Before telling you about the reasons for the internet being throttled you should know about throttling so let’s talk about this first:
What is throttling?
Throttling is when your Internet Service Provider (ISP) intentionally limits your internet connection’s speed it is also known as bandwidth throttling or internet throttling. This happens because ISPs want to make sure you don’t go over your monthly data usage. They do this by slowing down your connection to prevent you from downloading too much content, controlling your internet traffic, and also to clear up network congestion. You might notice this when you’re watching videos online. If your provider slows down your connection, you’ll experience slower speeds while browsing.
The problem is that many people aren’t aware that they’re being throttled. In fact, most customers won’t even know what throttling is. So how does your ISP limit your bandwidth without telling you? There are a few ways.
First, some providers throttle based on usage. For example, Comcast blocks BitTorrent traffic. Other ISPs block P2P traffic altogether.
Second, your ISP could slow down connections to certain sites. For instance, Verizon blocks access to adult content.
Third, your ISP could use deep packet inspection (DPI). DPI technology inspects every single byte of data traveling across the network. Your ISP uses this information to determine whether or not you’ve exceeded your monthly data cap.
Finally, your ISP could just outright ban certain types of applications, like video games.
Why Do ISPs Throttle?
ISPs throttle for a variety of reasons. Some do it because you’re constantly hitting their bandwidth limits. Others do it to protect their customers’ privacy. Still, others throttle to prevent piracy. And some just want to make money off of you.
The most common reason for throttling is overuse. If Internet users access the same websites, they might be reaching their ISP’s bandwidth limit. To avoid being disconnected, you’ll need to find ways to cut down on how much data you access online.
If you’re using public Wi-Fi, consider getting a VPN. With a VPN, your traffic will go through another server, making sure no one tracks what you’re doing online.
Another popular reason for throttling is to protect customer privacy. ISPs like Comcast and AT&T collect information about their customers. They know where you live, what devices you use, and what apps you download. By blocking certain types of content, they keep that information away from prying eyes.
Finally, there are those who believe that piracy hurts their bottom line. Many ISPs don’t want to lose money by giving free Internet access to people who illegally stream movies and TV shows. So, they take steps to prevent it.
Is Internet Throttling Legal?
In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to approve net neutrality regulations. Those rules included prohibiting internet providers from blocking access to specific sites or slowing down traffic from certain websites. They also required broadband companies to disclose how much bandwidth they’re consuming and what percentage of it goes toward delivering webpages versus videos and other types of data.
The decision was met with outrage across the industry, including from Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Charter, which argued that the rules weren’t necessary. A few months later, the Trump administration overturned the FCC’s decision.
But now, the issue isn’t whether or not throttling is legal, it’s whether or not it’s ethical. As we mentioned earlier, some states like California ban the practice altogether. And while there are no laws against throttling at the national level, the FCC says it doesn’t want to see it happen.
So why do people think throttling is still happening? Because many consumers don’t know about it. For example, according to a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports, nearly half of Americans didn’t realize that their ISP might be throttling their connection.
How To Tell If Your Internet is Being Throttled
If you’re getting slow internet speeds, it could be because your ISP limits your internet bandwidth. ISPs are allowed to throttle connections under certain circumstances, like during peak hours, but many people don’t realize that they do it anyway. You can test whether your ISP is throttling you by checking your speed against what others report.
1. Check Internet Speed
Testing your Internet speed tells you whether you are getting the speed of your internet plan. If you want to know how fast your internet connection is, there are many ways to do it. You could manually check your router settings, but why bother? Instead, use a free online speed test. These tools allow you to measure your connection speed against others around the world. For example, Google’s Speedtest feature allows you to see how fast your connection is compared to those of people in New York City, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Sydney, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taipei.
The most accurate way to determine your internet speed is to connect to a wired network. A wired connection uses cables to transfer data over long distances, whereas wireless networks rely on radio waves to transmit data. Wireless connections don’t always provide the fastest speeds because they require additional hardware to work properly. However, they aren’t subject to interference, which makes them ideal for home use.
If you’re trying to figure out what speed you’re paying for, it’s important to understand the difference between download and upload speeds. The download refers to the amount of data transferred to your computer, while upload refers to the amount of traffic sent from your computer to the server. Most providers advertise both download and upload speeds separately, but some offer combined downloads and uploads.
One thing to keep in mind is that your connection speed depends on several factors, including your ISP, the distance between you and the closest node, and the number of devices sharing the same bandwidth. To make sure you’re receiving the best possible speed, consider upgrading your modem or router.
Google’s Measurement Lab:
Google’s Measurement Lab offers another way to test your internet speed. Once you’ve logged into your account, you’ll find a link under “My Activity.” Clicking on that link will take you directly to a page where you can enter your location and device type. After entering your information, you’ll receive a report showing your download and upload speeds, latency, packet loss, and jitter. This tool requires you to log out of your Google Account when you finish using it.
You can also use apps such as Speakeasy to measure your internet speed. In addition to providing a visual representation of your connection, the app provides tips on improving your connection quality.
2. Scan Ports
A port scan is a way to find out what programs are running on your computer. This includes checking whether there are any open ports — places where your computer can connect to others over the internet. Port scanners help identify which ports are open and closed. They can tell you how many connections are being made to each port and whether those connections are being slowed down by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
You can run a port scan yourself, but it’s easier to do it via a free tool called Nmap.
After downloading the software, simply type in the URL of the site you want to scan for open ports. The results show you every active TCP and UDP connection on the server, including the IP address and port number.
If you notice anything suspicious, such as high traffic volumes or slow speeds, you can investigate further by contacting the webmaster.
3. Compare Your Internet Speed With a VPN
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are great tools for protecting your privacy while browsing the web and preventing your internet service provider from monitoring your online activities and also encrypts your online activity. They’re used by people who want to access geo-blocked sites, avoid censorship, and protect themselves against hackers. There are many different types of VPN, each offering varying levels of security and features. In addition to hiding your IP address, a VPN can help you bypass geographic restrictions, unblock websites, and even hide your identity online.
Speed tests show that some VPNs can cause slower speeds on the internet. This isn’t necessarily a problem, however, since most providers offer unlimited plans. To see how much faster your internet speed is with a VPN, we compared the performance of our test devices without one enabled vs. with a VPN activated. We found that most VPNs don’t affect your overall speed, but they do make things slightly slower. But if your VPN is showing faster speeds as compared to the usual speed you get you are probably being throttled.
How To Stop ISP Throttling
If you’re concerned about being throttled by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), there are ways around it. You just have to know what you’re doing. In our guide, we’ll show you how to find out whether your ISP is throttling your connection and how to stop it.
The first thing you need to do is figure out whether your ISP is actually throttling your connection. To check, go to speedtest.net and run a test. This will tell you exactly what type of connection you have, along with information like latency, upload speeds, download speeds, ping times, etc.
Next, look up your ISP’s policies regarding throttling. Some ISPs throttle connections based on usage patterns, while others throttle connections regardless of usage. Make note of your limits, and make sure to check again once you’ve exceeded those limits.
Now that you know whether your ISP is throttling your connection, let’s talk about how to stop it. First off, you should always use a VPN to protect yourself against ISP throttling. A VPN encrypts your data and takes it somewhere else where it won’t be slowed down. There are plenty of free options, including PrivateInternetAccess, IPVanish, NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and many more.
You might not want to use a VPN though, especially if you’re not worried about privacy. But even if you are okay with giving away your personal info, there are still things you can do to prevent your ISP from throttling your connection. For example, you could change DNS servers to ones outside of your home network. Or you could set up OpenDNS on your router. These are both easy fixes, and they won’t require much effort on your part.
So, no matter why you care about protecting your online freedom, there are ways to stop ISP throttling.