Unusually high bandwidth usage

Posted on 2012-03-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-24
We have a 3 network MIFI device that allows up to 5 wireless connections.
We have a 15GB per month allowance.
We used up this allowance a few days before the month end.
For our type of Internet usage (email with attachments that run into 10's of MBs per day only) 5GB would be more than enough.

Logging onto the config page of the device showed we had used:

     Download 3GB
     Upload 12GB

I phoned 3 who suggested that one of the users may be watching/listening to video/audio and that this would use more upload than download.
This came as a surprise, I thought that if you were watching TV/Video etc. online that you would be downloading more than uploading!

Can any of you experts explain the data movement process of this type of Internet use and if uploads would be more than downloads (to me that doesn't sound logical)

Thanks for your help and hopefully education.

Question by:NELMO

Accepted Solution

BAYCCS earned 2000 total points
ID: 37707136
If you are streaming audio or watching a video you are downloading period, no exception!
(Think of it that the data needs to be delivered to the device)

If you are sending pictures, email, or videos to other people then you are uploading that content.

Who ever said that watching a movie would give you higher uploads is wrong. The only time you upload is the request to view the content from the server (think of me calling you on the phone, once you pick up and say hello that would be the video playing).

Your wireless bill should show you a break down of the devices and show you who your biggest usage users are.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 37707244
As above - watching streams of movie or audio is download not upload.

Upload is mostly likely to be either someone doing bit torrent or P2P downloads (as it shares the data back to others)
or someone storing files on your network (imagine you have an FTP server with no security and people find it by searching.  They stick a copy of HarryPotter.avi on it and as people download it from there, your upload number goes up.

Your ISP may be able to check traffic - if not you need to install some sniffer software (see wireshark) and see what is going up and down.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 37707288
It sounds like either someone in your network is sending out large attachments by email or you hight have spyware somewhere in the network with it's own SMTP engine that is sending out spam.
LVL 44

Expert Comment

ID: 37708089
When downloading, no matter what the content, you should see approximately 10%-15% upload traffic just in Ack messages. i.e. for 100MB of download, you should see 10MB to 15MB of upload traffic for Ack's.

12GB would be 3 to 6 movies, by the way, depending on resolution; or a couple hours of broadcast TV HD video, 20-35 music CDs with no compression, et cetera.

Either your report has the totals switched around... or, as TG-TIS noted, someone using it should know where that traffic originated or there's a 'bot or a backdoor on your network.

Are you unplugging the device at night?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37714541
I don't know why I questioned myself on this - The 3 network techie was very sure that the streaming went upstream! Which just did not sound logical.

Thanks for putting me back on track


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