[Answered] Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

star099
Grasshopper

I'm new to streaming, but when I tried out streaming videos from my pc to my tablet I used up a whole GB in 10 minutes. So if that counts against my monthly limit it wouldn't last long. If I had a smart tv I imagine it would be the same issue. 

So can you actually stream locally? And how would you know for sure it isn't using up your actual internet allowance?

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8 Replies

Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

Moderator
Moderator

Hey star099,

Generally, if you stream locally through your router and it should not count towards your monthly bandwidth. You can always check to see your bandwidth use through your MyShaw account here. If data bandwidth is important to you, we do have several plans with unlimited bandwidth. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Cheers,

Tony | Community Mod.

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

star099
Grasshopper

Thanks. It seems the information about my account is a bit behind though (2 days right now) so it's going to take a bit of work to test it. I figure I'll use my bandwidth sparingly until it updates and then go hog wild with the streaming. That way by the next time it updates if I have a huge increase it would mean it counted against the limit.

I'm sure everything will work out, I just didn't want to go into it blind and run into trouble with my bandwidth. 

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

Not applicable

If you're running a server on a local machine (maybe through a program like Sony's Music Center for example), the streaming happens locally and never leaves your network save for the usual pings the program makes while it's connected to the network (update checks, etc.).

I'd say the easiest way to check, and be sure, would be to set up a packet listener between your router and modem (assuming they're separate pieces of hardware) and see if too many packets are being sent while you stream.

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

star099
Grasshopper

All I have is the modem from Shaw. But in general, how would I set up a packet listener? It would be nice to know where things are going when I'm uploading or streaming. 

As for the bandwidth issue I'm still not actually sure it didn't count against my limit so I'm going to have to test it again this month. The way my account is always 2 days behind is a bit frustrating, I never know how much I've actually used until days after. 

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

Not applicable

There are a great many programs that can listen to packets, and many are dependent on what OS you're running. I personally use Wireshark on my Windows laptop or a built-in tool from one of the linux distros (probably Kali, but I can't remember right now). If you were looking for the entire network though, you'd have to only have 1 active connection, or you'd need a setup like modem > proxy > router to monitor all traffic. The proxy could just be set up to forward all traffic in or out and just monitor it with the program.

With a proxy setup like that, you'd only actually see traffic that was leaving your network (going past the router). Streaming usually uses the UDP protocol, so a lot of packets like that around the time you stream would likely indicate that your streaming is using your data.

With just the shaw-provided equipment, you'd need to run the program on your streaming server, or on the device doing the streaming (1 must be a computer). And then you'd need to look at the originating IP address (on the receiving device) or the destination IP address (on the streaming server) to see if it's sent via your local network or from a bounce outside your network.

If you're streaming from outside your network, it gets a lot more complicated, but you can be sure you are using data since you're leaving your local net.

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

star099
Grasshopper

That sounds a bit complicated, but I'll check out Wireshark, thanks. As for a simpler start, what about the Resource Monitor? It shows an outgoing IP address (if that's correct) so would that show where it's going or where it's connected to?

I checked the bandwidth again and it seems like it doesn't use my upload data like I figured, but I think it's still counting against my download bandwidth. I'm going to try again over the next few days as I wait for it to update. But so far it's not looking so good.

My guess is I'd need to get a separate router and connect both my computer and tablet to it to make sure I'm not using Shaw's modem. Would that be right?

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

Not applicable

Resource monitor could give an indication of something wrong, but you'd have to check ALL active services (streaming sometimes happens with several connections, especially when you navigate through a folder architecture remotely). Generally speaking, as long as the service is only creating connections from and to a local address (192.168.XXX.XXX), you should be fine.

In my experience, you won't be able to get an accurate idea of how much data (if any) is used up with resource monitor.

Also, just streaming across your router shouldn't count against your cap if the router is working as expected. If it is counting, you'd need a 3rd-party router to handle a local network and bridge your shaw equipment so it only acts as a modem.

Also remember that other services on Windows download data periodically. Only way I know to avoid this is to set the network as a metered network in the settings page which disables most (but not all) downloading. You still need to disable network activity in your non-windows apps.

One thing I don't know is if the shaw router can function when it's unplugged from the cable (coax). If you can stream with the coax unplugged, then the router is functioning as expected since it doesn't require a WAN IP if packets stay local.

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Re: Can you stream locally or does it always count against your monthly allowance?

star099
Grasshopper

Well, it took a week of waiting but it looks like it doesn't count. It was just a coincidence that the numbers spiked at the same time last time. 

Thanks for your help Spat. 

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