What causes excessive bandwidth overage?

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Streaming video and audio are big bandwidth consumers, as are certain online games. The big questions are what is your bandwidth limit (GB/month is typical), are your son's games online games (WoW, multiplayer shooters, strategy games, web games, etc.), and what kind of browsing you do (watch videos, listen to Internet radio, web games, etc.). For example, my ISP gave me a 5GB per month transfer limit last year (I'm not happy about that), which boils down to about 166MB per day on average, assuming 30 days to a month. That might seem like plenty, but consider that in order to send or receive data over the Internet requires more data than just the data being sent. This can bulk up the amount of bandwidth used (a 20kB file might consume 30kB worth of bandwidth in transmission). Then you have to add in the upstream data, or what your computer is sending out, like page requests, retransmission requests when data gets lost or garbled, and anything you upload (which can result in ... more
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