ISPs use different techniques to control connection speeds, which includes boosting and throttling them whenever necessary. There are numerous factors that contribute to this, covering the likes of your profile as a consumer, bandwidth being limited to serve the local share of everyone at peak hours, and more. This is one of the main disadvantages of having your traffic exposed to ISPs, since not only can they spy on what you’re doing but it allows them to see exactly when throttling is most worthwhile. Fortunately, VPNs are able to hide you from ISPs and help to prevent further throttling in the future.
Bandwidth and Throttling Techniques
Online streaming is one of the activities that requires the most bandwidth so if you’re an avid fan of watching video content, then it’s likely that your consumer ‘profile’ reflects this. Regardless of how much bandwidth you’re entitled to, ISPs build your consumer profile based on which sites you visit, how much time you spend on them, and how much bandwidth is used at certain times of the day. A good example of personal throttling is, for instance, someone with a job from 9am to 6pm who only has the time for some online streaming during the evening. Their profile will reflect this, with higher bandwidth consumption at these times, maybe even surpassing the edges of acceptable consumption.
Let’s not forget that this work schedule is the reality for most people, and so the peak time when the bandwidth capacity is not enough to serve everyone happens to also be precisely at this point in the evening, which may lead to a general throttling of several users of the same ISP. But how is this done?
Well, the internet works by sending and receiving packets – small data units routed between two endpoints of a connection like your computer and a determined website – which allows bandwidth controlling agents to use techniques such as deliberately dropping or queuing packets. Both of these methods have a high impact on overall speed as packets are either waiting to be delivered or continuously delivered at low speeds.
Hiding Traffic With VPNs
When a VPN connection is established your traffic doesn’t go directly from your computer to the designated website. Rather than this typical path, the traffic is instead routed through the VPN company’s server, which not only gives you a forged IP address but also acts as a protective ‘bubble’ into which ISPs cannot enter. From this point on, all your ISP will see is encrypted traffic, connection timestamps, and the amount of data being transferred.
The choice of VPN provider is important here since not all of them guarantee 100% anonymity. If a VPN connection is leaking or suffers from other vulnerabilities, for instance, then there’s always the possibility that the ISP will see past it and continue to throttle your connection. However, if you read our reviews you’ll easily find out which ones are trustworthy and will plunge ISPs completely into the dark. With one of these, you’ll be able to both circumvent geo restrictions and maintain a reliable, unthrottled connection.
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