As any tech-savvy individual knows, the internet is a series of tubes that sometimes get clogged with minutia, drastically reducing your network’s performance. How do you identify the so-called bandwidth vampires that are sucking up your data plan? Let’s sharpen our stakes and take a stab at them.
10. Other people
Whether it’s a well-meaning houseguest or a parasitic neighbor, other people can drastically bog down your network. Solution: Guard your network against unwanted users with a strong password, or set up a guest network with bandwidth limits.
9. Try-out apps that you forgot to delete
You might have downloaded several similar apps to compare and contrast, or maybe you installed Door Stop to kill some time. For whatever reason, your device is full of novelty or test apps that might still be running processes in the background. Solution: Purge unused files from your device with a maintenance app like Clean Master for Android or Magic Phone Cleaner for iOS.
Image from the Apple Store: Door Stop, By Motion 9 Studios, LLC
8. System updates
To stay in peak form, your device must eventually update. But these overhauls can be massive and regular, as famously demonstrated by Windows 10. Solution: Go into your OS settings and disable automatic system updates so you can manually update when you have the available bandwidth.
Even if you didn’t open any links from that overeager Nigerian prince, you might have still inadvertently downloaded harmful files that continually run in the background and siphon bandwidth. Solution: See #9 for device clean-up. Also, familiarize yourself with common hacker tactics so you can deflect attacks.
6. Cloud storage services
Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and their countless cousins have revolutionized the way we store and share our files. Unfortunately, backing up your precious data also means weighing down your network. Solution: Disable automatic backup of files and limit which files are downloaded locally for offline availability.
5. Your music
Streaming music is a must for the 21st-century citizen, but your network inevitably suffers for it. Solution: Top music platforms allow you to download your most-played music files locally, taking the strain off your bandwidth.
4. Pre-loaded video on social media
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media apps quietly download and cache video content before you even check your feeds. Solution: Access your social media apps’ settings and disable preloading or auto-loading of videos. Snapchat offers a Travel Mode that blocks snaps on the go.
Continuing the theme of video-centric vampires, YouTube brandishes its fangs with HD and 4K content that can use up to 30Mb/s. Solution: Reduce video quality to free up bandwidth.
2. Adult entertainment
Let’s not beat around the bush. Last year, a popular adult site used enough petabytes of data to theoretically wrap USB sticks around the moon’s entire circumference. And as the adult industry invests in 4K and even augmented reality, video will take increasing tolls on your network. Solution: Find a new hobby. Have you considered extreme ironing?
All hail the vampire king! Netflix single-handedly managed to hog 37% of the internet in 2015 and successfully ushered in the age of streaming home cinema. Even as its competitors bloom, Netflix remains a top choice for binge-worthy, bandwidth-hogging video. Solution: As with YouTube or any streaming service, reduce video quality to speed up your network.
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