isp throttling

How to tell if My ISP is Throttling Bandwidth?

ISP throttling is very real and taking place all over the globe – it’s not just hearsay or a rumor.

We’ve all seen occasional evidence where many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) tend to slow down specific types of traffic such as BitTorrent traffic. Others go ahead to slow down their clients’ connections, especially if they download a lot of data in a month.

What is ISP Throttling?

ISP throttling is a situation where a given internet service provider slows down specific services or websites. This may be seen in the form of slow speeds on videos that take too much time to load and buffer, slow speeds on specific YouTube videos, or slow download and speeds of uploads, especially when attempting to exchange information of BitTorrent.

But before jumping to any conclusions, it’s essential to determine whether your ISP is throttling your internet connection or there are other reasons for slow internet speeds. Currently, the right way of deciding such is by running a speed test. But again, there’s more to this. Read below for more details.

Find out if your ISP is tracking you.

Why internet speeds slow down?

Are you experiencing slow internet speeds? If so, then the following could be the causes:

  1. There are high levels of traffic experienced by your provider

In the same way, our roadways experience traffic jams at certain, the same is the case with internet connections. The chances are that there are a lot of people in your area are online browsing/streaming at the same time.

This scenario tends to max out the bandwidth of the network causing slow connections. People residing in highly populated areas regularly experience such a situation.

  1. You are operating/working on a jammed equipment 

Jammed equipment is a common reason why your network tends to slow down. Sometimes, routers and modems receive too much information than they can handle, a reason that brings about slow connections.

To avoid such a scenario, you may have to reset your modem or router as means of clearing out the data jam and getting your network back to speeds.

  1. Your provider is slowing/throttling your connection

This is a situation whereby your internet service provider deliberately slows down your speeds. Many ISP providers may slow down one client’s internet speeds while increasing the bandwidth of another client.

Learn how to hide browser history from ISP.

Reasons why ISPs throttle internet

There are plenty of reasons as to why internet service providers throttle the internet. However, there are some of the most basic or common reasons as to why they tend to do so. First, if you have been keen enough, then you must have realized that some internet subscriptions come with a clause allowing ISPs to slow down a customer’s speeds, especially if they attain a specified data limit.

Secondly, throttling takes place based on the behavior of an internet user. There are millions of internet users across the globe fond of undertaking high-bandwidth exercises such as downloading huge files.

Again, ISPs are in business to maximize revenues but not at the expense of those engaging in high-bandwidth activities. This is another reason why you may experience slower speeds. Lastly, ISPs throttle the internet as a means of persuading/convincing their users to pay a little bit more.

Speed tests may not solely detect throttling

As mentioned way back earlier, if you suspect that your ISP is throttling your internet connection, then the best way to find out such is to try a speed test. This will enable you to see whether you are getting close to the speeds that you expect. You’ll notice your speeds fluctuating across the full bandwidth capacity of the internet connection.

Sadly though, a majority of internet service providers now know when an internet user undertakes a speed test. The moment they notice such, they immediately cease throttling until the test is complete, making the speed test to appear normal. The moment the speed test is complete, everything then moves back to normal. This is a reason as to why a majority of people consider VPN a better option.

How VPNs help in detecting and avoiding ISP throttling

Also known as VPNs in short, Virtual Private Networks can prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discovering what an internet user is doing online. In other words, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) won’t be aware of whether a user is carrying out a speed test or downloading large files/movies.

With a Virtual Private Network hiding your activities, rest assured of getting accurate speed tests that will give you precise information as to whether your provider is throttling your internet connections or not.

That’s not all. With a Virtual Private Network (VPN), your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will not be in a position to slow down your speeds if you are downloading massive files and videos since they will be in the dark regarding such.

Still, there’s something else better with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Besides effectively combating throttling, VPNs are known for the protection of a user’s online privacy and security.

Learn more about ISP Bandwidth throttling.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a few questions that internet users like to ask. Some of the common ones are listed below:

  1. What other internet-throttle detection tools exist?

Reputable firms such as Netflix and Google have in place their bandwidth tests. However, you need to have a VPN. BattlefortheNet.com has lately turned out to be the most sought-after tool, though the results relayed by it indicate throttling at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) transition points.

  1. Is there anything that I can do if my internet speed is being throttled?

There seems to be no end in sight regarding internet throttling. But to be on the safe side, you may have to find your VPN immediately. Alternatively, you may have to search for other ISP providers that don’t throttle your internet that much.

Ather Owais is a tech and cyber security enthusiast, and a Kodi expert. He follows technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.

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