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dsimpson

Excessive Internet Data Usage

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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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On 8/7/2017 at 7:44 AM, dsimpson said:

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

Using the metered connection option will save you!

Besides that, go into all items in your System Tray and turn off automatic updates on everything you can find.  Also go to your Start menu and type "Resource Monitor"; open it and click on the Network tab to get a great look at what your internet is really being used for.  You can pin the Resource Monitor to your Start menu for easy access.

Xone

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I use internet to teach online, so I need to be online several hours per day, plus I need really reliable service.  I had been paying $240 per month for the past several years for 40 gigs of data on two Verizon jetpacks (one is a spare) and unlimited voice. 

I was VERY hesitant to sign up for Verizon's new unlimited data plans, but found out that they only throttle data speed if you are in an urban area that has a lot of concentrated usage--like a downtown area, ballpark, or area with lots of apartments.  Considering that I spend most of my time full-timing at state and federal campgrounds, I figured I was pretty safe, so I changed in April.  Mostly, I use only one of the jetpacks, and I do keep getting the warnings about being close to or over my 10 gig limit for that line, but so far, I have never had my speed limited at all!!  I have been using from 25-30 gigs per month on that one line, by the way.  I don't stream anything, but I don't worry anymore about going over my limit or getting slowed down at all.

Making the change has dropped my monthly bill from $240 to $164, which is a huge benefit. 

So, if like me, you are spending nearly all your time out in the boonies, the unlimited plan is really a good one.

UPDATE: Bill below is correct. They increased the gigs before throttling to 15 per line, but they seem to be doing a better job of throttling.  I have two computers but use Office 365 only on my backup.  I am sticking to Office 2016 on my main computer as long as I can.

Edited by Solo18

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https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/alert-15gb-mobile-hotspot-cap-enforcement-coming-on-verizon-new-unlimited-data-plans/ 

Verizon is starting to consistently enforce the 15GB monthly limits on mobile hotspotting.  (It went up from 10GB a month or so ago.)

Another tip: My wife found out Office 2007 will be unsupported soon and upgraded to Office 365.  She learned the hard way that Outlook 365 is an internet pig, using over 50MB per hour doing nothing.  Doing research, she found there is nothing she can do to stop it since many others have the problem and Microsoft doesn't want to fix it.  She is now using web email instead of Outlook.

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For a lot of these data use questions and comments it would be helpful to know if you are actually browsing on that 2x3.5 inch screen on your phone or tethering to a real computer. Web pages delivered in mobile versions are typically less detailed and use less data. For my personal taste though, I don't see a cell phone as a replacement for my computers. I do read mail and occasionally do a quick web search for something, but normally nothing is so important that I need to see it immediately and I make a note to myself to research it when I get home. My fat fingers usually can't make precise screen touches and I hate pecking on the glass like a chicken to type in passwords and such. Besides which, I already wear glasses. Trying to use a cell phone as a primary computer would find me blind in a year. I honestly don't know why I have a fairly well featured phone. Nobody calls me, I have nobody to call with enough frequency that my Google phone number through the computer wouldn't cover it. I guess all those years as an IT nerd conditioned me to have nice toys. I am typing this on Sept 23rd. This month I have had exactly TWO calls that were not robodialed spammers. No family, very few friends, all of whom have been well trained to text or email rather then call.... 

But that's just my reclusive, hermit self....

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On 9/19/2017 at 8:00 AM, Bill Joyce said:

Another tip: My wife found out Office 2007 will be unsupported soon and upgraded to Office 365.  She learned the hard way that Outlook 365 is an internet pig, using over 50MB per hour doing nothing.

Can you explain Office 365 to me, as I have never needed or cared to research it. Why does an Office package use data? Is everything cloud stored? (If so, can't she turn the internet connection off while she is "doing nothing"?)  I have Office 2013 for my spreadsheet and word processing needs and it has no dependence on an internet connection. Apparently 365 does. And again I ask, is she using it on her phone or on a computer? That part of your post just threw me as to why something like Office is using data. I only know Office to be a totally benign kind of app.

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1 minute ago, eddie1261 said:

Can you explain Office 365 to me, as I have never needed or cared to research it. Why does an Office package use data? Is everything cloud stored? (If so, can't she turn the internet connection off while she is "doing nothing"?)  I have Office 2013 for my spreadsheet and word processing needs and it has no dependence on an internet connection. Apparently 365 does. And again I ask, is she using it on her phone or on a computer? That part of your post just threw me as to why something like Office is using data. I only know Office to be a totally benign kind of app.

"Office 365" is the online version of Office.

https://www.office.com

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My wife is using Office 365 on her Windows 10 computer and the entire system is running on her computer, not online.  With no internet access she can still use Word, Excel, Publisher, etc.,  since they run on the computer.  Outlook will run in offline mode, letting her browse the emails stored on her computer and composing email to be sent later.  But, if she runs Outlook while online and it sits there seemingly doing nothing, it uses about 50MB per hour doing who knows what.  She researched online and this is a common complaint about Outlook 365, and Microsoft is not interested in fixing it.  They want you to upgrade your internet equipment and this has been going on since Office 365 was released, so I don't expect a fix.

 

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11 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

"Office 365" is the online version of Office.

https://www.office.com

That is one of the versions for business.  The Home users use Office 365 Home which is the same as Office Professional 2016 with a different licensing plan.  Office Profession has a one-time license.

Office 365 Home is a subscription base license.  You pay either monthly or annually.

For the regular Office 365 Home subscription covers 5 PCs and is a major savings for us.  Not everyone need Office Professional but we do, specifically Outlook and Access.   We would but the old one-time subscriptions about every three years.  At $350 a copy times 3-4 PCs meant an average of #350-$450 a year.  Now we pay $100 a year.

With all that said, unless you are using the On-Line versions of the Office Applications, therein no more internet usage than any other version of the Office PC applications.

Edited by Mark and Dale Bruss

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8 hours ago, Bill Joyce said:

 But, if she runs Outlook while online and it sits there seemingly doing nothing, it uses about 50MB per hour doing who knows what. 

 

That is symptomatic of a mail client that polls for new mail at a given interval. I wonder if that interval is adjustable, or even better set to manual poll only, where it does nothing until she hits send/receive?

Edit: Is this Office365 installation synced to a OneDrive account that is set up to automatically sync?

Edited by eddie1261

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8 hours ago, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

That is one of the versions for business.  The Home users use Office 365 Home which is the same as Office Professional 2016 with a different licensing plan.  Office Profession has a one-time license.

Office 365 Home is a subscription base license.  You pay either monthly or annually.

For the regular Office 365 Home subscription covers 5 PCs and is a major savings for us.  Not everyone need Office Professional but we do, specifically Outlook and Access.   We would but the old one-time subscriptions about every three years.  At $350 a copy times 3-4 PCs meant an average of #350-$450 a year.  No we pay $100 a year.

With all that said, unless you are using the On-Line versions of the Office Applications, therein no more internet usage than any other version of the Office PC applications.

I'll stick with the free LibreOffice, thank you! It does everything I need to do and more, with no data usage beyond update checks when it opens.

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We have only been on the road since Aug, but I still work and internet connectivity is paramout for me as I have to be online M-F during normal business hours. I was so glad before we left that I joined Technomadia and their RVMobileInternet because I learned so much and got the heads up on some great things. First we did manage to get one of the AT&T Homebase with the 250gb for $60/mo and then also got a Mobley device. Those are our only two AT&T devices. We switched our two phones to Verizon and I gave up the 3g mobile hotspot deal and just added the hotspot to our normal phone plan. The kick up to 15gb hotspot was definitely nice there. My wife uses her 15gb for herself and I have the 15gb on my phone and the 15gb on the hotspot both available to me. Finally I had also got a Tmobile Simple Choice 6gb hotpsot before that deal went away so we could easily watch YT, Netflix, etc when we had service and not worry about racking up huge uses on our other plans.  

I had been using the homebase for my job months before  I left so I knew it worked well and amazingly I wasn't even usually going over 50-60gb a month. When we first left we were using the Mobley as our main internet, but then I did find a spot where I got network managed on both the Mobley and the Homebase at the same time and it was a horrible Vzw area, so couldn't fall back on that. I decided to keep the Mobley as a backup to the Homebase since the Mobley has the first 22gb before it get's network managed in case we get to an area I really need to work. I kind of wish I had kept that backup Mobley I sold early on. 

So this month we have relying almost exclusively on the homebase with all my work, streaming music, and even streaming videos a bit and amazingly are just shy of 100gb with 11 days left. I've only used 1.9gb on the Mobley. My wife has pretty much made a habbit of using her Verizon phone for FB surfing and she hotspots it to watch her shows. She's at about 9gb at 10 days in and I've used less than 1gb on my phone so far. So far it's working well for us. I haven't even setup our weboost yet, but I'll get that here soon so we have it when we need it. 

Edited by BlueLghtning

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16 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

That is symptomatic of a mail client that polls for new mail at a given interval. I wonder if that interval is adjustable, or even better set to manual poll only, where it does nothing until she hits send/receive?

Edit: Is this Office365 installation synced to a OneDrive account that is set up to automatically sync?

My wife has the tech chops to chase this down herself.  She spent many years as a C++ developer and is very good with Google searches.  She and others have investigated everything you brought up and more with no resolution of the problem.  

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One Drive usage is not automatic.  But if you turn it on and save your files in One Drive, then the sync process could use bandwidth up to the amount of files you change.

I use One Drive for my One Note files and we don't burn 50 MG an hour.

 

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