Managing your gigs…

Baby using computersManaging your gigs…

One of the biggest challenges facing families and businesses today is data usage. At home and on the road we’re chewing through higher-quality content more and more every day. This in-turn uses more bandwidth and puts us at risk of service shaping, or worse: excess usage charges and bill shock.

So where exactly is our data coming from? Why are we using so much? We never used to hit our limit – why have we started hitting it all of a sudden?

Up until about 5 years ago, the single biggest source of bandwidth consumption was peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic, or file sharing. With the advent of Napster, Limewire, and other popular P2P applications, music and video content was flying around the world at unprecedented levels. However, while P2P continues to be one of the biggest factors, the majority of bandwidth these days is consumed by streaming media. YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and other video streaming services now account for roughly 50% of all internet traffic worldwide, and this traffic is putting massive strain on ISP networks everywhere. Facebook video is also climbing rapidly, and users will often notice videos automatically playing while scrolling through their news feeds – even if they didn’t ask for it! This is using more of their data as well.  

Gamers have often received a bad rap in their households as it’s often thought that games consume high amounts of bandwidth, but this is not always the case. The nice thing about games is that all the video content is local to the console or PC, so the only traffic is the bits of code which relay information about other players’ locations and movements in the game. For parents especially, your best defence against over-usage is always going to be vigilance. Be aware of the types of content being consumed in your home, and take steps to manage your family’s usage.





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Photo by Paul Inkles