Understanding your Broadband Data Consumption

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It is important to understand how much data you are using if you have a limit to the package you are on. There are many packages these days that offer unlimited broadband. However, many come with 20 gigabytes, 40 gigabytes, 100 gigabytes, or another amount of data. Mobile broadband frequently comes with much less, and pay as you go normally tops out at below 10 gigabytes per month. Understanding how much data usage you utilize becomes more important as the amount of data availability you have decreases

Monitor your usage

It is important to monitor how much you use. Mobile broadband providers normally have an interface through which you can se how much data you have used and how much you have left. Keep your eye on it so that you do not run out and end up being  stuck without internet. Similarly, home broadband provides an interface, normally web-based, through which you can understand the pattern of your usage.

How much internet do different activities consume?

Here is the low down on average consumption that different activities will utilize on your laptop, phone, or tablet.

Web browsing

Normal web browsing consumes around 20 megabytes of data per hour. If you are downloading files, watching videos, and listening to audio, this could be a lot more though.

Music video

Streaming low quality music videos consumes around 40 megabytes each. Obviously, longer videos will take a lot more.  A high quality single video tends to consume around 200 megabytes of data.

Online games

There are many online games nowadays that work online and interact with the cloud. Some of the leading ones are World of War Craft, Battlefield, and Call of Duty. These tend to consume around 50 megabytes of data per hour, and then you need to factor in software patches and updates on top of this.

Online radio

Listening to a single hour of online radio will normally consume around 6 megabytes of data.

Streamed video

Standard quality video will normally take around 500 megabytes of your data allowance in an hour. If you are streaming high quality, high definition video, this will be up to around 1,500 megabytes, or 1.5 gigabytes per hour. Generally, watching video is the highest intensity activity.


Emails tend to be small and they come in kilobytes not megabytes; 300 emails tend to use 2 megabytes. If you add attachments, spam, and other email profiles, you are probably looking at around 6 megabytes per 300 emails. Of course, if you are receiving pictures, architectural drawings, or another type of large file, you can up this significantly.

So, there you have it, some of the average data consumption levels. With limited broadband it is important that you do not kill your allowance very quickly. If you had a 3 gigabyte allowance on your mobile broadband and you watch 2 hours of high definition streamed video, you could well use up the full allowance in those 2 hours. With mobile broadband being particularly expensive, it could be the case that you could have taken your partner to the cinema for the price of streaming that single movie.

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Sam Jones has 110 articles online

Sam Jones advises everyone to go for unlimited broadband if they possibly can. Even if money is short he thinks it is worth it.

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Understanding your Broadband Data Consumption

This article was published on 2013/03/18