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Q: Slow Connections on Mac with Cable Modem ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Slow Connections on Mac with Cable Modem
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: mdotmay-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 24 Jun 2002 10:24 PDT
Expires: 01 Jul 2002 10:24 PDT
Question ID: 32432
I have a Mac iBook running recent versions of IE and Netscape on Mac
OS 9.0.4. I just upgraded to a cable modem, using Comcast in NJ and a
Motorola surfboard modem. I experience maddeningly long delays when
opening new websites, or when loading graphics and other items on a
website that are not from the exact same domain as the main page (for
example, images from on a domain
take a long time to register). The delays do not seem to be in the
loading or transferring of any files, rather in finding and connecting
to the server on which these pages and images etc are found. Once I
connect, if I want to download a MP3 for example, I download at speeds
of 100kmps (or whatever the unit is) or more (vs 5kmps or download
units with the 56K modem).

What causes this long delay (5-10 seconds or more) from site to site,
and how can I avoid? I have already tried upgrading to new versions of
IE and Netscape, though the problem persists with either browser. I
have also modified the options in my TCP/IP control panel to uncheck
"reconnect only when necessary" which is a suggestion I saw on Apple's
discussion boards for a similar problem. No luck with either.
Subject: Re: Slow Connections on Mac with Cable Modem
Answered By: lazerfx-ga on 24 Jun 2002 11:34 PDT

The problem you are having is because of DNS lookup times.

What is DNS?
Every computer on the Internet has a unique Identifier.  This number
is in the range to  Now, this isn't a very
human friendly way to imagine a website, so the internet has a textual
representation of that number. is a computer that
is represented by the adress  Now, when you enter into your web browser, the computer goes to check a
DNS computer.  DNS is the 'Domain Name Server', and holds a database
of names ( and adresses (

Why is it slow?
It could just be that your ISP hosts DNS on slow servers.  If that is
the case then when lots of people ask for 'domain lookups' (Checking
the address of a name) the computer cannot handle all the requests,
and so takes a long time.

What can I do to speed it up?
One option is using someone elses domain server.  This is rather
complex, however, and can cause problems with your ISP.  Another way
is to cache the domain addresses on your own computer.  The advantage
of this is that when you go to the site, your computer doesn't have to
go to your ISP, but instead looks at your own computer for the

Where can I get a DNS cache for the MAC?
If you were on Linux, or on the Windows platform, that would be an
easy question.  However, for the Mac, most packages are very expensive
and to gain a couple of seconds would be hardly worthwhile.  However,
incase you feel it is worthwhile, the most common DNS cache for the
Mac appears to be:
VicomSoft InterGate.
This bills itself as a complete internet access solution, and is
priced similarly (InterGate standard is $149)

What can I do about slow DNS servers?
On thing you might be able to do is contact your ISP, inform them of
the slow servers, and inquire if this is normal.  You might not get
any response, but at least you have tried.

More information about DNS
The Google Web Directory contains a whole section devoted to DNS.  You
can find it at:

If it is any consolation, I am on Cable in the UK, and find that some
sites can take up to 60 seconds to resolve, so you are definitely not
on your own in having slow DNS lookup systems.

I hope this helps you understand a little about why it can take time
to get to a site, and gives you a possible way of solving the problem.

Most of the DNS information has come from my experience as a web
developer and programmer.  I have had to work with DNS servers several

To find the Mac DNS caching program, I used google and searched for:

"DNS caching" mac

"DNS caching" "OS 9"

Subject: Re: Slow Connections on Mac with Cable Modem
From: bwoodcock-ga on 24 Jun 2002 14:56 PDT
The answer you just received assumes that you're having difficulty
with outbound DNS queries for the A records for sites you're trying to
visit.  That's quite possible, and if so, it's easy for you to fix
autonomously, by putting in a better set of DNS servers in your own
resolver, as was just suggested.  Somewhat more likely, however, is
that your new ISP hasn't properly matched the in-addr for the IP
address you were assigned with a dummy A record.  So when you visit a
web site, and that web site tries to check who you are, so it can put
your machine's name in its log, _that_ lookup fails.  After a little
while, it determines that it's not going to get an answer, and
proceeds with handing you the web page you were trying to reach.  That
has to be fixed by your ISP, and you should let them know what's
happening, because it's not something they're likely to discover by
themselves without it being reported by a user.  In any event, this
problem is definitely DNS, and definitely has nothing to do with
either you being on a Mac, nor the fact that you're using a cable
modem.  The problem came about because of a misconfiguration in the
new service, and could have just as easily happened to a PC user on a
dial-up line.

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