There are a number of ways that you can reduce your Internet costs and make your quota last longer.
Think about what you download
Movies and audio are big bandwidth consumers. Downloading video and audio files or using streaming video or audio will quickly use up your quota. Refer to this page for more information on just how quickly. Additionally, you should be aware of the Computer Usage Guidelines and Copyright Requirements.
Do you really need to listen to radio / podcasts over the Internet?
- Radio comes down as a data stream for as long as you listen.
- Podcasts are just a large audio track that you download.
- Data is coming to the University and the costs can add up quite quickly.
Do you really need Peer-to-peer software?
- Peer-to-peer (p2p) software can be a great way to access applications or content, but you have to ask yourself a few questions:
- Is it legal?
- Could you face prosecution if you download something?
- How big is it?
- How much will it cost?
- Some peer-to-peer products have the concept of nodes and super-nodes.
- Will you end up downloading something for someone else?
Skype was evil!
- Skype (a peer-to-peer Voice over IP (VoIP) application) is a very handy way to keep in contact with other people.
- However, there are two main problems with this application:
- It is not written with security in mind, and has been shown to be able to provide methods of infecting your computer.
- It loves and will seek out high speed networks. Thus, our campus' gigabit connection provides an ideal vehicle to use as a super-node or 'relay' for traffic between Australia and the USA.
- This means that it relays traffic on behalf of other Skype users.
- All traffic relayed through your computer running Skype ends up being charged to you, even if it isn't you making the phone calls!
- Update: Skype is now blocked from becoming a supernode by the JCU network, so now it's much less likely to be the cause of high usage.
Use Australian mirror sites where possible
- Many popular web site and search engines have Australian mirror sites.
- So to save money, you should find out it if your favourite web sites have Australian mirror sites, and use them whenever possible.
- Also, many sites often provide alternative sources for downloading files. Choose the Australian source.
- Don't leave your web browser open on a page with automatically refreshing content
- There are some web pages that automatically refresh themselves after a certain time period, eg banner advertisements that reload every minute or so.
- If you leave your browser on a page like this for a long period of time, eg overnight, you could be using your quota unnecessarily without realising.
- Web-cams, APC magazine and the WhitePages and YellowPages are examples of pages that exhibit this behaviour.
Browse with images turned off
- Firefox allows you to switch off the automatic loading of images. (Edit, Preferences, Advanced, Untick "Automatically load images").
- Because images consume much more bandwidth than text, your Internet usage could drop significantly.
- A well designed web site should be perfectly usable with images turned off (though you might have problems with some sites).
- Another advantage is you don't have to look at so many banner ads. In Firefox you can choose to display a particular image by right clicking it and choosing "Show Image".
- Sadly, many web developers do not consider the costs of traffic and so browsing the Internet can be less efficient as a result.
Data monitoring software
These programs might help you manage your data usage by giving you a graphical representation of what you are using.