Tech corner

Ten things you need to know about your Data usage this Christmas


From Skyping to streaming, how much data are you using?

Santa is set to be busier than ever this Christmas as he delivers thousands of fancy new gadgets, tablets and games consoles to houses across the region.

But as family members all gather at home, trying out their new toys and asking for the Wi-Fi passcode, it means your data allowance is going to be in more demand than ever.

So before you all log on and start streaming, downloading and FaceTiming with Aunty Sheila in Australia make sure you know just how much data you’re using – so you don’t run out by New Year.

1) Web browsing, whether it’s on a smartphone, tablet or laptop is quite light on data usage. If you only use your broadband for online shopping, checking emails or browsing webpages, your usage each month should be quite low.

2) Using services like Skype and FaceTime can be surprisingly data-heavy. Did you know a 30 minute video call can eat 250MB of data?

3) Streaming and downloading movies and TV shows services like Netflix and Amazon Prime you'll soon see your usage go right up. Depending on the quality you're streaming or downloading in, the usage can be even higher. Downloading one hour of standard definition TV can use 250MB. Downloading the same show in HD can use 1GB.

4) Binge watching a 24 episode season of your favourite show could use as much as 250GB of your usage allowance, so be mindful before you settle in with your popcorn.

5) Watching videos on YouTube is also very usage-heavy, so if you find that your little ones are constantly watching Minecraft your allowance may disappear quicker than you expect. Just five minutes of Peppa Pig on YouTube can use 15MB.

6) Games consoles like an Xbox or PlayStation rely heavily on the internet for software updates, game downloads, and online gaming. An initial software update for a new console can be as large as 40GB, and some games can be up to 60GB, with expansion packs at up to 10GB a time.

7) The console may have an internal hard-drive of 500GB or 1TB, but remember this is the internal storage memory and has nothing to do with your broadband download allowance.

8) Playing a game online (normally used in multiplayer games) doesn't use much data, especially compared to streaming TV and movies, but the game and software downloads will. Two hours of online gaming could use 200MB.

9) Want to check how much data you have left? It’s easy. Log into My Account and you should see an Internet usage meter to the right. This shows you how much of your data allowance you have used, how much is remaining and when the next refresh is due.

10) Want to check what your usage has been used for – and who’s gobbling all the data?

Log into the Control Panel, select Usage Breakdown and in the middle of the page you'll see a bar chart which shows you the download, upload and total usage for each day of the month. Underneath this is a pie chart which shows you how much data different types of activities have been used during the month - whether that be on Netflix, Gaming, Facebook, iCloud or Xbox Live.

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