Contemporary living relies on the internet for work, entertainment, communication, and information. Slow living may be a lifestyle trend, but a slow internet connection is not! Data usage options are the key players in this discussion but come with a ‘glossary’ of technological terms. Seeing the forest through the trees requires navigating the industry landscape and understanding the lingo prior to signing up with a local ISP (internet service provider).
Before doing a deep dive into the technical jargon you are likely to come across when investigating your data usage options, a basic big-picture understanding is a good place to start
There is no need to be in the digital dark. Here is a quick-guide glossary of terms to better understand an ISP’s data usage offerings and the 3 reasons your internet speed may be frustrating you.
Data capping refers to a service provider’s imposed limit on the amount of paid-for data that can be used during a specific period. It is common practice for mobile network operators (MNOs), and some other service providers, to limit the amount of data that a user can consume to avoid network congestion and ensure enough bandwidth and optimal browsing for all their customers. This is particularly common amongst satellite internet providers.
Once a user reaches their cap limit when it comes to their data usage package, the provider will either reduce the internet speed, charge extra or discontinue the service until the next billing cycle. This is less typical for FTTH (fiber to the home) and wireless ISPs who generally provide uncapped internet access.
If data capping doesn’t solve the question of “why is my internet so slow?” there may be another culprit!
Data throttling -aka internet throttling or bandwidth throttling is an ISP practice that intentionally slows down the speed of a user’s internet connection once a certain amount of data has been used. This is generally defined in a contract as a “fair use policy” and is designed to restrict abuse of the uncapped service offering by very high-usage customers.
The main reason for this is to prevent individual users from dominating the shared network resources to the extent that other users are subjected to a badly degraded service, especially during peak usage hours. Although this is measured in the amount of data used, these users tend to dominate the bandwidth available to all users in an unfair fashion. The ISP may radically reduce the download speed - occasionally to less than 3 Mbps to restrict access.
An ISP can throttle any online service, from live streaming and gaming to high-definition video, downloading, and torrenting. This will have a significant impact on your browsing experience, especially when streaming videos or downloading large files.
Another technique to manage network traffic is data shaping (aka traffic shaping) where ISPs will selectively prioritize certain types of traffic over others.
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