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How Online Activities Impact Data Usage


Use the following table to learn more about how online activities drive data usage.


  • Not listed below are the impacts of having an unsecured WiFi network that non-household members may use to spread malware or download content in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Cox recommends that all internet users secure their WiFi networks and monitor their data usage with the Data Usage Meter.
  • Cox Panoramic Wifi customers have access to monitor certain network activity trends and devices connected to their WiFi network. While this functionality displays network activity trends, it can differ from actual data usage that counts toward your data plan.
  • For household data usage amounts, use the Data Usage Meter on Cox.com or in the Cox app.
Data ActivityImpactPotential Data UsedExamples
Streaming Video
  • Streaming video online is typically the largest driver of usage for many customers.
  • HD uses more data than SD video.
  • Different types of HD and SD video streaming can vary in intensity of data usage.
  • To learn more about streaming video and Cox services, see Data Usage and Cox Services.
  • Average SD Movie - 1 GB per hour
  • Average HD Movie - 3 GB per hour
  • Average Ultra HD or 4K movie - 7 GB per hour
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • Vudu
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • YouTube
  • Facebook videos
Downloading FilesDownloading videos, movies, photos, games, and software are also significant drivers of data usage.
  • Average 5 MB per photo.
  • Console game sizes vary but can be as large as 40 - 60 GB each to install.
  • Average 50 GB per downloaded game.
  • Average 20 MB per hour for online gaming.
  • iTunes
  • Xbox
  • Playstation
  • Switch
  • Multiplayer online gaming, such as World of Warcraft
  • Amazon Digital Downloads
Automatic SyncAutomatic app updates and syncs between tablets and other mobile devices connected to your WiFi network drive data usage.Adding new devices may drive a spike in data usage.
  • iPhone
  • Tablet
  • Laptop
  • Kindle
  • Android
Online BackupUsing online or cloud-based back up programs.Data usage back up frequency and settings may impact data usage.
  • Google Drive
  • iCloud
File SharingSharing files or online file collaboration use data when files are uploaded, downloaded, or updated.Data usage will vary based on file size and quantity.
  • Dropbox
  • BitTorrent
Third-party Home Security
  • Using third-party home security services over your in-home WiFi network and security cameras accessed over the web cause an increase in usage.
  • Devices that record but are not Web-enabled do not affect data usage.
Data usage will vary based by device, quality, number of devices, and extent of use (24/7 vs. motion-detection).
  • Nest Cam
  • Arlo Pro
  • DropCam
Streaming MusicStreaming music online impacts data usage.
  • Average four-minute song is 6.5 MB.
  • 40-70 MB per hour for Spotify streaming.
  • Pandora
  • Spotify
Web Surfing / EmailActivities like email and surfing the web typically do not make up a large amount of usage unless the email or web traffic includes video or other large files.

Average usage for 1 hour is 18 MB.

Note: Facebook videos drive higher than average usage.

  • Web surfing
    • Google
    • Yahoo
  • Social networking
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
    • Twitter
  • Cox Email
  • Gmail
  • Outlook

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