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Synchronize to boost IE performance

Synchronization will increase IE performance and reduce demand for bandwidth.


Synchronize to boost IE performance
Barrie Sosinsky

For any Web site that is visited on a continual basis, it makes sense to cache the Web site on your network. This will make loading of these Web pages much faster, and reduce bandwidth demands to your Internet gateway.

You can cache Web sites by clicking the tools menu in Internet Explorer, and selecting the Synchronize command. Synchronize is a "Pull" technology, rather than Channels which is a "Push" technology. A change on the target site isn't forcing a download. You are.

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The synchronize command lets you determine the depth of the site you wish to cache: 1, 2, 3 links or more, the type of content you will cache (ignore multimedia files, for example), and whether you will cache links external to the target site. Caching Web sites can be done locally, or on a Windows server. You don't need a product like Windows Internet and Acceleration Server (ISA Server) to cache content, although that product has some very useful features for caching. All you need is an active Internet Explorer browser and connection.

To set up schedules, whether synchronization happens at logon/logoff, or on idle use the Synchronize command on the Tools menu of Internet Explorer. It's a good idea to synchronize at intervals when you know the Web site will change content, and when the use of synchronization doesn't impact network performance. For example, a site like CNN changes every two to three hours. So a good schedule might synchronize early in the morning before people are at their desk, during lunch and supper, and then late at night. For newspapers that change only daily, perhaps an early morning synchronization is sufficient.

The Synchronize command will also allow you to force synchronization when you want new information to be downloaded. When the Synchronization Manger is running, an icon appears in the Status bar portion of the Taskbar. You can click on this icon to view the state of your synchronization.

It's worth dedicating a good chunk of disk space to Synchronization because the impact of this feature on browser performance is nothing less than sensational. Pages that would take many seconds to load will pop on your page. Synchronization is even more valuable (in a limited way) with dial-up connections for performance, but with broadband connections this feature really shines.

Barrie Sosinsky ( president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.

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