Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Calvin C.
ISP bandwidth throttling is intentional slowing of available bandwidth or “speed” of an internet connection by an ISP (Internet Service Provider). How do you stop ISP from throttling bandwidth?
Reasons for ISP throttling of bandwidth
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that is transmitted over an internet connection per unit time.
This means the higher the bandwidth, more data is transmitted at any given time and that is perceived as a faster internet connection.
On the other hand, a lower bandwidth means the internet connection is slow. This is a case where it takes ages to load a web page or when you play an online game and it freezes frequently due to a poor connection.
ISPs have their reasons for throttling bandwidth and some of them include the following:
1. To force users to upgrade plans
Usually, packages that are offered by an ISP vary depending on bandwidth.
Cheaper packages usually have lower bandwidth while more expensive packages have higher bandwidth.
For example, capped Wibroniks ZOL packages have up to 10MBps download speed while the uncapped, more expensive package has up to 15MBps download speed.
Therefore if you engage in bandwidth-intensive online activities, you upgrade your plan to avoid frustrations.
2. To reduce volume of data processed
Sometimes your ISP throttles bandwidth during peak period so that they are not overwhelmed by the amount of data they have to handle.
That way costs are saved in getting new equipment to handle more traffic.
There are fewer chances of overloading servers as clients have to be content with a slower internet connection.
3. If your connection is using a lot of bandwidth
Your ISP can target specific connections that are using a lot of bandwidth, for example, downloading huge files from P2P sites, streaming HD movies or games.
Internet connections to sites like Netflix, torrent sites or gaming sites are usually slowed down by the ISP.
- VPN traffic is encrypted so your ISP cannot see the sites you visit.
4. When you have reached your limit
While ISPs may indicate that a particular plan has unlimited data, it may not be the case if you engage in bandwidth-intensive online activities and burn through the data plan very fast.
One way to moderate your usage of such a plan is to throttle your bandwidth, although this is controversial.
In the end, an unlimited plan is not exactly “unlimited.”
5. Blacklisted activities
Your ISP can throttle your bandwidth if you visit sites that are blacklisted or illegal.
How do I tell if bandwidth is throttled?
One way to check if an ISP has throttled your bandwidth is to carry out an internet speed test throughout the month.
You may notice speeds dropping significantly towards the end of the month when you are approaching your limit.
In some cases, a speed test carried out when you are using bandwidth-intensive sites may also show a reduced internet speed as opposed to regular sites, confirming that your ISP has limited the bandwidth.
In not-so-obvious cases, you run a speed test then run it again, but this time with a reliable VPN.
If you see higher speeds with a VPN, it means your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, as long as you use a fast VPN.
- Our overall best VPN is NordVPN
- 68% off a 2-year plan
- Fast internet connection
- Plenty of security features
How do I stop ISP from throttling bandwidth?
Use a premium VPN
The best VPN that we recommend is no doubt NordVPN because in addition to encrypting your traffic, there are numerous other security features, some mentioned above.
You can learn more about other VPN services in another section, but we have done the homework for you.
Once your traffic is encrypted, you can visit sites like Netflix or torrenting sites without drawing your ISP’s attention.
All that the ISP sees is a stream of encrypted data and that gives you privacy.
That way, an endless Netflix binge only appears as normal internet browsing to the ISP.
I hope the definition of bandwidth throttling is now clear.
A VPN has many other benefits in addition to preventing bandwidth throttling.
Make sure you pick the right VPN because any low-quality VPN will make your connection worse.
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Stay safe on the internet and please warn your elderly relatives against answering calls from fake tech support.