Understanding your data allowance, what uses data and how to keep track of your data usage
Some of our Viasat Business internet plans are metered, meaning you purchase them based on how much total data you expect to use in a month. What's great about our metered plans is that we don't stop or slow your service when you meet that earmarked allowance. You just pay an additional cost per gigabyte (GB) as you need it. We will email you when you get close to that allowance, so you are aware of potential charges. You can check your account to see real-time usage updates.
To avoid surprises, it’s helpful to manage your data usage. Make it a habit to check your data usage regularly — especially in the first few months of service. This helps avoid surprises and gives you a feel for your pattern of usage, how you may need to adjust it and whether you’re in the right plan. Some of the biggest consumers of data are:
Video: A single movie on Netflix watched in HD can consume 6 GB or more of data.
Automatic updates: Software programs doing updates in the background can consume a great deal of data.
Cloud services: If you regularly back up data to the cloud or have business software that’s constantly updating inventory or performing other actions, it can consume a lot of data.
You can change settings on many services to reduce the frequency of updates, and you can lower the resolution on videos to reduce data usage. If you find yourself frequently going over your monthly data allowance, however, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher data plan.
How much is 1 GB of data?
A GB is roughly the equivalent of three hours of web browsing, 20,000 webpages loading, 1,000 files of information, or 500 e-books. Another way to look at it: A credit card swipe at a point-of-sale terminal uses about 1 kilobyte of data; you could swipe a card a million times before you’d use 1 GB of data.
Viasat also helps you keep track of your data, so you can either make changes to avoid purchasing more, or be prepared for any additional expenses.
* Subscribers can check their data usage any time by logging in at their Business plan log-in page.
* Viasat sends a weekly data report to each of our Business subscribers. We check your usage every Tuesday at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, then send an email with that information.
Keep an eye out for your weekly data report. It’ll also help you decide if the plan you’re in is the right one for you, or if you need to switch to a different plan. If you aren’t getting the report and/or need to switch plans, call our Viasat Business Customer Care Department at 855-313-4111.
Some other tips to help you manage your data:
1. Beware of back-ups.
Backing up data is essential for a business. Storing data on business software as well as in the cloud is an ideal way to preserve vital customer lists and business contacts, copies of contracts, transaction records, employee information, tax and other important documents.
But daily back-ups consume lots of bandwidth. As a Viasat Business plan subscriber, you’ll need to be aware of and keep tabs on this. You may be able to adjust the settings on your backup programs to prevent duplicating saved data, or to reduce the frequency of backups. These save both time and data.
2. Limit video time
Streaming and downloading video consumes more data than almost any other online activity. If employees are using your Wi-Fi on their smartphones, they may be watching video and doing other activities that consume the data you need to run your business.
3. Keep outside users out
Spyware, malware and other programs can consume data without your knowledge. Use software or a program to detect such threats and keep them out. Plus, be sure to have your wireless router password protected so no one is getting a free data ride on your service. For more information, take a look at our article Control who’s on your home network; it includes tips that apply to business users, too.
4. Adjust video settings
If you do allow video use on your service, reduce video data consumption by lowering your screen resolution, an option available on Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and most other video streaming sites. Read more in our Help Center article.
5. Adjust your email settings
A simple change to your email settings can enable you to pre-approve or prevent data-heavy image displays and automatic attachment downloads. Just find the “settings” menu on whichever email program you’re using, and choose the correct option.
6. Check file sizes before emailing
Before hitting send, check the size of photos and other attachments, and if possible, downsize them. Consider using links instead of emailing a lengthy document.
Downsize photos before sending them to 500 kb or less with Mac’s iPhoto or Windows programs like Windows Live Photo Gallery or Gimp or Google’s Picasa.
7. Turn off auto-play video features
Sites like Facebook will load and play videos automatically, so turning off this feature can save a lot of data usage. Disabling auto-play won’t prevent you from watching videos. You can simply click on any video you want to watch and it will start playing almost immediately. In order to disable and/or limit the auto-play feature on any device, navigate to the ‘Settings→ Video’ for the relevant application, such as Facebook. See below for how to turn off the video auto-play feature on desktop computers:
Here’s an article on how to disable auto-play on popular browsers.
Here’s Facebook’s post on the topic.
9. Last resort: Change your plan
If you’re consistently exceeding your data allowance and incurring added expense, you can switch to a Viasat Business plan with a larger data allowance. Just call our Viasat Business Customer Care Department at 855-313-4111.