Wireless and satellite internet subscribers often have bandwidth limits. These restrictions force users to be more aware of their internet usage habits because they want to avoid the high overcharges that are penalized unto users who surpass their bandwidth rights. These bandwidth restrictions can often be within five to ten monthly gigabytes or 200-300 daily megabytes.
Five to ten gigabytes of bandwidth won’t be sufficient in covering everyone’s internet wants, although it should cover most needs. Evdoinfo.com has a chart that gives estimated monthly bandwidth usage for different elements of internet usage, which can be found HERE.
I’ve used a satellite internet service for nearly six months that has featured bandwidth limits. This article gives new users or prospects some advice on what to look out for. I’ve only surpassed my bandwidth once, and that was from messing around with online video streaming.
Exceeding Bandwidth Limits: Why You Should Care
The penalties of surpassing your bandwidth limits can include overcharges and poor service. Overcharges will require you to pay a heavy premium on service that wasn’t contractually agreed upon. Poor service could mean reduced speeds, the inability to download, and the inability to log into user accounts.
Worst case scenario is finding yourself in this situation on days when you need the internet for business or school related purposes. These services already tend to fluctuate in their performances during damp and overcast conditions, so a mixture of these elements could make your internet inoperable for up to 24 hours.
Exceeding Bandwidth Limits: Software Updates
Software updates and critical downloads are reluctant on your bandwidth. If you’re on a 200 megabytes daily limit (equivalent to six monthly gigabytes), a Windows update could eliminate more than sixty percent of your daily bandwidth.
Keep a track of your bandwidth usage when you’re downloading these updates. You might want to deactivate automatic downloads of these updates and download these updates unto a jump drive from another person’s internet who doesn’t hold bandwidth limits. Sometimes, internet providers allow a few hours during the A.M. where you have unlimited bandwidth usage. In that case, set your downloads for Windows and your video-gaming system during those times to save bandwidth.
Exceeding Bandwidth Limits: Status Meter
The easiest way to track your bandwidth usage is by downloading programs that track it for you. These utilities can often be found on your provider’s website. They will track your bandwidth and possibly relay in into a percentage for you. You’ll establish a feel for how much bandwidth your internet habits use and how much you can use it per day.
Exceeding Bandwidth Limits: Video Streaming
The one time I exceeded my bandwidth limits was when I used a website similar to Hulu. I wasn’t really paying attention and was taking my bandwidth for granted when my internet went down for a day and I didn’t know why. Eventually, I realized that I surpassed my internet restrictions.
Websites similar to YouTube and Hulu can eat up bandwidth quickly. It took me under two hours to use up my daily bandwidth during one lazy day; video addicts may have difficulty with the restrictions. A regular three-minute YouTube video uses five megabytes. In terms of a 200 megabyte daily plan, you could watch forty three-minute videos without anything else (and it doesn’t work that simply, either).
Exceeding Bandwidth Limits: Radio Streaming
Streaming radio is similar to gaming. One hour of AOL radio streaming will eliminate fifty megabytes. For a 200 megabyte plan, that’s four hours per day of streaming radio without surpassing the bandwidth limits.
Exceeding Bandwidth Limits: Gaming
Video-gamers will find themselves at the same resistance as radio streamers. One hour of online video-gaming will result in approximately fifty megabytes of bandwidth. After four hours, your connection will become exponentially sluggish and potentially inoperable.
Regular gaming websites shouldn’t use up your bandwidth as much as video-gaming online.
5GB Bandwidth Limits Shouldn’t Annoy Most Internet Subscribers
Unless you’re an avid video-gamer or video streamer, regular browsing and email usage won’t cause you to go over your bandwidth limits. Bandwidth restrictions are essentially a nuisance for younger individuals who are online gaming fans, primarily of the video-gaming genre. YouTube or Hulu addicts could also have difficulty remaining below bandwidth restrictions, especially at five gigabytes.
Gaming can be minimally done if browsing habits negate watching videos or any other high bandwidth activities. However, the combination of bandwidth limits and unstable connections from wireless and satellite options make anything less than DSL or Cable an unsatisfactory choice for gamers.
200 megabytes per day is plenty for subscribers who just need to browse, email, social network, and watch an occasional video. Often, I have over ninety percent of my 300 megabyte daily bandwidth remaining (and sometimes up toward ninety-five percent) on days that I spend almost entirely on those tasks.
Evdoinfo, “What Does 5GB (Gigabytes) Get Me?” Accessed November 26, 2010.