If it seems as though you’re doing everything possible to minimize bandwidth usage, yet your daily network activity is extending into the gigabytes, there is obviously a problem somewhere.
To address bandwidth issues, it’s necessary to identify bottlenecks and fix them accordingly. These are some of the most popular culprits for high bandwidth usage.
Torrenting / File Sharing
While torrenting and downloading files is exciting and convenient, it can wreak havoc on your bandwidth and data usage. Essentially, the more you use these types of programs, the more your shared internet connection will suffer. When you’re not using file sharing programs, be sure they are completely exited and not running. Likewise, keep tabs on your cloud programs which are also designed to send/receive files on demand. If you must use a cloud-based program, make sure it’s set to manually sync at times of your choosing.
Streaming video is one of the most taxing activities in terms of bandwidth, and one of the most common. High-quality streaming is the most common culprit of bandwidth usage, but even standard quality has adverse effects. If you can help it, don’t leave streaming video running when you are not watching it, and always opt to stream at lower qualities rather than the best offered.
Gaming is not necessarily a death knell for bandwidth usage like streaming or file sharing, but it can be intensive under certain circumstances. Excessive gaming, hosting servers, using voice chat, streaming game content, and downloading games/patches are the biggest bandwidth hogs.
It’s important to keep in mind that gaming itself is not intensive on an internet connection. This is especially true for installed games that are either played off of a hard drive or external media. Web-based games or applications will always be much heavier on bandwidth.
If you’re not using a game, make sure it’s completely shut down while your computer is on. Additionally, make sure updates are set to be manually requested and downloaded.
If you’ve ever noticed connection lag when all of your network devices appear dormant or unused, you might have a malware problem. Malware is specifically designed to take control of your computer and use it for malicious purposes. Most activities require bandwidth usage, but sometimes it is minimal (to prevent tipping you off). If you can’t find the source of your bandwidth issues, it might not hurt to restore all devices in your home to rule out malware.
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