How Do You Know If Your Bandwidth Is Being Throttled?


Quick Answer

A sudden drop in the speed of your Internet connection when the connection is otherwise working normally is a potential indicator of a throttled connection, but the best way to know if speed issues are due to throttling is to call the provider and ask. Internet service providers throttle the connection speed of heavy users to limit their bandwidth.

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Full Answer

ISPs use two types of throttling to maintain service to all customers. Some providers set a limit for the monthly usage. They then throttle the download speeds of individual users who exceed the limit. Once customers hit the limit, they experience slow speeds for the remainder of the service period. The second method of throttling limits the use of certain customers the provider pinpoints as high bandwidth users when there is a heavy demand on the system. With this type of throttling, connection speeds return to normal as demand drops.

A throttled connection continues to provide the speed required for basic Internet use. When working at throttled speeds, users sometimes encounter problems when streaming video or sharing files with other users. Most providers are unwilling to reverse throttling once a user hits the limit, but some allow subscribers to increase their available bandwidth by paying a higher fee.

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