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Reduce NUBB Usage

Tips for minimizing costs by reducing network usage

This article applies to: NUBB (Network Usage-Based Billing)


Common reasons for high Internet bandwidth usage include:

  • High-definition (HD) video streaming.
  • Unsecured (no password required) personal Wi-Fi routers allow other people to use your personal NUBB bandwidth.
  • Filesharing programs on your computer are streaming music, video, or other files without your knowledge.
  • Your computer's security has been compromised with a virus or other threat (if you suspect this is the case, contact the IT Service Desk immediately).

Reduce Video Streaming Usage

You can reduce usage by setting up Netflix or other services for lower or standard definition (SD), which uses far less bandwidth and looks just as good on most devices. Here are some links to the instructions (current as of March 2017):

  • Twitch.tv: Twitch has become increasingly popular. Be aware that the highest video modes can consume up to 1.6GB per hour per window (it is possible to have more than one stream running at the same time, each using bandwidth). With heavy use, you could go through your entire monthly 200GB of free network usage in just a few days. Our advice to conserve bandwidth:
    • Close the video window when you are not actively watching. 
    • Limit the number of events you view simultaneously.
    • Manually select lower screen resolution and frame rates; you'll find the Quality submenu under the gear icon. 
  • Netflix
  • YouTube
  • HBO GO: Manual video settings are not available. HBO GO will automatically adjust video quality based on the strength of your network connection.
  • Amazon Prime: When watching directly in the browser, there is an HD indicator as one of the auto-hiding controls. It says "Watch in HD" and can be set to "Off." For downloads, select the SD version.
  • Hulu: Watch a lower quality in the browser, or look for directions about how to "lower the video quality during playback" on this Hulu Help Center page for other streaming devices (scroll down for a full list of devices).

Secure Personal Wi-Fi Routers

Personal Wi-Fi routers cannot connect to Cornell's network without being registered to a NetID. All NUBB Internet traffic crossing through a personal router will be attributed to the person whose NetID is associated with the router. This could include any Internet activity by other people (videos, large downloads, illegal filesharing, etc.).

Stop other people from using your free bandwidth and causing you to pay NUBB fees for Internet use that isn't yours. If you use a personal Wi-Fi router anywhere on Cornell's network, make sure a password is required to connect devices to it.

Remove Filesharing Programs

If your computer is connected to the Internet, filesharing applications continue uploading files to other people's computers even when the application's window is closed, usually without your knowledge. See How to Uninstall Filesharing Software.

Additionally, and more important, even if you have used filesharing programs (like BitTorrent, UTorrent, etc.) before, without consequence, connecting your computer to the Cornell campus network *even once* with filesharing software installed can put you at risk for immediate detection by copyright owners, and can result in serious legal and financial penalties. These range from a "cease and desist" order to fines as high as $150,000 and imprisonment. See Copyright Infringement Risks.

Keep your Computer Secure

If your computer is compromised, it can be used to attack other computers on Cornell's network and around the world. Additionally, your email contacts can be used to spam people you care about. Both scenarios can result in unnecessary NUBB fees. Use free Cornell resources to secure your computer.

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