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Last updated: 21 May 2021
Everywhere you use the internet, be it on your mobile, your computer or a smart TV, you're transferring large amounts of data. The amount of data transferred and the speed at which it's downloaded are important factors in the performance of your network.
You may want to monitor your broadband usage in your home for several reasons; such as the need to limit the amount of data usage to stay within a usage cap, or if you want to increase the speed of the connection on one or more of your devices.
Here are a few ways to monitor and adjust your broadband usage:
If you're trying to monitor usage with a mind to staying below a usage cap, it's very likely that your internet service provider will offer an online tool for measuring your usage. This usually includes a reminder when you're approaching your usage limit.
These can often come too late for you to be able to significantly reduce your consumption and stay within the cap however. For this reason it's advisable to be proactive in checking your usage throughout the payment period.
In usage capped deals, it's not recommended to use independent data measuring tools as they are less accurate than your service providers own measurements, and it's unlikely you could use them as a form of proof in case of any dispute.
If your package is limited, and it feels like a struggle to stay within your usage limit then it might be worth looking into an unlimited package. You can use our tool to compare various broadband deals.
Data monitoring apps
If you're attempting to measure your usage in order to optimise your connection for certain devices, or to increase your network performance for streaming or gaming, you should consider using a data monitoring app.
Bitmeter OS and Networx are both free apps that allow you to monitor usage on the device they're installed on. Some WiFi routers will also have inbuilt monitoring software, which should be labelled under traffic use, internet usage or a similar title. Using these over a short period of time should allow you to work out how much data your devices, and network overall, are using.
Quality of service settings
Once you've determined your usage, you can use the quality of service settings, available on most routers, to try to optimise it on certain devices. Different brands vary but many will already prioritise commonly used devices. You may be able to make some changes to prioritise devices you need to increase performance on; such as a smart TV or gaming laptop.