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Data Usage Soaring

Frequent Visitor

Data Usage Soaring

Suddenly my data usage is soaring.  I've averaged about 300 GB/month previously but suddenly am consuming 100 GB/day!  I changed my router name and password, rebooted the router, turned off my cameras, disconnected my Internet-connected switches but still the data usage continues. There are only two people using this account and we watch an average of an hour or so of streaming video.

 

 

But, actually, our Internet behavior hasn't changed over time. I see other complaints but no real solutions.

 

I've called support who couldn't help. They referred me to CSA Data Escalation who provided absolutely no assistance. I don't know where else to turn except to simply leave Xfinity for another ISP.

 

Expert

Re: Data Usage Soaring

It sounds like you may have some errant software running that i consuming bandwidth,

 

First, do a full scan with your AV program to make sure your system is clean.

 

Then check running processes that consume bandwidth via the Task Manager.

 

 



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New Poster

Re: Data Usage Soaring

We are having the same issue.  With no resolution.  

New Poster

Re: Data Usage Soaring

That doesn't make a difference.  There is nothing running in the back ground.  It sounds like everyone started having this problem around the same time.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

No, no "errant software" running in the background, no viruses.  I've had several conversations with Level 1, 2 and 3 support people, all with no resolution.  I've moved to xFi which relieves the problem of exceeding data limits but does not solve the problem of excessive data usage. 

 

Last night, for instance, while I was asleep, my Macbook was in sleep mode, my iPhone was not in use and with no background updates occurring, I consumed 44 GB of data.  Using the Comcast data usage estimator, that usage represents more than 24 hours of streaming music, almost 48 hours of gaming, an hour of Netflix HD. How does that happen *overnight*?

 

I do have an iPhone XS Max which has had some complaints of too much data usage but I shut background updating and location services to virtually every app off. Yet still Xfinity records enormous uses of data.  I am at a complete loss on how this is happening. Luckily, an Xfinity hardware upgrade has at least taken the financial penalty (aside from the extra $10/month for xFi service) off the table.

 

Regular Contributor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Check this thread for many ways that have been found (so far) to use lots of data as well as techniques to help track it down.

 

https://forums.xfinity.com/t5/Your-Home-Network/Terabyte-Internet-Data-Usage/td-p/2741624

 

Also, as noted there, the Comcast meter is not real-time, so when you go to sleep, and check it when you wake up, you may not be metering (just) the time period that you think you are metering.  As for streaming - it is possible (easy even) to consume 44GB in 8 hours with a 4K device left streaming (and this does come up on streaming device forums that people ASSUME their streaming boxes stop streaming when they turn the TV off - but they often don't).  But it may well not be streaming, too.

New Poster

Re: Data Usage Soaring

But if the streaming device is still running after the tv is turned off, that is not a new development.  I have been streaming for almost two years and there hasn't been any  change is devices or usage in that time.  It has just been since November and December.  If you read their literature about 1T of data 21 hours of TV a day.  We work, unless my dogs are watching TV, there is something wrong.  I don't think it is apps running in the background.  Because the apps would have been running in the background over the last two years.


 

Regular Contributor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Don't get hung up on streaming - it may not be that at all.  On the other hand, don't use Comcast's  "generic" numbers for streaming either.  Eg: I just goggled up something that says the Netflix's highest quality level streams at more than 11GB.hour.  Some people, for example, buy a 4K TV and don't realize that their streams just automatically upgraded to the resolution of the TV.  As for running the same apps in the background - apps change all the time.  In the terabyte thread, you'll see people who were happily running Amazon drive, or Back Blaze, until they just started consuming massive data for no obvious reason.  These are just examples.  As another example, our usage went up in November as well.  And it went up in November of last year.  However, I expect it to go down like it did last spring when the weather got nice.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

I appreciate the response but these are all just wild guesses. Additionally, they have at their core an assumption that customers are unaware of what our devices are doing. Another assumption that the age of the data provided is unknown and the guide Xfinity provides for data usage is unreliable.

 

Whatever else the responses indicate, they indicate that the guidance and data information provided by Xfinity is unreliable and is of no use when diagnosing the source of data consumption. Yet the fault for the issue, politely hinted, is with the customer and not with the unreliable and unusuable information provided to the customer by Xfinity.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Thanks for the response and the  link to the thread. However, the thread just repeats what is available elsewhere and refers to data sources already identified as either unreliable or unhelpful. The thread also includes a sales pitch for the unlimited data plan, which seems to be a solution benefitng Xfinity more than the customer.

Regular Contributor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Well that's a long thread but my reading of it was quite different.  There are of course many people simply complaining - some apparently simply on principle, and that's fine.  However, I haven't seen any evidence that convinces even me that Comcast meter is generally unreliable. (And as another customer, it benefits me if the Comcast meter is proven to read too high.)    One exception - I believe there have been cases where the wrong modem was on an account - so technically the meter was still accurate - just metering the wrong people!

 

Now, the non-real-time nature of the meter is annoying.  But it can be worked around by using long time periods.

 

However, mixed in with the complaining and shock that data limits even exist, you will find quite a few posts from people who describe what their problems turned out to be and posts on how to find the issue.  Many people HAVE solved their high data use issues. 

 

And if you think the problem really isn't you, then you can use the same techniques to prove it, which is a lot better than just saying you think/hope it isn't.

 

The unlimited plan is just an option.   If you think it benefits Xfinity more, then obviously it is not for you.  (I don't use it either.)  On the other hand, at least one person in that thread preferred it to doing any testing to finding out where his data was going.  To each his own.

 

Anyway, I'm just trying to give you ideas.  If you don't like them, you can apply your own ideas.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Thanks for your reply.  Sorry about thread length.  All borne of frustration over not finding a solution to the data issue.

 

My reaction to the problem of Xfinity's supplied tools is based on your comments. In your 1/17 2:48 PM post you advised, "don't use Comcast's  'generic' numbers for streaming".  As for the meter numbers, you inform us that " the Comcast meter is not real-time" in your 1/17 1:46 PM post.

 

I interpret those two cautions as a meter that provides no useful information to diagnose an issue - noted to me by an Xfinity tech as well in one of my calls to Xfinity - and a usage guide that may understimate some data usage by orders of magnitude.  If both of your judgments are accurate, Xfinity provides tools that are not useful or reliable and may even be characterized, if the commenter is in a bad mood, as misleading.

 

I appreciate your desire to help and the time you spend in the forums providing help. My previous post simply pointed out that despite the desire they have not moved me or the other posters on this thread closer to a resolution. I don't mean to be impolite, only direct in describing my experience. It's not that I am ignoring your suggestions, only saying that your suggestions posted in this thread do not resolve or help resolve our mutual predicament. 

Regular Contributor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Your last statement is pretty broad.  If you describe which suggestions (if any so far?) you have attempted and how they have failed you, someone might be able to provide more ideas.  No one out here in a forum knows what devices, users, uses, applications, malware etc. you may have going on at home, so if you're going to track data use, you will be doing most of the legwork.  Many culprits listed in the terabyte usage thread were things that I had previously never even heard of. 

 

I didn't mean to suggest that this is a trivial problem - it will take some effort to track down.  I think that's why some people just change to a different plan.  They feel it's just not worth their time.  If it's worth your time, then I believe you will be able to solve it. (Eventually.)

Regular Contributor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

BTW, they give you two "courtesy months" of data overage without charge so you do have some time to figure out what's going on before you have to pay.

 

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

I've gone through everything: no smart tv, nothing running on Apple TV, no evidence of hacking into my router, turned off location services for most iPhone apps, no extra devices attached to the router, no change in daily use of devices using the router.  

 

Tools available in Xfinity are inadequate to provide a diagnosis of the issue. Moving over to xFi and their more robust diagnostics to see if a solution to the issue can be found there. 

 

xFi is an additional almost $11/month but the unlimited data feature at least removes the threat of extra data charges.

 

Thanks for the exchange.

New Poster

Re: Data Usage Soaring

I understand what you are saying.  The question really is why since July (since that is as far back as the data usage graph shows) the data varies but exceeds during November and December.  Also, at no time was I informed by Comcast that there was a limit on data and what the charge would be for overages.  That is my major problem. I have also checked out the data usage estimator and over estimated and i am way according to that i should only use 760G a month. This was way over estimating as we work full time and we don’t have a 4 K tv or game.   Again I am talking 2 years we have been doing the same things.   I don’t have anything special with Comcast just Internet my own modem and router (which they don’t like).  Can anyone tell me if the data usage graphs have always been on the My Account?

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

The data usage graph has been there since Comcast has been threatening data limits (several years now but I don't know precisely how long).  I note that AT&T user boards have the same sorts of complaints about Apple devices eating up data at unexpectedly high rates. 

 

The data usage analysis tools provided by Comcast are useless for anything other than tracking usage over fairly long periods of time (48 hours or so). You can't isolate usage to a particular day or over a fixed set of hours.

 

xFi does provide more useful analytical tools but there is a monthly charge.  More expensive but you do get unlimited data along with a new gateway that offers much faster download speeds, a stronger signal and more control over what devices are using the network.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Data Usage Soaring

Consider to power off your cable modem when you go to sleep and see which devices and which programs unexpectedly start beeping or display error messages right away, or the next morning.    Powering off the cable modem for a few nights in a row while you sleep is also a nice way to test your theory that the unexpected data usage is occurring while you sleep, given the latency in the account usage-meter kindly provided by comcast.   

Aside from the 'power off modem' idea, there are many tools available to diagnose and find answer to your question.    One is called wireshark.      Also, modern router+wifi+hubs have "top talker" and other functionality to help you eyeball which devices are receiving or transmitting the mystery packets.   If your router does not have such functionality you might want to consider upgrading to one that does, along with possibly taking ownership of your home network and devices.   (Consider to separate the cable-modem and wifi-router-hub into two separate boxes both owned not rented, if you have not done so already.)   Fwiw, my recent moto router has the "top talker" and other meter/counter screens that will show the chatty devices.    Once the chatty device is identified, other methods can be used to identify the type of traffic in case you need to go further.    If the chatty device is your streaming TV device, there you will have the answer you seek.  If the offending device is a windows PC, you can use task-manager in admin mode and sort the output by xmitted or received packets, and the offending process may be at the top, or maybe a DLL that is "masquerading" for the owning process.