EVDOinfo.com has long been your source for tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for getting the most out of your EVDO service, and each week we will be highlighting a particularly interesting or popular topic in the "Tip of the Week" feature. To suggest future Tips of the Week, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your suggestions in the EVDO Forums.
Stay Under Your 5GB Limit
Not too long ago, in the early days of mobile broadband, most companies offered their service to customers with no limit on how much they could use. Over the past couple of years, though, every national carrier has implemented a 5GB allowance in their mobile broadband terms of service, charging per-megabyte overage charges for usage that exceeds 5GB in a month. A few lucky users who signed up with their carrier before the limit and overage charges went into effect and haven't changed their contract or upgraded since are still on their old plans (remember that even those old plans are not truly unlimited - the carriers can still choose to throttle your speeds or just cancel your service altogether if you use too much data!), but most mobile broadband users these days do have to keep that 5Gb allowance in mind.
For a majority of mobile broadband users, 5GB is plenty of data and they never go over. However, it is always a good idea to remain aware of the limit and your usage so that there are no surprises at the end of the month. There are several easy and effective steps you can take to make the most of your 5GB allowance:
- WHAT'S 5G?: Be aware of how much data your internet activities consume. If you are a gamer, you may reach your limit faster than a person who only connects to the internet to check email. For a general idea of how much bandwidth common internet activities consume, check out this article: What Does 5G Get Me?
- MONITOR: Even if you think you are in no danger of reaching your limit, it is always a good idea to monitor your usage throughout the month. Take a look at this tip to find out how to easily check your usage: EVDOinfo Tip of the Week #15
- SHUT DOWN: The same way that you turn off the lights when you leave a room, remember to disconnect your connection or shut down/sleep your computer when you're not using mobile broadband. While having your connection active does not use up bandwidth in and of itself - you only use bandwidth when you are actually transfering data - if you have your computer set to automatically download and install software or OS updates, you could be using up data while you're not even using your computer! Similarly, a computer infected with a nasty virus could be eating up your allowance without you knowing it.
- WIFI SECURITY: If you use your mobile broadband device through a 3G router, set up security on your WiFi network so that unauthorized users can't piggyback on your network.
- CONTROL UPDATES: Set your computer's preferences to NOT automatically download and install software updates - require it to notify you when updates are available so that you can make sure you have enough bandwidth to download them.
- PATROL: Scan regularly for Spyware and Adware. These are small harmful programs that gather information and transmit it over the internet - they run in the background and you may not even notice they're there!
- BLOCK ADS: Turn on Pop-up Blocking in your browser. Pop-ups have to load too, and everytime you have a lot of pop-ups load with your webpage, it uses more bandwidth than just loading the webpage that you want to view.
- NO P2P: Disable and uninstall any peer-to-peer file-sharing programs and bitTorrent clients. Don't forget that not only will the downloads you do count towards your allowance, but files that you are uploading/seeding to others will also count!
- OPTIMIZE: If you use Sprint mobile broadband, check out the Optimization Tip of the Week to save on bandwidth by reducing the file size of downloaded images.
- BLOCK URLS: If you are connecting through a Cradlepoint router and sharing the connection with multiple users, consider blocking access to high-bandwidth sites. Tip of the Week #10 will tell you how!
- WATCH ATTACHMENTS: Set your email client preferences to not automatically download attachments (you can still download the attachments you WANT to receive, of course, but you just don't want your email program to automatically download every attachment that comes through). GMail is a great email client for mobile broadband users as it does not automatically download attachments.