Data caps that wireless carriers and internet service providers often implement on heavy data users may not be the right solution for avoiding network congestion. Instead, ISPs and carriers should throttle data speeds to ensure solid network performance. Research firm Diffraction Analysis recently set out to discover if “data hogs” — the few people on the internet who consume more data than the general population — really do have a negative effect on the overall quality of a network. Read on for more.
The firm studied a medium-sized company in North America and tracked the data usage of its employees throughout the day. The average users on the network consumed an estimated 9.6GB of data over the course of one month, based on trends from a subset of users, and the network’s data hogs ate up 288GB. Only 14.3% of the heavy users were consuming bandwidth during peak hours, however, and just half of them were using the fastest internet connection available.
“ISP’s worldview [confuses] data consumption and bandwidth usage, i.e. how much data was downloaded over a whole period with how much bandwidth capacity was used at any given point in time,” Diffraction said in its report.
The company notes that because of the aforementioned traits of heavy users, data hogs cannot be blamed for slow throughput issues during peak hours, concluding that data consumption is generally a “poor proxy” for bandwidth usage.