Are you a bandwidth hog?


Yesterday I was reading about bandwidth hogs, a pejorative term for heavy internet users who, according to the article, keep ISP executives up at night because of their “selfish” ways. It appears that when it comes to using bandwidth users can be grouped into tiers using Pareto’s rule: roughly 20% of the users use 80% of the bandwidth. These hogs are everywhere in shared connections, greedy people whose sole usage will reduce the entire network to a crawl.

According to some ISPs it is this 20% that ruin the experience for everyone and it is for whom “Fair usage clauses” and “shaping” is designed for. Most customers, including here in Zimbabwe have often complained about these  practices as being unfair as ISPs often do not disclose in exact terms what they deem to be unfair usage and most people only get to know that they have breached the terms of use after the fact. For example it is said some uncapped broadband packages are actually “uncapped” which means there is a limit somewhere but ISPs customarily do not disclose this exact limit; only those who have had the honour of exceeding the limit have an idea what the limit is.


Putting the legalese aside chances are that if you are a bandwidth hog you at least have a suspicion lurking somewhere in your subconscious. According to Slashdot the known king of bandwidth hoggers lives in the USA and he used 77 TB of data in March this year. He also reportedly used 35 TB in January, 32 TB in February and 28 TB in April.. Whilst you are unlikely to steal the crown from him anytime soon you should know that you will most likely qualify as a hog if you meet the following criterion:

  • Have an uncapped internet connection which is a hog’s essential tool.

  • Have breached the 1TB usage mark on your own, this depends on what you use the internet for but I am tempted to think 1TB is a bit too much.

  • If you think 1TB usage is nothing!

  • If you have a Seedbox server somewhere or  you are actually crazy enough to run it on your own internet connection, in the later case you are definitely a hog.

  • Are always making large downloads usually in the form of High Resolution movies.

  • You are running a website or streaming site from your connection.

  • Make a lot of video calls.

  • Use streaming services such as Hulu( oh please we know the Geoblock isn’t really stopping anyone.)

  • Watch too many cat and slapstick videos on YouTube.

The term bandwidth hog is a bit subjective though, at what point does one deserve to be called one? Last month I used 2 TB on my unmetered Seedbox and about 30 GB on my home connection does that make me a hog or a normal user? How much did you use last month? What sort of usage do you consider to be hogging  and do you see yourself as a hog?

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8 thoughts on “Are you a bandwidth hog?

  1. for a server in a Datacenter 2TB is nothing – i have several servers that do this on a monthly basis and are NOT seedboxes

    in zim standards anything above 50GB seems to be bandwidth hog territory at least from my experience and discussions with various ISP’s

    can i make one note about your post – i wouldnt publically mention you run a seedbox unless you are 100% only seeding fully legal downloads (eg linux torrents) just because this is a public site – accessible by anyone (including RIAA and other agencies that make a living chasing after this kind of stuff)

  2. I think ISPs in Zim are making people believe (only afford) that using above 10-20gb makes you a bandwidth hog. But ever since I switched to ZOL and through relatively normal usage of maybe only 1 movie download a week, occasional vine and youtube videos and actually keeping my machine and devices updated, turns out that the modern day user may actually need 20-30gb/month.

    So I think maybe for the typical Zim home, especially with a family of 5, they can only be maybe considered bandwidth hogs after 50gbs of data as ofcourse it is very unlikely that every family member will use 20gbs…some will just use maybe even 500mb a month as they have internet at work and only check mail etc at home.

  3. I fail to exhaust my 10Gb allowance each month, but mainly due to the slow ADSL speeds… Probably if i get a faster connection will breach 10-15Gb…

  4. 1-2 GB of use per day shouldn’t be unreasonable but I’ll bet anything our local ISPs would call that extreme bandwidth hogging.

  5. I am a self confessed data hog. My uTorrent says I did 97.8Gb (total usage, maybe 130Gb) this past month, but I think when someone offers unlimited bandwidth, they should always do the bandwidth x 24hrs x 30 = how many gig calculation. Surely one needs to know what they are offering the public… To think at work was on fibre and capped at 30Gb for 25 ppl…

    1. Honestly that is pretty greedy, but I agree that if you are sold “unlimited” bandwidth there’s nothing wrong with using as much as you wish.

  6. Which industry other than ISPs would have the nerve to call out and berate consumers of their services? Fast food outlets seeing people with big appetites would offer super sized meals to cash in on it. Instead of encouraging bandwidth usage to drive people into unlimited packages, they call them ‘hogs’ and ‘selfish’ as though they are consuming something they haven’t paid for. I find it saddening that you instead of calling out such behavior which is keeping us behind the rest of the world in broadband usage and stifling potential for web based business are actually taking the notion of someone being selfish for using something they paid for seriously. How are we supposed to develop is we instead of upgrading our service to suit demand attack the users who are already paying exorbitant prices for slow links?

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