Slow internet is still an unpleasant reality within the country like all issues. Internet users need to know and understand what exactly is internet throttling and why it’s happening to them. Once internet throttling begins, users may experience buffering in their streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. They may even experience a delay in file transfer or uploading their online games. So how does one know if their ISP is throttling their internet?
Simply, if you have experienced any of the above-mentioned scenarios, then you should know that data throttling (another term for internet throttling) is the reason behind this predicament. Wave Internet offers quite steady, fast, and reliable internet solutions, which may vary in unfavorable weather conditions, but have mostly been garnering positive reviews for their fantastic service.
What Does the Term ‘Throttling’ Mean?
The term throttling has multiple other labels, such as data throttling or bandwidth throttling. It refers to a routine practice followed by most service providers, where they limit internet speeds at specific times during the day. This practice of throttling the internet mostly affects online activities having high bandwidth such as gaming, video streaming, or even file-sharing. When an internet service provider throttles internet traffic, it divides incoming data into two buckets. One includes normal data flow such as Google, general browsing, and social media. Whereas the other bucket includes heavier input, such as streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube videos, and even BitTorrent, to name a few.
Why is the ISP Throttling Your Data?
The main reason why most ISPs engage in practice of throttling bandwidth data is to save money. When internet speed for specific data flow is restrained, it allows the provider to serve more customers without increasing their network capacity while simultaneously enhancing their expected profit margin. Although, this is unfair on behalf of the service consumer, unfortunately, internet throttling is a legal practice in the USA, as per the repealed Net Neutrality Act, back in 2017.
The Different Types of Throttling
Service providers practice different types of internet throttling. There are some internet service providers, who restrict data flow during specific times such as after-work hours in a day. Whereas, many others will limit your bandwidth after crossing a daily/monthly range. These two types of internet throttling are quite common. These are clearly stated for the user in their service subscription contract. Unfortunately, users are usually not aware of other deceptive traffic-shaping methods and have no idea how to smartly deal with these.
These throttling methods can slow down a user’s internet activity, killing their online experience with just bad internet speed. What’s even worse is that countless broadband providers seem to have mostly gotten away with it. Since bandwidth-shaping is not just limited to a user’s web activity on a laptop. It also applies to any device manufacturer, such as Apple, iOS, or Android. The same throttling methodology can be applied to mobile data, which is throttled due to the bandwidth constraints as laid down by mobile networks in the country.
How to Detect Internet Throttling?
The internet used today is incredibly advanced in comparison to the internet that was consumed a decade ago. Although a speed test can be used to determine if the internet is being throttled, it’s not enough. And though, it’s not the most accurate tool present but users can make do with it. Detecting throttling isn’t as easy as running an internet speed test as most throttling occurs at the gateway level. However, the good news is that today many users are aware of both sides of this practice and have various tools that can help them detect if throttling happens.
Users can use the Internet Health Test, which is a free app, designed specifically for the web. It helps to detect if the ISP is carrying out bandwidth manipulation and check if there are any other obvious blockages. Another easy method that can check if internet throttling is taking place is through the YouTube Test. This is more of an instinctive method to find out if the service provider is limiting video bandwidth.
To perform the YouTube test, simply open a video of at least 4K, customize video settings to 4K resolution, and play the video at full screen to see if it buffers, once or more. If the video buffers once, reduce the resolution and try again. Repeat the process until settling upon a resolution, where the video doesn’t buffer. That’s when you have found an effective video bandwidth, that works for you. If it’s lower than the tested internet speed, there’s a possibility of internet throttling.
Wrapping Up… Use a VPN to Stop Throttling
Since throttling separates internet traffic into various data buckets, which includes normal speeds for some traffic while limiting speeds for others This practice is a nightmare for users who require high bandwidth for various reasons.
Although, ISPs cannot slow/limit internet speed if a customer is paying for that particular speed tier (for instance, a certain fee for 800 Mbps per month). However, if a user still feels that their internet is being throttled, then one of the best ways to stop internet throttling is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which prevents any ISP from viewing or separating the internet traffic.
A VPN cloaks internet traffic in an unbreakable encryption cover. This not only stops service providers from viewing online web activity, but also prevents them from separating internet traffic because now it’s all encrypted. Even though a VPN is still not considered the most effective approach to stop internet throttling but since it’s easy to use, that’s why it’s usually preferred by users all over the country.
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