Continued frustration with throttled connections, solved?

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I’ve done everything I could to limit the use of the internet in the house just so that at least we go past two weeks before I get the dreaded “you’re it” message from our beloved Batelco.

The record was 12 days.

Since they upgraded the package to 4MB, which is just a few weeks ago, we got the 75% warning yesterday, so I doubt very much that we’ll get to the record 12 days this time. The kids swear that they’re not downloading much, just watching YouTube sometimes and surfing. Just normal Internet activity to them really, they haven’t been reared on a 300 baud connection with BD600 a month telephone bills, so what do they know? To them, it’s like the air they breath, just second nature.

They got incensed when I limited their Internet access between 8am to 8pm with a complete blackout after 8pm.

Weird. Even with that, we bust the limit. Something I am highly skeptical of. No, we don’t have viruses nor trojans that I know of. We’re exclusively on Macs, one desktop and 4 laptops (5 with mine when I bring it over), so the only thing that is permanently connected is the iMac.

What is a man to do then? Especially when my business depends on the Internet and I have to carry on working when I get home? Well, get a higher bandwidth limit of course. Therefore, the call went to Batelco yesterday to upgrade our package to 8MB which comes with a 40GB limit. That should get us to approximately a 3 week limit before we bust that at the rate we’re going.

They checked the line and called me today: our lines coming into the house can’t handle more than 5 and a bit Mbps. Damn. Well, as the main reason for thinking of this package is really bandwidth rather than speed, I told them to just go ahead. Those 15GB/month extra would easily make up the difference in price.

Today, the deed was done.

Let’s see how long it lasts.

If you have any ideas why we’re eating up bandwidth like this, I would like to hear them.

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18 Comments
  • Mike P
    11 July 2009

    Install bandwidth traffic counters on all your macs?

    Maybe disable auto-updates, and manually update software only after you have reached your threshold limit?

    Do the kids use P2P software? if they do, disable sharing as uploads also count towards your total threshold limit…

  • Redbelt
    11 July 2009

    Dude, I strongly think they play around with the figures. Straight up: I do not trust batelco. I seriously think they add costs that you cannot check up or claim you used more than you did. Several times when I had a Batelco connection, and leave it untouched for days, I get a message that I used 75% of my bandwidth and then they say I used 100%. What gives? How can my usage continue when nothing is using it? I smell fish and I do not trust the un-transparent nature of that company.
    Screw them.
    Get Mena telecom. Less Bandwidth, I know, but if my theory (and your calculations) are correct, maybe it will hold?

  • Elm
    12 July 2009

    What’s up with everyone and limited bandwidth? just get an unlimited package (not Batelco or God forbid Mena’s one they’re even worse!)

    How much do you really download? 60GB? You should check with Batelco exactly how much you truly download, it’s your right. Go with Premium 2000 or 4000 from lightspeed and you should be fine, don’t try them if you’re heavy on torrent stuff but if you simply ‘use’ the Internet a lot, then thats the way to go these days 🙂

  • Jeremy Bicha
    12 July 2009

    Maybe if the Ministry of Information & Censorship would block YouTube as well for “violating regulations and laws of Kingdom of Bahrain” , you wouldn’t have this problem.

    I’m rather happy with my Mena Telecom. Occasionally I lose a signal or the connection is a little slower but I think I live on the edge of Bahrain so it doesn’t bother me too much. Consider giving them a try. We do want to support competition in the telecom sector, right?

  • Nicster
    12 July 2009

    Not sure if you use proxies (*) for your surfing at all but these can really eat into your limits quickly – if you do then use them sparingly and connect directly through your usual IP for your day-to-day surfing to reduce the amount of traffic on your line.

    * of course I wouldn’t dream of condoning the use of proxies to avoid the dreaded “access denied” screen so lovingly provided in this fair country… just heard that some people do 😉

  • Loki
    12 July 2009

    As was said, install a bandwidth meter. Or go nuts and use something like wireshark/ethereal and you will know all.

    From my experience nothing hits the bandwidth like Bit Torrent. Even with limited upload its still a killer.

    On a last note mac != immunity. I’m a mac zealot but the Macs security is not all its cracked up to be. Sure, the FreeBSD kernel does provide a measure of security but its not as secure as windows seven (yes, you heard right) or the latest linux distros. Basically its the safest and least secure OS of the latest Gen Oses (sounds like a contradiction but its not). And part of that is safety through obscurity, which is not sustainable. Anywhoo, the long winded point I wanted to make was that if you installed iLife or Adobe CS4 from a bit torrent installation then you may have a trojan. Both these products have been tainted and released into the wild. Products like Little Snitch help to detect outgoing detection (or you can just check network logs…).

    • mahmood
      12 July 2009

      We have neither. I bought a family pack of iLife09 directly from Apple. I’ll have to try to find the time to chase this issue around as it’s driving me crazy.

      • Loki
        13 July 2009

        btw, I think you can view your bandwidth usage by logging onto the Batelco website. You can view your account setting and the amount of bandwidth remaining and how much you’ve been downloading and when.

  • FYI
    12 July 2009

    Mahmood your ping is very high should be low 20’s; if your router is using PPPoA to connect change it to the newer PPPoE. I’m also on the 8mb connection and here is my test.

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/515841503.png

    • mahmood
      14 July 2009

      Thanks, will look into this.

  • Loki
    14 July 2009

    I know this is a long shot. But you don’t use an unsecured wifi network by any chance?

    • mahmood
      14 July 2009

      Not at all. I’ve enforced passwords on the routers. I think the next step is to enforce MAC address-based access which I have partially done.

      • Ali
        15 July 2009

        When did you last change the passwords on the router? It’s a pain, but change the wifi passwords on the router and the clients. Do activate MAC access control, but keep in mind that can be spoofed. Does your router keep logs or stats, maybe you can check bandwidth usage that way. Try turning off all your computers overnight, and see if bandwidth is still used up, then someone else is using your network. Leave your computers on, but unused, and if you’re using up bandwidth, than something is running on you machine that’s using up your bandwidth. It’s a process of elimination. Run full virus and malware scans on all your systems.

        btw, as someone who’s coming to Bahrain soon, I love reading you blog.

  • F.A.J
    16 July 2009

    If your work depends on the Internet as you said, then why don’t you just simply get 2 internet packages, one that is personally for you and the other one is for your kids, this way you will be more able to determine where the problem is?

    Believe me even 100gb limit won’t be enough for your kids .

  • Darth
    21 July 2009

    The deal with TATA is all over the press – thats going to change thing when it comes to redunduncy in the Gulf especially with the fact that we rely heavily on the Falcon Cable (FLAG) – and it will provide more bandwidth for better prices! The Govt is wisely using BD14 Million from the BD86 Million we got with the 3rd Mobile Auction. I hear that STC will also lay fiber to connect Bahrain with Saudi with even more cables. The TATA cable should connect with BIX and re-energize it with a ton of bandwidth. We should have been doing this along time ago. This would go along way in reducing the problems we’ve had on this island when it comes to data connectivity.

  • salman
    4 August 2009

    i advice you to change the password of your user in Batelco from their site, and change your router as will.

    good luck

  • AR
    16 August 2009

    Im having the same problem….does anyone have any experience with Lightspeeds Premium 2000 service. Its supposedly a 2mb connection with unlimited download for BHD45 a month???? (only problem its a 12m contract!)

  • J R
    29 August 2009

    Ive noticed something similar with the MAC platform , N.B. the issue I noticed was that I seemed to be downloading inspite of having no “DOWNLOADS” open on any client. I did some research and realized something called as the mdns response and my machine being part of a multicast group which I haven’t voluntarily subscribed to .I would recommend that you try a tcpdump on the relevant interface and post the findings.

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