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Limited Monthly Usage and SL Settings

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The most obvious one is the Maximum Bandwidth setting in Preferences >> Network & Cache .  That sets a cap on the amount of available bandwidth that your viewer can use for basic SL functions.  Most people will set it to about 75% of their measured download speed for optimum experience.  Lower settings (try 500 kBps) will result in increased lag, but will save you bandwidth usage.  The Maximum Bandwidth setting will not affect voice or streaming media, however.  Those are separate applications with their own heavy bandwidth demands.  The only way to minimize that bandwidth use is to turn them off.  You can do that in Preferences >> Sound & Media.  Just unclick the enabling boxes.  Of course, that will mean not using Voice or hearing the streamed music in clubs, but it will save you bandwidth.

SL is a bandwidth hog.  It's hard to avoid that.  Unlike online games and other programs you may be familiar with, SL moves information back and forth from its servers to your viewer all the time.  That uses bandwidth.  If you have adequate memory on your computer and its graphics card, you can reduce at least some of the constant data streaming by making your cache as large as you can.  That way, textures, sounds, and other assets will be viewed one time, stored in cache, and not downloaded again until you clear cache.  Again, you can set your cache size in Preferences >> Network & Cache.

Other strategies are hit and miss.  You can reduce your draw distance to minimize the amount of new stuff that your viewer sees all the time, for example.  That will also decrease lag, so it's a good counterbalance to having lowered Maximum Bandwidth.  I also strongly encourage you to avoid using a wireless connection to the Internet, since that will almost certainly cost you bandwidth up front.  Use a direct cable connection instead.

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The most obvious one is the Maximum Bandwidth setting in Preferences >> Network & Cache .  That sets a cap on the amount of available bandwidth that your viewer can use for basic SL functions.  Most people will set it to about 75% of their measured download speed for optimum experience.  Lower settings (try 500 kBps) will result in increased lag, but will save you bandwidth usage.  The Maximum Bandwidth setting will not affect voice or streaming media, however.  Those are separate applications with their own heavy bandwidth demands.  The only way to minimize that bandwidth use is to turn them off.  You can do that in Preferences >> Sound & Media.  Just unclick the enabling boxes.  Of course, that will mean not using Voice or hearing the streamed music in clubs, but it will save you bandwidth.

SL is a bandwidth hog.  It's hard to avoid that.  Unlike online games and other programs you may be familiar with, SL moves information back and forth from its servers to your viewer all the time.  That uses bandwidth.  If you have adequate memory on your computer and its graphics card, you can reduce at least some of the constant data streaming by making your cache as large as you can.  That way, textures, sounds, and other assets will be viewed one time, stored in cache, and not downloaded again until you clear cache.  Again, you can set your cache size in Preferences >> Network & Cache.

Other strategies are hit and miss.  You can reduce your draw distance to minimize the amount of new stuff that your viewer sees all the time, for example.  That will also decrease lag, so it's a good counterbalance to having lowered Maximum Bandwidth.  I also strongly encourage you to avoid using a wireless connection to the Internet, since that will almost certainly cost you bandwidth up front.  Use a direct cable connection instead.

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You need to physically reduce the amount of data so while I agree with Rolig in that turning off Voice and Multimedia will reduce bandwith usage, I don't see how lowering the Maximum Bandwith slider can. Unless I am seriously mistaken, all that will do is reduce the rate at which your computer and Second Life transmits data making your SL experience less enjoyable. The overall amount of data transmitted will still be the same.

So, disable Voice and Multimedia, use Low Graphics settings, reduce your draw distance to 64m, clear cache only when necessary and teleport to as few new places as possible that you haven't been to before so avoiding loading new textures not already in your cache.

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By the way Lillie, there have been recent reports of SL using higher than normal levels of data and some people are suddenly finding they are overrunning their ISP limits without realising it. Some have incurred high charges because of this.

Trying to find the threads, I think this is one of them.

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Bandwidth-Usage-Warning/td-p/1640209/highlight/true

Edit: I had a 40GB limit which for years had been fine but a month or so ago, I discovered I had reached 39GB just halfway through the month and increased data from SL was the principal reason. I increased my limit to the next level, which was 300GB, only cost a few euro a month extra.

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Using a lower value for Max Bandwidth ought to reduce the total bandwidth use, so long as that value acts as a cap on the OP's actual bandwidth demand. If she has 1800 kBps available, for example, and her viewer is demanding 1200 kBps, she'll actually use all of that 1200 kBps. If her Maximum Bandwidth is set at 500 kBps, though, she won't be able to use more than 500 kBps, regardless of what the viewer demands. That means that she'll experience lag -- not a nice side effect, but it beats using bandwidth that she can't afford. Using the Maximum Bandwidth setting is sort of like using a governor or throttle restrictor on a car. It keeps you from burning extra gasoline to make the car go faster, even if you want to. As I suggested in my post, the OP can then reduce the lag problem by decreasing her demand -- lowering draw distance, and doing the other things you suggested. She ought to do those things anyway.

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SL is not designed for wireless internet.  Besides using lots of your data plan, you may experience various performance issues.  If you can, get a DSL, cable internet, or FIOS connection to the web for SL.

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I understand your angle on this but look at it this way. In the way you describe it, your scenes in SL would never fully rez because the full amount of data was not getting through having been capped by the bandwith slider. So, the scene would be missing geometry, textures, objects etc. If the scene eventually fully rezzes, all the data must have got through, albeit at a slower rate with a throttled bandwith lower than your network allows. If one doesn't stay long enough in one place to receive all the streamed data to rez the scene, then yes one would save bandwith usage but hopping around like that loading new data is exactly what someone trying to save bandwith usage should not be doing. The maximum bandwith slider only throttles the rate at which data is streamed by the servers to your computer. That is how I understand it. :smileyhappy:

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I think we're both right but operating under different assumptions. You assume that she will stay in one place long enough for everything to rez. I assume that some things will never rez because she will not stay around long enough for them to do do it. She will suffer some permanent lag. Many things will be gray. She will move slowly and many objects will fail to update. If she DOES stay around long enough for those things to rez, then she will not have gone somewhere else and used extra bandwidth to download THAT information, so again her total bandwidth use will be lower.

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Using the term "bandwidth" is tricky in this case. There are two "bandwidths" and you are using the term as if it were only one definition. There is bandwidth speed which determines how fast the data is sent to the viewer. And there is bandwidth usage which determines how many bits and bytes of data is recieved or sent in total for the scene. The "bandwidth" in the viewer settings is for speed. A lower setting takes more time to get the data but all the data will be sent that is requested (yeah I know that's the theory and sometimes it doesn't aways work so well......things like time-outs will shut down the data stream for instance). Slowing down the speed is going to do very little (if anything) to lower usage. Not staying in one place long enough for all the data to be sent and hopping around the grid mostly cancels any "benefit" of a slower speed since new data will be requested by the viewer and sent.......at a still slow speed but sent none the less. 500 kbps is really not that slow anyway since the servers seldom send more than 1000 kbps anyway (cutting the speed in half actually makes things take about twice as long to get sent). Taking longer to get sent can have a benefit of not slamming your network or graphics adapter with more than it handle but it also causes more data over the long run due to things changing from what was originally requested and never rezzed.......new stuff is sent before the user even sees the old stuff. Remember everything is cached before it's rezzed. You really should set your bandwidth in preferences to what your system can handle without overloading the network or the GPU.........slower wastes times and bandwidth usage. I wouldn't suggest anyone use the bandwidth setting in preferences to try to limit bandwidth usage....it's counter productive and only gives some false sense of "saving".
Turning off streaming media, lowering draw distance, and sticking to small and lightly populated and textured areas on the grid are really about the only productive things you can do to lower usage (well, spending limited time in SL works too but I don't think most people want to do that).

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CPU speed seems to always get thrown into the mix. CPU speed is actually a rather minor component for performance unless the CPU has to pick up the slack the GPU is causing. If your CPU has a clock speed of 1 to 1.5 GB then it will handle SL without breaking a sweat (single core, dual core, quad core, 8 core......it matters not). That is vertually every CPU manufactured in the last 7 years.

However, the question revolves around bandwidth usage. No matter what the speed of anything in your computer is the usage is controlled by limiting what data is sent to the computer to process. Bandwidth speed has practically nothing to do with any of that.........and neither does the CPU, GPU or memory. Increasing the cache size only helps if the user consistantly remains in the same area and (important word here) nothing has changed since the last time the object, texture, animation, or whatever is called for (an avatar turns around and moves into a new lighting setting or something is removed or added to the scene)..........and that practically never happens on in any area that has any sort of traffic at all.

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