Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Read the article that everyone's commenting on.
Another thing to remember when watching videos or listening to music is the difference between "streaming" and "downloading". When streaming, every time you watch/listen, it downloads the entire video/song. So, if you find some video on YouTube, and watch it several times, or show it to your friends, you might end up turning that 10MB video into 50MB of traffic. The same thing holds true for Internet radio stations, although audio needs much less data than video.
My ISP ("3") make it fairly simple - they have an approximation of your usage on their site - although, I have had arguments with them about it in the past.
They also (usually) send you a message when you have 20% of your allowance left, and another when you run out completely.
My method is to actually watch the network connection status window. Bit geeky, and sometimes a little alarming (especially around 'patch tuesday'), it lets me make sure I'm not using more than I should.
What does a Gig limit mean? Breach of contract for a start. Take AT&T as an example. Recently your DSL Transfer rate has been cut in half, then quartered. And now an Octopodic rate schedule is included with caps in their model. Forgotten is the original hook, line and sinker of faster than bloated cable, still with no specific data rates mentioned unless held in contempt of court.
The Only crisp clear market iron clad contract promise was unlimited internet access. With a less clear promise of a data rate that may or may not be four Gigabits per second down and a half a gigabit per second up.
What the hell is this gigabit crap? Eight bits to a byte and a stop byte. My that did shrink in size rather quickly. Sure sounded impressive. What next? Down to double dial up speed, access between 9am-10pm, no piggy backing, bundling, or shackled smartphone Wi-Fi internet access. Thumb print unlocking for router portal connect.
Give me a break. They have sucked the competitive market down to two sources Cable or The phone Co. Both friendly helpful community minded corporate friends of the consumer always willing to contribute to the common good of subscriber bases.
When is the last time you saw a mention of internet2 already superseded by internet3? The vast amazing light speed low ping Oceans of bandwidth handling of multicolor phasing laser phiber optic handling.
Hmm, got pretty quiet with bargains in Malibu to be snatched up didn't it. Trust me, your ISP irregardless of which of two you have has only one piggyback in mind and you can start to squeel like a pig right now.
Regarding the gigabyte limit that ISP's are imposing: I have been using Codebox's BitMeter II for a couple of years. It lets you get the upload and download data in bytes or in bits. Check it out at: http://codebox.org.uk/pages/bitmeter2
An other data transfer rule of thumb when using video communications like Skype is:
One minute of video is about one megabyte of total data transfer.
Rough and ready but gets you in the ball park.
If you are on (say) You Tube website and watching a video, and simultaneously use Video Downloader in Firefox to download it so you can watch it from your hard drive later, are you downloading the bytes twice, doubling your usage? If yes, how can you avoid the doubling of download?
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