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What is network throttling?

Anusheh Zohair Mustafeez

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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Definition

Have you ever experienced sudden buffering on a video you were streaming online or a sudden drop in your download speeds? Chances are you may have experienced network or bandwidth throttling. Network throttling is when your Internet Service Provider (ISP) intentionally limits your internet speeds to imitate low bandwidth conditions.

Why would an ISP throttle your network?

There are several reasons why your ISP may throttle your network. Some of these reasons are:

  • An ISP may throttle bandwidth to regulate network traffic and protect users from malicious online content.
  • They may have different pricing packages so users who pay more get better speeds while the remaining experience throttling.
  • They may limit bandwidth if a user has reached his or her monthly data cap.
  • They may throttle to relieve the network in order to minimize network congestion.

How to identify network throttling

Network throttling can be spotted in two ways:

  1. Most browsers come equipped with tools that allow users to inspect network activity. These tools can help confirm if your network is being throttled.
  2. Record your internet speed using an internet speed test and then record again while using a VPN service. If the VPN speeds are significantly higher than your original speeds, your network is likely being throttled.

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Anusheh Zohair Mustafeez

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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