Broadband Card downloading
August 28, 2010 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I have a laptop with a Verizon Broadband Card with a 5G plan allowance a month. I have no idea how far this will go, for example if I download a 2 hour movie off Netflix how much of my 5G would it use? Does it download the movie and then quit using the 5G while I am watching the movie?
posted by sandyp to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A 2 hour netflix movie is appx. 300 mb of data which is .29 gigs. So for one movie streamed, you would be using 1/17 of your total data. If all you did was streams movies, you could watch about 17 of them before using up all your data.

You would not be using the data once it was downloaded. So if you download it ahead of time, you are not using any data when watching the movie.
posted by WhiteWhale at 1:31 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Netflix however only streams movies, it doesn't provide a true download and watch disconnected mode.
posted by mmascolino at 1:47 PM on August 28, 2010

I had the same plan. It's plenty for surfing the web but you have to be careful about downloading. I would wait until the end of the month to download to ensure I wouldn't accidentally go over my limit. It's very costly after you go over your limit.
posted by itsamonkeytree at 2:22 PM on August 28, 2010

"Netflix streams HD content using Microsoft VC1AP encoding at a bitrate of between 2600kbps and 3800kbps"
Thus for HD movies: 3000kbps / 8 = 375KB/s * 3600 = 1.4GB/hour. This if for HD content, so I expect that SD would be significantly less (probably only 25% or 10% of the HD number, which puts us back in the range of what WhiteWhale said above).

My recommendation would be to download a bandwidth monitor for your laptop and use it to find your typical GB/day usage. Also, it will help you monitor your usage while you are on the verizon card.

I've never tried to do this on anything besides an android phone (for which I recommend NetCounter), but for mac you could try MenuMeters which has a number of nice graphic options, but I am unsure if it tracks cumulative bytes downloaded. For windows, not sure, but let me recommend The Google and maybe this link
posted by Phredward at 2:37 PM on August 28, 2010

For Windows tracking, NetLimiter Monitor seems pretty nice (I use it 'cause we only have 20/GB month on home broadband).

Oh yeah, and if you've never used metered data before, it probably goes faster than you think. Keep an eye on your usage if you don't want an angry call from your wallet.
posted by nrobertson at 8:08 PM on August 28, 2010

Netflix also uses dynamic-quality streaming: If you have a fast connection, you automatically get higher-quality video than if you have a slower connection. (As opposed to something like YouTube, where you get the video quality you select, no matter how fast or slow it loads.) Also, if your connection speed changes in the middle of a streaming session, the video quality will change on the fly.

So if you want to watch more than 17 movies per month (assuming WhiteWhale's estimation is correct), find some way to throttle your web browser's allowed bandwidth.
posted by clorox at 8:20 PM on August 28, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, you all were a big help. I definitely will watch about going over the limit.
posted by sandyp at 7:10 PM on August 30, 2010

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