With the advent of the new unlimited plans accompanying the rollout of service from our ViaSat-2 satellite, our internet customers have access to a lot more data than ever before. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your data usage, especially if you’re on one of our plans with a monthly data allowance. Even on unlimited plans, we have protocols in place to manage data over the network that can slow your service if your data usage is excessive.
Here are a few simple tips to help manage your data on a day-to-day basis:
- Watch video use
Streaming video is one of the most data-intensive things you can do online, and sometimes it’s for things you don’t even need or want. For example, some websites will automatically launch a video immediately upon opening – a data grab you weren’t expecting and didn’t ask for. (See Tip #5 for help on this.)
The biggest use of video data by far is on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Your Viasat plan may automatically optimize the resolution on these services, but you can also adjust the playback settings in your account. Learn how to do this.
- Block data thieves
If you’re running your wireless router without a password, your neighbors can be piggybacking on your service and using up your data. That’s a security risk as well. Be sure to block data thieves with a secure password only your family knows. Here’s how to do this.
- Keep an eye on cloud services
Whether it’s an online backup service, home surveillance monitoring, music streaming or anything else that uses an online connection, know that it’s also consuming bandwidth. Consider ways to reduce or eliminate such services or manage them more effectively. For example, the Nest Aware service has the camera uploading video anytime it’s on, so it can use a lot of data.
- Keep your computer sharp
Update your operating system regularly and keeping an eye out for spyware, malware and other such things that can eat up data, slow your service and compromise your personal data. Running a good anti-virus program can help reduce data usage while also detecting more serious threats to your system.
- Use the Viasat Browser with ad blocking
Did you know Viasat has its own browser optimized for satellite internet? Many web pages eat up data by loading tracking software and ads. The Viasat Browser’s ad blocker feature can stop unwanted content from loading and reduce the amount of data consumed by each webpage. Our browser also has a data saver mode to help even more. Download it here — it’s free!
Bonus tip for mobile phones: Apps on your phone can open up a whole other area of data traps. Whether you’re on Wi-Fi with your Viasat service or using your mobile carrier’s data, you’ll want to keep an eye on apps that consume data in the background. Here’s a Lifehacker article with some detail on how to manage this.
One last thing: New applications, utilities and other things that can eat data without you knowing are appearing all the time. Our community forum often has lively discussions about all this, with moderators and members posting tips from time to time. You can join at community.viasat.com.
Alex Miller is the editor of the Viasat corporate blog. A veteran newspaper reporter and editor, Alex has been with Viasat since 2012, working out of the company’s Denver office.