As you surf the web, you will be in conversation with dozens of web servers, and each conversation might have different latency and stability issues. On a less stable (or low bandwidth) connection, a small Receive Window would be a good idea; on a more stable (or high bandwidth) connection, a larger window gives much better performance. With Windows XP and previous, you were limited to a single Receive Window setting, which would apply to all Internet connections, all of the time.
One of the long awaited features in Windows Vista was the ability for it to dynamically determine the Receive Window size, by individual connection. Receive Window Auto-Tuning is one of the many significant improvements in Windows Vista, in my opinion.
For a few owners of computers running Windows Vista, connectivity to the local network, or the Internet, may be problematic. Symptoms are very like the well known MTU Setting problem - some servers, some of the time, can't be contacted, or give poor performance. Copying files locally, from one computer to another, may be fast in one direction, and agonizingly slow in another.
But we know that your local network isn't running through a router, so how would an MTU setting affect your local connection?
The MTU isn't always the culprit in this case. If you have an older firewall or router, that doesn't support Windows Scaling (an essential component in Receive Window Auto-Tuning), you may have this problem. Apparently the lack of Windows Scaling can affect local performance too.
If you are faced by symptoms like an MTU setting problem, that involve a computer running Windows Vista, first try disabling Auto-Tuning. In a Vista command window (Run as Admin), enter
netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabledor
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled
Then shutdown and restart.
Try Internet access with Auto-Tuning shut off, and see if things stabilise. If they do, see if you can upgrade or replace your router. Check with the vendor, and see if a firmware update is available; if not, consider replacing the router. If your router is incapable of supporting Windows Scaling, it may lack other features that you will also enjoy.
Besides RWin AutoTuning, look at other possible problems with Windows Scaling, in Windows Vista and Scalable Networking.
If you see no improvement in your symptoms, turn Auto-Tuning back on before making other changes. Layered Troubleshooting principles suggest one change at a time.
netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=normalor
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal
Note the lexicographical variations expressed, above. Some experts state that the relevant keyword is "autotuning", others state "autotuninglevel". There is also a confusion about the value for "autotuning" / "autotuninglevel", which may be either "enabled" or "normal". I suspect that there are two possibilities, "autotuning=enabled" and "autotuninglevel=normal", but I haven't found an authoritative reference, discussing the possibilities.
For more information, see
- Microsoft: (KB934430): Network connectivity may fail...
- MSDN Windows Core Networking: Receive Window Auto-Tuning on Vista