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limit which apps use bandwith while on wifi

Posted on 2014-12-17
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Last Modified: 2015-01-10
I will be taking my mobile PC (Surface Pro 3) to location where my WiFi bandwidth will be very limited.
In fact I will be most likely using WiFi tethering off my cell phone in order to connect to the Internet. In the location where I am going it will cost me $4 per MB - you can see that I will have to limit my bandwidth.

I am afraid that my Surface will be attempting to connect to the Internet with all the "cloud" enabled apps.
Is there a way to get only specific apps to use the network connection?
Kind off "Airplane mode with exceptions"? (Isn't that great idea for an APP?)

Any suggestions on what I should turn off on my Surface?

Thanks
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Question by:pyotrek
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Expert Comment

by:ajeab
ID: 40506231
click windows key
tap "looking glass"
type "firewall"
select "allow an app through windows"
unselect all app. then choose only the one you want.

that should do the trick
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40506270
I have Windows 8.1 (not a Surface) and I have DU Meter on it (monitors my usage). I have a Nokia CS18 USB Internet Stick when Wi-Fi is not near so I definitely understand your concern.

Most of my bandwidth goes to browsing and email. There is not a lot of "under the covers" application usage that I can see. That is, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to internet usage.
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by:pyotrek
ID: 40506275
That will block incoming traffic to the apps "not allowed".
,but for example my VirusScan still would look for an update.

Just tested it and unfortunately this only blocks incoming traffic.

My plan is to RDP to my "home PC" and do most of my needed tasks this way.
Last time when I traveled like that I only used my Samsung Note 3, and for most part it worked great (just very small screen) as the apps are generally turned off while you are not on WiFi. But the  Surface does not have a way to determine that WiFi tethering through my phone is in fact no WiFi but cellular data.
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40506279
You need to monitor yourself in some way.  I always have higher usage than I figure on because there is more to do. But that is me, not apps doing things.

RDP to a home computer will help with CPU intensive processes, but if you try to run Internet packets from Home to You, you will create traffic.
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by:pyotrek
pyotrek earned 0 total points
ID: 40506287
I just found something interesting.
I have turned on my WiFi connection as "metered" connection. It seems to be a feature of Windows 8.1
My Outlook automatically turned "offline" with a message stating that it noticed that I use "metered connection" do I want to connect anyway?
Also my MAIL APP does not display any emails - good indication that it is not updating itself.
Same goes for BBC NEWS.
Some other apps are updating - so it is not bullet proof.

I will dig into this more and will report.

John Hurst:
I will use RDP to my "home PC" to read and send emails and possibly to connect to client's PC's with support issues.
I just tested it. Read few emails. connected to client server and checked AD and status of the backup. Used only 3.5 MB doing all this. I think it is the way to go, I just have to turn off all the updates on my Surface.
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by:McKnife
ID: 40506609
pyotrek, though RDP might be suitable to save overall bandwidth usage, I suggest to re-visit the firewall-thought.
We can setup rules based on network profiles. If your normal connection is the domain profile, then you can have a ruleset there and have another for the public or for the private network profile. A ruleset is something very simple like "in the private profile, outgoing/incoming connections are generally forbidden with the following exeptions [list]". So it is what you want. Switching between profiles however is only easy if the network profiles are clearly distinguishable by windows.
If they are not, you would use batch files that set firewall rules, that is possible with netsh.exe
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by:John Hurst
ID: 40506733
Read few emails. connected to client server and checked AD and status of the backup. Used only 3.5 MB doing all this

I think that is what I was trying to say. Status of backup and AD would not use much bandwidth but the emails do (in my experience).

For a short time, turning off updates can help. But the biggest influence will be your own usage.
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by:McKnife
ID: 40532101
pyotrek, you don't seem to think any feedback is needed on suggestions like the "firewall revisited" one. If you ask for help and then choose not to respond to help given, it makes helpers feel a little odd, I hope you understand. It was meant as a true solution. Maybe you couldn't overcome technical problems using it, but at least it was possible to discuss those here for you to benefit :)
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Author Comment

by:pyotrek
ID: 40532114
McKnife:
Sorry I did not mean to ignore you - I was in a hurry (just hours before departure) when I asked the question.
Just came back and noticed the email requesting attention to my question.
I was aware of the possibility of tweaking the Firewall, but I did not want to go to that extent - I was hoping for some kind of "easier" solution.
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by:McKnife
ID: 40532132
[No worries - I just became bored by not getting any feedback and started nagging those lately ;-)]
In fact, it will not get any easier: you completely limit in-/outgoing traffic to certain applications. To switch between firewall profiles would be the only problem and I hoped to discuss this. Feel free to leave it, I don't care, I thought you did. Just saw an interesting challenge coming up.
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Author Closing Comment

by:pyotrek
ID: 40541790
The "metered Connection" was not the best solution but it limited the bandwidth use for most of the apps. Limiting myself to open only the apss i needed also helped.
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