So recently I wrote up a little news article covering the three year retention mark for Supernews. In this article I also went into the reasons why Supernews (and not Giganews) is Ainer.org’s recommended Usenet service. Two caveats were also listed as to why one might choose Giganews over Supernews, despite Supernews generally being the superior (and our recommended) deal in terms of benefits when weighted against costs.
The first caveat was the number of concurrent connections Giganews provides, fifty, over Supernews’ thirty. While it has never been an issue for myself, this may become an issue on a very fast Internet connection (or a connection with high latency) where the 30 simultaneous connections become the bottleneck of the downloading process (as each connection opens, closes, and repeats as it downloads various chunks of data, a process that is fairly peculiar to Usenet).
In my own testing, on an approximately 1.5 MiB/s connection, somewhere between 20-30 connections is where the bandwidth saturation seems to stabilize. After this point, increasing the number of connections further has little to no apparent effect, even when adding on a second server and increasing the connections significantly more (from 50 to 80). So, if you’re in a similar situation, anything over 20-25 connections is probably all that’s is needed to get the most out of your bandwidth consistently (and even down to 12-15 connections will still average out to about the same speed!).
The second caveat, and the one we’ll focus on in this article, is the one possibly worthwhile, and Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Android, and TomatoUSB (RAF) compatible, Giganews value-added service, VyprVPN. Also, while VyprVPN is offered bundled with Giganews’ Diamond service, which normally costs $35, it can also be purchased directly through Golden Frog (for $15, or $20 for VyprVPN Pro). In fact, purchasing VyprVPN directly through Golden Frog, and then purchasing your Usenet service from Supernews is currently the less expensive option!
However, before we get hung up on costs, let’s take a look at what this service is, the technology it’s based on, and what benefits it might provide. VPN’s, or Virtual Private Networks, are traditionally authenticated and encrypted connections between a remote system (a laptop, phone, home office, etc) and a private network such as one at a business, university, or even a home network. VyprVPN provides a similar service between your Ubuntu or Linux Mint personal computer, Android mobile device, or TomatoUSB (RAF) router, and any one of their VyprVPN servers located around the world (Los Angeles, Washington, DC, London, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong). After the connection between your device or network and the VyprVPN server is established, your traffic is first routed through the VPN and then over the World Wide Web (as it normally would were it connected without VyprVPN).
So, as an example of this, while using VyprVPN and connecting to the Amsterdam server, your connection is protected with either 128 or 256-bit encryption, which prevents (or, at least, restricts) your Internet service provider (ISP) (or, employer, university, coffee shop, etc) from monitoring and restricting which websites are viewed, what media is accessed, or what files are downloaded from your network or system. Additionally, whatever website or service that you are accessing via VyprVPN sees only the VyprVPN’s IP address and location (in this example, Amsterdam). Your IP address, provided by your ISP, and your actual location (generally, your city) is protected from the greater Web.
If you’re not already familiar, loads of information can be gleaned from your system by just visiting a website. As a demonstration, you can use an IP geolocation website, such as WhatsMyIP.org to see an example of what information a website or service can currently gather about you and your system.
To further help visualize exactly what benefits VyprVPN gives, Golden Frog also lists a comparison between connecting to the Internet with and without VyprVPN. In simple terms though, VyprVPN offers a layer of protection that helps to restrict your ISP, or the websites that you’re visiting, from being able to easily snoop on what you do, or who you are (respectively), online. (Next Page!)