Why am I ‘maxing out’ my connection?
Often, when someone is experiencing slow speeds on their broadband it is due to them maxing out their connection.
What does it mean to ‘max out’ your connection?
In simple terms it means you are using up all the speeds available to you. All broadband connections will have a maximum speed that can be achieved.  This speed is dependent on the package you are signed up to, and the type of connection you are using (wireless or fibre). The maximum speed indicates the total achievable speed available to your home, not to each individual device.  If there are a number of devices in use, or if some devices are, for example streaming high definition video or running large downloads,  the bandwidth available to the home may be completely  in use, and as such is ‘maxed out’.  When this happens, some or all devices may appear to have a slow connection.
What is causing it to be maxed out?
Most of the time you might not even realise that your connection is being maxed out. Here is a list of some common things that can be causing it.

  • Viruses – if you have viruses on your devices these can be using up your connection and slowing down your devices. Viruses can often run in the background without you even knowing they are there.
  • Cloud storage – with cloud storage your data is stored online in ‘the cloud’ and can be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet. ICloud, Dropbox and Google Drive are some examples of cloud storage. People use these to save photos, videos etc. and cloud storage can be set to automatically upload data to the cloud anytime the device is connected to the internet. If you have numerous devices in your home all using cloud storage, this can use up the available bandwidth and can also consume your daily fair usage amount.
  • Updates and backups – as with cloud storage, software updates and backups can often run automatically. Your devices might all be updating regularly without you knowing and using a lot of data.
  • TV/video – streaming TV or video all use the internet to run. Netflix, sky go, apple TV, RTE player are just some examples of streaming services. If you have a smart TV or access video through internet based TV services, these all use your internet connection to run. Streaming TV and video uses high amounts of data so after a few hours usage you could have gone over your fair usage for the day. Watching videos on YouTube or other social media sites also uses data but to a lesser degree. Using High Definition video generally requires 5Mb or above, so some connections will max out easily while using these services. (Click here to find out more about video streaming and your internet connection)
  • Online gaming – gaming online through Playstation, Xbox, PC etc. has become very popular. While actually playing games online doesn’t use that much data, it is updates and downloads for these games, that use high amounts of data.
  • Usage – BBnet connections can have a daily fair usage amount associated with the package. If you exceed your daily fair usage amount, the maximum speed of your connection will be reduced until the end of the day. When this happens, the maximum speed available to you is a lot less than normal, and as such the connection will ‘max out’ much easier. (Click here to find out more about fair usage)

How can I prevent my connection from maxing out?
Firstly, it is very important to have a good anti-virus programme installed and up to date on each device. With cloud storage you can turn off automatic backups and instead backup your data when you choose to. Likewise with updates and backups you can choose when you want these to update. For TV and video streaming, check the setting as some streaming services such as Netflix will automatically stream in HD. By changing the definition to standard or low you use much less data. With online gaming you can choose to run updates and downloads overnight as this will not affect your fair usage.
If you have checked all of these and find that you are still maxing out your connection, give our customer support a call on 061 512000.

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