While unlimited Internet access is becoming increasingly common in Quebec households, many consumers still need to carefully monitor the amount of data they use as part of their home Internet plans.
What consumes the most data?
The best way to keep track of your data use is to identify the processes that consume the most data. For example, reading emails or using a search engine consumes a negligible amount of data from your plan, while the opposite is true of online video streaming.
Fans of streaming services like illico Cloud, YouTube and Netflix take note! Here's the typical breakdown for the amount of data used by the Netflix app:
- SD (Standard Definition): 0.7 GB/hour
- HD (High Definition): 3 GB/hour
- 4K UHD (Ultra-High Definition): 7 GB/hour
If you enjoy binge-watching TV shows, we recommend streaming in lower resolution, which will allow you to considerably reduce your data usage.
Social media platforms like Facebook also tend to eat up a lot of data, especially if you automatically view every single video that pops up on your news feed. A good tip is to turn off autoplay in your Facebook Settings. This lets you choose which videos you want to play, which prevents loss of data on content you're not interested in.
Data overage: not always the usual suspects!
Video games also use up a lot of data. But what many people don't realize is that the actual gameplay isn't typically the main culprit. Online gameplay uses anywhere from 10 MB to over 1 GB per hour of data, while installation, updates and downloadable content can consume dozens of gigabytes in a short amount of time. So if you share your home with a gamer, tell them to monitor their downloads, not their gaming time.
Backing up content from smartphones/tablets to the Cloud can also consume a fair amount of data. Without you even being aware of it, all the files on your devices may be set to sync automatically, which can rapidly increase the total amount of data consumed. This is especially true if you have multiple devices connected to the network. Therefore, sync only what's absolutely essential. Choose the files that are most important to you.
Finally, a large amount of data usage can sometimes be caused by technical problems in devices connected to your home network. Therefore, it's important to monitor your connected devices to ensure they are working properly. The Videotron Wi-Fi app can help you do this (only compatible with Videotron routers).
It's also a good habit to shut down your devices when you're not using them. This will help you limit background data use.
While these tips can help you better manage your home data use, the best solution remains getting a plan that meets your Internet usage needs.