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If, like most of us, you're going online using broadband, chances are that you've still got a burning need for even more speed. I live within coee of my local phone exchange, yet several months ago a quick check on Xnet's speed test site told me I was lucky to get an abysmal 1.9Mbps.

Worse still, my broadband would sometimes fall over for no good reason at all. After hours of intense investigative journalism I was gobsmacked at just how much I'd managed to improve my broadband speed. Here's how I did it.

One of the more frequent causes of slow broadband speed is a poorly performing PC. Keen to avoid this trap which has snared many an unwary beginner, I installed CCleaner. Running CCleaner was a revelation. My PC was clogged up with several gazillion tonnes of digital detritus, having the computing equivalent of Alzheimer's. After running CCleaner I'd not only freed up acres of valuable hard disk real-estate, but also noticed a definite boost to my PC's overall performance.

Keen to find out just how big a difference this tweak had made, I jumped back onto the Xnet speed test site and discovered my download speed was now averaging at around 2.7Mbps. It wasn't a huge gain, but it was a good start.

My next port of call was speedbit.com where I downloaded DAP (Download Accelerator Plus), it's been around for a while, but is a real goodie as it can make a huge difference to downloads by pulling down multiple parts of a file simultaneously. It will also let you recover failed downloads. Whilst my overall broadband speed hadn't yet increased, I was able to snaffle files a good 15 per cent to 30 per cent faster.

Getting really thorough, I also called my ISP's help desk, which turned out to be a good thing as it revealed a lot of slow or unstable ADSL connections were due to people not getting phone socket-connected equipment set up properly. Taking this on board I scooted off to DSE and stocked up on line filters for my house alarm, MySky box and phones. Since doing this I'm pleased to report that like the person who invented the rear-view mirror, I've never looked back, and seemingly random broadband outages are no longer a common occurrence.

I also checked with my ISP to see if my exchange supported DSL 2+. and was pleased to find it did. This not only meant I could finally dispose of my ageing DSL modem but could also grab a shiny new Belkin N1 ADSL2+ modem.

Capable of a blistering theoretical maximum throughput of 24Mbps when used with a DSL2+ enabled connection, the Belkin N1 also supports the newer 802.11n wireless spec which when used with a compatible PC card gave me an astonishingly fast 300Mbps WiFi connection. Streaming hi-definition video from my PC to my laptop bow happens without a single hiccup.

My final visit to the Xnet Speedtest confirmed my tweaking suspicions and my broadband connection had gone from a wimpish 1.9Mbps to crank itself up to an impressive 4.4Mbps.