What is bandwidth throttling?

Bandwidth throttling

The key to effectively monitoring an organization’s bandwidth is to recognize that the different network traffic activities and network elements need to be monitored individually. Network bandwidth usage and traffic behavior vary by device, application, user, and their types. When it comes to monitoring network traffic and application performance, it is necessary to factor in these differences through methods such as bandwidth throttling, which allows you to adjust internet speed and bandwidth to see how the applications in your network perform under different network conditions and what impact this may have on users.

What is bandwidth throttling?

Bandwidth throttling is the intentional reduction in data transfer rate or speed reduction by ISPs or network administrators to regulate network traffic or enforce data caps. It is typically applied to non-mission-critical bandwidth hogging applications that pose a threat to the prioritization of business-critical applications and resources. Bandwidth throttling helps manage network congestion and limit overall bandwidth usage.

Bandwidth throttling, if transparent, can be useful in managing network traffic performance, but it can also have a significant impact on the user experience and net neutrality.

Why is bandwidth throttling done?

An ISP or network administrator may have several reasons to throttle, including:

  • Network congestion
  • Data caps
  • Paid prioritization
  • Prohibited activity or sites

Network congestion

All ISPs and network administrators throttle bandwidth to a certain extent to regulate the use of bandwidth and to prevent bandwidth bottlenecks. When done right, this type of throttling isn’t noticeable and goes a long way in ensuring fair usage and allocation of bandwidth to mission-critical network resources, devices, and applications.

Data caps

Most ISPs have a data cap for the amount of data for transferred in a billing cycle. The best way to prevent or limit the effects of bandwidth throttling is to monitor your bandwidth usage and not go over your ISP's data limit. This can be done easily using a bandwidth monitoring and management software, such as NetFlow Analyzer, that can help you keep track of your organization’s bandwidth usage.

Paid prioritization

Paid prioritization, or “fast lane internet”, is where companies can pay ISPs to prioritize their sites or data over others, typically their competitors. While not illegal, this hugely affects net neutrality.

Prohibited activity or sites

ISPs and network administrators can throttle bandwidth to avoid the usage of certain sites or activities that may be prohibited for reasons such them being illegal, a threat to security, or non-business critical.

How to prevent bandwidth throttling

While not all bandwidth throttling is bad, non-transparent bandwidth throttling can have a huge impact on businesses and on the end-user experience. While individual users can use VPNs to bypass throttling, it is not as easy for enterprises when the overall bandwidth limit is throttled.

A VPN cannot help with throttling caused by exceeding data caps due to network congestion in an organization’s network. This can be fixed by monitoring the bandwidth usage of your network to ensure there are no overages. If your network's bandwidth usage is consistently exceeding the limit provided by the ISP, throttling is not what's resulting in slower network speed, and simply switching ISPs will not help. In such cases, monitoring your average use with an enterprise bandwidth monitor to identify the bandwidth needs can help you decide if there is a need to increase the bandwidth capacity or if it's caused by certain non-integral elements in your network.

Planning their bandwidth needs ahead of time can save enterprises the trouble of dealing with bandwidth bottlenecks and help them handle traffic spikes better, which will in turn help improve network performance and health, the user experience, productivity, and ROI.

How ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer can help manage bandwidth throttling

ManageEngine NetFlow Analyzer is a flow-based, stand-alone, and highly scalable bandwidth monitoring and network traffic analysis solution for small, medium, and large organizations. NetFlow Analyzer can help network admins monitor the enterprise network traffic to provide in-depth visibility into network devices, interfaces, applications, users, bandwidth usage, and network traffic. It helps analyze network traffic patterns and bandwidth usage trends with multi-level reports, making bandwidth management easier and more efficient.

In-depth visibility

Visualize your entire network from a single console with NetFlow Analyzer’s advanced reports and graphs that provide visibility into every activity, device, interface, and application, among other network elements.

Network traffic anomaly detection

Monitor network traffic trends to detect network traffic anomalies and the root cause of bandwidth bottlenecks.

Threshold-based alerts

Set threshold-based alerts to discover usage violations or unusual activities.

Bandwidth forecasting and capacity planning

Forecast network bandwidth usage trends to identify potential bottlenecks, and plan IT requirements and bandwidth capacity ahead of time to avoid network congestion.

Traffic shaping

Shape traffic with with ACLs, service policies, and CBQoS to prioritize smooth access and functioning of traffic from mission-critical applications and users.

Download a 30-day free trial of NetFlow Analyzer

What customers say

Fantastic Product

Awesome product! I can't say enough about the Network Analyzer product. It does a great job helping us see traffic patterns from our production datacenter as well as all of our office locations.

- Director of IT in the Healthcare industry

Review as provided by our NetFlow Analyzer's customers to Gartner® Peer Insights™.