Worried About Bandwidth Usage In Windows 8? Meter Your Wireless Connection!

Wireless networks are starting to sprout up all over the place, giving people a new way to tap into the Internet through waves in the air. Still, carriers love to suck customers’ wallets dry when they exceed the bandwidth agreed upon in their plans. And, to top it off, Windows 8 blurs the line between the Internet and your desktop. It uses up bandwidth for an enormous amount of its operations and applications. You might have your laptop on for an hour and already have used up a large chunk of your bandwidth under this new operating system. In a spot of luck, Microsoft implemented something in Windows 8 that allows you to minimize the damage from using this OS in a stingy network, known as metering.

What Connections Can I Meter?

You can meter any wireless connection, whether it be UMTS, Wi-Fi, HSDPA, 3G, 3GPP or whatever. The sky’s the limit.

What Does Metering Do?

Metering your connection in Windows 8 will limit Windows Update to high-priority updates (if you have WU on at all), pause any downloads of any apps from the Windows Store, stop any automatic updating of Start screen app tiles, and stop any native syncing processes of offline files. This practically saves the biggest part of the bandwidth that Windows 8 consumes on a regular basis.

What Metering Won’t Do

One of my biggest pet peeves is that Microsoft called this feature “metering.” Technically, one would understand that a metered connection has an established limit to how much it can download before the connection is either interrupted or continues with a surcharge. In conclusion, one would think that by “metered,” Microsoft means that Windows 8 will stop all activity when the connection has reached a transfer limit. This isn’t the way it works. A metered connection simply means that Windows 8 will limit how much it downloads on its own.

How To Meter A Connection

This part’s so easy, you’ll be showing it off to your friends in no time! Just bring up the Charms bar, click “Settings,” then click “Network.” There, you’ll see a list of your network connections.


Right-click on the wireless network you’d like to meter, and then click “Set as metered connection.” This will conserve bandwidth and also give you access to other information.

Other Stuff That Metering A Connection Lets You Do

Go back to your network list and right-click (or tap, if you’re using a touchscreen) your wireless connection. Now you’ll see a box showing you how much bandwidth you’ve used. This is very useful if you’re paying a monthly data plan for your wireless network. If you’re stumped about why you’re still using so much bandwidth, there’s still one more trick up my sleeve that shows you how much each app uses.

Go ahead and access your task manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc). Now, when you click the “App History” tab, you’ll see a column labeled “Metered network” on the list. This will show you how much bandwidth each app is using. This comes in very handy when diagnosing bandwidth consumption issues!

Any Questions?

We’re happy to answer any questions you submit as a comment below. Don’t forget to re-read the article well before asking anything!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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