PLEASE answer this broadband question?

  buel 22:08 06 Jan 2011

Please can someone put me out of my misery.
I have a friend at work who has had very high downloads shown on his broadband bill. This first happened 3 months ago and he was with an unknown (to me) broadband supplier that seemed rather unscrupulous. He queried the first high download bill and eventually got a large part of the bill refunded.
This sounded odd to me. He insists that he didn't download anything at all but he did do a bit of online gaming.
I suggested that this could be part/all of the problem because i believed online gaming uses bandwidth.
My friend seems convinced that a family friend (who once did some work on his laptop) has been using his broadband, even though he lives "3 minutes walk" away.
I have explained and explained that unless the person/anyone would HAVE to be within his broadband reception area (20feet-ish) to, firstly, use his broadband and, secondly, would need his access/security code to do so.

My friend then asked me "but what if he has a really big computer?", to which i replied that it wouldn't matter because quite simply if he wasn't within his broadband signal he could not use his broadband and plus i wouldn't have thought this man would go to the trouble of waiting outside in a car just to steal my friend's broadband.

Now, this friend listened to what i had to say...and then has continued to ask the same question to lots of different people at work, mostly who have even less of an idea than me, i find this disrespectful and highly annoying as i have taken time and trouble to explain this to him but still he wont listen. He again asked me today "Yes but what if this person has a very expensive computer, can he download from my broadband?" and i give the same explanation again....but he still wont bloomin' believe me.
He then asked me "so how come people can hack into computers in america from over here?", i tried explaining that this was very different to using someone's broadband usage.

Before i left work i asked him if i asked 'the experts' and they said roughly the same as me, would he believe it? He sort of answered that he would.

Please can anyone back me up on this?

  woodchip 22:20 06 Jan 2011

When you are on the Web, You do not need to think of Downloads like Music or Video etc. Everything you do every Web Page you visit is a Download as is every Advert Picture etc. Gaming is changing all the time as you play, so the time spent is like downloads, are where its going.

Think of it like streaming Video to you Monitor.

  woodchip 22:20 06 Jan 2011

If he must Play, he must Pay

  buel 22:43 06 Jan 2011

Thanks for that.
Please can you confirm what i am saying about even if someone has a "really big computer" they STILL cant use someone's broadband that live over half a mile away?
Ps-the download quantity was around 40gb so unlikely to be surfing.

  Terry Brown 22:56 06 Jan 2011

If your 'Family Friend' accessed his log in details (user name &Password), he could log in using that account, and as the registered owner, your 'Friend at Work'would get the bills.

Suggest you change the password to stop the possibility of this happening.


  ashdav 23:57 06 Jan 2011

The "family friend" has got hold of the wireless password so he's logging in from his house.
It's not possible to "login using username and password" as the internet link is hard wired through the telephone line.
What router are you using?
You will need to change the password.

  lotvic 01:09 07 Jan 2011

Consider he might be right and advise accordingly.
Maybe he hasn't secured his connection?
If so then anyone could be using it.
Do you know what Router he has?

As he is convinced someone is stealing his bandwidth by logging on wirelessly he needs to change his router password and up the security to WPA. Could also check on routers homepage if any other computers are listed/logged on.
On mine I can limit the number of pc's that are allowed access.
Could also hide the connection so that it does not show up when doing search for 'available networks'

or even download a net usage monitor, someone may post with link to an easy one to use.

  buel 07:14 07 Jan 2011

Thanks for the advice, i shall get on to it.
ashdav, the person he believes is logging on to his broadband lives over half a mile away, surely he couldn't use this man's broadband even if he does have his wireless password.
Plus, this person has his own broadband.

  dms_05 08:57 07 Jan 2011

It is theoretically possible to access broadband by wifi over large distances by using a specialist antenna but even then it has to be 'line of sight'. I'd dismiss that as a possibility.

Your friend really needs to make sure his WiFi is secured, use WPA and a NEW password.

I'd also suggest a check is made on background tasks, such as radio, running on the computer. If you've inadvertently left (for example) Classic FM running even if you aren't listening through the loudspeakers then it consumes 128 kbps or 10 mbp/minute (about 1 Mbytes) so that's 60 Mbytes/hour or over 1 Gbyte per day. Soon uses up a LOT of bandwidth.

The other course of action is for your friend to turn off his modem/router except when he's actually using the Internet.

My best guess is the system isn't secured for WiFi and someone very close by is using the connection (maybe by error, my netbook sometimes logs onto a neighbours unsecured WiFi instead of my own).

  Marko797 09:05 07 Jan 2011

if you have wifi broadband why don't u invite this person round to your house and demonstrate to him that you simply cannot log into other networks, which appear as 'available', without the required log in details, UNLESS of course the network is not secured. Or, go to his house and check that he has security settings in force on his network?

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