best Server", in the "Ubuntu Software" tab of Software Sources. That will test your connection speed to the various servers the packages are mirrored on and select the best one.

  • Nope, the software center was just one example. Before I applied those changes mentioned in my answer below, my max downloading speed for anything be it webpages, downloads, streams, etc. were all maxing out between 10-20kb/s. minute-long youtube clips would take several minutes to load.
    – Jesse Alan
    May 18 '11 at 15:07

One thing you could try to increase your internet speed is to switch to different DNS servers. There are several great free options that you can try:

  1. Norton DNS. This one is currently my favorite because it is extremely fast, and faster than the other DNS servers that I have tried (for me).

  2. OpenDNS. This one is another great DNS service, is fast, and allows various levels of protection.

  3. Google Public DNS. This one is known mostly for its speed, but it comes with security benefits as well.

From personal experience, I can say that all three of these free DNS services are great and have caused me no problems.

To specifically increase download speeds in the Ubuntu Software Center, you should find the best Download Server. This can be accomplished quite easily. First, go into System Settings. Next click on the Software Sources icon. Once it opens, you should be in the Ubuntu Software tab. In that tab, under the options for Downloadable from the Internet, there is a section called Download from: with a drop down menu next to it. Click on that and click Other in the list that appears. Another window should open, and now, simply press the Select Best Server button. Ubuntu will now automatically find the best download servers for you, and your download speeds for updates and programs in the Software Center should be increased.

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