Increasing your router’s power or purchasing an antenna will improve the signal to noise ratio at the receiver. You may have given up on laptops or desktops but you probably still have wireless for your tablet, smartTV and other devices. Although you may be surfing the web and thinking you are getting an excellent download speed, you may be able to increase the speed by using a third party firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato. Traditional factory firmware usually doesn’t allow increasing your power.
First off you need to download Xirrus, NetSurveyor, inSSIDer or Vistumbler. Each of these free software packages allow you to measure your signal strength, quality and view the channel to make sure you are using a free channel.
Next relocate your router to other areas in your home or business.
Firmware such as Tomato or DD-WRT offer a power setting (below).
Note: It is important to make sure your router has adequate cooling and to only increase Transmit Power when necessary and in small increments. Always research your router and see what settings have been used to tweak your connection.
Years ago we began to use WinCache in order to double the speed of our IIS server. While WinCache 1.35 improves the speed of IIS, Zend OPcache is now in PHP allowing an increase in speed on your PHP based webserver.
In order to speed up your IIS server with Zend OPcache, make sure you have the latest version of PHP. Modify PHP.ini and put the following into your .ini file-
This enterprise hotfix is for WebDAV, DFSN client, Folder Redirection, Offline Files and Folders, SMB client, Redirected Drive Buffering Subsystem, Multiple UNC Provider, SMB Service, TCP protocol components (Network Performance), processing of Group Policies, Group Policy preferences, helps to reduce network load and domain load, WMI and more.
Hard drive cache on if not SSD Drive
(Device Manager – double click and make sure checkboxes under policies are checked)
100% credit goes to Bill Mullins for sharing this information. (BillMullins.wordpress.com).
Softperfect has some of the best freeware for Windows. With Netscan you can see devices on your network and find information about the devices. Now with their software “WiFi Guard”, you can use a device on your network and find the devices that are attached to it.
While you should take precautions to secure your wireless network, is someone accessing your network without your knowledge?
Installation is fast and easy. Simply follow the wizard and make sure you run the software at startup.
Once you install the software, select the adapter and scan your network. Next double click on known devices and select “I know this device.” Let the software run and periodically scan your network. If you find a device connecting to it, locate the device and remove it from the network or take action to prevent unknown devices from connecting.
The software is designed to run on Apple, Windows or Linux.
Note: The above pic is from a lab environment and the addresses and macs do not represent real machines or a production environment.
The Session Save Handler puts information into Memory and saves sessions to the moodledata folder sessions folder
The PHP_Wincache section calls the wincache.dll and uses an optimal amount of cache for performance
Downloaded PHP 5.56 from here and registered new PHP with IIS7.5 PHP Manager
Added Wincache stores to Moodle (from here) This is a plugin to enable MUC access to the WinCache PHP extension available on Windows platforms. This caches Application Stores and enhances performance.
Configuration after installing the Wincache Store
Site Administration – Plugins – Caching Configuration
Moodle Session Handling
Site Administration – Server – Session handling – Disable database for session information.
Testing the Cache store performance on 100,000 uniques requests per operation (See the after Moodle Data move below)
FX-6100 3.3Ghz CPU (Six Core) (info)
2 Western Digital 2 TB Hard Disk (info)
8 GB of Ram DDR3
Windows Server 2008 R2 (Processor Scheduling – Background and Virtual Memory – System Managed to second Hard Disk)
Note: Since this write up, we have moved the MoodleData to a third hard disk and cloned the Windows Hard Disk to a solid state
The Microsoft Update may show that your computer is up-to-date but you may be able to improve system stability and performance with these 90 updates for Windows 7 and Server 2008 with a hotfix that was released earlier in 2013.
This enterprise hotfix fix WebDAV, DFSN client, Folder Redirection, Offline Files and Folders, SMB client, Redirected Drive Buffering Subsystem, Multiple UNC Provider, SMB Service, TCP protocol components (Network Performance), processing of Group Policies, Group Policy preferences, helps to reduce network load and domain load, WMI and more.
Where do you get the hotfix? The hotfix can be downloaded here. You MUST use Internet Explorer to apply the hotfix. The hotfix from the Windows Update Catalog requires you to install components to download the files of your choice.
After downloading the update, you will need to double click the installation file and after the hotfix is applied, you must restart your computer.
Backblaze is a data backup service that offers an excellent price along with great customer service on data backup services. They have truly developed their own technology to help protect your data and you need to go over and check out their stories on disk drives and how they make their servers. Backblaze just released a blog on their study of how long disk drives last at their organization (see the link below).
Interestingly enough, they break down the information and it almost matches what we have seen over several years as far as our servers’ disk drives (we use standard consumer grade drives and build our own servers). While our servers have ran 7 days a week, I can’t imagine the use that Backblaze disk drives go through.
While we can’t compare our network or servers to backblaze, here’s a few of our statistics. Our annual fail rate is around 1% on server drives (Like I said, we can’t possibly move as much data as they do) and at the 4+ year mark, we begin to see close to the same number which is around 10%. Our numbers are lower because of our type of use. The school’s disk drives usually have service time of an average of 4-7 years as far as our servers are concerned. The fail rate at that time isn’t truly known at our school because of upgrades or preventative maintenance upgrades depending on the server’s role.
We also see around two disk drives fail per hundred annually on workstations. This fail rate usually falls back to around 1% or less from the second to the fourth year. After the fourth year, we generally see an increase in the fifth or sixth year that can appear to become problematic and appear to be an epidemic when we may see 5+%. Oddly enough if the drive makes it beyond the sixth year, the older drives usually will continue to live until these machines are taken out of service. Remember that workstations are not used the way servers are – generally. The school has several older computers in shop areas that are on their 8th or 10th anniversary with their original drive.
It is rare for computers to not be replaced on schedule. Our IT Department usually upgrades or replaces computers every three to four years. Upgrades and replacements of course depends on technology. We recycle computers into other departments and save money as much as possible.
Backblaze gives an exceptional example of monitoring and keeping up with their information and infrastructure.
By default, Moodle uses its database to store information about sessions. One of the ways you can speed up any PHP session on a Windows IIS server is to download wincache. Wincache or Windows Cache Extension is designed to work with the PHP extension and speed up webservers. Download the latest from SourceForge.
With Moodle, download the Wincache plugin to further optimize the Moodle file store. Download the plugin here.
Be sure to also download Wincache Info to see graphs and statistics. Download the 2nd plugin here.
Because Moodle uses the SQL database to store information sessions, disabling this will significantly speed up the LMS. In order to disable database sessions, go to Site administration, Server, Session handling, and uncheck the option, Use database for session information.
Prior to doing this, check MySQL’s max allowed packet information is set to at least 4M in the my.cnf or my.ini.