We all may not be aware of the term “Throttling” but we all have experienced it at some point in our lives. Let us say, for example, you are binge-watching your favorite series or streaming a football match, and all of a sudden your internet connection crashes without any obvious reason. There is a high chance that this thing has been done by someone purposely. This intentional crushing of your internet speed is known as internet throttling or ISP Throttling. However, you can overcome this situation by using a VPN.
The performance of the network connection needs to be scrutinized regularly and when you do you should monitor the user actions as well as the status of the user end devices. Throttling varies from device to device and it can happen anytime when you are using the internet. For example, the internet connectivity while recording a screenplay will be much faster than the internet connectivity of a real end-user.
Internet throttling is intentionally slowing down the internet bandwidth or speed that is provided to the user. There are plenty of web hosts or internet service providers (ISPs) over the internet that pledges to proffer unlimited bandwidth to the user. However, the offered bandwidth is likely to be throttled. Let us take a brief look at ISP throttling.
What is ISP Throttling?
Internet Throttling is a way of deliberately slowing down internet connectivity by the internet service provider (ISP). This measure is taken to control traffic over the internet and usage to reduce overcrowding and bandwidth usage. The more traffic congestion over the internet, the more throttling is. Throttling is done so that you can imitate the experience of a real end-user and see how a particular application performs on a specific network area. The internet connectivity status is generalized by download speed, upload speed, and latency.
In this method, the web host or internet service provider restricts your account’s data to a certain level. This scenario is similar to the limited data package of mobile devices where the data speed is slowed down once your daily usage hits the data speed barrier. The practice of throttling is not only restricted to web hosting as it is also very common in mobile devices and wireless services.
Most of the users feel reassured after getting an unlimited internet package as their ISP promises to provide uninterrupted super-fast internet throughout the month. Despite making promises some ISPs fail to keep up their word and the user notices a sluggish bandwidth. If this situation arises towards the end of the month then it is most likely that you have hit your high-speed data pack of that month. We generally don’t give much importance to ISP throttling but because of this, we end up paying much more money to overcome our lost revenue.
How to Enable ISP Throttling?
As mentioned earlier, the network connectivity status of a device is specified by download speed, upload speed, and ping latency. The below chart describes the three different levels of network speeds.
Download Speed (Mbps)
Upload Speed (Mbps)
Ping Latency (Ms)
The Internet Service Provider can enable and customize internet throttling for their clients. To enable ISP throttling you need to follow the below steps:
- Go to Client Computer Groups in the CommCell Browser and Right-Click on client_group
- Go to properties and a dialog box will be visible on the screen
- From there go to the Network Throttle tab and click on Enable Network Throttling
- Click on Add to schedule your throttling
- Select the scheduled date, time interval, start time, and end time. Now, go to the Throttling Rate section and manage the Download Speed, Upload Speed, and Ping Latency.
- To set the network throttling, click Ok.
- Save and click Ok.
How does a network bandwidth work?
Bandwidth is the maximum data transferring capacity of a wired or wireless network from one spot to the other in 1 second. The network bandwidth refers to the differences between the upper frequency and lower frequency of an AC source. The data transferring rate depends on the width of the network communication. The more the capacity of the network is, the more data it can send or receive in one second. The bandwidth of network communication is usually measured in hertz.
Most service providers often claim that bandwidth is free, but it is not. We spend a hefty amount to pay the energy bills, hardware, cooling, and security for every data packet. ISP throttling occurs because of these extra charges. The charge of a network connection is directly proportional to the network bandwidth. If bandwidth increases then charges will increase and if bandwidth decreases then charges will also decrease. That is why the cost of a 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) link is equivalent to 250 megabits per second (Mbps) of throughput.
How would I know if my Internet is being throttled?
If suddenly your streaming starts buffering, your video game is lagging, or a website is taking too long to load, then there is a possibility that your internet connection is throttled by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). Follow the below methods to determine whether your connection is being throttled or not.
1. Run a free Internet Speed Test
The basic and the most noticeable way to check if my internet is being throttled is to run a free internet speed test. An internet speed test will give you the current status of your internet connectivity and will also let you know how fast your internet speed is. Several browsers come with tools that allow users to check their internet connectivity status. The majority of internet service providers can perceive your speed tests and may raise the resulting speed. This way you may not identify if the ISP is throttling your speed or not.
Note: For better results make sure you don’t use your internet like downloading a song or watching a video while running a speed test.
2. Test your internet speed through a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Since a free speed test is not foolproof so it is better to have a second choice. Testing your Internet speed through a Virtual Private Network is probably the reliable way to check if your network connection is throttled or not. An ISP cannot throttle everything and can throttle only selective kinds of content. A VPN can mask your IP address as well as your activities on the internet from the ISP. This way you can protect your result from getting inflated and get the measure of the internet speed.
Note: If your internet speed result is faster with the VPN than without the VPN, then it is most likely that the provider is throttling your service.
3. Check your data cap
It is most likely that the internet service provider will throttle your internet speed when you have hit your daily or monthly data cap. You can check your data status from the “Data Usage” section to know whether you have reached your limit. To overcome this situation you will need to upgrade your internet package or pay money for extra data or simply wait for your data cap to get rest.
These are the easiest ways to know whether your internet is being throttled.
Why is my ISP throttling my internet?
The Internet Service Provider has multiple reasons to throttle your internet. Here are they:
- Data Limit Reached: Most people have limited internet plans and they will notice sluggish internet speed as soon as they reach their allotted data cap. The internet providers instead of cutting off internet access throttle the internet connection. The slowed internet speed can be exasperating, but it is always better than having no internet access. However, you can also regain your internet speed by paying extra money.
- High Traffic Time: We may have unlimited internet plans but we can’t ignore the fact that the internet that is provided to us is a limited resource. An ISP may need to throttle the internet connection to maintain and regulate heavy traffic during peak hours. With this, all the users can have access to their internet instead of some users having high-speed internet while others don’t have access to the internet at all.
- Specific Prioritization: Sometimes ISPs can throttle certain content or streaming applications like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or other applications supporting 4K videos. An ISP may ask you to pay more bucks to get better load times at these websites. Earlier Paid Prioritization was illegal but with the abolishing of the Net Neutrality Law in 2015 it is all legal now. This looks quite good for the ISPs to fill their pockets but it looks terrible from the user’s point of view.
- Forbidden Activities: Last but not the least; your ISP can also throttle your internet connection if you are involved in doing any illegal activities on the internet.
- Other Reasons: Although most ISPs promise to provide unlimited high-speed internet to the users, in reality, it is not possible. For example, if all of a sudden every user starts streaming or gaming in high resolution, it will cost too many bucks to provide super-fast internet to every one of them.
Besides, this may also happen because your internet service provider is not good enough.
How to prevent Internet Throttling?
There are several methods to stop or prevent your internet from being throttled. Here are they:
- Monitor your Bandwidth Usage: Monitoring your data usage regularly is better. This will also help you to sustain your monthly usage. In case you hit the data limit cap, you can also pay to get more data timely. Maintain a record of your internet upload, download, and ping speeds. If you are not getting enough speed for a couple of weeks then inform your ISP and ask them to solve this issue.
- Avoid Network Congestion: It is always a better option to avoid a traffic jam be it on the road or on the internet. If you feel that your data is being throttled due to high traffic it is better to either upgrade your internet plan or try to avoid working on-peak hours. Make sure you finish all of your heavy data work during the off-peak hours i.e. during the daytime or midnight.
- Shift to a new Internet Service Provider: Different internet providers have different data limit caps. Some internet service providers have lost their fame in the market because of their incompetence to solve the internet throttling issue. If you feel your internet connection is being throttled regularly, then ask your ISP to solve this matter. If they fail to do so, you can switch to a new internet service provider that has a significantly better data plan.
- Seek help from the Government Representative: If the above solutions fail to solve your issue, then you may contact a Government representative. You can write a letter to the Federal Communications Commission officials asking them to enhance the open internet. You can voice your opinion and concern about this issue with this letter. You can fight against ISP throttling and paid prioritization through this letter.
ISP Throttling: Legal or Illegal?
Unfortunately, ISP throttling is legal nowadays. Some laws allow the internet provider to throttle your internet connection. Most people don’t even have the faintest idea that their connection is being throttled and they are left out without any idea except to pay more to get more data.
However, in September 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated that the internet provider must not throttle any type of content. This rule was valid until January 2014 when a court of the Washington D.C. Circuit stated that the FCC has no right to impose the Net Neutrality Law. FCC re-introduced several new rules to the Net Neutrality Law in February, of the same year. From that time, several patents were submitted by AT & T to allow data throttling. Finally, in February 2015, the commission rule went in favor of Net Neutrality and the new regulations made throttling discrimination nearly nonexistent.
How to bypass Throttling with a VPN?
We may not be aware of the fact that many ISPs receive inducement for throttling a few specific types of content and applications. So for this fact, it is very clear that an ISP will have access to your IP address. A good, reputable VPN may help you to get rid of ISP throttling. A Virtual Private Network or VPN can hide all of your information from the ISP. When you use a VPN, the ISP won’t be able to track your traffic and will eventually fail to slow down your internet connection. Moreover, when you use a VPN, the ISP won’t be able to discriminate between website browsing and online streaming; hence, you won’t experience throttling anymore.
Note: There are some streaming applications like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc. which are very good at identifying VPNs and these applications may restrain your access if they fail to locate your address.
What are the best VPNs to fight against Throttling?
Multiple VPNs in the market are good at fighting against ISP throttling. Using a VPN can always be a tempting experience. A free VPN might be good but is very complex to maintain and run properly. So it would be better for you to spend some money to get a good VPN. Here are some of the most recommended VPNs:
- NordVPN: NordVPN is arguably the best VPN that is available in the market. It is known for providing a wall of next-generation VPNs that keeps all your information safe and secure. It also has a strict no-logs policy, meaning that this VPN doesn’t track or share your private data. The servers of NordVPN are available all over the world and with one account you can access this VPN on the utmost 6 devices.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is another leading VPN in the market that is known for offering exceptionally fast and reliable server speeds. Features like split tunneling, unrestricted torrenting or P2P, and AES-256-bit encryption make this VPN ideal for bypassing ISP throttling. ExpressVPN is best for Personal Computers, Mac, iOS, Android, and Firestick Applications. It can be used on 3 devices simultaneously.
- Surfshark: Surfshark VPN is ideal for those who don’t want to speed too much money on VPNs. Like NordVPN, Sufshark also maintains a strict no-logs policy meaning that they don’t have any user connection or activity logs. It provides private DNS and leaks protection to hide all your information from the internet provider. It is one of the cheapest VPNs in the market that provides AES-256-GCM encryption at this price.
- VPN Surf: is another VPN with quality options in the market; is known for offering exceptionally fast and reliable server speeds. Features like split tunneling, unrestricted torrenting or P2P, and AES-256-bit encryption make this VPN ideal for bypassing ISP throttling.
If you use any of these VPNs you will bypass ISP throttling and gain high-speed internet services.
We all know that private organizations are always trying to look for new ways and tricks to make more money and our ISP is also no different. Internet throttling is one of their key sources of inducement income. Throttling the internet is not a very difficult task for them and it is very hard to track whether our internet services are being throttled or not.
If you want your internet to run smoothly without any interruption then you may opt for a VPN. A VPN won’t just guarantee you super fast internet but will also protect your connection from being throttled by the internet service provider. A VPN will also ensure the same quality service for every content and application available online.
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