Why does my modem appear to be downloading data when I'm not using it?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
My modem is blinking like it's using data, but I'm not doing anything, Why?
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Tedd Ward Jr.

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Posted 3 years ago

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Bev, Champion

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That is normal, it is simply maintaining it's communication with the satellite, it isn't using your data unless a connected device is checking for or, downloading updates, or you are using data in some way on a connected device.

It's just keeping the line to the satellite open so that it's ready to send or receive data when you request it do so, or when a connected device needs to use data for updates.
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Gregory Davis

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Agreeing with Bev's answer the Modem is like saying, or periodically checking in, with the satelite, making sure that they can talk to each other.  When data is being transfered to/from the satelite then the"blinking" will be much faster/more active.  During data tansfer there is also a "parity check" to insure a good tansfer if not it's like saying "I didn't get that" can you "repeat the last transmission".   Digging deaper into some of the website tools Viasat provides and or looking into MODEM's url you can see some of these statistics.  Not sure how Viasat handles these issues when calculating data useage.  Back in the "Dial Up" days the modem would dial into the host, via phone line, and initally negotiate a "useable" bit rate.  For example a 1200 bit rate modem doesn't always get that speed and may settle on 300 bit/sec.  This maybe due to the quality of the phone lines between the user and the host connection.  In our satelite world things like weather, our data plan, are we on "Liberty Pass", and the URL target host's activity, how busy is our particular Viasat beam is, how busy is our Viast gateway, and ... (all of these may contribute to "How Fast", "Responsive" our Viasat system is.
Sorry if I diverged here a little.
Our other electronic devices also must maintain a similar continuous connection via their WiFi router/accesspoint, their Cellular access tower, even ones XM radio when first powered on needs to talk to the XM satelite identifying itself with it's unique ID - the system then verifies the ID as being active, ...
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... and one more thing,

IF you are watching  movie on Hulu and don't actually log off, but just close your browser, the movie will continue to stream until who-knows-when.  Huh??? yes, give it a try.  I have multiple monitors, one is dedicated to just showing live upload and download speed, accumulated data etc.  This is how I caught Hulu not stopping the data stream when stopping movie play without logging out of Hulu first.
Some people check the box to always stay logged in or 'remember me' so they can just come back anytime and be already logged in and this will cost you at Hulu on your data usage.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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See also: Youtube (if you are logged in via Google) just plays the next recommended video. News pages are doing this as well. The autoplay video is a pet peeve already but now the video rotation is just a cherry on top of the rage sundae 
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Bev and Gregory are correct. However some pages will continue refreshing and reloading like Craig suggested. If you have your online programs and browsers closed it's probably just checking in with the satellite and completing it's data report.