31 Jan 2011
Conserving Bandwidth In The UBB Era
I really don’t think that the CRTC will overturn their decision with regards to Usage Based Billing. So, I offer you some tips on how to keep your bandwith usage to a minimum.
Internet usage in Canada is now billed like electricity. The more you use, the more you pay. By changing some of your habits you can easily stay under your monthly caps. One thing to keep in mind is that your monthly limits are a combination of both your download and your upload traffic.
- Peer 2 Peer (downloading movies, music, file sharing)
- Most P2P clients (like μTorrent) allow you to limit your upload bandwidth. Consider setting this limit to something lower, like 15 or 20 kb/s.
- If you are using a private tracker (where your ratio is important) consider spending the extra cash on a Seed Box. You can use them to keep your ratio up (by uploading) without affecting your monthly usage at home.
- Do you really need to download the movie in HD? A typical SD movie is 700MB, compared to an HD movie at 4.2GB. For every 1 HD movie you download, you could download 6 SD ones. The same goes to TV Shows.
- Netflix/Video Streaming
- Streaming video quality changes based on network speed. If your router allows, place a throttle on your internet connection. The quality difference between an 800KB/s video stream and 500KB/s video stream is negligible. If you set your router to throttle your connection to 500KB/s you could be saving 1.8GB per hour or more!
- In some cases, you can do this in the player setting, so only affecting video streaming (instead of your entire internet connection).
- Use the lower quality settings on You Tube videos (480p for example)
- Audio Streaming
- Use a radio, instead of streaming your local radio station on your computer. You can find such devices in iPods, Alarm Clocks, CD Players
- Turn off your audio streams when you’re not listening to them.
- Large Files/ISOs
- Bring a USB key with you and download the files you need at work. Double check that this is ok with your corporate IT department first! This can save you a lot of time as in most cases your company internet connection will be much faster.
- Share with friends! Burn your files to a CD or use a USB key and exchange files using “sneaker net“.
- Have a cup of coffee and do your downloading at your local coffee shop.
- Mobile Devices
- If you have a mobile device (or two or three) that use your wifi at home, consider not doing this. If you have a large wireless data plan (like the 6GB plan Rogers offers) you can take advantage of that plan while your phone is at home. It wont result in a lot of savings, but every bit counts!
- Is your wireless router/gateway secured? I’ve heard of stories were other people in the neighborhood would leech off of open wireless access points. They could easily cause you to go over your monthly cap.
- Keep a close eye on your usage! All ISPs give you the tools to check how much bandwidth you’ve used monthly. Some routers also include this functionality.
- Most (if not all) ISPs allow you to set up alerts when you are nearing your limits. Take advantage of these.
If you have any other tips that you use, feel free to leave a comment, I’ll add it to the list.