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 Post subject: Question about bandwidth caps
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:13 am 
8086
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I have a question about the practice of ISPs limiting the amount of data downloaded, oddly enough called bandwidth caps (not a very accurate name).

Does this cap refer to just downloaded programs, apps, music/video media and stuff? Bittorrent and similar downloading?

Or does it apply to EVERYTHING; every bit of data that comes down the pipe into your computer... like for every web page you load, every online video you watch (without actually downloading it to your system, as in YouTube), every picture you view on a website? Video game packets? What about purchased mp3 music downloaded from amazon.com or Apple?

What I'm getting at is, how does the cap affect online gaming and the data packets that get sent/received? And more importantly, how does the cap affect streaming movies from Netflix or Blockbuster, not actually downloading them for keeps like when downloading via bittorrent?

So, if I play MMORPGs and watch Netflix on my computer or streamed to my networked video box onto the TV, how much can I play or watch before hitting a maximum and either being barred or charged for overuse? I don't do bittorrent or download much music, but I do want to take advantage of games and movies and I purchase the occasional mp3 from various sites. I just don't do the wholesale downloads of GBytes of movies and mp3.

I don't want to pay for "unlimited play" on MMORPGs or "unlimited video" from Netflix, if I'm going to get slammed by my ISP for actually trying to USE that "unlimited" privilege.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:10 am 
Mr. Late Night
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When ISPs talk about bandwidth caps they're talking about absolute bandwidth use. They count every bit that is being received by your cable modem/DSL bridge towards your cap. In all honesty though I wouldn't worry about gaming getting you over that cap, or even video streaming (to an extent) as generally these are sent in such a way to use the least amount of network bandwidth possible. I would worry about how much bittorrent usage you do though as if you are a heavy bittorent user it is quite possible to get cutoff for exceeding your cap. For the most part though most folks won't hit their ISP's bandwidth cap unless it is absurdly low. Comcast has a cap currently of 250 gigabytes a month, which I doubt I'm even close to approaching. And I do more than my fair share of bandwidth use on a daily basis of playing MMOs with TeamSpeak running, streaming Netflix to my Xbox 360 and the occasional Linux distribution ISO download along with game patches. From what you describe I wouldn't be worried about exceeding the cap set by your ISP if they have one in place.

If you want to monitor your bandwidth usage there are a couple of different ways. If you want to monitor it across your entire network the easiest way would be to see if there is a setting in your router to monitor it or install modified firmware such as Tomato or DD-WRT. If you want to monitor it just on a single PC there are numerous bandwidth monitors out there.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:38 am 
8086
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Sweet.

I'd never been bothered by caps, but then I never used to watch netflix and hulu online, either. Now I do, and was concerned.

Thanks for your answer.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:49 pm 
Million Club
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Yes.. this Bandwidth cap is kinda scaring me actually. I'm in Rochester NY and TW Cable wants to put in 4 tiers of service, 5GB/month, 10GB/month, 20GB/month and 40GB/month.. then $1 per Gig over that cap in penalties.

Projected cost is $55/month for the 40GB/month cap tier with $1 per GB over 40GB.

I have a family of four and everyone has their own computer, plus my work computer. Then you add, PS3, XBOX 360, PSP, nintendo DSi, iPODs.
Oh.. and Vonage too, maybe 4-5 hours per day for work stuff.

I'm really in the market to find something to start measuring my daily bandwidth, to see what I'm looking at in the near future.

In a given month.. game console demos, ISOs for work, streaming video from FOX and CBS.. etc... I think 40GB/month is not going to be enough.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:20 pm 
Mr. Late Night
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I would say vote for your wallet if they do implement it and switch to another provider if at all possible. The easiest way in your case to track bandwidth usage would be at the router level. See if your router has an option to track your bandwidth. If it does not but you're comfortable with loading different firmware on your router you could load up Tomato or DD-WRT (provided your router is compatible) and use them to track your usage.

I do agree with you, a 40GB cap for the upper tier plan is absolutely nuts. With all of the perfectly legitimate uses that there are nowadays that'll take up bandwidth it wouldn't take up much. For me I do my fair share of 360 demo downloading, Netflix streaming, Steam game downloads, etc. all of which are perfectly legal I would more likely than not be paying overage fees every month.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:46 pm 
Million Club
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Unfortunately, I have a DLink DIR-628, and it doesn't appear that Tomato or DD-WRT support it... at least not yet.

Only alternative ISP I have in the area (Rochester, NY) is DSL, but I don't have much confidence in Frontier's DSL service. If I go 60 miles West to Buffalo, they have FiOS, and same if I go 60 miles East to Syracuse, they have FiOS too, hopefully they'll get their foot in Rochester soon.


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