What is Alexa’s Bandwidth? HINT: Music is a danger!

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While many internet providers allow unlimited data usage today, there are others that have data caps (possibly as low 10GB per month!)

It’s a good idea to keep track of the bandwidth used by each connected device within your home if you have one of these low-data cap internet plans . This will ensure that you don’t get a surprise bill and stay under your data cap.

Alexa’s bandwidth usage

1.08GB per month). This average is calculated based upon the following daily usage: 30 mins of music streaming, 2 smart-home commands and 1 question.

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I was able to identify and track the usage of my Amazon Alexa.

I first had to find out my Alexa’s MAC Address.

A MAC address can be thought of as a unique identifier. Each connected smart device in your house has one.

Open the Alexa app and click on “Devices” at bottom, then “Echo & Alexa at top”.

Next, click on the Alexa device and scroll down to select “About”.

You should then be able see the MAC address.

It was then as easy as looking up the MAC address in my TP Link router’s traffic log. Then I was ready to go!

Is Alexa able to use bandwidth at all times?

Alexa uses bandwidth even though it’s not being used.

Once I had identified my Alexa’s MAC, this was a very simple test.

I just cleared my Alexa’s data usage in the TP-Link traffic monitor log and then stopped using Alexa for 12 hours.

My Alexa used 3.622MB of bandwidth while “inactive”.

This means Alexa uses 7.244MB of bandwidth when “not in use”.

Although this is only a small amount of data used in the background, it still contributes to the bandwidth numbers so it’s important to be aware.

Which Alexa command uses the most bandwidth?

It’s clear from the results that listening to music on Alexa consumes the most bandwidth.

Pandora streaming took 30 minutes and resulted in data usage of 28.368MB.

This is a small amount of data but it can add up over time.

For example, let’s say that instead of listening to 30 minutes of music per day, you listen for 3 hours. This is approximately 170 MB per day or 5.1 GB data per month.

This is not a problem for most people and it’s not something that we should even consider.

If you have an internet plan with a low data limit, such as 10 GB or less, you need to be aware.

The most used Alexa command

Venture Beat conducted an online survey of smart speaker users in 2018 to find out how often and for what purpose they used their smart speakers.

Results showed that most people use their smart speakers multiple times per day.

This shouldn’t surprise us as smart home users. We use our smart speakers all day to turn on and off lights, as well as other commands.

This trend is only going to continue in the coming years as more Americans have smart speakers at home.

According to the survey, music was the most popular smart speaker use case. Over 75% of respondents listed music as their top use.

It’s not hard to see why people love to listen to music through their smart speakers.

Google Assistant and Alexa make it easy to listen to music whenever you want.

Do I have to be concerned about Alexa’s use of my data?

99 percent of you don’t have to worry about your monthly internet usage. So Alexa’s data usage isn’t an issue.

My condolences to the other 1%

Make sure to review your internet plan details to see what data limit is in place.

Many times, that limit will be unlimited or one terabyte. Terabytes are a lot of data.

Don’t worry if you don’t have enough data. Even Netflix-loving households could use 300 GB data.

Even for people with lower data caps (10-50 GB), in most cases you can still go. Your internet speeds will only be reduced.

Conclusion

Amazon Alexa uses very little bandwidth, so you can expect it only to use about 1GB per month.

Your Alexa may not be “in use”, but it still consumes some bandwidth.

Streaming music consumes most data. Consider scaling down your music streaming if Alexa usage is a problem.

99 percent of people don’t have to worry about Alexa’s bandwidth consumption.

If you are among the 1% who have internet plans that come with data caps, you need to be aware of how much Alexa is being used. You should be fine!

 

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