There are many internet service providers who have placed artificial monthly limits on how much data an ordinary user can download or upload, usually due to the fact that the so-called "pipeline" used for transferring data in a certain area can be crowded out by heavy bandwidth users, leaving others to experience significantly slower internet service. Recently, cable and internet service provider Comcast placed their own bandwidth caps on their regular consumer-class Internet service. This will not affect someone who only uses their internet connection for checking emails and browsing plain websites, but the cap will have an effect on those who use their connections to browse graphics heavy websites and regularly download movies, music and other material with sizes surpassing 700mb or more. A frequent downloader may hit these artificial caps, causing internet service providers to either warn or suspend Internet service. Some internet service providers even charge extra if you happen to exceed your monthly cap.
Limiting internet bandwidth and speeds can be an effective way of avoiding these caps, especially if you are managing a home network and can't personally police how much bandwidth others use. In order to get an idea of how to limit internet bandwidth and download speeds, it is a good idea to first measure how much bandwidth is being used. There are several programs that are made to keep track of bandwidth usage as well as warn you if you come close to your internet service provider's cap. BitMeter is a free, lightweight bandwidth monitor that is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. BitMeter allows users to visually monitor their bandwidth usage by displaying a scrolling chart that shows both upload and download speeds over a set period of time. BitMeter can also be configured with audio alerts, in case you approach your bandwidth cap or if your connection either goes offline or slows down below a certain speed.
The next step is to actually limit internet bandwidth and download speeds. Some of the newer model wireless and wired routers have the ability to limit bandwidth or can be flashed with firmware that can unlock or add these capabilities. These functions are usually a part of the bandwidth management or Quality of Service (QoS) group within a router. There are also software programs that can monitor and limit bandwidth, but some of these solutions only effectively work on a single computer. Software such as NetLimiter has to have multiple copies maintained on multiple machines, making them tedious to work with on a regular basis.