What is Bandwidth Throttling, & How Does My ISP Do It?

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What is Bandwidth Throttling, & How Does My ISP Do It?

Bandwidth. You may have heard the term when discussing connection speeds or Internet quota, but you are unclear with what exactly it is.

Internet bandwidth in fact refers to the amount of data that can be transferred over your connection and is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).

Internet Service Providers (ISP) like TM may offer unlimited download volumes, however charge according to your corresponding bandwidth (eg. 10 Mbps, 30 Mbps, 50 Mbps and so forth). A higher bps bandwidth will translate into faster Internet connections because it will be able to transfer greater data to flow through it.

Take for example a house’s water supply. While the volume of water supply to a house might be unlimited, if everyone in the household were to be running the washing machine, washing the car, soaking in the bathtub, operating the dishwasher all the while with the water sprinklers on, you may find that the water pressure in the house will drop, and the speed of the water through each hose becomes slower.



Bandwidth throttling is when your ISP limits how fast you can access something while you are online. But why would your ISP want to throttle it?

A common reason that some of you might be familiar with why ISPs throttle bandwidth, is that a user has overpassed their data cap.

Additionally, to encourage users to use the Internet during off-peak times of the day, ISPs might throttle bandwidth during peak hours of the day to reduce network crowding. This in turn saves the company the costs of buying faster equipment needed to handle high traffic volume.

If your ISP notices a particular user consuming a great deal of bandwidth, they will check what kind of traffic is coming from the device. They will be on the lookout for traffic data such as Netflix streaming or BitTorrent which is known to congest the network for other users and throttle such traffic.


If you would like to know if it is possible to bypass your Internet quota using a VPN, read also ‘Can Using a VPN Bypass Internet Quota?’.

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