If you are someone who enjoys “unlimited” data plans for your home internet, then you may be familiar with the phenomena of bandwidth throttling. Yes, it has a name, and that’s because it is deliberate and perfectly legal. You may not have known that, but what you also might not have known is that it can be bypassed.
Throttling in networking refers to internet speeds decreasing suddenly and severely, sometimes slowing around 95 percent, which would make your devices unusable. Your ISP does this on purpose when their network is overwhelmed to avoid over-congestion, or when a user has gone over their internet threshold.
The most common form of bandwidth throttling is from the ISP’s side, but there are other types; from the user’s end, and by the service itself. An example of the user throttling their own internet is if they do not wish to dedicate all their bandwidth for a single task. As an example, capping your download speed on that 120 GB video game so that you and your family can still watch YouTube.
From the service’s end, cloud providers might slow down the speed of your initial backup to save themselves money. Another example is online Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) throttling some users’ connection to avoid overwhelming and crashing servers.
How can you tell if your internet is being throttled? Symptoms include irritability, trouble communicating with loved ones, and sudden bouts of sadness.
In all seriousness, the best way to tell for sure is the same way to stop internet throttling all together; use a VPN. Test your internet speed with and without a VPN, and if the difference is considerable, you are experiencing network throttling.
Bandwidth throttling is based on the type of traffic you are generating. Setting up a VPN prevents your ISP from identifying the type of traffic that is going between your home and the rest of the network, and so now you can binge watch Netflix or play online for hours without worry.
Alternatively, change your internet plan or get two separate network connections from different providers, one limited but speedy, and the other unlimited by slower. This is if you are such an internet citizen that you wouldn’t mind paying twice, but it is up to you.