The first few times Ubuntu’s Update Manager downloaded updates for my lappy, everything went fast, smooth and painless. After a few major updates, this thought popped into my head: “Woo, if I connect to the PH archive, things will go a lot faster since the connection’s gonna be inside the same country’s internet infra.” On the thoughts of imagined speed, I fired up my lappy, went through System | Administration and clicked on Software Sources.
Oh looky! The main tab of the applet has a selection box for “Download Source”! So I click, and somewhat gleefully see that there’s an option called “Server for Philippines.” I should feel so lucky!
Naturally, after I clicked on the Close button, I totally forgot about it. That is, until the first couple of times Ubuntu automatically started downloading updates. Slow. I think “Okay okay, maybe there’s something wrong with the network today.” Then I forget about it again.
Over the next few months I noticed that, yes, the Philippine archive of the Ubuntu distro was painfully slow, with download speeds rarely going above the 1 kbp/s mark. Whaddaheck’s wrong here? Nacherly, my immediate reaction was to raise a ruckus on the Ubuntu forums and generally make myself out to be an arse. After counting to 10, I decided my wrath was better reserved for something more critical. Decision made, I went back to the Software Sources applet and changed the download source to “Main Server.”
My updates have gone back to being fast, smooth and painless.
So here’s my word of advice — just because you’re in the same geographic location as a source of data or information, it isn’t necessarily faster getting it from there.
Today I went into the Software Sources applet again and clicked on the “Other Server” option. The resulting window shows a list of all available servers in different countries. It also has a button on one side that says “Select Best Server”. It came up with the jaist.ac.jp server as being the fastest. You should do the same thing, in case you’re not satisfied with the download speeds. Cheers!