I’ve been hip to bittorrent for a while, but I never found it that useful. Downloads seemed to drag on forever. I could go out, get a job, get my first paycheck, and buy it at a store all before a download would finish (slight exaggeration.) For me it just didn’t seem worth it. Why so slow when I had a 6mbps pipe?

Turns out my laziness in configuring port-forwarding on my router was the culprit. I was finally getting around to manually configuring it today, when a friend suggested I should try enabling UPnP.

UPnP was another technology I was aware of, but also something I hadn’t really looked into… I wasn’t clear on it’s benefits, and assumed it was another lame Microsoft solution in search of a problem.

A quick search clued me into it’s benefits. Enabling it meant flipping a bit on my router, and installing the UPnP stuff in Windows XP (Add/Remove Software|Additional Windows Components|Networking…)

With UPnP enabled, I fired up Azureus, it automagically set up the appropriate port-forwarding to enable packets to traverse the NAT. This was the magic enabled by UPnP, and voila… Faster downloads. Much faster downloads.

UPnP is a potential security risk, so do your homework before you enable things.