Back in the day when dial-up connections were common, people had limited things to do on the internet. The download speeds were quite slow and the concept of watching movies online was merely utopic. Even with such limited accessibility, people had to ensure they did not go over the monthly data limit.
With the introduction of better internet connections such as DSL, cable, and fiber, the utility of the internet also improved. These connections opened new avenues. The download and upload speeds got higher so that you could download, stream, or play online games without any interruption.
However, many providers in the US enforce a fair usage policy to date. The idea behind this is to maximize broadband coverage to every state without limiting it to a few only. Many internet providers have fixed data allowances. The plans are in the range of 100GB to 1TB per month.
What if someone goes over the data limit? It varies from provider to provider. Some providers will charge you for excessive data usage right away. Other providers will not charge you initially, but you will experience slower internet speeds that would go back to normal if you buy data tokens. Moreover, providers like Time Warner cable internet will offer you unlimited data every month without fixed caps.
If you have a habit of hitting your internet data cap and want to do something about it, here is how you can reduce your monthly data usage:
Understand How Data Consumption Works
Many people do not understand how data consumption works. Certain tasks on the internet consume a high amount of data. If you are streaming a TV show on Netflix in HD, it will consume a lot of data. The same rule applies to download. If you are downloading a game on your PlayStation or Xbox, you are consuming data.
Surprisingly, activities such as web browsing, emailing, social media, and messaging do not require much of your data.
Connect a Limited Number of Devices
We are connected to the internet 24/7. Where before, we only had a cellphone or a laptop that required a connection to the internet, now, there are dozens of devices at our homes that need Wi-Fi. Devices such as Smart TVs, Gaming consoles, Voice assistants, IoT products, and our security cameras consume a lot of data. If you want to save data, you must connect the minimum number of devices at a particular time. This will not only save you data but your internet speed will improve as well.
Close All the Background Applications
Many applications run in the background and download data from the internet without you knowing. This may not amount to as much but when you calculate a cumulative consumption figure, it does matter. Devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs have applications running in the background. While you are watching an HD movie on Netflix, these applications consume your data for purposes other than streaming. As a result, you hit your data caps before the month-end.
Keep a Data-Counter
It is difficult to reduce data usage especially when there is always something going on the internet. As a result, you are bound to utilize data. However, sitting in front of the screen for so long may create a dent in your routine. It is important to have a balanced life. Henceforth, install a data counter on your device to keep a track of data usage. This way you will understand your data consumption patterns and try to avoid unnecessary downloads or streaming.
If nothing works for you, it is always better to switch your data provider. Many internet providers are now offering unlimited data on your internet connection. Therefore, you can do as much streaming, downloading, and online gaming as you like. I am up against the idea of fixed data caps. By forcing these data caps, the providers take away people’s rights to surf the internet freely as much as they like. Luckily, many internet service providers are starting to understand this basic need. They offer quite affordable pricing as well. If you do not want to change your internet provider, you can also get a better package from the same provider. Go for the maximum data limit available if it fits your budget.
If you want to avoid hitting your internet data cap each month, understand what activities consume the most bandwidth, create a balance in your life and make sure your internet consumption doesn’t get over the bar. Close all the background applications and if nothing works, get a better plan!