Home > Christopher's Archive, Current Events: Technology, Economics, My Personal Life > Facing AT&T’s new 150GB Monthly Cap, How to Monitor/Calculate your Usage

Facing AT&T’s new 150GB Monthly Cap, How to Monitor/Calculate your Usage

AT&T internet customers now face a monthly bandwidth cap, and will have to pay additional money per month if they exceed that limit. This is especially of concern for daily Netflix users, but frequent .torrent users may also have cause for concern. The specific target of this action on AT&T’s part is Netflix users; people who pay AT&T for internet service and Netflix for TV/Movie service. AT&T would rather you pay them for both and Netflix for nothing, so they are going to charge you a little extra for your disobedience.

As frustrating as this may be, the current United States Congress (R) and folks appointed by President Obama (D) all agree that this is an appropriate, allowable, and legal thing for AT&T to be doing.

If you wish to be obedient to AT&T, this link will take you to what AT&T offers to replace Netflix with.

If you would rather monitor your internet usage to avoid the disobedience fee, keep reading.

I made a picture, and I think it explains it well enough. There are per-computer bandwidth monitors, but these must then generally be installed on every computer in the household connected to the internet — including your Netflix-enabled DVR that probably will not allow this. The method presented below works regardless of how many computers or devices are using your internet connection.

If you use a sample time period that is not representative of your normal internet usage, this method will fail. Use the internet how your normally do for several days, and then do your calculations.

What you need:

  • Your computer, connected to the internet at your home, with a web browser.
  • A calculator (the one on your computer works fine).
  • This assumes you are using the standard “2wire” router that most AT&T customers are using. If you are using something different, you may have to enter a different number into your web browser. If that is you, and you figured out what that number was, please list the model/make of your router and that number in the comments section.

Synopsis of this method:

  1. Enter ’192.168.1.254′ into your web browser.
  2. Navigate to ‘broadband link’ and then to ‘statistics’.
  3. Note the number of bytes received, and the numbers of days that was collected for.
  4. Divide the first number by the latter for your average bytes per day.
  5. Convert that number to gigabytes by dividing it by 1 billion. Multiply that by 30 for your predicted monthly bandwidth usage.
  6. If that number is far below 150, then you have nothing to worry about.
  7. If it is close to 150 and you need more precise calculations, use data from a larger number of days and google to find a byte to gigabyte calculator.
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  1. June 3, 2011 at 7:43 am | #1

    A Little More Info for Some.

    Considering that AT&T will be using your monthly billing cycle date as a reset for your data usage, you might wish to reset your 2wire router counters to zero every month/billing cycle.

    In order to reset your statistics/counters to zeroes, you’ll need the password to the router and the cycle date of your account. The password should have been given to you when you had the router installed. If you don’t have a record of it, call AT&T and get it. You have a right to it. I don’t know whether mine is typical of 2wire, but it’s a 10 digit number.

    Back to the RESET: My 2wire router has a different version of software than Christopher’s, and my display pages are slightly different. Regardless, just find the Broadband section and look for a Statistics link and/or start scrolling down. My RESET button is at the very bottom of the stats page, but it’s clearly marked. Use the RESET button as close to midnight (on the beginning date of the cycle) as possible. If you don’t want to stay up late, a few hours shouldn’t matter much, but I recommend resetting early rather than late, so do it before you retire.

    I try to be clear, but I know it won’t be so for everyone. I WILL be monitoring follow-up comments if anyone has a question – I will try to help, and I assume Christopher may jump in as well. OK by me!

    While we high-data-rate users are all struggling to get a handle on this latest dip into our pockets by AT&T, their web page to show us our stats is still under construction – so they say. Here is how to get to the U-verse version – I don’t know what you need if you’re what they call a DSL user – this may work for both. It requires your AT&T login, and as of the morning of June 3rd, it’s still useless. Start by finding the “View My Usage” link on this page:

    FYI: Since the beginning of my current billing cycle 19.5 days ago, I’ve used about 68G of data. Not bad, but until I got all this figured out, I slowed my usage intentionally. Still, I believe that with my U-Verse account data limit of 250G, I’m going to be OK. That’s just over 100G per 30-day cycle.

    Also note that AT&T isn’t going to surprise you with an outrageous bill. The first TWO months you go over your limit, they say they’ll let you know but not charge you. You’ll also get warnings when your usage hit certain levels – you should call them and ask about these if you’re concerned.

    Excuse me now – I have to go watch a movie!

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