Let’s suppose you’re watching your favorite TV show on Netflix after a long day at work. About an hour into it, everything is working fine and smoothly until suddenly you notice the video quality dropping considerably. What could be the cause of it?
You perform a speed test only to find out that you’re getting a download speed of 20.24 Mbps and upload speed of 4.89 Mbps, even though you’re paying for a 50 Mbps connection! Well, it’s very likely that you’re a target of ISP throttling.
What is ISP throttling?
ISP throttling refers to the practice of internet service providers intentionally slowing down the connection speed of their users. It’s a reactive measure utilized by ISPs in order to regulate network traffic as well as reduce congestion.
How to check if your ISP is throttling your connection?
You may occasionally feel that your internet connection is being throttled. Take, for instance, your torrents might stop working completely, or the voice quality of your VoIP calls may go way down. There are, however, more concrete ways of knowing whether or not your ISP is throttling your bandwidth.
- Speed Test – One way is to check your connection speed multiple times in a month. If your bandwidth is suddenly decreasing towards the month’s end, the chances of ISP throttling are rather high.
- Throttling Test – Another way is to run a throttling test such as the Internet Health Test. It will check your connection for any indication of degradation from the ISP’s end.
Why is your ISP throttling data?
Now, you might wonder why ISPs actually throttle data. There are several reasons for your ISP throttling data, some of which include:
- To maintain a stable internet service during peak times
- To enforce data transfer limits
- To prevent network over-usage by a small percentage of users
- To stop DDoS attacks
- To keep users from torrenting copyrighted content
Which ISPs throttle the most?
It is commonly believed that data throttling is only done by small companies and none of the big names are involved in such kind of practices. However, it has been proven that some big companies are also involved in performing bandwidth throttling, such as:
- Sprint Corps
- Spectrum (Time Warner Cable)
- Telekom AG (DTAG)
- Atlantic Broadband
- EE Broadband
- Aloha Broadband
- O2 Mobile Broadband
- Cablevision’s Optimum Online
How to stop your ISP from throttling your Data?
Once you are sure that your ISP is throttling the connection, it’s time to stop them so that you can go about your online activities without interruptions! If you cannot switch your ISP, the best way to prevent ISPs from throttling your data is to hide your traffic and this is where tools like proxies and VPNs come into play.
The first way to stop data throttling is to use a proxy server which will work as a middleman for all your data transfers. They offer a means of routing your web requests through a third party server, hiding the actual destination of your traffic in the process. However, since proxies usually offer slow speeds and no encryption, they can’t be relied on as a solution to bypass ISP throttling.
Use a VPN
A VPN establishes an encrypted tunnel between your device and the remote server. All your traffic is routed through this safe passage, making your traffic unreadable to your ISP. Moreover, your IP address is also replaced with that of the server, which results in the ISP not being able to determine where the traffic is originating from. AS a VPN will prevent your ISP from knowing what you are up to online, it’s a more reliable solution to block ISP tracking and throttling efforts.
We hope that you never have to encounter data throttling issues. There are no concrete statistics that show how widespread the practice of throttling is, but yes it takes place and ruins your online experience. Fortunately, with a VPN you can get around your ISP’s sophisticated traffic monitoring tools and stop throttling from ruining your browsing, torrenting, and gaming sessions!