Orbit is a free download manager. Its promise is up to 500% faster downloading.
Orbit supports HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, RTSP and MMS protocols, which means you can download YouTube video, Rapidshare files, streaming media and more. It integrates with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Maxthon. It is available for Windows and Linux, but not Macintosh.
Installation is simple. During installation you can automatically configure Orbit to integrate with your favorite browser, and auto-configure Windows Firewall (if you are running Windows XP SP2 or later). It would be nice if the installer also let you configure your anti-virus protection at the same time, but it’s simple enough to do afterwards to ensure files are automatically scanned immediately after download.
Behind Orbit’s claimed super-fast downloading is its peer-to-peer downloading and segmented download technology. Where the desired download is available from multiple locations, Orbit will download segments from multiple different locations concurrently, speeding up the download process. In order not to slow down your computer and Internet connection, you can specify the number of simultaneous downloads and a speed limit in kb/second.
Among others, Orbit supports the metalink format. Metalink is an emerging standard for specifying download locations and formats. An XML-format metalink file stores the multiple locations from which downloads are available. Downloaders that support metalink can automatically select one or more download locations, and switch over to different ones in the event of failure. Metalink offers simplicity to users, who can click one link regardless of their location, operating system, or native language. They receive the correct download based on their computer’s settings. It also supports automatic checksums for download verifications. Metalink is used by a variety of software providers including OpenOffice.org and various Linux providers. See www.metalinker.org for more details.
It would be great if Orbit also supported BitTorrent, as that would truly make it a one-stop download manager. Especially with its facility to batch downloads, and schedule them for appropriate times, it would make it so easy to download your favorite content in your off-peak Internet time. BitTorrent is not planned for Orbit. (Orbit’s makers recommend Utorrent as a BitTorrent client.)
Much of Orbit’s promised speed improvement relies on the existence of multiple peers from which to download. For my first test, I downloaded OpenOffice, but only one download source was accessible to me. Orbit downloaded the 96.9 MB in an elapsed eight minutes, compared with five minutes for a “regular” download on my ADSL 2+ connection. For more popular content though, the peer-to-peer networking and segmented downloads does lead to more rapid downloads, although I couldn’t benchmark the 500% promised at Orbit’s website.
The user interface is clean, and the online help understandable (although clearly written by someone for whom English is a second language). Given that this is freeware, if you do not already use a download manager, this is a good one to start with.