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bandwidth limitations on satellite internet connection

A client has satellite internet with a daily bandwidth limitation. This subscription allows unlimited bandwidth during a window of off-peak hours. How can we limit downloads for Windows Updates to just those hours? The option in Windows Update only limits when the installation will be done, apparently NOT when the files are actually downloaded.

The client OS is running windows vista.

The user notices their daily bandwidth allocation is sometimes already used up when they first log on at the start of their day.
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Elixir2
Asked:
Elixir2
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3 Solutions
 
Darr247Commented:
Here's how to setup Win7 to deal with that issue
Auto Update Wednesdays at 3am
Setting it to check every Wednesday @3am catches the releases relatively quickly from the "Update Tuesdays" schedule Microsoft uses.

You mean vista didn't have a setting like that?
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Elixir2Author Commented:
The trouble I am having with your solution is that the WU settings you show says, "Install new updates every Wed at 3am." And yes, I think Vista has a similar settings. The trouble is, Vista will INSTALL the updates it downloaded on that schedule, but it says nothing about when it actually downloads the files.

This users' experience is that Vista will download the files whenever it "wants" and will not necessarily fall in the off-peak window (1-4am), thereby eating up their bandwidth allocation.

I was actually thinking of going the OTHER WAY and disabling WU altogether and making it a manual process, but that means no updates, or the user (or I) will have to perform the updates manually in the middle of the night. Either choice is not that great imo.

Is there good third-party software that limits downloads speed / schedules?
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TekServerCommented:
You might check in your router settings; many routers have bandwidth throttling options.  Some can even be scheduled for certain time blocks.

I think what Darr247 was trying to say was that almost all of Microsoft's updates are released on Tuesdays - the second Tuesday of the month, known as Patch Tuesday - so scheduling the update to install Wednesday at 3am should catch all of the new Tuesday updates, assuming they are downloaded immediately once Microsoft makes them available.

Is your client running a Windows domain?  If so, there is a third option to consider:  WSUS.  With this service, you can schedule your server to download all the updates needed for your entire network at a certain time, then distribute them internally to the clients so they have no need to use internet bandwidth.

I do have to offer a caveat here, though:  I've never actually set up WSUS, so I can only speak from knowledge of the theory.  I'm sure there are other experts here than can help with that, though, if you want to go this way.  (And I'm pretty good with a search engine, so I'll offer what help I can as well.)

;)
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Elixir2Author Commented:
I've dealt with WSUS and it is not applicable here; this is just a single computer with a very finicky Hughes satellite modem. I wonder if there is a way to throttle the bandwidth with the modem. Since I am not a Hughesnet subscriber, I can't really play around with that.

Does anyone use satellite on EE? ;)
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TekServerCommented:
I actually used to use satellite, many years ago - back when HughesNet was still DirecWay.  That was too long ago to be relevant to modern equipment, though.  (Back then, the satellite modem had no Ethernet output - it had to be connected directly to a PC via USB.)

If you can't get the satellite modem to do bandwidth throttling, you could always stick a cheap off-the-shelf gateway router (e.g. Linksys, Dlink, or a flavor of your choice) in between the satellite modem & the customer equipment, and do bandwidth throttling on that.  You could even make it a WiFi router to add connectivity options (if the customer wants/needs that), though since you're trying to limit internet access I'd tread carefully there.

;)
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Elixir2Author Commented:
Yea, and the thing is, we're not trying to throttle bandwidth. We're trying to make Windows Updates download only during off-peak window of time. I don't really think it's possible within the Windows software, and if it were elsewhere, it would be coming from the satellite modem.

Scheduling WU around Patch Tuesday phenomenon is not really a "fix" for WU using up bandwidth allocation, because I've rarely seen updates be downloaded immediately after release especially on slow satellite.

Maybe we've found a niche for some software that would do this?
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Darr247Commented:
My brother has HughesNet, and that's how we setup his (win7 & XP) computers for Windows Update page, and he has never run over the 300MB/day limit (it was 200MB/day when he got it, but Hughes raised it a few months ago for some reason) like that.

Note the XP dialog says DOWNLOAD and install instead of just 'install' but as far as I can tell there is no difference in Automatic behavior between the 2 OS's for Windows Update.
XP - Auto Update Wednesdays at 3am
For what it's worth, I think the name used to be DirecPC (e.g. to match their DirecTV programming side).
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TekServerCommented:
@Darr247: Yup, it was DirecPC ... after it was DirecWay, & before it became HughesNet. (I am seriously old school.)
;)

@Elixir2:  You're right; bandwidth throttling won't really solve your problem.  I got sidetracked.  ;)

How about a script you can schedule?  A little googling found this script, which looks quite promising.  Also, in the comments on that page, I found a link to a command line utility called WuInstall, which also looks like it might be useful to you.

hth! :)
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Elixir2Author Commented:
Thank you both for working with me on this. I'll accept that as the best answer and give it a shot.
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Elixir2Author Commented:
Oops, posted a few seconds apart. I'll look at that script too. Thank you again.
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TekServerCommented:
(Now that I think about it, it might have been DirecPC first, then DirecWay.  They say the memory is the first thing to go ... )

Looks like I was still googling & composing my post while you were choosing an answer!  Oh well.  Hope the "after the bell" info helps anyway.

;)
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Darr247Commented:
Elixir2,

If you need to reopen this to split the points differently (e.g. to give TekServer's script answer some points, too), you can ask for it to be re-opened by using the Request Attention link under your original question.
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Elixir2Author Commented:
Well, guys, as I suspected the above did not change the way Windows downloads from the network, specifically a satellite isp.

So I went a did more research and came up with a few different article from LifeHacker and Tested (the website from MythBusters).

How Can I Find Out How Much Bandwidth I’m Using at Home?

How Can I Monitor My Bandwidth Usage?

How to Monitor the Bandwidth Consumption of Individual Applications

I'm sorry to say that this really should have been included in the solution.
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