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Manage your data usage when working remotely

Remote working is beneficial during national disasters and lockdowns. However, it can put pressure on your home wireless network, especially if it’s capped.

It’s even costlier to use mobile data, as this runs out much faster when working online all the time. So, while wireless connectivity such as fibre, LTE or ADSL is more cost-effective, there may be a reduction in speed due to more people working remotely.

You can put measures in place to reduce your data usage, so that you limit the amount you use while working remotely.

If you’re using mobile data, plan your day so that you work offline most of the time, and then only go online when you absolutely need to, such as to check emails or access documentation. Some mobile providers have nighttime data offerings, so you could opt to work then to keep your data costs low. This data usage tool will give you a sense as to what you can do with a certain amount of data.  

It is worthwhile noting, that these data saving measures may not work when using the UCT VPN. We therefore recommend that you only connect to the VPN when necessary. For example, if you need to work on SAP, set time aside to do everything in one go, instead of staying logged on for long periods. Alternatively, if you need to download content from the network drives use NetStorage instead.


Reduce data usage in Windows 10

  1. Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. In the left-hand column click Data usage.
  3. Under the Background data section ensure the Never option is selected.
Ethernet cable
  1. Click Start > Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. In the left-hand column click Status > Change connection properties.
  3. Ensure the following settings are applied:
    • Connect automatically when in range: Off
    • Network profile: Private
    • Metered connection: Set as metered connection: Off


Reduce data usage on a Mac

Disable automatic downloads
  1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Click App Store > and ensure that the Automatically check for updates box is cleared.
  3. It may be worthwhile clearing the Video Autoplay box too. This will prevent videos from automatically starting to play.
Disable automatic software updates
  1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update.
  2. Clear the Automatically keep my Mac up to date box.
Enable Content Caching

This allows your device to save downloaded content.

  1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Sharing.
  2. In the Sharing window’s left-hand column select Content Caching.


Reduce data usage on mobile devices

You can also set data usage on your mobile devices


Useful data saving tips

  • Monitor which devices connect to your router so that you can determine which ones are draining your connectivity. Your service provider will be able to assist you with checking this information.
  • Make sure your WiFi router has a password to control who has access.
  • If you have a mobile data package that you’re already paying for, use that to reduce the connectivity on your home network.
  • Reduce the number of tabs you have open in your browser. The more activity, the more data you use.
  • Download content instead of streaming online.
  • When on YouTube, select a lower quality to reduce the amount of data you use.
  • When using applications such as Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams for video calling, opt to only use audio by default, and video only when necessary.
  • Disable location or GPS related apps as they constantly run in the background to determine your whereabouts.
  • Set your mobile device to only receive updates when connected to WiFi.
  • Share your useful data saving tips by sending an email to icts-feedback@uct.ac.za.