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By- Tia Atal
Have you ever felt that your internet connection speed drastically slows down when you are streaming or downloading torrents?
If you are using Netflix and suddenly you experience extensive buffering or drop in video quality, you blame Netflix for bad video streaming. Unfortunately, Netflix is not to blame as your ISP might be the cause.
With net neutrality out of the way, your internet service provider (ISP) throttles internet speeds to reduce the burden on the bandwidth. The Internet has a limit of itself, the more the traffic, the slower your speed will be.
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Internet throttling is when your ISP intentionally reduces the speed of your connection. If you are wondering how to know if ISP is throttling your internet, here are a few telltale signs:
- Videos are taking too long to load and buffer on apps like Netflix, YouTube, and other social media apps.
- Slow upload and download speeds when using sites like BitTorrent.
- Websites are taking too long to load.
Why do ISPs throttle the internet?
One reason why ISPs throttle the internet is to avoid network congestion. ISPs throttle the internet during designated times of the day to decrease congestion.
Sometimes, ISPs throttle the speed only for a certain website. These websites are usually associated with streaming, gaming, and torrenting sites.
So, your ISP may throttle speeds if heavy data files are being downloaded and uploaded from a P2P file-sharing site.
Here are some common reasons why ISPs throttle internet speeds:
1. Data Caps
Most internet service providers limit the amount of data users can access every month. As you get near to your monthly data cap, you might start experiencing bandwidth throttling, resulting in slow speeds. If you think your ISP has throttled your bandwidth, you can check your service agreement to see your data cap/ limit.
Also Read: VPN Slows Down Internet
Another common reason behind ISP throttling is network congestion. Most ISPs throttle bandwidth during specific times of the day to avoid network congestion and regulate internet traffic.
If you are a heavy data user and your online activities include downloading large files or torrents, it means you are taking too much bandwidth. In such cases, your ISP might throttle your bandwidth so every user can access the internet.
3. Content-based throttling
Most of the time, your ISP might throttle specific applications or websites like Netflix, to discourage you from using such sites. Instead, it pushes the users to use websites that are affiliated with the ISP.
For example, if you compare streaming speeds on Netflix and other streaming services, you might see that speeds are better when you are using Netflix as compared to other sites. This is called content-based throttling.
Fortunately, you can bypass this throttling by using a VPN. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, preventing your ISP from seeing the sites you visit online. This way you can bypass ISP throttling and get fast speeds, irrespective of the sites you visit.
Use a VPN: To avoid content-based throttling, you can use a VPN to speed up your internet.Unsplash
How to test for ISP throttling?
It is not easy to tell if you are getting slower speeds due to ISP throttling or other factors. While there is no specific test for confirming ISP throttling, you can use a few techniques to see if your bandwidth is throttled by your ISP or not.
1. Check internet speed
One way is to check your internet speed a few times a day to check if your bandwidth is throttled or not. There are plenty of tools out there like Google's Measurement Lab that can help you calculate your download and upload speed along with other metrics.
2. Check internet speeds using a VPN and compare results
You can also check internet speeds and compare results using a VPN. First, check speeds without the VPN. Next, connect to a VPN server, and check speeds again. A slight drop in speed after the VPN is normal, but if you get a big difference, chances are your ISP might be throttling your internet speeds.
How to stop ISP throttling?
If you have run the tests and are sure that your ISP is throttling your speeds, here are a few tips to help bypass it and speed up your internet:
- Monitor your data usage: Make sure to monitor your monthly data usage to avoid throttling. If your ISP has set a minimum amount of data that you can access per month, make sure to stay within the limits.
- Use a VPN: To avoid content-based throttling, you can use a VPN to speed up your internet. A VPN masks your IP address and encrypts your online traffic so your ISP cannot see the sites you visit. With a VPN, you can also access geo-restricted websites from anywhere in the world.
- Switch your internet provider: If you are frustrated with your ISP throttling, consider switching your ISP that offers better speeds, and data caps.
Internet throttling is legal in most countries especially if we talk about Net Neutrality.
It has its benefits like preventing network congestion, but content-based throttling is very frustrating when you are trying to stream or download a large file.
But there are ways to bypass ISP throttling like using a VPN to encrypt your online traffic.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links)
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The global switch to 5G is well underway, with the number of connections to the next-generation network set to reach 1.34 billion in 2022, says a new report. According to an analysis by market researcher CCS Insight, this year has seen connections to 5G triple to 637 million, suggesting that the roll-out of the network is continuing apace.
National lockdowns caused by the global health crisis in 2020 slowed network rollout, for example making it more difficult to send engineers on the ground to physically build the infrastructure, ZDNet reported. CCS Insight noted that geopolitical tensions related to Huawei's role in 5G rollouts led to delays, especially in western Europe. European countries were effectively hesitant to allow Huawei to provide critical infrastructure for their 5G networks after the Trump administration in the US raised concerns that the company might pose a security risk due to its ties with the Chinese government.
"The US being one country, the decisions were made relatively quickly while in Europe every country had to make its own decision as to what to do with Huawei," Marina Koytcheva, Vice-President of forecasting at CCS Insight, told the tech website. "In some countries, operators had to wait a little bit to see whether they'd be allowed to use Huawei equipment and in which part of the network. That was probably an even more significant delaying factor than Covid-19 in 2020," Koytcheva added.
One of the key reasons that deployment is accelerating is that consumers are now buying devices that are 5G-enabled in 2021. | Wikimedia Commons
Although the speed of rollout is improving in western Europe, this relatively gradual start means that 5G won't account for more than half of cellular device connections in the region until 2024, predicts Koytcheva. Different regions are switching to 5G at a different pace, but the trend across western Europe, North America, China and other advanced markets in Asia remains the same -- operators have now largely committed to upgrading from 4G, and are rapidly getting on with the builds.
One of the key reasons that deployment is accelerating is that consumers are now buying devices that are 5G-enabled in 2021, CCS Insight expects 560 million 5G-capable smartphones to sell. In a turning point for the industry, Apple released its first 5G-equipped iPhone at the end of 2020, which triggered a "smartphone supercycle" that saw many users replace their devices.
After a huge dip in sales, smartphones have now started selling again with the second quarter of 2021 seeing a 10.8 per cent increase in shipments year-on-year. Previous analysis by IDC predicted that 5G device shipments will increase by 123 per cent in 2021 as compared to 2020 and that by 2022, they will make up more than half of all smartphone shipments. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Global health crises, 5G smartphones, 5G in western Europe, 5G network, 5G report, health crises in national lockdown
By- Tejas Maheta
Free VPNs tend to get a bad rap (and often for good reasons, which we'll discuss in a second). Still, there are some safe and free VPN services recommended by expats - just click the link for some solid options. Next, scroll on to see how you can put them to good use while you're abroad.
Privacy and Security (to a Certain Degree)
One of the main purposes of a VPN is to encrypt your network traffic – garble it, basically – to keep it safe from:
- ISPs that want to sell your browsing and location data for a profit
- Hackers and script kiddies lurking at every corner public hotspot
- Government surveillance agencies spying on their own citizens
Even free VPNs can do as much, as long as you go with a trustworthy provider such as those linked at the start.
On top of that, VPNs hide your real life location by masking your IP address and assigning a new one based on the server you connect to. Useful in case some cyberstalkers or trolls lure you into clicking on IP-grabbing links or scripts to determine your location. Unfortunately, it's not as effective against GPS tracking (though there are some paid VPNs out there that can spoof GPS).
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Unblock Some Websites While Abroad
While not as versatile as a subscription-based VPN, free VPNs still have some unblocking ability that can be useful to an expat. For instance, you can access your home banking or investment accounts, which in most cases block foreign traffic. Understandably so, since a lot of cyber attacks tend to be linked to international hacker networks.
Using a VPN also allows you to access small news sites from back home, who simply don't find it worth it to comply with GDPR regulations in the EU. Alternatively, you can set your virtual location outside the EU to get around all those annoying cookie consent pop-ups. Funny little side effect, but it can definitely save you some grey hairs while browsing.
Finally, free VPNs can unblock some content such as region-locked music videos, or age-restricted YouTube videos in the EU without having to give up your ID or credit card information to Google. You won't have much luck using free VPNs on content platforms like Netflix, though. Those of you looking to bypass geo-restrictions on streaming sites are better off using a sub-based VPN.
One of the main purposes of a VPN is to encrypt your network traffic.Wikipedia
Bypass Firewalls and Censorship
VPNs sure seem like a master thief's skeleton key, don't they? So many Internet barriers out there, all of them nullified with the help of a single tool. And yes, they can easily get around firewalls as well.
For the most part, you'll be using a VPN to unblock social media and other "distractions" at work or at school. Believe it or not, airport and hotel Wi-Fi can be pretty restrictive too. Thankfully, VPNs make short work of their firewall rules.
And while not as effective as a paid option, free VPNs can also help during Internet blackouts caused by government censorship. Look no further than the recent Hong Kong protests, the frequent social media shutdowns in Turkey, and similar cases worldwide. All of these have one thing in common: free VPN usage shot up immensely as people sought ways to contact their loved ones or post their outrage online.
Why the Negative View of Free VPNs?
You've seen all the great things you can accomplish with a free VPN. So why all the bad press about them? Well, here are some fairly valid concerns that apply to a decent chunk of free providers:
- They sell user data – after all, they need to pay for operational costs somehow. It just so happens that advertisers find your browsing habits highly valuable.
- Several free VPNs based in Hong Kong breached their "no-logs" policies and ended up leaking 1.2 TB of user data online. This isn't an uncommon occurrence, considering the data harvesting practices of most free VPNs.
- They can infect your device with malware that can extract sensitive info or otherwise cause damage. In one major case, user devices were hijacked into a botnet and used in a large scale denial-of-service attack.
Other criticisms are directed at their data caps, slow performance, the small number of overcrowded servers, and the bandwidth throttling. Add to that the fact that they don't unblock region-specific Netflix libraries or other streaming sites, and you can see why people aren't too thrilled about them.
Still, if you're not looking for anything fancy, a free VPN should tide you over until you can fit an actual subscription into your budget. Just stick to the trusty VPNs we've linked to in the beginning.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
A break in the growth pattern of countries is a function of industrial revolutions aided by new technologies. Industrial Revolutions (IR) 1.0 and 2.0 were based on manufacturing technologies, while IR 3.0 was a communication revolution. IR 4.0 operated on the same medium as 3.0, fixed-line and wireless in a globalized and interconnected world. The IR 4.0 is a fusion of advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), genetic engineering, quantum computing, and more.
Mobile technology was introduced in India in 1995with enabling legislation, regulations and sale of spectrum. Then till 2003, the sector suffered major litigation and only grew to 10 million by 2003. The Regulator sorted out major issues in 2003, and the sector grew to 100 million, 10 times by 2007, and to +1000 Million almost 100 times of 2003 by 2012. On the world rankings, India became the number 2 mobile nation from 122. In India, one of the major issues was better utilization of spectrum, earlier also allotted to fixed services, and many other regulatory and spectrum issues. These could be sorted out by the Regulator and Government with difficulty but led to a huge growth thereafter.
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Now we have to cross another major hurdle a subset of the third and fourth industrial revolution, the 5G communication technology. Unless we prepare well, there would be another round of slow implementation, protracted litigation/enquiry round like in 2G and 3G. This paper explains.
1. The IR 3.0 revolution turned the world on its head.IR 4.0 continues to do the same.
2. For the first time after 1950-70, the underdeveloped Asian countries had more growth than the technically savvy West, courtesy of the communication revolution in a digitally interconnected globalized world, particularly in China where the US set aside the ideological differences and gave new technologies, allowed IP thefts, circumvented and breached WTO rules and allowed Tiananmen massacre to help Chinese miraculous growth.
3. Earlier Gordon G. Chang and many others had predicted China's collapse in 2001 and 2012. But China flourished courtesy of the US' unprincipled help. Now in 2020, Chang predicts China or the US will flourish depending on the performance of 5G. Everyone believes these networks will run the world and its increasing networked mobile/static industries and services very efficiently.
4. Today, China's 5G networks are the most advanced in the world, and unless India is enabled to challenge them as the US did to China, post-1980, for 2G, etc. networks, they will continue to grow. According to CCS Insights, China will account for more than half of all 5G users by 2022. China is also expected to dominate through 2025, at which time it might represent 40 percent of global 5G connections, according to the GSMA.
5. Indians were ahead during many periods in digital and mobile technologies, of course, regulations and crony capitalism blocked growth. In its report titled Making India 5G Ready' in August 2018 Inter-Ministerial High-Level Forum for 5G (Paulraj Committee), India anticipated the start of 5G in 2020. Based on the Report, the Government is creating an enabling framework for the development of 5G services in India. Progress is slow as many new developments have taken place and the 5G services and industries are expected to be introduced gradually and advance to a full range of services as the ecosystem, and demand for services grows. The ITU and the World Bank have also finalized a draft program/regulation/law for this purpose, where they were at the third draft stage in 2020. We must expedite finalizing these by taking advance action, and dealing with India's peculiar problems, as we did in 2G time.
6. With the increasing prevalence of digital services along with manufacturing industries, regulators are finding that they must address a host of new issues and potential new areas of responsibility. Many of these focus on online services, such as online Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or online video, and other digital platforms, as well as navigating the IoT, AI, data privacy, competition, cybersecurity, and other technological challenges.
7. Shared access regimes are a way for regulators to open the spectrum that is currently used by incumbent services to new users. License-exempt spectrum bands have proven to be fertile ground for innovation, as evidenced by the importance of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies in enabling new applications. We have not moved beyond the concept of UASL, and apply ourselves afresh for new services/applications. We should consider moving forward to USL.
8. Finally, regulators should conduct a review of international best practices in terms of spectrum licenses. This includes adhering to international and regional frequency allocation decisions, and worldwide technical standards, maximizing harmonization, etc. This supports lowering the costs of equipment and effectively enables roaming.
9. General authorization is to be preferred and fees should be negligible, set to cover administrative costs only, so as not to deter investment and innovation but also to enhance affordability for consumers. Once the networks and the connected traffic grows, the fee can increase.
10. Where individual facilities-based licenses are issued, the number of licenses should be limited to avoid unnecessary duplication of investment, but they should be subject to conditions that provide for open access to key infrastructure on fair and reasonable terms to create a healthy, competitive services market. Licensees should also be allowed to share infrastructure and to merge, subject only to competition policy considerations
11. Any application based on the technologies is subject to horizontal regulation by agencies responsible for consumer protection, data protection, competition, cybercrime, and so on. Whether or not ICT sector-specific regulatory oversight is warranted depends on the functionalities of the applications and how they are used in a sector. The priority must be to have a robust horizontal regulatory ecosystem in place. This may require updating laws and establishing new agencies.
12. Given the cross-border nature of the Internet value chain, in particular of online services, collaboration and harmonization across jurisdictions are key to facilitate the digitization of economies and societies and the benefit of economic growth and social development that this brings. Traditional ex-ante regulation based on market definition, dominance, and determination of remedies will continue to be important specifically for the regulation of network infrastructure access.
13. More generally, there will be refocusing of competition regulation with a transition to ex-post symmetrical regulation (the same rules applied to all suppliers) with regulatory intervention targeted at specific cases of competitive harm, and with high levels of cross-sectoral regulatory cooperation.
14. The traditional focus on SMP-based regulation was intended to enable others to compete fairly but digital platforms, access networks, and even entire national broadband networks may now sometimes be best delivered as virtual monopolies. Even where competition exists it is increasingly hard to define markets, determine thresholds for SMP, and determine and apply appropriate remedies. Symmetrical regulation will be based on broad regulatory principles such as fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to resources. For former post-regulation to be effective, countries need to establish and adequately resource separate competition authorities.
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15. There are far more regulatory issues/areas in 5G, and also in content being transmitted. The rules for these should be finalized now rather than waiting for other regulations to be finalized, and also whether more than one agency should be integrated. This worked well for 2G networks. ITU-WB regulation leaves many issues behind, like the continuance of the 2G network period. Work has to start.
16. 5G networks have started working in China, South Korea, and the US. Even if we start the preparatory work today, networks will start in 2023, according to the Paulraj Committee schedule, and looking at the extra work required to be done beyond the Paulraj report, by 2024. By that time, China would have expanded 5G to the entire country and set up new 5G industries, and would have started moving on to 6G, as the world is moving fast. (IANS/AD)