problem I have is that while this file download is active I am also trying to write data to a USB device. There is a certain amout of buffering available but large amounts of network activity prevent the application from servicing the USB port. Is there any way to reduce the overall priority of the FTP client or even the just the data socket so the USB gets more time to be serviced.
Using Windows API, you can reduce the priority of your executable and/or reduce the priority of a given thread in your executable. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms686219(VS.85).aspx and http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms686277(VS.85).aspx
because the Windows networking just hogs CPU resources regardless.
Depending on your hardware configuration, it is possible that the network is so fast compared to the processing power that the network eat all power. This is where you should start throttling your network I/O and/or reduce thread/process priority. Of course you may also use a computer with more power. Some high end network card also offload TCP/IP to the card itself, making the network less CPU intensive. You may also have faster disk and more CPU.
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