How to Resolve Bandwidth Hogs?

Mohammed Emran /
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It’s simple, when you pay for Internet service, you expect the best service possible based on what you can afford. That means that your Internet connection should be reliable, your bandwidth ample, and your Mbps count decent. 

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

Because Internet services have gotten more expensive in recent years, because of the added features and quickness, you may encounter unwanted visitors in your network here and then. 

For them, it means they can benefit from your paid connection at no cost. For you, it means slower Internet, an unsecure network, and bandwidth hogs.

It’s not fair, and it shouldn’t happen, but it does. When someone is hogging your bandwidth, users will typically experience delays in connectivity and network activities. 

If you’re planning on binging on all Grey’s Anatomy seasons in one sitting and someone is hogging your bandwidth, your show-binge plan might experience a few delays. 

There are ways of figuring out and resolving bandwidth hogs. That’s the glorious thing about the Internet; there’s always a solution on the next tab. 

Of course it’s frustrating. But it’s nothing you can’t handle. 

Here are some tips to resolve bandwidth hogs and enjoy your Internet experience to the fullest.

What Is Bandwidth in Simple Terms?

In simple terms, bandwidth refers to the amount of data transmitted over an Internet connection at a time. 

Bandwidth is essential to your Internet connection because it determines how much information you can receive at one time. It’s typically measured in Mbps and how much bandwidth you will need entirely depends on your specific uses for the Internet and the amount of users or devices you expect to connect.

It’s important to keep in mind that bandwidth is not the same as Internet speed. While bandwidth focuses more on the data transmitted, speed solely focuses on how quickly that data is transmitted from point A to point B. 

How to Test Your Own Bandwidth

If you feel like your bandwidth is not performing at its fullest, then it may be time to consider testing it to see where it stands.

Measuring your bandwidth will give you a detailed report on current download speeds and their variations at certain times of the day, which can be valuable information in determining whether your bandwidth is being hogged.  

  • Run a Speed Test
    Speed tests are a great and easy way to measure bandwidth at home. There’s no need to download any programs to perform the test and they’re usually available at no cost to the customer. Plenty of websites offer reputable speed tests that can help determine the strength of your bandwidth. The way they work is by downloading and uploading a certain quantity of data and seeing how long your network takes to process it. Be aware that sometimes Internet service providers dislike it when customers perform speed tests because the Internet might not be performing where it’s supposed to. There’s been cases where Internet service providers make it seem like your Internet is performing at a certain Mbps so that you continue your service with them. If you suspect your provider might feel tempted to do this, consider running a private speed test that will prevent your provider from trying to make their service look faster than it really is.
  • Local Network Bandwidth Tests
    These types of tests measure your bandwidth directly. Keep in mind that if you’re running the test at home, it won’t be as accurate as more advanced and detailed tests run by tech support. However, this can give you a basic idea of where your bandwidth performance stance and make changes should you feel the need to do so. You can perform a bandwidth test with a free, online tool. However, the thing with those is that they will use the bandwidth of your Internet connection in the test. It would be better to get an idea of what the bandwidth of your local network is and how it’s performing, which would require a bandwidth tool or software-monitoring service. If you have a Windows computer, going through your system’s Task Manager can facilitate the process—this will give you an insight into basic data about performance and ethernet connection. If you’re looking for something more advanced and detailed, the best recommendation would be to get a tool like PRTG Network Monitor. Not only will this type of tool give you a basic snapshot of your bandwidth performance, but it can also track it over time and compare the results for you, which is a great way to catch bandwidth hogs.

    PRTG Network Monitor also tracks bandwidth performance on multiple devices, not just on one computer, like with the other methods mentioned above. This will give you a better picture of where you’re at with performance and help you decide what steps you should take next. 

What Activities Hog Bandwidth?

Bandwidth hog doesn’t always refer to someone specifically hogging your bandwidth. Most of the time, certain network activities can jeopardize your bandwidth in ways that you didn’t realize. 

Of course, it’s a given that streaming a lot of video will sometimes cause delays and slower Internet speeds that are also sensitive to the number of devices connected at one time. 

However, there are other factors that can affect your bandwidth and make it nearly unusable because of the delays they cause within the network. 

The most common types of activities that hog bandwidth are: 

  • Spam
  • Backup jobs
  • File Sharing

It’s also worth considering any suspicious activity in your devices in case that your system has been compromised by a third party. Cyber attacks and malware are common causes for bandwidth hog and delays slower Internet performance. 

Bandwidth can always be affected by inefficient network infrastructure. But the possibility of someone hacking into your system is also very real when security protocols are not up to date or in place. 

How to Find Bandwidth Hogs on Your Network

A bandwidth hog typically happens when the network gets overcrowded with a lot of traffic and it creates a delay in network activities. 

For example, sites like Netflix and YouTube are known hoggers of bandwidth because they impact network performance and effectiveness.

When a bandwidth hog happens, you may experience network crashes that completely disable any activity on your device. They can also create limitations with productivity because your Internet connection becomes unreliable and there’s an increase in network latency.

  1. Start With Your Router
    If you’re suspecting that there are bandwidth hogs happening, the first thing you need to do is check your router. This is especially true if you have an extensive network with a lot of devices connected at one time. You can access your router’s activities through a webpage that will prompt you to input your personal login information. Once you’re logged in, you can track all the activity your router is processing. Within the settings of your router, you will see all the devices connected and catch anything that might seem suspicious in your network. You can also set up alerts for bandwidth usage and see detailed reports for bandwidth quotas and download speeds for all connected devices.
  2. Bandwidth Monitoring
    It’s never a bad idea to have some type of monitoring going in your network and devices. Monitoring your bandwidth is a way of detecting any suspicious activity and to better understand bandwidth consumption and consider the possibility of a bandwidth upgrade. Remember, bandwidth productivity is largely based on the amounts of users and devices connected at one time and how your bandwidth may consume inappropriately large amounts of data that are incapable to process at a desired speed. By implementing monitoring on your bandwidth, you can determine what are the best browsing habits for your household and whether any changes need to be made.
  3. Remove Malware and Viruses
    This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Although you might already have security protocols in place that should be more than capable to protect you from cyber attacks, there’s always a chance that your bandwidth is underperforming because of the presence of malware. Malware causes issues with bandwidth and Internet delays, as it usually consumes system resources and creates an increase in data transfers and bandwidth usage. Remember, malware can be installed on your computer inconspicuously and quietly. Something like clicking on a random link or browsing through unsecure websites can put you at risk of getting infected and causing problems with bandwidth hogs. As for removing the actual malware, you can always try to do it yourself with the help of software that can get rid of it for you, or in extreme cases, you can take it to your tech support and have them clean your network and make it as good as new. 

Having to deal with bandwidth hogs is less than ideal. No one wants to resolve issues with latency, cyber security, or unproductive networks unable to withstand data transfers and online activities. 

However, despite the headache, resolving bandwidth hogs is a straightforward process. If you suspect your bandwidth is being overworked, never miss the chance to look more into it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.