Next-generation downloading is the motto for UseNeXT, an unfiltered gateway to the world of Usenet.
UseNeXT is essentially a subscription-based service that allows you to view Usenet newsgroups and discussions boards.
Usenet can be considered the granddaddy of modern forums, with contributors adding their comments to discussions on an ecletic mix of subjects. The added attraction for many will be the alt.binaries scene, where a large assortment of files are posted and can be downloaded rapidly from UseNeXT's fast servers.
Easy access is possible with UseNeXT's client software program, which provides a simple way to browse news and files. A built-in download engine automates the download process.
Large files found on Usenet servers are traditionally split into smaller RAR (Roshal Archive) segments, for joining together later with the help of PAR (parity) files. These parity files can help compensate for a small number of data transfer errors which might otherwise corrupt a large archive.
The UseNeXT software is available for Windows and Macintosh. Both require the Microsoft .NET framework, and in the case of the Mac OS, you'll need to install a free open-source version courtesy of Novell, namely the Mono project.
Compared to peer-to-peer-based networks, which rely on connection to a number of hosts with wildly varying connection speeds, the download process is painless and will potentially transfer as fast as your broadband connection can run. The top speed of UseNeXT's servers is not disclosed but under good conditions could even exceed 100Mb/s.
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The UseNeXT network comprises eight server farms, sited in the US and Europe, with 60,000 newsgroups advertised as available for reading. Retention times of postings are listed as 200 days for binaries and 1000 days for text pages.
Subscriptions to UseNeXT are based on the quantity of data you'd like to pre-purchase. Various packages are offered, for example, 25GB of data per month for €11.90/month with a 1 month membership; or the same package at €9.51/month with one year's membership.
There are also 50GB per month and 125GB per month packages, ramping up to a maximum subs price of €29.86 per month.
In addition to the formal data download limits, a subscription to UseNeXT also includes a ‘free' mode. Here, you can download as much as you like, but capped to a more pedestrian maximum download speed of 1Mb/s.
UseNeXT is currently offering a 1000MB free trial version, which requires no registration.
We found the software worked well on both Windows and Mac platforms, with good search facilities, and crucially, excellent download speeds always available.
All the chat and comments facilities of a good Usent client are included, with tabs added across the program's window top to keep different chats, downloads and searches under control.
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