10 Tips for Conserving Data on a Capped Internet Bandwidth Plan

10 Tips for Conserving Data on a Capped Internet Bandwidth Plan

November 23, 2014 by Loloho.com

 RV.Net Blog Admin

As we’ve discussed, we enjoy watching streaming video content in our RV via our Roku box (http://amzn.to/11E4DUX). However, a reader brought to light an unfortunate dilemma that many of us face: Internet bandwidth is often available in limited quantities. Many of us have restrictive data usage plans that cap bandwidth in 5, 15, or 30 GB limits.

We love our Roku 3, but beware streaming video if you have a bandwidth cap. Avoid HD at all costs! (Click the pic to check out the Roku.)

Bandwidth caps are an unfortunate fact of modern life. You dare not exceed a bandwidth cap, for this gives your friendly neighborhood telecom an excuse to charge you ridiculous sums of money in overage fees. (Remember late fees at video stores? Remember expensive long distance phone calls? Well, now we have Internet data bandwidth cap overage fees to enjoy.)

So let’s quickly outline 10 steps RV campers (and really anyone) can take that will reduce Internet data usage and help avoid “bandwidth cap” overage fees.

We all like to watch YouTube videos, and videos on other online sites. These videos may have selectable resolution from a low of 144p to a high of 1090P (or even 4k). More resolution requires more data. Therefore, you can save yourself a lot of bandwidth by watching video in the lowest resolution settings. Avoid HD whenever possible.

No matter what operating software you may be running on your computer of choice, chances are that it wants to automatically update from time to time. This is true with Windows, Android, and Apple products. These auto updates are often large files that consume a lot of your bandwidth in the process (and in our experience, they rarely seem to update much of significance). Turn off these updates to save bandwidth. Only update your software when meaningful changes are available.

Most websites these days have a “mobile” vesion that presents the same basic information but with stripped down graphics and art. It usually loads faster and without a lot of fancy frills. That’s because frills eat bandwidth. These mobile sites can sometimes be frustrating to navigate, but they consume much less bandwidth than their full featured counterparts.

Many computer viruses eat bandwidth for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s because they surreptitiously download and upload data in the background while your computer is running. Effectively, they are stealing your bandwidth. Install a quality antivirus and/or anti-malware program and monitor for viruses regularly. One great free anti-malware program is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

The buzz these days is the Cloud. No, we’re not talking about the breathing atmosphere in your local cigar shop. We’re talking about the practice of automatically backing up your data on faraway Internet hard drives and servers. The Cloud is a forward thinking idea and it works pretty well as a basic data backup service. Alas, automatically uploading and downloading all of this data can eat up your precious bandwidth. Make sure your Cloud settings are appropriate for minimum bandwidth consumption. Turn off the automatic features.

Yes, we all love video chat, whether it’s Skype or Facetime or Facebook or whatever. Alas, video chat eats bandwidth because you are constantly uploading and downloading video and audio in every session. Hey, if you must use video chat to see the grandkids, that’s certainly understandable. Just be aware that you are consuming bandwidth in the process. Nothing online comes without a bandwidth cost attached.

One irony of modern digital photography is that cameras generate huge photo files that are rarely ever viewed online in their full native resolution. Even JPG files (which are by definition compressed by the camera) may be 5MB or greater in size. Most people upload their photo files directly to the Internet for sharing. Transferring large photo files to the Internet eats up large chunks of bandwidth. Solution? Compress your photo files first before you upload them to the Internet. If you are not certain how to compress files, look up the topic on YouTube – and don’t forget to watch the video in a low resolution format.

If you really want to conserve bandwidth, forget about large unnecessary downloads via torrent software (which, let’s face it, is often of questionable legality) or online gaming (which means you’d better pay attention to that game your grandson has been playing). Yes, online games can eat up bandwidth faster than Pac Man eats dots and ghosts (or whatever else Pan Man eats).

Make sure your web browsers are set to cache redundant website content so you don’t waste bandwidth downloading the same stuff every time you visit a page.

We all love streaming content from the Internet. Music is an especially enjoyable content to stream. Alas, streaming music eats bandwidth. The constant stream means constant data usage. If you do decide to stream music, be certain to stream the “low quality” stream instead of “high quality.” Odds are that you will not notice much of a difference in casual listening, but you will use much less bandwidth.

We love our Roku 3 streaming box, but we use it primarily with park wifi and other unlimited free Internet hot spots. Whenever you are faced with a capped data plan, you must always consider methods to conserve bandwidth.


About smokeycamping

Well let's see have lived in NY for my whole life, have always loved the outdoors (as long as it is warm out) have always hated the cold, and like a dummy have stayed in NY. But now with my second try my wife, we have been camping now for well over 25 yrs. We currently own a 2010 Cedar creek silverback 35TS and can not wait to get out on the highways and see this great country we all call home. Hope to see every National park before my medical issue becomes too bad to travel. I love my African gray parrot (she is my baby) and have two dogs at the time brother and sister mutts, but love them all the same. Have always been a big Nascar fan, love computers (have a number of certificates to build and work on them) am trying to learn photography, enjoy light hiking, being with good friends and folks. country music, pop music and just being outdoors. So I hope someday to meet some of the great people who like what I like and post out there in some great campground somewhere in the country, till then I will keep posting and I hope you keep liking.

Posted on November 24, 2014, in The world as i see it as a camper and who loves his country and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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