Traffic Management or “Network Management” as broadband provider EE like to call it gives me the chills.
Just hearing that phrase makes me shudder to the core.
For someone who has used the internet since the mid 90's, I have watched it change and evolve over the years and while much of it has changed for the better, there are some obvious downsides too.
As speeds have got faster, the range of services and possibilities have grown but with this speed increase has come the dreaded Traffic Management.
Below I'll be exploring how you can avoid your internet connection being slowed.
What is Traffic Management?
If you use EE or any of the UK broadband providers and you haven't heard the phrase Traffic Management before then I'll explain.
Traffic Management is a way of restricting or slowing certain services on the internet. It's basically like having a two lane motorway which is split between certain types of traffic.
Lorries are put in a slow lane and cars are placed in a fast lane.
In terms of the internet, the lorries are services like file sharing, newsgroups and other such “heavy” usage services. The cars are your everyday tasks like visiting simple websites, updating social media statuses and sending emails etc.
What services are covered by EE Traffic Management?
Traffic Management isn't in operation all of the time but when you consider the times it is in operation, then it may as well be.
EE have determined that between 16:30 and 01:00 on weekdays and 13:30 and 01:00 on weekends as “peak” times.
It is between those times that specific traffic is slowed. Surprisingly it isn't just file sharing that falls foul of traffic management on EE and all of the following are included:
- Audio streaming
- Video streaming
- Peer 2 Peer (P2P)
- Music downloads
- Video downloads
Outrageous, how can I avoid traffic shaping?
Yes, it certainly is outrageous.
If you've ever wondered why those Youtube videos are buffering or that BBC iPlayer programme you're watching is stuttering and showing you the annoying rotating circle then now you know.
I can somewhat understand reducing the speed of file sharing and newsgroups although I disagree with it but to traffic manage video streaming is really out of order because it's one of the most common activities to do on the internet these days especially when relaxing in the evening.
Thankfully there is a way to bypass EE traffic management by using a simple tool known as a VPN.
A VPN is a completely legal service that allows you to encrypt your internet connection. In essence, it disguises what you're doing on the internet and because what you're doing is disguised EE can't determine what type of traffic you're transferring.
When using a VPN all of your internet traffic is jumbled up in an unreadable manner meaning if you're watching a programme on Sky Go or laughing your way through cat videos on YouTube then EE will be none the wiser and because of this they can't slow your traffic down.
The result is no buffering or stuttering and allowing you to use the maximum speed of your internet connection for all activities at any time of the day.
Where can I get a VPN?
There are basically hundreds of companies who now offer VPN services so the choice can be overwhelming.
On a regular basis, I review VPN services to determine who are the best and who gives you the most value for your money.
To save you the effort of searching about I've put together a list of three of the best VPN providers to bypass EE traffic management to ensure you don't get a service that ultimately you'll be unhappy with.
If you fancy researching a little yourself, then a great place to start is our VPN Comparison Guide but if you're happy to take a look at the top picks, then you'll find them below.
Just click a name below to visit their website.
30-day money back guarantee
VPN services cost around US$6 (approx £4) or less per month and are usually cheaper if you sign up for a longer period of time.
You can use them across all your devices as the three suggestions above offer software for Windows and Mac computers and apps for Android and iOS devices so you can bypass traffic management regardless of what system or device you're using.
Their software is really easy to use. All you do is run it, connect to a local connection point and then carry on using the internet like normal.
Now you can enjoy a free and open internet regardless of what time of day it is with no slowdowns, enjoy!
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Illustration © Abdur Razzaq – Dreamstime.com