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What Are Bandwidth Caps and How Can You Avoid Them?

13 January, 2021 Technology

What Are Bandwidth Caps and How Can You Avoid Them?


Do you know what they say? "Too much of a good thing is a bad thing."


Over-eat ice-cream as an experiment and see what kind of effects it has on your teeth, your metabolism, your tummy, and your overall health. None of them beneficial. This is the ‘excess' principle which many internet service providers across the States believe in. This is why they enforce a technological fix called a ‘data cap'.


What is a Data Cap?

Often called a ‘bandwidth cap', it is a limit imposed by an ISP over a consumer's internet usage. It can range from 10GB to 300GB mark. As soon as the data consumption reaches this preset limit, the provider throttles the bandwidth and the consumer is unable to go on surfing the internet like before. This includes home networks, corporate networks, and even mobile service plans.


Why is it Enforced?

The rationale behind this artificial limit is that an unchecked flow of data would lead to ‘congestion'. This is especially true for internet connections, which are levied out by the cable providers. A coaxial-based network is a shared network. To ensure an equal distribution of the absolute bandwidth between all the parties in a neighborhood, a data cap is implemented on each individual user. It has also been called a ‘fair access policy' just because of this. Mobile data-wise, a bandwidth cap keeps a cell phone plan from exceeding the limit designated by the carrier.


Why should it be revoked?

Think of it as a checkpoint node between the sender and the receiver, where each packet of data is inspected before being transmitted. This ‘data cap' system hands over the power from the consumer to the provider. As in, the latter gets to decide how much data can be used by the former at a certain period. This is problematic, because many ISPs might abuse this power.


Especially notorious in this regard are the cable companies, which provide broadband in addition to the TV facilities to the consumers. Standing in stark contrast to the user-friendly packages, the deals given by these lobbyists are riddled with data caps. The trick is that in addition to throttling the data flow from behind, they charge extra money for releasing bandwidth. In the end, it is all about making money, right?
The ones who fall in grievance eventually are the consumers, who are forced to use their internet data sparingly and pay up once it exceeds its limit.


What can you do to bypass it?

Besides supporting the famous ‘net neutrality' movement, which has raged against this unwarranted ISP control in recent times, you can take certain measures on your own to bypass the bandwidth caps. The very first thing that we would recommend is getting your internet service from a provider that does not impose data caps. For instance, Charter Internet offers an incredible internet facility with no data caps whatsoever. Nevertheless, if you do not have access to such a provider in your area, here are the steps that you should implement:


Avoiding Mobile Caps:

• You can use Chrome's data compression facility to reduce your monthly bandwidth usage. Go to settings and then to bandwidth management. Once there, enable the ‘Reduce data usage' option and you are good to go.

• Take the help of certain ‘data saving' mobile apps like Opera Max to outlast the limit.

• A VPN like the Hotspot Shield can aid you in your data compression and saving.


Avoiding ISP Caps:

• If you have the amazing Opera browser, use its ‘Turbo' feature to undertake a successful data compression.

• Other than this, you can go for data saving extensions for Chrome, if you have that as your primary browser. Though it is still in beta, the option is out there for you.


So, what have we established?


Data caps are an annoyance for the consumers and money-grabbing opportunities for the providers. They should be revoked. However, we still have to wait until enough voices gather to reach the ISPs' ears; the aforementioned ways will allow us to bypass the bandwidth caps for now.


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