Gamers must’ve heard about throttling. It’s when an internet service provider is limiting your speed when you’re performing bandwidth-demanding activities. For example, you can experience it during gaming or streaming.
Is it legal and how to fix throttling? We will figure it out in our article.
How to understand an ISP is throttling you?
There is a difference between a vendor throttling you and just being unable to provide its clients with decent connection speeds. If the latter is the case, the speed will be low even when you’re casually browsing the internet, and the connection will get interrupted frequently.
And here are signs of throttling:
- You can predict when the speed will be slow because it happens during peak hours — workday or evening when everyone is home, weekends.
- It’s just a game or a stream that lags. If you experience high pings in your online game or videos are buffering slowly, but otherwise the speed is fine even when you test it with special tools, you’re throttled.
- Very slow downloading. This is similar to the previous sign. If downloading large files takes ages while otherwise the internet connection is fine, quite likely you’re throttled.
Why do providers do it?
Well, everything always comes down to money. An internet service provider limits the bandwidth for certain activities or during specific hours to save their resources and have an opportunity to take in more clients without expanding their hardware.
In some way, there is some sense in throttling — some users tend to exceed the data limits set for an average customer leaving other users with lower bandwidth. But that’s a weak reason because you’re paying for a certain level of service. Throttling is especially vile when an internet service provider offers upgraded pricing plans that offer higher bandwidth for a higher cost yet still cuts speed for high-bandwidth activities.
Is it legal to throttle?
There is no law that would forbid that. If you didn’t sign the agreement that would state the quality of service an ISP undertakes to provide, it will be hard to begin legal mitigations. And even if you did sign such an agreement, it’s almost impossible to capture the evidence of throttling. While your game lags, speed tests will show that your connection speed is fine.
Sometimes, an internet service provider might throttle some users when they’re performing suspicious activities online — remember that your vendor can see what you do. But more often, providers would use some kind of a list with shady websites and block them for all customers.
What to do if you’re being throttled?
The most intuitive solution would be to switch to another internet service provider. But will there be a guarantee that it won’t throttle you just like the old vendor?
Another way around is a VPN app. Since a provider cuts your bandwidth when it detects a certain type of activity, we need to hide our actions. And iNinja can do that perfectly. It’s a free VPN app for Windows and Mac, and you can also get iNinja VPN for Android and iOS. This tool doesn’t cut your speed while covering your IP address and thus activity from the internet service provider. The vendor will likely notice that someone uses a lot of bandwidth, but it won’t be able to understand who exactly that is.
So try turning on iNinja every time you play online or stream. Choose the location that is closest to yours so that the signal doesn’t have to travel across the globe, and you’ll enjoy a stable connection and speed. Additionally, iNinja VPN will protect you from prying eyes, hackers, and angry teammates why might have malicious intentions. You can use this tool to stay safe when connected to public wireless networks, too.
What are other ways to increase internet speed?
If you’re using a WiFi network when playing, remember that a router shares bandwidth between all devices connected to it. For example, if your pricing plan provides you with 100 Mbps, and you have two devices connected to the WiFi simultaneously, each will receive roughly 50 Mbps of bandwidth. And if there are more devices connected, the speed will be divided between them — thus every user will have a slower connection.
So what you can do is to either disconnect all other devices from the network to provide your computer with full bandwidth or simply connect the internet cable directly to your PC — in this case, the speed will be even higher than through a router. If it’s impossible to disconnect other devices, check if your internet service provider offers pricing plans with higher bandwidth. And before switching to a new plan check if your router supports the bandwidth offered by the vendor.
Another reason for slower speed could be that the signal of your router is interrupted either by walls or by some other appliances. In this case, you can move the router closer to your computer or buy a WiFi extender that will retranslate the signal. And if your router supports the 5 GHz band — switch to it because it can offer a higher speed. But remember that this band provides less coverage and doesn’t penetrate walls as good as the 2.4 GHz band does.
Finally, you can try turning off all other programs that use an internet connection to provide the game or the streaming service with all the resources you have. Sometimes a torrent client we forgot about eats up all the bandwidth making us get frustrated with high pings in the game.