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Data Throttling

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Bandwidth throttling - Wikipedia

Bandwidth throttling – Wikipedia

Bandwidth throttling consists in the limitation of the communication speed (bytes or kilobytes per second) of the ingoing (received) data and/or in the limitation of the speed of outgoing (sent) data in a network node or in a network device.
The data speed may be limited depending on various parameters and conditions.
Overview[edit]
Limiting the speed of data sent by a data originator (a client computer or a server computer) is much more efficient than limiting the speed in an intermediate network device between client and server because while in the first case usually no network packets are lost, in the second case network packets can be lost / discarded whenever ingoing data speed overcomes the bandwidth limit or the capacity of device and data packets cannot be temporarily stored in a buffer queue (because it is full or it does not exist); the usage of such a buffer queue is to absorb the peaks of incoming data for very short time lapse.
In the second case discarded data packets can be resent by transmitter and received again.
When a low level network device discards incoming data packets usually can also notify that fact to data transmitter in order to slow down the transmission speed (see also network congestion). [1]
NOTE: Bandwidth throttling should not be confused with rate limiting which operates on client requests at application server level and/or at network management level (i. e. by inspecting protocol data packets). Rate limiting can also help in keeping peaks of data speed under control.
These bandwidth limitations can be implemented:
at application software level (a client program or a server program, i. ftp server, web server, etc. ) which can be run and configured to throttle data sent through network or even to throttle data received from network (by reading data at most at a throttled amount per second);
at network management level (typically done by an ISP).
The first one (client/server program) is usually perfectly legal because it is a choice of the client manager or the server manager (by server administrator) to limit or not to limit the speed of data received from remote program via network or the speed of data sent to target program (server or client).
The second one (ISP) instead is considered an offense under FCC regulations. While ISPs prey on the individuals inability to fight them, fines can range up to $25, 000 USD for throttling. In the United States, net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate, has been an issue of contention between network users and access providers since the 1990s. With net neutrality, ISPs may not intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content.
Defined as the intentional slowing or speeding of an internet service by an Internet service provider (ISP). It is a reactive measure employed in communication networks to regulate network traffic and minimize bandwidth congestion. Bandwidth throttling can occur at different locations on the network. On a local area network (LAN), a system administrator (“sysadmin”) may employ bandwidth throttling to help limit network congestion and server crashes. On a broader level, the Internet service provider may use bandwidth throttling to help reduce a user’s usage of bandwidth that is supplied to the local network. Bandwidth throttling is also used as a measurement of data rate on Internet speed test websites.
Throttling can be used to actively limit a user’s upload and download rates on programs such as video streaming, BitTorrent protocols and other file sharing applications, as well as even out the usage of the total bandwidth supplied across all users on the network. Bandwidth throttling is also often used in Internet applications, in order to spread a load over a wider network to reduce local network congestion, or over a number of servers to avoid overloading individual ones, and so reduce their risk of the system crashing, and gain additional revenue by giving users an incentive to use more expensive tiered pricing schemes, where bandwidth is not throttled.
Operation[edit]
A computer network typically consists of a number of servers, which host data and provide services to clients. The Internet is a good example, in which web servers are used to host websites, providing information to a potentially very large number of client computers. Clients will make requests to servers, which will respond by sending the required data, which may be a song file, a video, and so on, depending on what the client has requested. As there will typically be many clients per server, the data processing demand on a server will generally be considerably greater than on any individual client. And so servers are typically implemented using computers with high data capacity and processing power. The traffic on such a network will vary over time, and there will be periods when client requests will peak or sent responses will be huge, sometimes exceeding the capacity of parts of network and causing congestion, especially in parts of the network that form bottlenecks. This can cause data request failures, or in worst cases, server crashes.
In order to prevent such occurrences, a client / server / system administrator may enable (if available) bandwidth throttling:
at application software level, to control the speed of ingoing (received) data and/or to control the speed of outgoing (sent) data:
a client program could be configured to throttle the sending (upload) of a big file to a server program in order to reserve some network bandwidth for other uses (i. for sending emails with attached data, browsing web sites, etc. );
a server program (i. web server) could throttle its outgoing data to allow more concurrent active client connections without using too much network bandwidth (i. using only 90% of available bandwidth in order to keep a reserve for other activities, etc. );
examples: assuming to have a server site with speed access to Internet of 100MB/s (around 1000Mbit/s), assuming that most clients have a 1MB/s (around 10Mbit/s) network speed access to Internet and assuming to be able to download huge files (i. 1 GB each):
with bandwidth throttling, a server using a max. output speed of 100kB/s (around 1Mbit/s) for each TCP connection, could allow at least 1000 active TCP connections (or even 10000 if output is limited to 10kB/s) (active connections means that data content, such as a big file, is being downloaded from server to client);
without bandwidth throttling, a server could efficiently serve only 100 active TCP connections (100MB/s / 1MB/s) before saturating network bandwidth; a saturated network (i. with a bottleneck through an Internet Access Point) could slow down a lot the attempts to establish other new connections or even to force them to fail because of timeouts, etc. ; besides this new active connections could not get easily or fastly their proper share of bandwidth.
at network management level, to control the speed of data received or sent both at low level (data packets) and/or at high level (i. by inspecting application protocol data):
policies similar or even more sophisticated than those of application software level could be set in low level network devices near Internet access point.
Application[edit]
A bandwidth intensive device, such as a server, might limit (throttle) the speed at which it receives or sends data, in order to avoid overloading its processing capacity or to saturate network bandwidth. This can be done both at the local network servers or at the ISP servers. ISPs often employ deep packet inspection (DPI), which is widely available in routers or provided by special DPI equipment. Additionally, today’s networking equipment allows ISPs to collect statistics on flow sizes at line speed, which can be used to mark large flows for traffic shaping. [2] Two ISPs, Cox and Comcast, have stated that they engage in this practice, where they limit users’ bandwidth by up to 99%. [3] Today most if not all Internet Service Providers throttle their users’ bandwidth, with or without the user ever even realizing it. [4] In the specific case of Comcast, an equipment vendor called Sandvine developed the network management technology that throttled P2P file transfers. [5]
Those that could have their bandwidth throttled are typically someone who is constantly downloading and uploading torrents, or someone who just watches a lot of online videos. If this is done by an ISP, many consider this practice as an unfair method of regulating the bandwidth because consumers are not getting the required bandwidth even after paying the prices set by the ISPs. By throttling the people who are using so much bandwidth, the ISPs claim to enable their regular users to have a better overall quality of service. [6]
Network neutrality[edit]
Net neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. It aims to guarantee a level playing field for all websites and Internet technologies. With net neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data—not to choose which data to privilege with higher quality, that is faster, service. In the US, on February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission adopted Open Internet rules. They are designed to protect free expression and innovation on the Internet and promote investment in the nation’s broadband networks. The Open Internet rules are grounded in the strongest possible legal foundation by relying on multiple sources of authority, including: Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The new rules apply to both fixed and mobile broadband services. [7] However, these rules were rolled back on December 14, 2017.
Bright line rules:
No blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
No throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
No paid prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration or payment of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes. ” This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their own affiliated businesses. [8]
Throttling vs. capping[edit]
Bandwidth throttling works by limiting (throttling) the speed at which a bandwidth intensive device (a server) receives data or the speed (i. bytes / kilobytes per second) of each data response. If these limits are not in place, the device can overload its processing capacity.
Contrary to throttling, in order to use bandwidth when available, but prevent excess, each node in a proactive system should set an outgoing bandwidth cap that appropriately limits the total number of bytes sent per unit time. [9] There are two types of bandwidth capping. A standard cap limits the bitrate or speed of data transfer on a broadband Internet connection. Standard capping is used to prevent individuals from consuming the entire transmission capacity of the medium. A lowered cap reduces an individual user’s bandwidth cap as a defensive measure and/or as a punishment for heavy use of the medium’s bandwidth. Oftentimes this happens without notifying the user.
The difference is that bandwidth throttling regulates a bandwidth intensive device (such as a server) by limiting how much data that device can receive from each node / client or can output or can send for each response. Bandwidth capping on the other hand limits the total transfer capacity, upstream or downstream, of data over a medium.
Court cases[edit]
Comcast Corp. v. FCC[edit]
In 2007, Free Press, Public Knowledge, and the Federal Communications Commission filed a complaint against Comcast’s Internet service. Several subscribers claimed that the company was interfering with their use of peer-to-peer networking applications. The Commission stated that it had jurisdiction over Comcast’s network management practices and that it could resolve the dispute through negotiation rather than through rulemaking. The Commission believed that Comcast had “significantly impeded consumers’ ability to access the content and use the applications of their choice”, and that because Comcast “ha[d] several available options it could use to manage network traffic without discriminating” against peer-to-peer communications, its method of bandwidth management “contravene[d]… federal policy”. At this time, “Comcast had already agreed to adopt a new system for managing bandwidth demand, the Commission simply ordered it to make a set of disclosures describing the details of its new approach and the company’s progress toward implementing it”. Comcast complied with this Order but petitioned for a review and presented several objections. [10]
ISP bandwidth throttling[edit]
Canada[edit]
In 2008, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decided to allow Bell Canada to single out peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic for bandwidth throttling between the hours of 4:30 p. m. to 2 a. [11] In 2009, the CRTC released a guideline for bandwidth throttling rules. [12]
In 2011, following a major complaint by the Canadian Gamers Organization against Rogers for breaking the 2009 rules already in place, the CRTC created an addendum[13] to their ITMP policy, allowing them to send the complaint to their Enforcements Division. The Canadian Gamers Organization in their submissions alluded to filing a complaint against Bell Canada. On December 20, 2011, Bell Canada announced they would end throttling by March 31, 2012 for their customers, as well as their wholesale customers. [14] On February 4, 2012, in an effort to get out of trouble with the CRTC (which had continued its own testing and had found additional non-compliance and demanded immediate compliance), Rogers announced 50% of their customers would be throttle-free by June 2012, and 100% of their customers would be throttle-free by the end of 2012. [15] Unfortunately for Rogers, this did not mollify the CRTC Enforcements Division.
ISPs in Canada that throttle bandwidth:
Acanac: No
Altima telecom: No
Bell Canada: No[16]
Cogeco Cable: No
DeryTelecom: Yes (Netflix)
Distributel: Yes
Bell MTS: No (Only with unlimited data mobile devices)
Rogers Cable: Yes (Netflix) (Android)
SaskTel: Yes
Primus Telecom: No
Shaw: Yes (25% of the traffic)
Xplornet: Yes, and also prioritizes VoIP
TELUS: Yes(2% of the traffic)
EastLink: Yes – The public statement was “Confidential”.
Sunwire Cable: No[17]
Sunwire DSL: No[18]
Teksavvy Cable: No
Teksavvy DSL: No
Teksavvy DSL MLPPP: No
Talk Wireless Inc. : Yes
Internet Lightspeed Cable: No
Internet Lightspeed DSL: No
Internet Lightspeed Bonded (MLPPP): No
Cuba[edit]
In Cuba, internet speeds are deliberately throttled by the government to prevent the spread of information considered undesirable by the state. [19]
Europe[edit]
In April 2011, the European Union launched an investigation into Internet service providers’ methods for managing traffic on their networks. Some ISPs, for instance, restrict access to services such as Skype or the BBC iPlayer at peak times so that their users all receive an equal service. The EU’s commissioner for the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, said: “I am absolutely determined that everyone in the EU should have the chance to enjoy the benefits of an open and lawful Internet, without hidden restrictions or slower speeds than they have been promised. ” The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) will examine the issues for the EU, and will ask both businesses and consumers for their views. The EU published the results of its investigation at the end of 2011. [20] New laws mean that ISPs are prohibited from blocking or slowing down of Internet traffic, except where necessary. [21]
Singapore[edit]
In Singapore, net neutrality has been the law since 2011. November 2010, defined by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). [22] But despite the law, the majority of the ISPs do throttle bandwidth.
ISPs in Singapore that throttle bandwidth:[23]
ISP Name
Limits bandwidth
Starhub
Yes
Singtel
Yes[24]
M1 Limited
MyRepublic
No[25]
Viewqwest
No
United States[edit]
Parts of this article (those related to FCC net neutrality rules) need to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (September 2015)
In 2007, Comcast was caught interfering with peer-to-peer traffic. Specifically, it falsified packets of data that fooled users and their peer-to-peer programs into thinking they were transferring files. [26] Comcast initially denied that it interfered with its subscribers’ uploads, but later admitted it. [27] The FCC held a hearing and concluded that Comcast violated the principles of the Internet Policy Statement because Comcast’s “discriminatory and arbitrary practice unduly squelched the dynamic benefits of an open and accessible Internet and did not constitute reasonable network management. “[28] The FCC also provided clear guidelines to any ISP wishing to engage in reasonable network management. The FCC suggested ways that Comcast could have achieved its goal of stopping network congestion, including capping the average user’s capacity and charging the most aggressive users overage (going over a maximum) fees, throttling back the connections of all high capacity users, or negotiating directly with the application providers and developing new technologies. [29]
However, in 2008, Comcast amended their Acceptable Usage Policy and placed a specific 250 GB monthly cap. Comcast has also announced a new bandwidth-throttling plan. The scheme includes a two-class system of “priority-best-effort” and “best-effort” where “sustained use of 70% of your up or downstream throughput triggers the BE state, at which point you’ll find your traffic priority lowered until your usage drops to 50% of your provisioned upstream or downstream bandwidth for “a period of approximately 15 minutes”. A throttled Comcast user being placed in a BE state “may or may not result in the user’s traffic being delayed or, in extreme cases, dropped before PBE traffic is dropped”. Comcast explained to the FCC that “If there is no congestion, packets from a user in a BE state should have little trouble getting on the bus when they arrive at the bus stop. If, on the other hand, there is congestion in a particular instance, the bus may become filled by packets in a PBE state before any BE packets can get on. In that situation, the BE packets would have to wait for the next bus that is not filled by PBE packets”. [30]
US cell phone ISP’s have also increasingly resorted to bandwidth throttling in their networks. Verizon and AT&T even applied such throttling to data plans advertised as “unlimited”, resulting an FCC complaint against Verizon. [citation needed] Though AT&T had told its customers throttling was a possibility, the FTC filed a lawsuit against the company in 2014, charging that the disclosure was insufficiently specific. [31] A nation-wide study of video streaming speeds in 2018-2019 found major wireless carriers throttling a majority of the time, including when traffic was light, and with significant discrepancies between video services. [32]
Uruguay[edit]
Antel has a state-enforced monopoly forcing consumers who require non-wireless Internet access (i. ADSL or fiber – cable Internet is outlawed[33]) to purchase it directly from Antel. Its practices provide insight into the probable behavior of ISPs in markets that have little or no competition and/or lack balancing regulations in the interest of consumers. All of Antel’s Internet access plans for consumers are either capped or throttled. Capped plans are typically marketed under the brand “flexible”. On such plans once a user reaches a data tier (e. g. 5 GB) additional data usage is billed at a rate of approximately 5 $US/GB. Once a second tier is reached (e. g., 15 GB), Internet services are suspended until the start of the next billing cycle. Throttled plans are typically marketed under the brand “Flat Rate” (for ADSL) and “Vera” (for fiber. ) Such plans allow full bandwidth on the connection (e. 20 Mbit/s down on the Vera fiber plan) from the beginning of the billing month but are restricted to a percentage of the contracted transmission rate (e. g., to 2Mbit/s down, or 10% of the advertised speed) once a data tier (e. 150 GB) is reached. Full bandwidth capability is restored at the beginning of the next billing month. [34][35]
Metrics for ISPs[edit]
Whether aimed at avoiding network congestion or at pushing users to upgrade to costlier Internet plans, the increasingly common capping and throttling practices of ISPs undoubtedly have an effect on the value proposition of the plans they offer. For consumers to be able to make an informed decision when choosing an Internet plan, ISPs should publish their capping and throttling practices with the necessary level of detail. While the net effect of some throttling and capping strategies can be hard to compare across ISPs, some basic metrics that are of interest for any kind of throttled/capped Internet connection are:
Maximum monthly payload: This is the amount of data that an Internet connection would be able to carry in a hypothetical setting assuming no bottlenecks external to the ISP. In the example Antel 20Mbs fiber connection (see Uruguay above), the maximum monthly payload in that hypothetical setting would be reached by running the connection at 20Mbs for the first 150 GB, and at 2Mbs for the rest of the month. Thus the maximum monthly payload of that connection is 60, 000 seconds * 2. 5 MB/s + 2, 532, 000 seconds * 0. 25 MB/s = 783 GB (about the size of a large laptop disk drive in 2013. )
Maximum utilization percentage: This is the ratio of the maximum monthly payload of a throttled Internet connection to the maximum unthrottled monthly payload of the same connection. In the example Antel fiber 20Mbs connection the maximum unthrottled monthly payload of that connection is 2, 592, 000 seconds * 2. 5 MB/s = 6, 480 GB. Thus the maximum utilization percentage of that connection is 783 GB / 6, 480 GB = 12%
Throttling percentage: This represents how much the maximum monthly payload of an Internet connection gets reduced by the ISP’s throttling policy. It is calculated simply as 1 − maximum utilization percentage. In the example Antel fiber 20Mbs connection it is 1 − 12% = 88%
Equivalent connection bandwidth: This is the bandwidth of an unthrottled Internet connection whose maximum monthly payload is the same as the maximum monthly payload of the throttled connection in question. This can be calculated as unthrottled connection bandwidth * throttling percentage. In the example Antel fiber 20Mbs connection the equivalent connection bandwidth is 20 Mbs * 12% = 2. 4 Mbs
Cost per unit payload: The ultimate metric of throttling’s effect on an Internet connection’s potential value to a customer is the cost per GB (or TB in the case of fast connections) carried assuming perfect utilization of the connection. It is calculated by dividing the monthly cost of the connection by the maximum monthly payload. In the example Antel fiber 20 Mbs connection it would be US$36 / 0. 783 TB = US$46 per TB. By comparison, if the same 20Mbs connection weren’t throttled by the ISP it would have a cost per unit payload of US$36 / 6. 48 TB = US$5. 6 per TB
Unthrottled connection cost: This is how much it would cost the customer to offset the effect of throttling by aggregating throttled Internet connections from the ISP. It is calculated by dividing the monthly cost of a throttled connection by the throttling percentage. In the example Antel fiber connection the cost of building an unthrottled 20Mbit/s fiber Internet connection by aggregating 20Mbit/s throttled ones would be US$36 / 12% = US$300 per month
User responses[edit]
Although ISPs may actively throttle bandwidth, there are several known methods to bypass the throttling of a user’s bandwidth, if the throttling is focused on a particular protocol. These methods, nicknamed “workarounds”, include:[36]
Virtual private network (VPN) – Generally costs a monthly fee to rent, but offers users a secure connection where data cannot be intercepted.
Force Encryption[37] – Free method that works for some users.
Seedbox – A dedicated private server, usually hosted offshore, that offers high speed upstream and downstream rates and often storage for a relatively high monthly cost.
SSH Tunneling – Tunneling protocol
See also[edit]
Bandwidth management
Rate limiting
References[edit]
^ Deep Medhi; Karthik Ramasamy. “Dropping packet – an overview”. ScienceDirect. Archived from the original on May 7, 2020. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
^ Massimiliano Marcon; et al. “The Local and Global Effects of Traffic Shaping in the Internet” (PDF). MPI. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
^ Max Planck Institute (March 18, 2008). “Glasnost: Results from tests for BitTorrent traffic blocking”. Archived from the original on April 4, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
^ netequalizer (March 21, 2009). “Is Your ISP Throttling Your Bandwidth? “. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
^ Kevin Werbach (2009). “Higher Standards Regulation in the Network Age”. Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. Harvard University. 23 (1): 217. SSRN 1557265.
^ “What is Internet Throttling? Everything You Need To Know”. July 27, 2021. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
^ “Open Internet”.. Archived from the original on 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
^ Emil Sit; Andreas Haeberlen; Frank Dabek; Byung-Gon Chun; Hakim Weatherspoon; Robert Morris; M. Frans Kaashoek; John Kubiatowicz. Proactive replication for data durability. p. 6. CiteSeerX 10. 1. 71. 7264.
^ Comcast vs. FCC & U. S., 08-1291 Chief Judge David S. Tatel (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia April 6, 2010).
^ Anderson, Nate (20 November 2008). “Canadian regulators allow P2P throttling”. Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 25 March 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
^ “Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-657”. CRTC. 2009. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
^ “Internet traffic management practices – Guidelines for responding to complaints and enforcing framework compliance by Internet service providers”. 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
^ “Bell to stop internet throttling”. CBC News. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
^ “Rogers promises to end internet throttling”. 2012. Archived from the original on April 27, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
^ “Bell Canada ends internet throttling in favor of usage-based billing”.. The Verge. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2019. ISP Bell Canada has announced that it will stop throttling peer-to-peer file-sharing next year
^ “Sunwire Support FAQ”.
^
^ Matt Warman (April 20, 2011). “EU launches net neutrality investigation”. The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on April 26, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
^ “NET NEUTRALITY” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-07-21. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
^ “Bad ISPs”. Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
^ “Does SingNet perform any network management activities? “. Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
^ “Does MyRepublic throttle BitTorrent / P2P traffic? “. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
^ Peter Svensson (2007-10-19). “Comcast blocks some Internet traffic”. Associated Press. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
^ Declan McCullagh (August 1, 2008). “FCC formally rules Comcast’s throttling of BitTorrent was illegal”. CNET News. Archived from the original on November 10, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
^ FCC (2008-08-01). Comcast Memorandum Opinion and Order (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-01.
^ Michael P. Murtagh (2008). “The FCC, the DMCA, and Why Takedown Notices Are Not Enough” (PDF). Hastings Law Journal. University of California. 61 (233): 242–243. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
^ Karl Bode (January 5, 2009). “New Comcast Throttling System 100% Online”. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
^ Edward Wyatt (October 28, 2014). “AT&T Accused of Deceiving Smartphone Customers With Unlimited Data Plans”. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
^ Wireless carrier throttling of online video is pervasive
^ Only Cuba and Uruguay don’t offer Internet access via cable modem (In Spanish) Archived 2013-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
^ Telecommunications in Uruguay
^ Planes de Internet – Antel
^ Remisser. “Workarounds For Bandwidth Throttling”. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
^ “Optimize BitTorrent to outwit traffic shaping ISPs”. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
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What You Need To Know About Internet Data Throttling – The …

Internet providers are bringing back data caps at a time when more people than ever are using their home internet. Here’s how internet data throttling could affect Paget/Getty ImagesUnlimited Home WiFi: A Thing of the Past? Keep America Connected PledgeWhat Is Data Throttling? What Does This Mean for Data Users? Which Online Activities Use the Most Data? How To Check if Your Data Is Being ThrottledUnlimited Home WiFi: A Thing of the Past? With families spending more time at home because of the pandemic, home data usage is on the rise. Under one roof, families are working from home, learning remotely and overall logging more time online. All these activities contribute to a large spike in data America Connected PledgeIn March 2020 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its Keep America Connected Pledge, which saw more than 750 broadband and wireless companies promise to waive late fees and not cut off service because of the coronavirus pandemic. Though the pledge timeline ended last June 30, many companies voluntarily maintained those, several companies, including Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, are reinstating data caps and increasing their TV and internet prices. This means customers will see higher bills as well as data throttling from their internet and data providers. That leaves many homeowners wondering how this will affect their critical internet Is Data Throttling? Data throttling means provider-imposed limits on the amount of data you’re able to transfer while completing activities online. Communications networks use data throttling to regulate network traffic and minimize bandwidth congestion. The amount of data you use depends on your online Does This Mean for Data Users? Everything you do online, from reading an email to streaming your favorite show, uses internet data and counts towards your monthly data cap. Communications companies often slow your cellphone or internet data to dial-up speeds once you go over your data bucket for the month. Companies also use this strategy to convince users to purchase more expensive tiered pricing data your plan has a data cap, your internet company gives you a certain amount of data with your monthly plan. If you exceed that level, you’ll be charged more or your download speeds will become Online Activities Use the Most Data? It’s not uncommon for providers to impose data caps on home internet. So it’s important to review how much data you typically use in a month to decide which plan best fits your you’re curious about how much data you normally use, here is a list of common online activities and their typical data usage:One email with attachments: 0. 4 gaming: 34 MB per reaming music: 55 MB per rolling on social media: 94 MB per rfing the web: 184 MB per reaming HD video: 2. 5 GB per reaming 4k video: 8 GB per conferencing:. 7 to 2. 4 GP per To Check if Your Data Is Being ThrottledThe easiest way to detect data throttling is to run a speed test, then run it again using a virtual private network (VPN). If your connection is significantly faster with the VPN, your data is more than likely being can also check for data throttling via a speed test app, such as Ookla’s Speed Test app. You’ll need to know your baseline data speeds. To do this, run a couple of speed tests at the beginning of your billing cycle in several locations in your home at different times of the you notice sluggish internet speeds toward the end of the month, it might be because you’ve hit your data cap. To test if you’ve hit your data cap, run a few more speed tests in the same locations and at the same time of day as you did before. If your connection is significantly slower, your data is being next, learn if renting a router and modem from your internet company is a bad idea.
What Is ISP Throttling? Why It Happens & How to Stop It | AVG

What Is ISP Throttling? Why It Happens & How to Stop It | AVG

What is internet throttling?
Internet throttling is when your internet service provider (ISP) slows down your internet on purpose. They can limit bandwidth whenever they want, and you might not notice. But when Netflix gets choppy or Facebook takes minutes to load, your ISP may be limiting data transmission over your connection.
Slow loading times don’t always indicate internet throttling — you might be browsing during peak hours, or you might need to do some browser maintenance.
But maybe your ISP is deliberately impeding your connection to those sites. This may happen because you visit those sites frequently, or maybe your ISP’s available bandwidth is overloaded and they need to throttle your connection.
Internet throttling violates the principle of net neutrality, which states that ISPs must give equal treatment to all communications over the internet.
In the worst-case scenario, you might be kept from doing your work or other important tasks. What’s more, your ISP can keep providing subpar service with impunity. That’s an anti-consumer business practice, and it keeps the internet from being freely accessible to everyone.
If your internet connection has a real effect on your daily life, you should pay attention to the issue of internet throttling.
How can I tell if my internet is being throttled?
If your internet is slower than normal, especially on certain websites, this may indicate that data throttling is happening on your connection. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed here, ask yourself: Is my internet being throttled?
Your internet has become slower than usual, or your Wi-Fi connection is choppy or broken.
Certain websites or services load slower than others.
Your download speeds are suffering.
Your videos are constantly buffering or lagging.
Some websites seem to be blocked or non-functional.
If you don’t experience slowdowns often, you don’t need to worry about data throttling. But if you do, the next step is to use an internet throttling test, which analyzes your internet speed and lets you know if it’s being messed with. And there are other services that help you spot connection abnormalities.
Here are the three easiest ways to check if your ISP is throttling your internet connection:
Option 1: Use the Internet Health Test to see how your internet performs over a short period of time. This test checks your connection speed to popular access points and detects any unusual slowdowns. Here’s what good results tend to look like:
This test detects whether your ISP is slowing down streaming platforms like Netflix. The ISP can use this tactic as a bargaining chip to get the streaming service to pay them, which is unfair to you.
Option 2: Check if certain ports are blocked. Gamers will want to go to, click Port Scanners, and then click Game Ports. This advice is relevant only if you use an open port while gaming online and have recently begun experiencing issues.
You should worry only if a game you play is coming back with a “Timed-Out” status. The first step in that case is to try port forwarding, if you haven’t done so already.
If you’ve been comfortably using one of these ports, and it suddenly hits you with a “Rejected” status, you might have a problem with throttling.
Option 3: Check if the speed of your internet changes when using a VPN. The simplest way to see if your internet is being throttled is to turn on a VPN (virtual private network) and compare the speed. Though your VPN may slow down your internet slightly, the difference is nothing compared to ISP throttling — and you can always make your VPN connection go faster.
If your internet is faster with your VPN on, your ISP might be throttling your internet. So why don’t you just keep your VPN on all the time? Great question!
Solving content-based ISP throttling is one of the many benefits to using a VPN. A virtual private network also encrypts your data to prevent your ISP from monitoring what you do. Encryption secures your internet browsing, making any connection safe — including unsecured public Wi-Fi networks — as long as you’ve got the VPN turned on.
AVG Secure VPN is carefully designed to give you world-class online security, keep you anonymous while you browse, and bring the whole internet to your fingertips. Try it today with a 7-day free trial.
How to stop internet throttling
You can stop internet throttling by changing your ISP or hiding your internet activity with a VPN. Here are the best ways to stop internet throttling:
Switch to a new internet service provider.
Self-regulate your bandwidth use.
Upgrade your internet plan to a higher data cap.
Use a VPN.
Your ISP might have a policy on network throttling that you can find on their website — look in the terms and conditions for anything that mentions bandwidth limits, data caps, or similar terms. You can also learn about their throttling policies by reading user reviews. If you can’t or don’t want to switch ISPs, use a VPN.
How does a VPN stop internet throttling?
By encrypting your internet connection, a VPN prevents your ISP from monitoring your online activity and throttling you because of it. While your ISP can still impose limits on your total bandwidth use, you’ll no longer need to be worried about your activity compromising your connection.
VPNs are easy to set up, and masking your activity is a surefire way to stop your ISP from limiting your access to certain websites and services. And by hiding your IP address, VPNs open up your streaming and TV options significantly. (If you’re on mobile, check out our guide to setting up a mobile VPN. )
With military-grade encryption, AVG Secure VPN is the best VPN to stop internet throttling. Your internet use will stay hidden, protecting you against content-based internet throttling by your ISP. Whether your ISP is actually throttling your internet or not, go with the option that ensures they won’t.
Why is my ISP throttling my internet?
Your ISP may throttle your internet to try to minimize congestion by managing traffic on its network. Throttling can also happen if you’ve reached your data cap (usage limit) within a given period. Only when throttling is used against you should you do something about it. In the meantime, you can also try boosting your Wi-Fi signal to see if that speeds things up.
The most common reasons your ISP throttles your internet connection and limits your data transmission speeds include:
Tackling network congestion
Heavy internet usage will slow down the internet speeds of other people in the same area. To compensate, ISPs may throttle the connection of anyone using high amounts of bandwidth. You may experience slower speeds for a little while, especially if you’ve been engaging in bandwidth-heavy activities, but this usually occurs only during short “rush hour” periods.
Usage regulation
Your connection can become deprioritized if you’ve used a certain amount of bandwidth during the billing period — especially if your internet contract has a data cap. Even “unlimited” plans often have unofficial data caps. Your connection could be the first to get throttled in periods of network congestion, or your speeds might stay reduced until the next cycle starts.
If your work or other activity requires a stable, high-speed connection for hours at a time, look closely at your ISP’s policies on data use. Gamers will want the best setup possible, especially if they’re competing or streaming on Twitch.
Deprioritization of certain services
In many places, ISPs are allowed to limit access to streaming services as part of their efforts to manage everyone’s connections. But you shouldn’t be deprived of parts of the internet for arbitrary reasons totally unrelated to you. Likewise, those who want to stream without buffering might want to try a different ISP — if there are options where you live.
Is ISP throttling illegal?
ISP throttling is not illegal, and sometimes, it’s even necessary. Your connection would be much choppier if your ISP wasn’t allowed to manage usage over its network. Throttling allows your ISP to ensure stable service for everyone using the internet. But there are some ways that throttling can be unethical.
Net neutrality in the US
In the US, ISPs weren’t always allowed to throttle particular applications and services. But when the country’s net neutrality rules were repealed in 2018, these limits were removed. Now, ISPs are no longer legally required to treat all internet traffic equally.
ISPs are also allowed to make you pay for the “fast lane, ” something that wasn’t possible under net neutrality regulations. You’re presented with the “choice” to go with a standard connection or a marked-up package.
You might not have noticed the effects of net neutrality’s repeal, but an open and ethical internet provides equal opportunity to all. When the rulebook favors the corporate bottom line, you might be prevented from making a career pivot to online teaching or Twitch streaming. Net neutrality is an issue that concerns us all.
Bypass throttling with a VPN
AVG Secure VPN encrypts your online activity with a single click or tap. No matter where you are, your internet connection will be safe from prying eyes, with everything you do completely hidden.
If you’re looking for the simplest throttle bypass, AVG Secure VPN will prevent ISPs from limiting any online activity they don’t like. And with your IP address masked, you’ll be able to unblock websites, avoid IP-based web tracking, and prevent location-based price discrimination.
Take back the internet for yourself today, and try AVG Secure VPN with a 7-day free trial.

Frequently Asked Questions about data throttling

What does it mean to throttle data?

Data throttling means provider-imposed limits on the amount of data you’re able to transfer while completing activities online. Communications networks use data throttling to regulate network traffic and minimize bandwidth congestion. The amount of data you use depends on your online activities.Feb 10, 2021

How do I stop data throttling?

Here are the best ways to stop internet throttling:Switch to a new internet service provider.Self-regulate your bandwidth use.Upgrade your internet plan to a higher data cap.Use a VPN.May 19, 2021

Is data throttling illegal?

Cell phone providers can legally throttle customers’ Internet speeds to reduce congestion during peak hours or in densely populated cities; however, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has said that throttling may become illegal if companies limit their customers’ Internet speeds in a “deceptive or unfair” fashion, …

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