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Maximise Your Internet Connection during COVID-19 Social Distancing

April 7, 2020 3:39 pm

As efforts intensify for people to stay at home to thwart the spread of COVID-19, the home internet connection has become an even more vital commodity than it once was.

Bonus Data
Activ8me Standard Sky Muster™ Customers Get An Additional 15GB Data each week for 3 months Until 22/06/2020 – may be extended.

Especially for those in rural and regional Australia, the extra pinch on data allowances for nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite services, as well as on connection capacity requirements even for those lucky enough to have an unlimited data connection, mean operating a business in regional Australia, maintaining the operations of a farm or even just working-from-home can become very difficult with the extra strains of more devices trying to use the internet for more things at once.

We’ve given all Activ8me customers on a standard Sky Muster™ plan an additional 60GB per month for three months (starting March 23, 2020) to assist with the added data requirements.

Allocated per week, the total amount offered by Activ8me is 15GB per week.

This 15GB is the accumulation of 10GB per week offered after talks with nbn Co., explicitly given to assist with strains during the COVID-19 pandemic, plus an additional 5GB per week bonus data we were to provide over the School Holiday period (as we do every School Holidays).

Given the unique situation, our CEO Martin Camilleri made the executive decision to extend this bonus allocation from 3 weeks to also run for the full three months period in line with the nbn’s bonus allowance.

Still, whether you have an unlimited data allowance or not, your connection only has a finite amount of capacity to do only so many things at once. Simply put, when your connection’s trying to do too many things at the same time, it reaches it’s capacity and something on your network is going to buffer or timeout.

With the increasing reliance on the internet for many things, very often at the same time: education, entertainment, work as well as communication with friends and family, home internet connections (especially those on a standard or sonic speed tier) are often tested or ‘maxed out’ with many devices trying to do many things at once.

Efforts to reduce how much of your service’s available data and capacity certain activities use can help you get more out of your internet connection.

Here are a few essential tips:

Minimise Video Streaming Quality

For those in Europe, Netflix has imposed restricted video quality due to increased demand straining the video streaming service. While there are no plans to implement those restrictions for Netflix Australia, ensuring your video quality is only set to SD has a minimal effect on your viewing experience, but a significant effect on your data use.

Reducing the video quality also reduces the strain on your connection, by reducing the data rate your Netflix stream is using to stream the video to you. Activ8me have a blog post on how to set your Netflix quality to SD here.

Download Your Streams Overnight with PlayOn Cloud

Using tools like PlayOn Cloud lets you automatically download shows from Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services when your internet’s not being used, like overnight when everybody’s asleep.

The PlayOn Cloud app even can record in SD or HD quality. Once you’ve downloaded your recorded stream, you can watch it as many times as you like. You can watch it offline, meaning you’re not using any data and since you’re not reliant on your internet connection, so there’s no buffering!

PlayOn.TV Australia has recently launched, giving customers the ability to watch Netflix Australia and promising the addition of other Australian specific channels in the works. Already available through their service in addition to Netflix is YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ at this stage.

If you’re an Activ8me Sky Muster™ customer (standard Sky Muster™ or standard Sky Muster™ Plus), you’re eligible for a three month free trial of PlayOn Cloud through PlayOn.TV Australia, details on how to take up this offer are here.

If you’re not a current Activ8me customer, but you do have Sky Muster™, you can view PlayOn.TV’s pricing here, or better still, join Activ8me to take up the free trial offer!

We do all the hard work of cancelling your existing ISP’s service, and since you can use all your current equipment*, switching your Sky Muster™ service to Activ8me is as simple as entering your address and choosing a plan.

[ * Your router can only be used if it’s not locked to your old ISP, but this is rarely ever the case. Call our local Australian team on 13 22 88 if you want to double-check.]

Close Cloud Syncing Apps

Apps that run in the background, syncing to a cloud service like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox are great for saving your files but can be a significant drain on your internet connection.

If you’re making constant edits to files saved in your Cloud (for instance, a word document saved in your Dropbox) then every few seconds, the Dropbox app is sending a new copy of that document to the Cloud with your moment-by-moment alterations.

Not only is there the data used in uploading that slightly edited document over and over again every few seconds, but there’s the ongoing drain on your connection which you could put to better use.

Close the app or choose the ‘Pause Sync’ option until you’re finished editing, then let the app upload just the one, final copy of your changes.

Pause Footer
You can see the ‘pause’ symbol on all three of the Cloud syncing services once you’ve paused ‘Sync’ on Dropbox, Google Drive & OneDrive

Close Apps (and Background Apps) You’re Not Using

Especially on PCs and Apple computers, but also on your iPhone and Androids, make sure you close background apps you’re not using. Every app you open stays open in the background typically not using much data, but every little bit counts!

PC web browser applications like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox even idling open in the background can be big data and capacity hogs, acting like mini operating systems inside your operating system.

Especially if you have many Chrome/Firefox extensions running or a heap of different tabs open, they will all be adding to the constant inflow and outflow of data. Closing unused tabs (and if you’re not using it, closing the application altogether) will lead to a sizable decrease in your device’s data and connection capacity requirements.

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