You are watching the final episode of Stranger Things on Netflix in 4K on your new UHD Smart TV. Suddenly, you notice that the video quality is not quite as sharp as it was before. You get switched to 1080p mode that very instant. You have high-speed internet with speeds up to 100 Mbps and yet you face this issue.
Moreover, you are downloading the new Call of Duty: Warzone on your PS4 and the download speed drops from 25 Mbps to 10 Mbps. You wonder why it happened.
Welcome to the world of ISP Throttling. If the previous reference was not clear before, let us remove the confusion.
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What is Throttling anyway?
Internet throttling refers to the limitations your internet provider puts in terms of bandwidth and internet speed to certain online activities when you reach a monthly limit. You get a limited bandwidth and experience slower speeds.
This practice by your internet service provider might be frustrating especially when you are into gaming and video streaming. Well, this is not a problem with just your provider. Every internet provider does it.
No matter you have Spectrum internet plans or Cox; you are likely to experience throttling. Most of us end up calling the customer service number to argue with the representative.
However, let me tell you, throttling, however annoying, is legal!
Once your connection is throttled, you experience buffer while streaming on services like Netflix and YouTube as well as delays in online gaming.
Throttling is a reactive measure, helps to regulate the network’s traffic, and alleviates network congestion.
No matter which provider you have, their networks are made up of clients and servers. Servers are special computers to store massive amounts of data and clients access these servers to provide you the services you need.
Every network has a limited amount of bandwidth and in case of excess traffic, everything runs slower.
How to detect throttling?
Follow these simple steps to detect Internet throttling.
Perform a speed test:
There are tons of third-party apps and websites available on the internet to check speeds. Perform a speed test when your internet connection is not being used at all. Your speed test results might fluctuate if activities like downloading are performed in the background. Time is another factor to consider. The internet usage is higher between 9 pm and 11 pm so your speeds are relatively slower.
Install a VPN:
After performing your first test, install a Virtual Private Network and run the test again. This will indicate whether your internet service provider is throttling your connection during certain hours of the day or types of internet usage such as torrent streaming. Why do you need a VPN then?
Your internet provider might figure out when you’re running a speed test and can pause throttling to avoid detection.
A virtual private network gets you accurate results by masking the internet activities.
Compare the results:
If both of your results are similar, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if the results from using a VPN are better, your internet provider may be throttling your internet speeds.
How to stop throttling?
Here are all the ways to stop throttling.
Get a VPN:
Yes! You heard it right. VPN to the rescue once again. Investing in a good VPN might help you with internet throttling. However, there is one problem. Streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are getting better at detecting virtual private networks. If they are unable to determine your location, they might restrict you from using their services.
Fix your Data caps:
If you are on a fixed monthly data cap, you might experience throttling. The only way to avoid throttling is by signing up for plans with unlimited data or getting a better data plan to match your requirements. If you cannot avail of these options with your current provider, it’s high time to switch to a new provider.
Sign-up for faster internet connection: Activities like high-definition streaming and online gaming might take a lot of bandwidth and other users in your house might experience problems with the internet simultaneously.
Therefore, sign-up for high-speed internet plans so that you get enough bandwidth for your requirements.
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