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george 19. Feb 2009 09:38 PM

Metering Internet Usage
Hi all,
an interesting discussion started in the comments section of:

I would like to move this discussion over here. The next posts in this thread were moved from the article comments...

george 19. Feb 2009 09:40 PM

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 02/16/2009 - 02:49.

I am "limited" by my ISP (uploads and downloads = to a certain number of GBs each month). I have two PCs fed by a wireless router with Bitmeters installed on both PCs. The Bitmeter daily U/D stats don't fit the ISP monthly billing stats BY A LOT. What does Bitmeter measure and what does my ISP measure that they bill me for? Is it possible that they don't measure the same thing? I would like to use my bitmeter .CSV files to dispute my ISP monthly over-usage bills but I need to understand both measures.
Any thoughts, insights?

george 19. Feb 2009 09:40 PM

Submitted by George on Mon, 02/16/2009 - 12:18.

That's a tough question because there are a lot of variables there.
Firstly, are you sure your two workstations are the only "users" of the wireless router (cell phone, game console, intruder access from outside, etc.)?
Can you see the download amount online? I mean does your ISP provide an online access to your usage in real time? If yes, write down the current value and write down the current value that Bitmeter holds. Then download a large file from somewhere (like 500-1000MB). After the download check the difference. That gives enough facts to write a complaint if it differs a lot. At least you can ask the ISP why?
Best regards,

george 19. Feb 2009 09:41 PM

Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 02/16/2009 - 20:07.

Hi George,
Thanks for the advice; I'll follow up with my ISP.
One other question about my Bitmeter daily measures. I see many days with
zero U/D traffic and can see from my Google desktop timeline browser that I had internet connections on those days. Is there any way that I can have no U/D traffic and still be online?
Thanks again,

george 19. Feb 2009 09:41 PM

Submitted by George on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 10:31.

It's always possible that Bitmeter is buggy. I haven't used the traffic metering at all. Did you try a different product for metering yet to see whether it shows other values than Bitmeter. Maybe that's another approach to check.
Best regards,

george 19. Feb 2009 09:42 PM

Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 01:01.

I can be more exact about my Bitmeter readings vs. my GCI useage.
According to GCI, I used 591 MB on the 5th of February. Compare that usage to ZERO MB recorded by both Bitmeters on the 5th of February and a total of 250 MB recorded from January 7th through February 4th to the two Bitmeters.
I can't imagine a day in my house with zero uploads and downloads, but one of the ISP techs informs they show no "dates" on my account for February 6th and 11th.
Something isn't right here. How dependable is this stuff anyway...Bitmeters and ISPs as well?

george 19. Feb 2009 09:42 PM

Submitted by dubina6 on Thu, 02/19/2009 - 05:21.

I installed Netmeter and am now running both Netmeter and BitMeter.
For the 18th of February, they output very different readings. The Bitmeter readings cannot be correct.
Which brings up another question: if my Netmeter readings are not in synch with my ISP's readings, how will I ever know which reading (if either) is correct? (In other words, if I install another usager reader to check Netmeter and the readings differ, how will I be able to determine which one (if either) is correct?)

dubina6 25. Feb 2009 12:07 AM

I spoke with my ISP by phone, posed the question: what rules if my Netmeter readings do not correspond with your useage metering system? How would that discrepany be resolved?

GCI: "Our meter is the rule; you would have no recourse."

What this means in effect, is that anybody who uses an Internet meter to monitor their useage should calibrate it against the ISP's usage viewer. That should be possible. If the calibration works, it should get you in the ballpark. If you aren't well calibrated ("in the ballpark", so to speak), you're out of luck.

Unless somebody introduces legislation to make Internet usage more visible and accessible...more like long distance phone calls, for example.

george 25. Feb 2009 12:22 AM

Just saw a German documentary about ISPs and packages they sell with statements like "...up to 16 MBit".

They tested these packages and most users don't even get 8 MBit out of it in the end.

Somebody offered to buy the package from the ISP saying: "Ok, I'll buy the package and I pay you up to 50 bucks a month." ;)

Guess what, they were not amused...

MidnightCowboy 02. Mar 2009 10:50 AM

Same old chestnut isn't it - like your ISP's "connection speed" versus what they give you as a "download speed". Because there are very few consumer laws here in Brazil many ISP's are using this confusion to sell plans that in reality offer you very little download advantage over what you were getting with dial-up! - especially during peak demand periods when everyone's bandwidth is reduced.

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