You have been waiting for the weekend to arrive excited about a special movie night planned for yourself, but a few minutes into your movie the screen turns to a loading icon! Let us see what does Internet Throttling mean in this article.
Your internet has halted, and your week is ruined. But if you want to know why and how to solve this little internet issue, keep reading! We are sure you will after you are told that people are doing this to you on purpose.
What Does Internet Throttling Mean?
ISP (Internet Service Provider) throttling is the act of purposely slowing down the internet bandwidth speed. The internet bandwidth speed is the maximum amount of data transmitted over the internet in a given amount of time (not to be mistaken with internet speed). Throttling results in bandwidth speed being slower than what it is supposed to be. ISPs can throttle anything online, from HD videos to torrenting.
Why Does This Happen?
The next logical question that comes to your mind would be “Why does this happen in the first place?”. Especially when you have been paying for a high-speed package. There are reasons other than ISPs throttling your internet.
When your billing period is about to end ISPs slow down your bandwidth speed if you have signed up for a limited amount of data. Mobile providers are more likely to do this. Data caps can be avoided by subscribing to an unlimited package or simply renewing your data plan.
An old and known reason for throttling is ISPs trying to regulate network congestion. There is only a certain amount of bandwidth that can be distributed in an area. So the source using the highest internet bandwidth may be affected the most. This is not supposed to be ill-treatment of any kind and is simply necessary.
Your internet may work at a slower rate during rush hours because a lot of people in the same concentrated area are using it at the same time.
Your ISP might be participating in a thing called the “internet fast lane” which is getting paid by certain streaming services to prioritize them. For example, Netflix could have paid ISPs to load their content faster than that of their competitors like Amazon Prime and Hulu.
This practice is not legal in countries following net neutrality. It might be profitable to the ISPs themselves as they force platforms to pay up, but it is clearly not fair to the consumers.
Torrenting takes a lot of bandwidth space which may result in your ISPS throttling your wifi. The content being torrent may also be illegal, which is another reason.
How Can You Stop This From Happening?
The first step to preventing internet throttling is recognizing it when it takes place. If your internet is working slower than usual, it is not necessarily your ISP’s fault. It could very possibly be another reason.
Run An Internet Speed Test
To find out if it really is internet throttling, run a speed test using an online website and match it with the speed being advertised by your service provider. If it does not match it is highly possible that your internet is being purposefully tampered with.
It is also important to note that your ISP could manipulate your speed run test website, but it does not mean the test is invalid. Results matching the advertised speed on the website except on all other sites is an evident indicator of throttling.
Run A Port Scanner Test
A port scanner test basically requires you to use an open port, to be specific, while gaming. A port is like a gaming or messaging server connecting computers/ programs over the internet. ISPs keep a watch over port activity. A port scanner will check specific ports for throttling with a variety of scans.
Using a VPN
No this is not an ad for a VPN service. However, using a VPN does save you from the prioritization type of internet throttling. It prevents your ISP from being able to view what websites you are visiting.
This will not work very well while torrenting because even though the file you are torrenting is hidden while using a VPN, ISPs can still see you torrent the file itself. VPNs also allow you to run a speed test.
- Switch to another ISP provider
- Keep track of how much data you use
- Switch to an unlimited package of internet service
- Lodging a complaint to the government
The last suggestion leads us to our next question.
Is Internet Throttling Illegal?
No, it is not illegal. A few years ago though, it would have been. In recent years, the US has stopped practicing net neutrality on a federal level. Net (network) neutrality is the practice that ISPs must not charge users differently based on a streaming platform, website, source address, etc.
Although net throttling is annoying and inconvenient, it is necessary to some extent. When ISPs do it responsibly and for the sole purpose of management of the usage of data, it is acceptable and in fact essential. So the next time your movie session is rudely interrupted, you will know what to do!