What Is Internet Throttling And How To Avoid It

What Is Internet Throttling And How To Avoid It

How often have you noticed that the Internet connection, which worked flawlessly an hour ago, suddenly suddenly slowed down and / or began to lose packets in online games? If you're familiar with this problem, there's a good chance your ISP is saving money by throttling the internet. Why does he do this, how exactly does this happen and what can be done to troubleshoot - you will find answers to all these questions in this article.

Why do providers save?

To begin with, it is worth looking at the situation with the Internet from the point of view of the provider. Suppose a certain company provides its customers with Internet at speeds up to 100Mbps, while having a thousand customers. Like its subscribers, it also purchases internet traffic from upstream organizations such as backbone providers. So what connection speed should a provider with similar characteristics have? Simple math suggests that the answer to this question is 100*1000=100,000 Mbps or 100Gbps. But renting such a channel will cost very, very expensive! What is the way out of the situation providers find?

The fact is that the probability of a situation in which all customers simultaneously start using their tariff to the full tends to zero. In fact, the vast majority of Internet users spend most of their active time no more than 10-15Mbps of bandwidth - this is quite enough for watching online videos, communicating in social networks and other typical tasks. In addition, during the day, the load is unevenly distributed - at night and in the morning, user activity is minimal, and closer to the evening hours (when people come home and start watching movies) it increases significantly. As a result, most often providers acquire communication channels of such a width that each subscriber has only 1.5-2 megabits. Oddly enough, 90% of the time everything works fine - while some download a torrent at a speed of 100Mbps, others send text messages in instant messengers, practically not using their connection.

Problems begin during the so-called peak hours - as a rule, this is the period between 21:00 and 23:59, when Internet users are most active. In order for the Internet to continue to work comfortably, Internet throttling is used.

What is Internet Throttling?

Internet throttling is the distribution of speed in such a way that subscribers do not notice a general decrease. When throttling, each connection of each subscriber is inspected by the DPI complex (Deep Packet Inspection - Deep Packet Inspection). Depending on what a particular connection is used for, a different priority is set for it and, possibly, the speed is cut.

The highest priority is given to popular tasks where it is easiest to notice a lack of speed, for example, playing online videos. The lowest priority is assigned to various downloads (primarily from peer-to-peer networks - Torrent clients, automatic updates, etc.). As a result, the vast majority of users can comfortably watch online video without stuttering, while a much smaller number of clients downloading torrents are forced to put up with reduced speed.

In general, the approach is quite reasonable - there are much more connoisseurs of online cinemas than lovers of downloading large volumes. In addition, a video that breaks every 10 seconds will cause customers much more dissatisfaction than a file that downloads a few minutes longer than it should.

What else is your provider capable of?

In addition to throttling, DPI is often used to analyze client connections. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Internet connections today are encrypted, the provider can still find out what sites the user goes to, what applications they use, and in some cases, what exactly they do on these sites and applications. Most often, such “wiretapping” is used to better balance the load, but if a person deprived of principles and prone to crime appears on the provider’s staff, your personal data (or part of it) may end up with third parties.

In addition, it is DPI that allows you to block access to various sites, some of which may be quite harmless and necessary for work.

What's wrong with throttling?

Unfortunately, technology is not perfect. Throttling, which was originally designed to provide a compromise between the interests of the provider and the comfort of the user, often leads to negative effects. For example, if you are playing a game, the DPI system may erroneously classify it as a low priority category, and you will begin to experience so-called throttling - delay or packet loss. This causes your character to teleport across the map, shots not registering, and you dying from a bullet hit seconds after running into cover.

In addition to players, downloaders often suffer from throttling. In the evening, the speed of downloading files can drop so much that the download time increases by tens of minutes.

How to determine the presence of throttling?

The simplest Internet throttling test is comparing the speed test with real tasks. For example, if services like Speedtest show that you are doing well, and the torrent client is barely giving out a couple of megabytes per second, you can safely say that your provider uses DPI.

Another way to determine is to compare the speed of the Internet directly with the speed through a VPN service. If connecting to a virtual private network significantly speeds up your Internet, then throttling is in place.

VPN is a one-stop solution

It is the VPN that is most often used to bypass any ISP restrictions. This way of working on the Internet provides several advantages at once, detailed below.

No throttling

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When using a VPN connection, the ISP is not capable of throttling. The fact is that all your connections in this case will be considered as one. And given that VPNs are often used by corporate clients (who are highly valued by providers), this type of connection is most often given the highest priority. This means that everything you transfer inside the VPN will be downloaded at high speed.

Internet eavesdropping protection

Since a VPN provides an extra layer of encryption, your ISP will not be able to understand what sites you visit or what applications you use.

Problems with opening ports and blocking

High-quality VPN services not only allow you to hide your traffic from the provider, but also provide a separate IP address. This can be useful if your ISP uses NAT translation, a technology that shares a single address among a number of subscribers.

Having your own IP address will allow you not to worry about closing certain ports (both external and yours), which means you can use any application or even run server applications on your computer, for example, to organize classic online games.

NordVPN is the best solution

Continuing the topic of VPNs, one cannot fail to note the most prominent representative of such services - NordVPN. This company is a reliable supplier, providing not only an additional layer of protection, but also high reliability and connection stability.

With NordVPN, throttling will have less traffic. This is very important, because under prolonged loads, the computer reduces performance. This is especially noticeable in time-consuming tasks and games. After all, then the system acts with brakes, the number of frames per second decreases. And the cooling system creates a lot of noise.

Features and protection options

The service offers a number of different ways to organize a virtual private network:

  • Classic VPN - you can establish connections using IPSEC and OpenVPN;
  • Double VPN - your traffic is passed through two nested networks at once, which provides an unprecedented level of protection against wiretapping;
  • Onion VPN - traffic will not only be encrypted, but also passed through the onion network, i.e. via Tor - the route will be so confused that no one will ever track which sites you visited;
  • P2P organization - special networks that allow you to create a virtual space for selected users. They are protected from outside intrusion and work as if the participating computers are in the same room as the local network;
  • Renting a dedicated IP address is a great solution if you want to organize a server in your home or company.


A distinctive feature of NordVPN is the ability to work on any modern device. There are ready-made solutions for computers running Windows, macOS and Linux. There are apps for iOS and Android. Plus, if you have a browser compatible with Google Chrome, you can get all the benefits of a VPN by just installing a browser extension.

In this case, whichever method you choose, the proprietary NordLynx protocol will be used for data transfer, which is based on the fast and reliable WireGuard.

Other features

Of the features of NordVPN, it should also be noted that the service is a no-logs VPN. This means that it does not keep a history of your visits, does not record traffic, and does not store any other data about your activity on the network. This is ensured by the fact that the company is officially registered in Panama - one of the few countries that do not have legal restrictions on Internet activities.

Finally, we cannot fail to mention the round-the-clock technical support, which is ready at any time to answer any questions you may have and help solve possible problems.

So, now that you know how to stop Internet throttling, the only thing left is to connect to a VPN and forget about any possible connection problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do ISPs throttle internet speed, and what are effective ways to bypass throttling?
ISPs may throttle internet speed during high-traffic periods or for certain services. Bypassing throttling can be done by using a VPN to encrypt your traffic, making it difficult for ISPs to monitor and throttle specific online activities.

Traffic encryption

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Protect Your Privacy And Security

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