Where is all my Internet download going: Part 1

Where is all my Internet download going: Part 1
It is surprising where your monthly internet allocation is being devoured. I am constantly being asked where is did my 1GB or 6GB go and why did it disappear so quickly. There is a lot happening in every PC, notebook or tablet while it is connected and you are not really doing anything with your PC. Most of us know about downloads, but how many of you are aware that “Download” to many ISP also includes uploads and the term may be more honestly called “Traffic”, and with this “Traffic there is more than meets the eye. With the traffic you have several types:
- Visible Traffic – this is the stuff you know of – Web pages visited, emails sent and received , Apps, movies, pictures, music downloaded
- Back Ground Traffic – The legitimate traffic that your Operating System, and Applications send and receive without any sort of indication to you.
- Network Traffic – this is the hidden stuff that allows everything to happen in a “smooth” manor, it happens with and in addition to the Visible and Back-Ground traffic
- Non Legitimate Traffic - hidden or obfuscated: Malware traffic either tracking information, updates for installed malware, spam, usage information from spyware, malware network traffic.

I will only be doing an overview of the first three items, malware is a subject all its own. So let’s look at some of the back ground traffic, the legitimate traffic that’s happening automatically without your input.
- Windows update (20 to 600Mb per Month)
- Antivirus Definition Updates ( estimated at ~150MB/Mth)
- Antivirus Program updates (110 - 200Mb every 3 to 6 months in a single download)
- Other Software updates – iTunes, Java, Flash, PDF Reader (Adobe?)~110Mb/month
So you can expect 390MB - 1200MB in a month (based on current data).
If you are on a 1GB per month allocation and wondering why you go over without really trying, there is your answer. And if you have 2 or more computers on the one connection/account, just multiply these numbers by the number of PC’s on your home or small business network.
And all of this is before you start Browsing the internet, downloading files, sending/receiving email. And these days you add to that Stream Video, that is not just YouTube, Vevo but also iView and Netflicks and similar sites. And this is not to mention Cloud services for Backup, mobile file access and sharing.
The heavy users of your download traffic? Video Streaming, File sharing and eMail Forwarding.
Remember in Australia, a number of ISP's charge you for uploads as well as the download. So it is important to check the EULA or usage agreement that you signed/ticked agree, it should be in “plain English” (legal term) in the agreement.
With file sharing the very nature of it implies that while you are downloading something you will be sharing that file and or other files from your PC. What that means is while you are downloading that “Fan Art Picture”, you will also be Uploading other pictures or clips in your shared folders to other users of the file sharing application/network. There is, in itself, a bigger story with filesharing that I will not discuss here. With the various applications your mileage will vary, I have seen share ratios of over to 10:1 upload/downloads on some applications. What that means is, for every 1MB downloaded, 10MB is shared out as upload i.e. 11MB of total Internet traffic.
So just downloading a single 100MB file could see a user’s account hit for over 1100MB of traffic.
Thinking that the traffic usage on Fileshare is a little confusing let’s look at Email. Here you could be dealing with emails that when downloaded are as small as 1 or 2 kB and over 500kB without attachments. If you ONLY receive 10, text only, emails a day and reply with similar text to each at a typical 50kb each, so 30Mb a month would be normal. Not so bad? This is so long as no one send you pictures or movies every day, then your download will climb accordingly.

Email forwarding , if you are of the habit of sharing funny or informative emails with your friends and associates realise that if your ISP charges for uploads you will quickly use a Gigabyte of data. IF you have an email with a 3MB video clip attached and you forward it to 20 people, which is typical, you will be looking at 3MB x 20 or 60 MB of upload and if you do this for 5 emails a day for a 30 day month you are looking at 1.8GB of data a month.. plus the fact that you also had to download the email in the first place (450MB a month). What can you save by using Webmail? Here you only download what you view, forwarding is dealt with by the server BUT you still pay for upload if you create an email and add an attachment.

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