How to reduce your internet consumption to avoid network congestion

Posted By Alice Hale on Mar 23, 2020

The Internet was bound to be overloaded. With the implementation of containment, bandwidth consumption increases, and the network is under strain. The first disconnections have taken place, and the available bandwidths are decreasing.

In Europe, Netflix has switched its content to standard to avoid congestion on the Internet network during the Covid-19 pandemic. Netflix responded favorably by reducing the bitrate of its video streams for 30 days, while YouTube switched the video quality of its videos to “Standard” by default, i.e., 480p definition (SD). It must be said that the consumption of SVoD services is the primary source of traffic on the Internet.

Concerning automatic updates

Video game or operating system updates consume a lot of data. Completely blocking them is not necessarily the best solution, you should leave your OS updates, as they may apply security flaw corrections. During crises, cyber-attacks are much more frequent, and you should apply our security advice even more carefully. These critical updates are useful, but you can schedule them during off-peak hours, after midnight, for example. For non-critical updates, they can certainly wait a few weeks.

Another tip is to pause cloud services that automatically back up your data (synchronization can be temporarily disabled), such as Dropbox or Google Photos, for example. That consumes a lot of resources.

Limit the use of heavy services

As you read in the introduction, the internet services that consume the most are SVoD (Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+…) and online video games. When we talk about online video games, we are talking about: dematerialized downloading, online game games (Fortnite, for example) or cloud gaming. Whether it’s Shadow or Nvidia GeForce Now, cloud gaming services suffer a lot because they are very much used.

Our advice would, therefore, be to limit the use of these services. Instead, use media that do not require the Internet (Blu-ray, DVD, DIVX…) or offline games. If you follow a series in SVoD with passion, you can also lower the quality of the video streaming. The experience will be less good, but you will still be able to follow your favorite series with less impact on the available bandwidth.

Disabling automatic content playback on Netflix and YouTube will save some bandwidth as well.

You can also turn off content that you consume a lot, like your Spotify or Apple Music playlists.

Switch to Wi-Fi

We are often advised to avoid using the 4G network as a priority; in fact, it depends on where you are. Undoubtedly, the 4G network can quickly become saturated, which is what happens in densely populated areas, if too many devices connect to a given antenna. At that point, the “radio” is saturated, too many waves creating interference before the signal even reaches the antenna fiber. We, therefore, advise you to switch to the Wi-Fi of your internet connection.

In rural areas, switching to 3G or 4G can, conversely, lighten the load on the copper network used by ADSL, among others. That is why you can use a fixed 4G connection without saturating the antennas around your home. The housing density is much lower in rural areas.