Managing Your Broadband Usage

Many people have limited broadband connections in which their Internet service providers impose monthly data caps. While these are usually quite generous, they can quickly be reached and surpassed by those who download a lot of material from the Internet. This is why, for heavy Internet users, having an unlimited connection is essential as it will ultimately end up costing you a lot less. If, however, your ISP imposes a monthly limit, you should take care to monitor your Internet as going over your limit can incur high extra charges formulated on a per gigabyte basis.

Know How Much Internet You Are Using

If you are on a limited broadband connection, then you should be able to find out how much bandwidth you still have available from your ISP. By logging into the website of your ISP and looking up your account details, you should be able to find out how much bandwidth is still available to you. Be aware that going over your limit will usually cost you a significant amount extra and your ISP probably wont even warn you as you approach the limit. Also, unused bandwidth is rarely carried over to the next month. If you cannot find out how much bandwidth you are using from your ISP, then you may want to install third party software such as the free program ‘tbbMeter. This program will monitor your Internet usage in real-time and alert you whenever you are approaching your monthly download limit.

Ways to Save Your Bandwidth

If you are the main or only user of your broadband connection, then it will be much easier to monitor bandwidth and control your Internet usage than if you are sharing the connection with multiple users.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that, if they are not downloading things like movies, music and games, then they will never reach their download limits. What is important to remember is that download limits do not literally only refer to downloads themselves. In reality, data is being downloaded with every Internet-related activity, even if you are just surfing or reading your email. Things like streaming video use a lot of bandwidth, even though you might not think of it as being downloaded onto your computer. Do not forget that surfing the Internet and all other online activities count towards your monthly download limit.

One preventative measure which anyone on a limited broadband connection should take is to avoid automatic downloads. Windows, for example, is configured by default to download updates automatically and this all counts towards your monthly limit. Many other programs automatically download updates and other data as well. The popular video game distribution software, Steam, for example, will automatically download updates for games as well as entire games that you have purchased online. Left unattended, this can easily cause you to go far over your monthly download limit.

You may well find that it is worth phoning your Internet service provider and upgrading to an unlimited connection. If you are in the habit of going over your monthly download limit, then getting an unlimited connection can actually save you a lot more in spite of the slightly higher subscription fees.

Sam Jones the author recommends the uSwitch be broadband section at the Price comparison website for some great money saving deals.


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