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Thread: Mobile carriers throttle online videos almost all the time, study shows

  1. #1
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    Mobile carriers throttle online videos almost all the time, study shows

    Wireless carriers have long said they may throttle, or slow down, data when mobile networks are congested. But a new study suggests your video viewing may be getting slowed down even when networks aren't overcrowded.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cne...ding-to-tests/

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    Is a VPN an effective way to get around this?

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    I have never experienced video throttling with AT&T.


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    If they do then I never noticed. Goes to show that you can’t really tell the difference from a mobile perspective.


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    Never had a problem with video throttling on VZW or TMo. TMo won't even throttle you until you hit the 50 GB soft cutoff and only if the tower is congested.

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    Ok with me. I've seen it in action... speedtest shows huge speeds while youtube or whatever loads just fast enough to keep a 10 or 15 second buffer. If i'm watching a whole video, no harm done; if i'm not, it saves all that data by not loading a minute of video every 4 or 5 seconds that i'm not going to watch.

    If i'm downloading a stream with video downloadhelper it's probably slowing that down too but *shrug* don't really care.

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    ... and I think they are also now throttling music streams through hotspots...

    I have a T-Mobile Sync Up in my car that I use primarily as a tracker -- but I do leave the hotspot on with only my Verizon work iPhone paired to it. Most months I use < 1GB of data on the Sync, which is just Apple maps. Sometimes I use my Pandora or XM apps on the phone in the car so navigation plays through my car's USB connection along with the music.

    Lately, I've encountered many times when traffic has been more congested, the music streaming pauses or won't start. A quick check of internet access on the phone works, and the Speedtest app shows at least a few Mbps down (sometimes as much as 10-15 in some of those tests).

    I also have an iPad with the 6GB plan -- so I lit up the hotspot on that and had my phone connected to that instead of the Sync. Guess what, same exact behavior with music pausing / not starting. Browsing works, speedtest shows comparable speeds on the iPad itself and the tethered iPhone.

    These are well covered areas, and the iPad had 3-4 bars of service (the Sync doesn't have an easily visible signal meter as it's buried in the web interface). I checked online and both devices are WAY below their data throttle caps (used <1GB on the Sync and the iPad has used maybe 2GB of the 6GB (plus I have the full 20GB stash).

    Needless to say, this is really annoying,

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    Quote Originally Posted by NotABiot View Post
    Is a VPN an effective way to get around this?
    it's good way to violate the TOS and to make the network worse for everyone else. Doing stuff like that is why we can't have nice things

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    Quote Originally Posted by high technology View Post
    ... and I think they are also now throttling music streams through hotspots...

    I have a T-Mobile Sync Up in my car that I use primarily as a tracker -- but I do leave the hotspot on with only my Verizon work iPhone paired to it. Most months I use < 1GB of data on the Sync, which is just Apple maps. Sometimes I use my Pandora or XM apps on the phone in the car so navigation plays through my car's USB connection along with the music.

    Lately, I've encountered many times when traffic has been more congested, the music streaming pauses or won't start. A quick check of internet access on the phone works, and the Speedtest app shows at least a few Mbps down (sometimes as much as 10-15 in some of those tests).

    I also have an iPad with the 6GB plan -- so I lit up the hotspot on that and had my phone connected to that instead of the Sync. Guess what, same exact behavior with music pausing / not starting. Browsing works, speedtest shows comparable speeds on the iPad itself and the tethered iPhone.

    These are well covered areas, and the iPad had 3-4 bars of service (the Sync doesn't have an easily visible signal meter as it's buried in the web interface). I checked online and both devices are WAY below their data throttle caps (used <1GB on the Sync and the iPad has used maybe 2GB of the 6GB (plus I have the full 20GB stash).

    Needless to say, this is really annoying,
    Conspiracy theory much? Even premium music services top out at 320 kbps so what's the point of a throttle? That's 1/5 the lowest streaming video bitrate

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hagar View Post
    Conspiracy theory much? Even premium music services top out at 320 kbps so what's the point of a throttle? That's 1/5 the lowest streaming video bitrate
    Well, two devices stop playing music when connected via mobile hotspot function. and when network is congested, but play fine when notin congested area. And at least on the iPad, which is also T-Mobile, at the same time & place, the music app doesn’t stop when not connected to the Sync hotspot and using its own SIM.

    So far I have experimented with:

    iPhone connected to sync or iPad hotspots - pauses or stops when congested
    iPad connected to sync - pauses or stops when congested
    iPad native app doesn’t pause stop unless most other things don’t work (super heavy congestion, like Lincoln Tunnel going into NYC in the morning rush which is always hit and miss). Even then, most times are a few second pause, mostly when I skip songs.

    To try to eliminate app glitch issues, I had the iPad tethered to my Verizon iPhone for a bit and that worked without issue. Of course that introduces many other variables, such as the Verizon network. FWIW, all tests on iOS 12.4 using most up to date versions of Pandora and SiriusXM apps. All apps set to maximum sound quality, but as noted above I wasn’t thinking that the nominal increase in bitrate would cause any issues on an LTE networkwith god coverage.

    I am not a network engineer, so I can only call them as I see them, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they somehow limited music bitrates (perhaps more so via the hotspot) in times of network congestion. If your apps automatically adjust (I.e., aren’t set to maximum sound quality, but rather are on auto), it’s probably not noticeable to most people. I am picky about audio quality and listen on higher quality headphones, car systems, speakers, etc. and despise lower bit rate compressed music. So if I want to stream 256kb or 320kb using my data plan, I should be able to...

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    Lately, I've encountered many times when traffic has been more congested, the music streaming pauses or won't start. A quick check of internet access on the phone works, and the Speedtest app shows at least a few Mbps down (sometimes as much as 10-15 in some of those tests).
    Well, on a 40mbps DSL line (that gets about 32mbps) and a nice clean 5ghz wifi channel, I've intermittently had a few of the music services load nice and slow, intermittently fail to play, or stop to buffer a few times. The first time or two, I checked to make sure my DSL wasn't packing up. Also turned off the wifi to let it run through the VZW 4G. Same result. My conclusion was load spikes at the streamer's end making things pack up a bit. I'm guessing if speedtest is OK but the music service is too slow to even work right, that is what is happening.

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