dsimpson

Excessive Internet Data Usage

12 posts in this topic

As a full-time RVer traveling around the country, I rely on a Verizon Jetpack for Internet access.  I use a 24 GB monthly plan because the unlimited plan starts to throttle data at 10 GB.  But I am startled to discover that the 24 GB is not enough.

 

Two years ago, I was using an old 3G air card with unlimited data getting about 1 Mbs speeds on average.  At the time, that seemed to be fine since I didn’t stream videos.  But as I made a trip across country from Tucson, AZ to Virginia Beach, VA., my speeds dropped to about 130 kbs.  That is not a typo.  It’s about twice the old dial-up speeds – way too slow for the web pages of the time.  So, I bit the bullet and upgraded to 4G and the Jetpack.  My data usage exploded.  Where my wife and I were using 5 GB/month under the old 3G plan, we quickly went to 16 GB/month with the new 4G Jetpack. 

The faster 4G speeds were great with one exception - web pages that might have taken a minute or more to load were now loading in a few second – too fast to abort when I saw that the content was not something I wanted to see.  I have also noted that more web pages are running videos.  In the past, Adobe Flash Player ran a lot of the videos and I discovered how to tell the Flash Player not to run videos without my permission.  That no longer works.  Most videos now seem to use another program.  Also, my wife bought a new computer a year ago with Windows 10.  This version seems to download updates without any option to postpone the download to a more opportune time when I have access to free Wi-Fi.  These things seem to account for some, if not all, of my increased data usage.   

I use a program called Networx that monitors, in real time, my wireless data traffic on my laptop.  When I am connected to my Jetpack, this helps me keep track of my Verizon data usage.  I recently installed Networx on my wife’s computer and was amazed at the data usage when she viewed her Facebook page.  It seemed that half her “friends” had videos running and this was using data at a rapid rate.  My wife found a way to stop these videos.  This morning, after a few minutes of downloading and reading emails, she used 400 MB.  I assumed that Windows 10 had downloaded an update.

 

The first 5 months of this year, we were in campgrounds that had good wi-fi and we rarely used our Jetpack.  Starting July 5, we began using our Jetpack exclusively and discovered that our 16 GB plan was not enough.  We went to the local Verizon store and increased our limit to 24 GB and even that was not enough last month.

Any suggestions on why we are using so much data and any solutions to this problem?  We do not stream videos.  We even stopped watching the occasional short You Tube video.

 

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Yes, you will use more data on 4G, for the reasons you noted.

For the W10 computer mark your wifi as Metered in the setup. That way you will not get software update downloads on the connection.

Edited by Jack Mayer

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In W10 they are many app's that run 24/7 in the background.

You can turn them off and use much less data.

Go to Windows Start Menu and right click on a app. Then choose "Turn Live tile Off"

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5 hours ago, rbertalotto said:

i thought you could set facebook so videos don't run when simply reading content?

You can set FB videos so they don't play unless you click on them. Currently the default is that videos play with sound which is really annoying.

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Though this may have changed somewhat since I last researched it, computers will consume far more data than mobile devices due to the assumptions made by their associated operating systems. Computers preload far more links & content than mobile devices and mobile devices tend to prompt web pages to deliver compressed data to a greater extent.

I currently browse using mobile devices vs the laptop & reserve laptop use for document creation etc.

In a work environment your needs will vary but I would tend to view the web with a tablet and blast out content as needed from the computer and interrupt its web access as it idles. Though many these days run a retail business from their ipad with a card reader & no cash register.

Edited by SCClockDr
Correction

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For us, the high cost of bandwidth is the biggest trade-off of full-timing and working from the road. Over the last few years we never used less than 20 gb a month. This makes internet usage our largest business expense. There is no getting around it, the rest of the world (it seems) has unlimited high speed bandwidth and we are forced to join the party or fall behind with our work (and admittedly, our recreational use of the web too).

For the last 10 years we've used a combo of Verizon bandwidth and satellite Internet which has worked well but it's not cheap. When Verizon offered the unlimited data plan this year we jumped on it and it's worked well for us. It bumped our monthly bill up another $20 but now we hardly think about our bandwidth usage. It's a whole new world that's opened up doors for us with our business (i.e., more video calls and learning opportunities). We also fell into the trap of streaming Amazon Prime movies etc. so now we're really roped in!

As for speeds, because we have two ways to get online, we hardly think about that either. Our satellite internet system is often faster than the Verizon speeds we get in the remote places we like to camp, when it exists at all.

I don't know if this helps but I just wanted to let you know that your situation is quite common.

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Since switching to the AT&T unlimited 4G/LTE "Connected Car" plan using either a Mobley or Unite hotspot device, with a grey market Verizon unlimited 3G Jetpack as a backup, and a Maximum Signal Max Amp RV cell booster onboard, we've yet to land anyplace we didn't get a good usable signal, often in the 25-30Mbps range. Our total usage for July was about 70GB, and our total cost was $25 plus tax.

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On 8/3/2017 at 9:30 AM, LiveWorkDream said:

When Verizon offered the unlimited data plan this year we jumped on it and it's worked well for us.

I considered this unlimited plan but the Verizon store salesperson told me that this plan began throttling data at 10 GB.  How has this worked out for you?

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On 8/2/2017 at 1:34 PM, Jack Mayer said:

For the W10 computer mark your wifi as Metered in the setup. That way you will not get software update downloads on the connection.

Thanks, Jack.  I didn't know that the user had any control over Windows 10 updates.

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After several days of using Networx to monitor data usage, it is beginning to look like Facebook is the major data hog in our case.  We turned off the videos but Facebook is still using a lot of data.  My wife has agreed to deal with that by visiting her Facebook page only once or twice a day. We'll see what happens.

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