The internet is an essential part of life, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to depend on it more than ever. Whether it’s in getting the information we need, entertainment, communicating with our friends and family, or even in how we use it to purchase products and run businesses, the internet has become a mainstay in our lives. Most modern-day households are now connected to the internet, and almost all businesses have an internet connection.
With this much demand, there’s always the risk that some providers may attempt to hoodwink their clients. Here are a few ways to see if your internet service providers is doing right by you:
Why Do ISPs Throttle Bandwidth?
There are legitimate reasons for why bandwidth gets throttled, and then there are abusive reasons. One of the legitimate reasons is a contract clause that allows the ISPs to throttle your bandwidth once a particular data cap has been reached. Your ISP may also throttle your bandwidth depending on your usage and due to activity that uses a high level of bandwidth, such as downloading a P2P file. While it’s true that net neutrality law prevents ISPs from doing this, there have been confirmed reports of ISPs doing it anyway.
Finally, ISPs my throttle bandwidth in order to influence a user’s choice of services. For example, if your ISP has partnered up with Amazon, they may throttle internet speeds or even restrict access to other eCommerce websites besides Amazon, which might prompt you to use Amazon exclusively. Some ISPs may even limit your bandwidth when you browse a particular section of the internet. Your ISP would then charge you for a higher price in order for you to be given access to other areas of the internet.
How Do I Know If My Internet Is Being Throttled?
The simplest way of finding out if your internet is being throttled is to perform a speed test and check if you’re getting the speeds that you’re paying for. The problem is that ISPs are able to detect when a user is performing a speed test and they simply cease throttling your connection during the duration of the test.
You can counteract this through the use of a virtual private network, or VPN, which masks your internet activity and location, or you may also opt to use one of many network monitoring tools. The latter option is best for those who maintain large networks, as is the case with IT infrastructure. Alternatively, you might want to consult this list of the best wifi analyzers for Macs to ensure that the problem doesn’t lie with your wifi connection.
Good internet doesn’t come cheap. The importance of the internet cannot be overemphasized during these difficult times. This is especially true when we consider the many things we use the internet for, and at a time when finances are tighter than ever, it’s best to ensure that you get your money’s worth.