What takes up most of your network capacity? Video streaming! With sites like Youtube and Netflix becoming the normal, there is a good chance that most of your monthly usage is being consumed by streaming. Most streaming sites will detect your connection speed and automatically adjust your video quality to match, this means the site (or app) will try and use as much of the bandwidth you have available. This will not only eat away at your monthly gigabyte (GB) limits, but also affect the connection for anyone else using it.
By adjusting your quality settings prior to viewing you will be able to watch significantly more content for the same number of GBs. Here are a couple of screenshots showing where to find these settings for both Netflix and YouTube.
Almost everyone uses Facebook, and many of us spend a large amount of time browsing through our news feeds. Unless you’re watching videos or viewing LOTS of photos it is generally usage friendly. Below are a couple of important settings that you can change that will help to conserve your data each month.
By default, Facebook will automatically start buffering videos in your feed, even if you don’t click on them. While this can be a great feature if you actually plan on viewing them, it can also be quite wasteful since it consumes your usage even if you don’t hit the play button!
To turn this feature off you will need to sign into your Facebook account and go to the “Settings” section in the top right. Next, click on the “Video” tab located on the left hand side of the screen. Once the page loads, locate the “Auto-Play Videos” setting and change it to “Off”. You can save even MORE usage if you change the “Video Default Quality” setting on this same page to “SD Only”. The video won’t look quite as nice, but the usage savings will be significant.
Device Software Auto Updates and Tips
Whether it’s an iPad, an android device (phone or tablet), or a Windows computer, these devices will often choose to automatically update themselves whenever they have a connection to the internet. These updates will often take place without prompting you for permission and in the background.
Remember that when you click the “off” button on your device to turn the screen off, the device stays connected to the network it was on and continues to download in this mode. A lot of people think that when the screen is off the device is too, and therefore it is not using the internet. That is not the case, it is still downloading updates and whatnot, meaning it is still using the internet. The only way to stop this from happening is to turn the device to airplane mode and turn off its network connection.
Also location services on these devices eat up bandwidth as they are constantly transferring data to update where they are on various programs. It might be best to turn off location services while home in order to save on bandwidth (it will also save on your battery life of these devices).
Windows 10. The newest version of windows has a feature that will not only download new updates in the background, but will actually apply your usage to upload these updates to other people on the Internet! To turn this feature off, go to your “Settings App” on the Windows 10 computer, select “Update and Security”, then “Advanced Options” and finally choose “Delivery Optimization”. Once the page has loaded, make sure that “Allow downloads from other PC’s” is set to “PCs on my local network”. This will also ensure that your GBs are not being used to upload data to the Internet at large, while still giving other computers on your home network the ability to share updates between themselves.
Apple & Android Phones/Tablets. Setting these types of devices so that they download updates only after you’ve given permission will allow you to control what apps get updated and which do not, saving on your bandwidth. The location to turn off auto-updates for the types of devices is shown in the screenshots to the right.
On most Android devices, open the Play store, go to your Settings and set it to not auto-update apps.
On an Apple device you will need to go to Settings and then iTunes and App Store.
When streaming music or local radio, select “low quality” stream instead of “high quality”. On a good sound system a128kbps audio stream will sound about the same 320kbps. So when using computer speakers, a lower bit rate, even 96kbps or even 64kbps, will work just fine and should still have good sound quality.
Video chat applications like Skype and Facetime use a lot of data, because you are constantly uploading and downloading video and audio in each session. Be aware that if you make very long calls, you will consume usage faster than you may wish.
Dropbox is a great tool but, like many other Cloud services, it is far from ideal on a satellite infrastructure. There is one golden rule to using Dropbox and it is to always keep your files in the Dropbox folder even when you work on them. You should not move files in and out of the folder to work on them. Dropbox is a smart little guy and when you modify a file and save it, it will look for the differences and update only that part of the file, instead of re-uploading the whole file. This will result in less outbound traffic on the satellite and faster sync times on your end.
In your Dropbox settings, you should also disable the “LAN Sync” function. This will result in fewer broadcasts on the network and help preserve good service for the rest of your community.
Using Peer-to-Peer on a satellite-based service with limited bandwidth is never a good idea because it uses a lot of sessions/connections and can quickly saturate the Tamaani network. That being said, if you really must use Peer-To-Peer, there are a few guidelines that can make it work better for you while at the same time preserving good service for the rest of the your community. Here they are:
Limit how much and how fast you share. This will keep the upload capacity available for others without penalizing your download speed. The first thing is to set a maximum upload speed. We suggest a maximum of 5kB/s for the upload. Then, you need to limit your share ration to 0.25. This means that, if you get a file of 100 Mb, you will only give back 25Mb to other peers.
Limit the amount of open sessions/connections you authorize. While this will limit the amount of sources you are using simultaneously to get your file, a good P2P client will try to give you the best performing sources. In the end, therefore, the download time will balance out. We suggest a global limit of 75 sessions/connections and a limit of 25 sessions/connections per active download. You should also limit your active transfers to 4 and your active downloads to between 1 and 3.