Friday, 1 March 2013


By Ishant Gupta
Has the bill for internet usage on your mobile phone or broadband connection exceeded too much? Most of the connections have a fixed data limit, but if you want to get the data usage information, there are many ways of doing that.

(8.4% of the Indian population uses internet.)

If you have enabled 3G connection on your mobile phone, you need to be careful about the data usage, else you could exceed the data usage limit. Usually, data limit is fixed for a pre-paid connection. For a post-paid plan, you have to keep a tab on the usage frequently. In such a case, you often end up paying a hefty bill which leaves you frustrated.
There are many smartphones available in the market on which social networking websites, gaming, audio video streaming and apps run constantly. Constant data connectivity is required in such cases. This can cause high increase in your monthly bill. Often, the apps working in background keep updating themselves. This process consumes many megabytes while you are completely unaware about it.

Meanwhile speaking of home broadband connections, gone are the days when unlimited plan actually offered unlimited download and upload. Today, almost all providers offer a data limit or FUP (Fair Usage Policy). Too much usage of FUP leads to decrease in internet speed to upto 256 kbps. Hence, it is a good idea to monitor the data usage regularly. It helps you to know which application of your device is consuming how much data.

3G data service on mobile phones
After the 3G service got introduced into the markets, the craze of downloading amongst youngsters has surged. Because of this, they don’t realize where the data is being used up. Be it phone or laptop, data connectivity is everywhere and it has made tracking of data usage quite difficult.

Mobile devices
1.1 Onavo count
This is a free app. It requires you to feed in the data plan. You have to enter details like data transfer capacity and plan details. Then it tracks data usage for all apps on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It tracks and notifies you about the apps which are consuming lot of data.

1.2 Mobile counter
This app displays separate data counters for Wi-Fi data usage and Carriers data network (2G/3G usage). It lets you set the data transfer limits and finds out about data left. It also has a widget to show the data usage details on home screen.

2.1 Built-in data counter
All iOS devices have a built-in cellular network data counter. It has an easy configuration process. For this, go to Settings, then go to General, then Usage. Then tap on General usage. It will then display the figures of the sent and received network data.

2.2 Data usage monitor
The interface of this free app is very attractive. It displays the Wi-Fi and network (2G/3G) analysis separately. Set a limit that is a little lower than your plan limit. It will then automatically alert you when you are approaching the data limit. It also creates a map of the data location.

Personal computer
1.1 Networks
If you have multiple computers using a single broadband connection, then Networks is a good app for you. This is a free app. After setting it in the system tray, it tracks the data usage. You can view the data usage on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.                                                                       

1.2 BitMeter OS
This app provides two ways for tracking data. You can either track data with the help of web browser or with command line tools. You can export it to excel or you can set a notification at crossing the data limit. BitMeter OS is an open source program. Hence, it is easy to use too. 

2.1 SurplusMeter
Using the app you can select between different connection types such as Ethernet, AirPort, USB modem and then set the download limit. If you want, you can even eliminate uploads from the transfer count. As soon as you start it, it will provide an active count of sent and received data. It also shows data usage on daily basis.

2.2 MenuMeters
It provides information about the data transfer of the current connection. It can be seen on the top bar. It also provides information about the CPU, memory and usage. It can also display data usage information in terms of arrow, amount and graph. It also lets you exclude the data transfer of less than 1kb/second.  

Some tips to control the data usage
If you use the 3G network to video chat on apps like Skype or Fring, it leads to huge data usage. A 30 minute chat takes up 100 to 300 MB of data. To use these services, you should switch to Wi-Fi so that the 3G data usage can be controlled. Watching videos on websites like YouTube results in consumption of about 200 MB of data per hour. Hence, it is better to reduce the usage of such websites.

If you don’t use data service on your device you can cancel it or you can switch it to 2G/EDGE. Thus, the apps working in the background stop consuming your data. Weather and emails are the services included in this type. When you share data with people using Wi-fi tethering or 3G connection, it results in more data usage.

Do you believe in online gaming? High-end 3D games take up upto 100 MB data per hour.
If you stream a lot of videos, you can switch to lower quality and reduce the data usage by 50 percent. If your data usage is increasing, you should get your computer checked just to verify if any virus issue.

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