Will Using A Router Eat Up My 5GB or 10GB Data Allowance?

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Tuesday, 01 November 2011

Mobile Broadband FAQ #14: Will Using A Router Impact My Data Usage?

tip_of_the_week.pngThe mobile broadband experts at 3Gstore/EVDOinfo answer countless questions from our customers and from the EVDO Forums community every day - from general mobile broadband questions ("what the heck does 3G mean?") to specific questions about products to more advanced inquiries about what one can do with their mobile broadband service. The "mobile broadband FAQ" series addresses these questions in depth one FAQ at a time. To view ALL of the FAQs we've addressed in this series, visit

Will Using A Router Eat Up My 5GB or 10GB Data Allowance?


Three popular mobile broadband routers: Cradlepoint MBR1400 (rear), MBR95 (front left), and CTR35 (front right)

We get a lot of questions from customers who want to use their 3G or 4G modem in a router so that they can share the connection with multiple computers/devices, but are concerned that the router will impact their data usage. This can be a tricky question because a router will allow you to share the connection with more computers/peripherals which has the potential to lead to more data usage. However, a router itself WILL NOT use any more data than plugging your modem directly into your computer. You will only be using data when the computers connected TO the router (either via WiFi or ethernet) are using data.

When you insert your wireless modem into a mobile broadband router it will automatically establish a connection to the internet. While your card is in the router, the connection will remain on 24/7, allowing you connectivity from all of your devices. However, even though your device is connected all the time, it doesn't mean that it's transmitting data constantly. When you're not using any of your computers/peripherals the modem will go into a dormant state (connected but not actively transmitting data). When you turn your computer on or use a device that requests information online the modem goes out of the dormant state and begins actively transmitting data again.

While the router itself does not use data, sometimes using a router can result in more data usage than you're used to, because you're allowing more computers/devices to share the connection. Here are some things you can do to make sure you don't waste data:

1.) Set up wireless security - Enabling WEP/WPA security will ensure that nobody else can join your network and use data without your knowledge
2.) Turn automatic updates on your computer off and have the system notify you when they're available, instead - allows you to choose the updates you really need/want to download instead of wasting data downloading every update available
3.) If you're connecting your router to a Internet capable TV, Blu Ray Player, Satellite receiver or game system, check the settings to know when a feature may access the internet, IE - accessing BD-Live from a Blu Ray player will use data

If you're concerned about how much data a paticular application uses read our What does 5GB get me? and What does 10GB me? articles, which explain how much data common tasks use. All of the new Cradlepoint NetBSD routers feature bandwidth monitoring as well to prevent you from going over your data allotment. Checkout the demonstration video below to see how this feature works:

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Last Updated ( Monday, 03 March 2014 )
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