I Question Data Usage and How Viasat Calculates It

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I have nine years of history concerning my data usage. I consistently use between 300 mb and 360 mb per day. I have no children in the house and it is impossible for anyone else to lock on to my wifi signal. I never stream and I have a Video Blocker on my browsers.

So last night, during the LNFZ, I downloaded a few short youtube videos for the first time. I used a download scheduler and set it to start at 3:15 am and stop at 5:45 am. MY LNFZ extends from 3:00 am until 6:00 am.

My new billing period started at midnight on the Fourth of June, ie today, so that there is no possibility of the co-mingling of different days' data.

I just checked my usage and is 500 mb with more than 6 hours remaining in the day.

I would like to hear from others about their experience concerning Viasat's accuracy, methods, and truthfulness in their calculating of data.

Viasat has a link on my dashboard called "How We Calculate Data Usage". When I click on the link, Viasat's answer does not address their own statement. It  seems to intentionally avoid a direct answer to their question. Here is Viasat's response to "How We Calculate Data Usage"  Note that the answer avoids stating how Viasat actually calculates data. Something is fishy. Viasat, just level with us and tell us in detail what calculations you use to calculate data.
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MEM

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Posted 2 months ago

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Steve Frederick, Champion

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Did your computer download the 1803 Windows 10 update.That update is around 500 mb?
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Jim16

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Here we go....
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GabeU, Champion

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500MB?  Eek.  For me it was around 3.1GB.  
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Captain318

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PC tech here. 1803 is over 3GB and is a full windows install. It just installs over your current OS and it will restore many personal settings back to default so check all of your settings after update
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MEM

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I still use Windows 7 so that I can prevent downloads.
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Andy Schack

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I missed this comment a couple days ago. Although I PREFER Windows 7, if a customer has 10, you can still prevent downloads by setting your connection to "metered". You must however be sure to set any new wifi connection to metered....ie, you change routers or change your router's ssid. 

Andy
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Andy Schack

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Any smart devices?...phone, tablet?

Andy
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MEM

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Nothing smart here.
No cell phone due to no cell signal.
Do have older iPad, but Apple no longer updating my version of iOS. They stopped for me at iOS 9.x. Many iPad apps now require iOS 10.x or iOS 11.x so I cannot install them.
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Andy Schack

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Try putting your iPad in airplane mode for a couple days if you can and see if you see the data bleed stop. While "many" apps require a newer ios, some may not. You can also use a data app for your iPad and program for your computer, most will show hour by hour usage. 

I had to become a super data sleuth a few years ago....Wife and 3 daughters...talk about seeing data get run through!!

Andy
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Andy Schack

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I thought about what you said about an older iPad not needing many app updates so I just checked my youngest daughter's iPad2 which had iOS9. I've got auto-updates turned off so I was able to see how many needed updating. There were 16 which added up to quit a bit of data. 

Andy
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MEM

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I also have auto update turned off and do not update the apps ever.
Updates for the iOS have been automatic and could not be stopped. That used to be a problem until Apple stopped providing updates for the iPad 2.
So I conclude that now the iPad 2 is not a source of data leaks.
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Oliver

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Don't forget viasat seems to count network overhead. It's all traffic that is counted.
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Jim16

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James needs to actually cut off the end of his Ethernet cable and plug it into his modem.  His posts have kept this forum very entertained for quite a while now.
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James

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I do unplug it, not from power but  just the cable on the back and data is used up still,  fake plug in the back and still uses data explain that one?  overhead useage on their end...their are ways to point out that it is on yalls end and not the customers :)
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GabeU, Champion

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The competition has a modem isolation test.  Does ViaSat not have something similar?  Basically, noting the data amount (taking a picture, with the time included), turning off the WiFi and unplugging the ethernet cable, letting it sit overnight, then plugging the ethernet cable back in and noting the data amount (taking another picture, with the time included).  

If data was used, it can be seen that it was used while the cable was unplugged and the WiFi turned off. 

Does ViaSat not have a similar procedure, or some way to show if data was used while the cable was out and the WiFi off?   
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phinneus

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In order for this to work you would need more accurate reporting. Not nearest 100mb which is what viasat provides us since they cut us off from esvt :(
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GabeU, Champion

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Oh, wow.  Well, that's not very helpful.    Scratch that idea.  
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Karen Dudnikov

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I just signed up with viasat and just surfing the web, news sites, facebook (no auto play) is using at least 1/10 gig an hour which adds up to over 1 gig a day.  No downloads, no streaming, nothing.  Can't figure out what in the world is happening.
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Karen Dudnikov

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I'm using the viasat browser, I'll check about scripts.  Thanks.
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Karen Dudnikov

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No, I take that back.  We've had data usage just with the laptop connected to the wifi but no browser windows open.
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Old Labs

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Karen:

Which operating system(s) and version(s) are you using? For example, Windows 10? There are some free utilities depending on which operating system you use that will tell you exactly what application are using your data (it's no longer limited to simply your browser but any web enabled applications including the operating system - that's all of the background usage you may be experiencing without knowing it).

Typically these must be installed on each device and operating system instance you use. The more popular ones for Windows are Glasswire (available for Windows 7, 8 and 10) and Networx which allow tracking usage by each process running on your device, what web sites and hosts are being used, what time, etc. Without identify what's using the data, it's difficult take take corrective actions.   

Many of us have simply resorted to using a router having robust traffic analysis features that track how data is used on each device (I lean towards ASUS higher end routers having the Traffic Anlysis feature, others appear to like Netgear).   

Same advice applies to MEM - don't guess what's using the data and when, know what's using it and when by tracking it properly. Glasswire's your friend on Windows 7, 8, 10 - even with it's annoying nag to purchase the free trial is adequate.
 
(Edited)
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Karen Dudnikov

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I'm windows 7, my husband is XP, I'll look into tracking devices.
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Jim16

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"1/10 gig an hour which adds up to over 1 gig a day"

If you are on the internet for 10 hours, than 1 gig a day sounds about right, or even low to me.
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Diana, Viasat Employee

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Hello MEM,  Andy is correct. Anytime the internet is up and running, you are using data.  If you have more that one page open while surfing, each page is using data. Below are some other areas that use data.
  1. Viruses and malware can increase your usage without your knowledge.
  2. Streaming video typically accounts for the highest data usage.
  3. Make sure your wireless home network is secure to keep people outside of your home from using your data.
  4. Every device that is on, uses data and background systems and apps that do automatic updates use data
  5. Close programs when not being used slows the system and continues to use data.
  6. Steaming news, music, or weather, commercials, use data, 
These are some items that use data that we don't think about - but is using data continually 

If you would like additional information please send an email to viastlistens@viasat.com whit your account and contact information.
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James

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I just reset a few days ago, have not been home, weather outage 2 of those days, fake cutoff Ethernet plug in the back of the modem and my data is almost gone. with 27 days left.
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Jim16

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I would email the company that makes that Ethernet cable and tell them their cable, when cut off, turns into a WiFi dongle.  
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James

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or yall could just admit that the overhead useage eats up peoples data and replace it but we all know that won't happen..
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Jim16

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"data is almost gone. with 27 days left."

So you are saying that "overhead data" uses what, 12, 40, 60, 150 gigs in two days?
(Edited)
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Karen Dudnikov

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Nearest neighbor is over a mile away and it's passworded.  We aren't streaming anything.  We apparently are using data just by having the laptop connected to wifi even when we don't have a browser open.  We run webroot every day, no viruses.  
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In nearly fourteen years I haven't left my modem powered when it's not in use.   If I'm not home, it's off.  If I'm asleep, it's off.  That wasn't due to seeing anyone say they've seen data disappear, but only a decision I made when I first got HughesNet.  If the modem isn't on, data can't be used.  If it's on, all bets are off. 

Again, I have HughesNet, not ViaSat, so I can't make any claims about what happens with Viasat.  Though I've seen it claimed plenty of times that "HughesNet is stealing my data!" or "I have data disappearing.", I have not seen one legitimate example of data loss.  That's not to say that it hasn't happened, though.  Back when the HT1000, Gen4's first modem, debuted, there were a few legitimate instances of data loss.  The firmware was upgraded quickly and it ended.  I was not on the boards at that time.  In the 2+ years that I have been on their boards, again, I've seen it claimed, but I've never seen a legitimate example of it.   The cause of the data loss either ends up being found, the data loss doesn't recur, or the person doesn't continue troubleshooting to find it and they stop replying.     
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phinneus

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When I was with hughesnet on the previous non gen4 hughesnet allocated hourly data for standard always on connection. Something like 20-50mb an hour. I forget it was almost 4 years ago. My router usage with hughesnet was ALWAYS lower then reported usage.

That said exede usage is always pretty much dead on what my router reports except sometimes during bad weather I'll get some inflation. That is very rare though and it usually isn't much of a difference.

Also note this is on old hughesnet satellite that had revolving daily data. Things definitely could of changed since then and to be honest that's one if not the only thing I missed about hughesnet when I switched over to exede.
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GabeU, Champion

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When I was with hughesnet on the previous non gen4 hughesnet allocated hourly data for standard always on connection. Something like 20-50mb an hour.

While the HughesNet customer wasn't charged for overhead with the legacy plans, as you intimated, the data used for that connection wasn't anywhere near that high.  Overhead that high would suggest a severe connection issue, which would be immediately noticed by the user.    
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phinneus

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I think they used some sort of check to see if traffic was in fact overhead. When I tested this I actually downloaded a 5 mb file and it detected that but if my left my PC alone and it used 5mb of data(required having a lot of simple stuff open that I normally never had open all at once) and about 45 min of idle time. It did not count that. The 5mb file showed up quickly.

Also in addition the data a single web page uses now to load is vastly different then it was 4 years ago......not really related to this in particular but in general I think even simple background messabgers use signicantly more data on idle today then they did 4 years ago.
(Edited)
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GabeU, Champion

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They can definitely see what's overhead and what's user data, and separate the two so the user doesn't get charged for the overhead.  And when I mentioned that a user would notice the connection issue, I meant more as problem, not really higher data usage, though that can definitely happen, especially when packets have to be sent over and over and over.  That can be a HUGE data killer.  

As for web pages, you're absolutely right.  It's crazy how much data the average page uses now.  It's one of the reasons why I recommend that anyone on a capped service use an ad blocker.  The ads alone can use a lot of data, especially if they're video ads.   
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wm4bama, Champion

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My modem and router stay powered up 24/7...I turn computer on every morning at 6:00am and it stays on until 5:00pm, then off until the next morning.

I am on the 10Gb plan...I visit all my favorite web sites for news/sports/weather all day, I have 4 email addresses that's checked every hour automatically by my email client, I participate in several tech forums, like this one, I do a lot of online shopping and do all my banking/bill pay online...I watch a few short videos from Facebook posts and YouTube...

But the important things I don't do is stream movies, radio, play games or use programs that uses the internet without my knowledge.

I seldom use more that 5Gb's/month...once I used 7Gb's but that was when I updated my GPS device with updated maps.

We pressed Wildblue (original plans) to make sure byte counts were made using bytes going into or out of their server to/from our modems and not what goes in or out of our modems.  We never got a clear answer on that..but proved that background activities like staying connected to the satellite or the activity of reacquiring the satellite after an outage, like weather related or a Wildblue problem did not count on our usage.

I use all the browser extensions that block ads, disable auto-play videos etc...My email client and browser stays open all day until I power down at 5:00pm every day.

I know this description may not help those folks that think they have unexplained activity adding to their usage, but, it should make sense that they have to do some deep detective work to isolate what's using their data.. 
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GabeU, Champion

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You sound like me, though I unplug my modem when I'm not using the net.  Though I do watch Youtube clips and such, I don't stream.   I browse, shop, pay my bills, use Facebook, frequent a few forums, including this one, and I've never, EVER, gone over my monthly data allotment, which used to be 15GB, but is now 20GB due to a plan change.  Actually, unless I download some hefty files, which I sometimes do, I rarely use more than 8GB or so.  This is with HughesNet, but a GB is a GB, regardless of the ISP.  

My system is set up in such a way that I know where every single MB is going, save for when I connect my cell phone via WiFi, which is pretty much only when I update my apps.  
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Karen Dudnikov

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Thank you, I'm using 1/10 gig an hour even if my browsers are closed, that's what I don't understand.  I'm not doing 1/2 of what you are doing but I'm using up bandwidth.  I don't have a virus, etc.
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Jim16

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"How much data does web browsing really use?

For the most part, web page browsing, or surfing, does not use much data or bandwidth. A normal web page is typically less than 3 MB (Megabytes) in size and will download in seconds or less. A typical person can read a normal web page in one minute.

To put that in perspective in terms of what Internet package is best suited for web browsing, let’s look at a case where a person uses the Internet for 8 hours a day, every day of the month. This breaks down to:

  • 60 minutes X 8 hours = 480 minutes per day
  • 480 minutes per day X 30 days a month = 14,400 minutes per month
  • 14,400 minutes per month X 3 MB per web page = 43,200 MB per month
  • 43,200 MB per month = 43 GB per month
Therefore, a data plan of about 45 GB and a bandwidth connection of 3 Mbps x 1.5 Mbps or better would be sufficient. If two people are doing this at this same time, this would double the GB and the speed requirements."
(Edited)
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MEM

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Is that what you call mathematical clap trap?
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Jim16

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Could be.  I didn't write it.  Do you think browsing the internet for 10 hours might use 1 gig or more?

https://gobrolly.com/amount-data-and-bandwidth-required-web-browsing/
(Edited)
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Bev, Champion

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Yes, if HTML5 video loading is not disabled and, no ad and media blocker is used, easily a Gig per day for 8-10 hours if not more.
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Karen Dudnikov

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But it's not like I'm browsing for 8 hours a day.  I have wifi on even without a browser window open and I'm using 1/10 gig an hour.  That makes no sense.  Heaven forbid I'm actually online doing something.  Like this.
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Russtytrucker

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Something is using your data. The only way to find out is with a router that has a traffic monitor. 
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Bev, Champion

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What do you have check for updates enabled in? That's usually app or program specific and, even checking to see if there are updates uses data.
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Karen Dudnikov

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I have no automatic updates.  And honestly would anything be checking for updates every single hour of the day?  
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wm4bama, Champion

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Karen, where are you getting the byte count from?  If you're looking at the modem menu you'll not get the true count, and the counter will show rapid increases in it's internal counter...that's just the modem refreshing your monitor and not counted as usage..the only accurate place to see your usage is from your dashboard and that may not update itself but every 4 hours, or more.

Also, please read my comment about using ccleaner.
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Karen Dudnikov

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I download ccleaner.  Awesome.  Webroot detected a threat when I did.  Plus ccleaner didn't work once downloaded.  Ran webroot to clean the system.  Ran a malware program that isolated the files from ccleaner download.   I don't care anymore.  I'll use up the gigs and they can throttle me back if they want.  I won't purchase extra gigs or a bigger plan if I don't know how they calculate stuff.
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wm4bama, Champion

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It seems some A/V software uses detection threat because ccleaner can change things on your system, which is what ccleaner does..just ignore that message,,,bottom line is "why you say ccleaner didn't work"??
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GabeU, Champion

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That's very interesting.  I've had Webroot Antivirus going on four and a half years and have used CCleaner for longer than that, and Webroot has never flagged CCleaner for me.  

Glasswire missing files and CCleaner not working and/or being flagged?  Something odd is going on here.  
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phinneus

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I agree. I think a virus infected your virus scanner. CCleaner is a very basic program that all virus scanning companies know about.

It's possible a virus added definitions into virus scanner dbase.
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Andy Schack

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Sure it would. Devices are regularly checking for updates. I was talking to a Century Link tech a while back and we were discussing data usage. He showed me a tech bulletin he got which informed techs that if a customer has 3 or more devices that use Windows 10 and they have 3mbps or lower internet, they effectively cannot browse or do anything else. Now I'm not entirely sure what Windows 10 is doing that causes it to tie up a 3meg connection like that but it does happen. 

Andy
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Bev, Champion

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Checking for updates, uploading updated the user has but ANYONE on the internet might need, constant'y updating those Live Tiles in the start menu, sending data for User Experience, looking for solutions to reported problems, etc... The fool thing even checks for and, downloads updates to offline maps for anyplace you ever looked for if you don't stop it. It uploads to On Drive, checks to see if that needs synced.

Heaven forbid you have iTunes too, now there are two clouds and more updaters running by default. Add Adobe and Java, and a browser, an anti virus program, graphics driver control center and, ALL of them are busy looking for updates four and five times per day, if not more unless you change the setting manually.

Even printers automatically check for updates these days.

By default Windows 10 is a non stop data draining machine. 99% of it can be stopped with settings but, it takes a good hour of going through it all to get the data drain halted.

I let mine go on everything this month. 170 GB used and 6 days to go, going to be 200 GB, my normal usage is 40-60 Gb per month if I cut off those auto updaters, live tiles and such. Basically, background stuff can manage to use about 100 GB per month all on its own with 3 windows 110 machines, 2 iPhones and one DTV Genie system NO VIDEO DOWNLOADS, only our normal few You Tube 5 min or less videos.

Now that does include the recent 1803 feature update for Windows 10 but, it also shows just what leaving everything at default updating can do.
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wm4bama, Champion

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One thing to use often is Ccleaner...(crap cleaner)..if you don't have it installed then download and install it.  Then open the program and click the "Tools" then "Startup" button on the left, go through all the things that are loaded during boot process and disable all of them except your security software...make sure you look at "Windows" startup and the "Scheduled tasks" and "Context" entries...disable all but security entries...you can always go back and enable something if needed.

Now, reboot your computer and see if usage slows down..also, every day just before you shutdown your computer run the cleaner and let it delete all the crap it finds, and about once a week use the "Registry" checker and let it fix any problems it finds..

That's my procedure and I run it daily or after installing or uninstalling any program..Here's a place to download from, it's free:



https://filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/
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Andy Schack

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CCleaner is great. Wm4bama's suggestions are spot-on. The Registry cleaner tool can really help your computer work better and faster. I had an older customer a while back that after I installed her Exede system I made sure her laptop could connect. Her computer was so jacked-up that it virtually wouldn't work....took several minutes for a browser to open up and display google.com. Installed and ran cccleaner and it found just shy of 1,000 errors. Had to run it 3 or 4 times before everything was straightened out. Her laptop ran like a champ after that. 

BTW, it has come to my mind that some of you might think I was taking a risk by installing a program on a customer's computer. Well that's one of the dilemmas I face as an installer on a regular basis. If a customer's computer is jacked-up and is working slow then you have two choices: 1) spend some time onsite and help fix the problem or 2) have the customer call repeatedly complaining about how slow the internet you just put in for them is. I have found that #1 overall takes less time. 


Andy
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NewMexicoMountains

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Problems like this could easily be resolved if Viasat would provide users (or at least the tech support team) decent tools for traffic analysis. I check my usage everyday. This morning my 24 hour usage was 1.3GB when nobody was home most of that period. I run Networx on the PCs, which verified that they were not the culprits. I have the apple update sites blocked at the router, so that was not the issue. I called tech support and the usage they told me was consistent with my logs - the largest use was my backups to Backblaze which occur during the free period. So what was it? They can't tell me what device was the source because my area is served by the hand-me-down satellites which aren't supported with the modems that report per-device usage. (Of course, we pay the same price charged for the newer state-of-the-art satellites). They apparently can't give me the IP addresses with the heaviest usage. All they can tell me is broad categories like file xfer, web browsing, streaming video. They can tell me the heaviest hours by looking at a graph that apparently doesn't have units on it. Mind you, my questions all regarded usage for the past 24 hours. It's not like I was asking for ancient history. If Viasat actually cared about having customers in control of their data usage, they would provide us with better tools to understand our usage. I were cynical I'd suggest that it's not in their interest for us to be able understand our usage.
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Steve Frederick, Champion

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In GlassWire, in the Usage tab, click on the little box just to the upper right of the circle graph. there you will see various options, click on the External.
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Andy Schack

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I keep hearing about Glasswire.....guess I'll have to download it and see if it is something the average customer can use. One thing I liked about the Netgear routers was that you could view the usage quickly and easily with any connected device that had the program or app installed. 

Andy
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Steve Frederick, Champion

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The disadvantage with GlassWire is that it only keeps track of traffic on the device it is installed on, and not other devices that are using the network. One can install it on each device and then add up all the numbers, but having a router ith traffic monitoring is certainly the better way to go.
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MEM

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That's great Andy,
My router is Netgear AC1750 Smart WIFI Router Model R6400.
What do I have to do in order to get it to tell me how much data each device uses?
Thanks.
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GabeU, Champion

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The best thing about Glasswire is that, once you know which device is the culprit, it can tell you just where the problem on the device is, if said device is Windows based.   The router points you to the right haystack, but Glasswire points you to the needle.  Networx can, as well, though I don't find Networx to be as user friendly. 

They also make Glasswire for Android devices, and they are working on a version for Macs.  There are other apps for non Windows based devices, as well, though how well they work I don't know.
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James Paramore

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Some people don't realize that windows 10 by default will use your internet connection to upgrade other PCs around the world. You need to find that setting and turn it off. 
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NewMexicoMountains

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A. I'm running Win 7 which doesn't do this
B. I said that I'm running Networx which would show this usage if that were the case
(Edited)
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GabeU, Champion

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Some people don't realize that windows 10 by default will use your internet connection to upgrade other PCs around the world. You need to find that setting and turn it off. 

Yep.  It's called "Delivery Optimization" now, but it used to be called "Updates from more that one place",  though a more apt name would be "Updates FOR more than one place."  LOL.  
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wm4bama, Champion

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Many users are asking for a way to tell what's using data on their local home network...I suggest you go here and see if your router is compatible with the DD-WRT firmware...if it is, download and install it in your router,,,it will provide all the info on who, what, when your date is being used.

https://dd-wrt.com/support/router-database/
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NewMexicoMountains

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This has been on my to-do list for a while. But it's also not the answer in general. A company that cares about it's customers doesn't require them to have the skills to be aware of and understand dd-wrt and to be able and willing to flash their router (and perhaps have to buy a new router to be able to do this.)
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NewMexicoMountains

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Update: I finally got around to buying a new (used) router and flashing it with DD-WRT and installing YAMon (the add-on monitoring package.) Not overwhelmingly hard, but also not for the faint of heart with no knowledge of Linux. It's revealed some interesting info. For example, my niece's Pixel phone managed to run up 160MB of data even though she didn't touch it during that entire time. Even worse, her Kindle Fire blasted through almost 300MB of data while she was reading a book on it. Scarier was that almost half the phone traffic was uploads.
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Ivan Bludnik

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Of course the Viasat engineers and programs know exactly how the data is calculated. They wrote the software and developed the systems on which to base Viasat's charges to us.

Apparently, it is to their advantage to keep us in the dark to minimize the questions asked of them.

I did the same thing when I worked for a large telecommunications and business systems corporation. Answering questions only begat more questions. In order to maintain control of the agenda, I feigned ignorance. It did not help the customer but it made my job easier. 
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Karen Dudnikov

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I downloaded ccleaner and the networx tracker.  I have the tracker set for all users/router traffic.  As of this morning exede is showing I'm at my limit of 12 gigs and my tracker is showing 5.71.  The tracker of course shows what I do before 6AM and also tracked what I did on my 4 day 3 night trip out of town.  The networx tracker should be higher then exede but it's less than half.  I could give a gig or two for differences in measurement but half?  
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Old Labs

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Do you have a router that supports the necessary protocols for tracking at the router level? See:

https://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/manual/router_monitoring.htm

That protocol's typically not found on consumer routers.

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NewMexicoMountains

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Regardless of "all users/router traffic" setting, Networx is showing traffic only for the devices it is installed on. If you have multiple computers, you must install it on every one. There is no version (to my knowledge) that you can install on your mobile devices (eg, tablet, phone whether iOS or Android), so this data is not being counted.
BTW, you can set Networx to ignore traffic during the free period.