How To Identify & Bypass Throttling By ISP

November 12, 2019 by Zehra Ali

Did you know that the Internet is used by over millions of users everyday? Internet has changed the way we get information and entertainment. However, some organizations such as the ISPs do not look at it that way.

In order to increase their monetary gains, ISPs deceive consumers by deliberately slowing down internet speeds. The process is known as throttling.

Here’s how throttling affects a regular internet user.

  • Buffering while streaming videos or low-quality video streams.
  • Latency issues while gaming that results in excessive lag.
  • Slow download and upload speeds, especially on a peer-to-peer network.

If you’re experiencing slower speeds on the aforementioned services then you should opt to bypass throttling.

In this guide you’ll be learning the ins and outs of throttling, starting from scratch.

What is Throttling?

Throttling is referred to as the intentional intrusion in the internet connection. ISPs are the perpetrators behind the intrusion. When throttling occurs, it’s usually in the form of slow internet speeds.

Throttling affects activities that consume higher bandwidth and uses a lot of resources on the ISP’s end. For instance, a person who is surfing the internet and another person who’s downloading a file. The probability of internet throttling occurring is higher for the second person.

Here are all the online activities that trigger throttling and ruins your overall internet experience:

  • Streaming digital content over the internet.
  • Downloading files through the peer-to-peer network infrastructure.

How does throttling work?

In order to keep loads balanced on the back-end infrastructure, ISPs throttle the internet connection. However, there are certain routes ISPs take to avoid throttling detection by consumers.

ISPs have special filters that were developed for the sole purpose of monitoring user activities. These well-developed filters are responsible to divide the traffic into two sub-categories.

Category 1: The normal category that doesn’t have to be hindered by throttling.

This includes the normal things that you do on the Internet. For example, reading blog-posts, researching, and whatnot.

Category 2: It consists of all the applications or activities that suck up more resources from the ISP’s back-end.

Which means digital streaming websites and P2P network is already blacklisted. It only needs confirmation from the users’ end to execute the throttling process.

Why do ISPs and Mobile Carrier’s throttle internet?

Internet service providers are not the only organization that indulges in Internet throttling. Mobile Carrier companies such as Verizon, T-Mobile are also the perpetrators behind throttling internet connections.

When a lot of people are requesting the same website or content at the same time. There’s a high chance of network congestion occurring on an ISP’s server. When this happens, the process of throttling initiates.

To provide consumers content with no delays or slow speeds. Organizations such as the ISP and Carriers throttle internet by specifically targeting Internet users that consume high bandwidth. While keeping one-half of the users happy, companies ruin the experience of majority of internet users.

Which ISPs and Mobile Carriers that throttle the internet?

Ever since net-neutrality was struck down by the courts, there was no supervising authority for internet service providers. As a result, these organizations had full authority to abuse their power without any sort of consequences.

Furthermore, the most prominent organizations that throttle internet connection are as follows:

  • Comcast (Since 2007, they’re known to throttle BitTorrent traffic)
  • Spectrum (They went to court because they failed to deliver the speeds that were promised)
  • Verizon (Verizon throttles just about everyone for monetary gain, they throttled a fire-department)
  • T-Mobile (T-Mobile throttles internet connection to “not ruin” the experience of other users)
  • AT&T (AT&T and T-Mobile are involved in throttling internet speeds for video streaming services)

Another point to note is that the companies have made it clear in their terms and services that they’ll be throttling internet connections either way. Which means lawsuits against them won’t hold their ground in court, it’ll be your fault for not going through the TOS.

How to detect throttling

By now you’re aware that ISPs are deliberately slowing down your internet speeds. There are different ways to gain immunity from throttling. However, it is important to determine that the problem is indeed Throttling.

Organizations like Comcast and other companies are known to use Sandvine congestion-management software to continue with their process of throttling. Speed-test won’t help in this regard.

Why Speed Test isn’t effective in this scenario?

Most people just assume that by re-calibrating a speed test will help them figure out throttling. Well, let’s just say the ISP saw it coming from a mile away.

Remember those special filters that we talked about earlier? They target specific protocols which means only some of those services will be affected.

So speed-test is not effective, you want to know what actual speed you’re getting, since it doesn’t check protocol (services).

In order to really figure out you’re being throttled, we’ll have to bring out the big-guns or should I say tools?

Tools to detect Internet Throttling

If you’ve made it this far, kudos to you. The following section and the one afterward are the two core pillars that will help you get rid of this problem for good.

There are a number of tools available online. The tool, also known as the Glasnost Project was one of the best but it got discontinued. However, there are plenty of other tools similar to Glasnost that can help you detect throttling.

Internet Health Test

Folks at FightForTheFuture developed Internet Health Test for free. The main purpose of the tool was to make people figure out if throttling occurs on their connection.

The tool tests out the internet connection speeds on different servers and services. However, it can’t really target specific protocol-based services such as streaming videos, P2P, etc.

A pro tip, if there’s a huge difference b/w your connection speeds, there’s no doubt that you’re a victim of throttling.

Google Video Quality Report

Google Video Quality Report tool gives you information about your connection the Google’s streaming servers for YouTube. Sometimes when you’re having a blast watching videos on YouTube and suddenly the video resolution just goes down. It’s probably due to throttling.

However, to confirm that you can head on to the tool listed above and test out if you’re a connection is fast enough to support the resolution. If you’re paying for a fast connection and not getting the same speeds, you’re another victim of internet throttling.

Use a VPN: The best remedy to Bypass throttling

In order to get on with throttling, ISPs divide your Internet traffic into two major streams. One’s the throttled stream, the other isn’t throttled.

If somehow it was possible to prevent the ISP from dividing your traffic. This is where a VPN comes in a clutch. VPN uses end-to-end encryption to hide all your internet traffic.

Since internet traffic is encrypted, ISPs can’t move forward with the division leaving your internet browsing experience intact. For your convenience, we’ve short-listed the best secure and fastest VPNs for you after rigorous testing:

  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • Private Internet Access VPN

Can a VPN be the Solution?

There are countless compelling reasons as to why you should opt for a VPN. However, the most important one solution for every problem that persists on the Internet.

With the number of features a VPN offers, netizens can easily solve almost every problem they’ll face on the internet which includes:

  • Privacy and security issues.
  • Content censorship and geo-blocking issues.
  • It helps bypass issues related to Torrenting.

Conclusion

Nobody wants to wait for hours to download and browse through content. With the introduction of Internet, access to information and entertainment was made easier. However, the greed of ISPs turned it into a wealthy monopoly.

Throttling is still an active issue that’ll continue to rise unless the people take the proper countermeasures against it. Using either of the methods above will grant you immunity from the throttling problem.

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