Windows Update using Mobile Internet plan with 1GB/day 4G speed data limit in Puttaparthi

Recently a Facebook friend of mine, based in Puttaparthi (in Andhra Pradesh state of India), messaged me about problems she faced with her Airtel 4G plan with 1 GB/day 4G speed data limit, which she is using as the Internet connection for her laptop computer through an Airtel WiFi device. She was informed (or came to know) that she had exhausted her 1 GB data (at 4G speed) for the day without her having (consciously) used the Internet much on that day. One possibility that struck me regarding her issue was Automatic Windows Update having taken up most of her Internet data limit without her realizing it. Another possibility was that somebody else had got onto her wireless 4G Internet router/device by guessing or breaking (hacking) the password, and used her connection to download lot of data.

I suggested to her that she could try out disabling automatic Windows Update (and do manual Windows Update instead where she would be controlling when it is doing the download). That’s what I do.

Now I have moved to Jio 4G (mobile) Internet quite recently – around one and a half months ago. My current Jio plan gives 1 GB data per day at 4G speed; post 1 GB the speed drops to a poor, NOT-BROADBAND speed of 128 Kbps. Note that I have downgraded my BSNL landline broadband plan from ULD999 plan (8 Mbps for 25 GB per month; 1 Mbps beyond) to ULD470 plan (2 Mbps for 10 GB per month; 1 Mbps beyond). So, as of now, I have two (broadband) Internet connections.

I should also mention that both Jio and Airtel 4G services have other plans with higher limits of 4G data per day or with no limit at all. But the 1 GB/day plan is attractive from a cost point of view. Jio 4G has the Rs. 399 plan offering 1 GB data per day at 4G speed for 84 days. Theoretically, if one uses all of the 1 GB data every day for these 84 days then at the end of this 84 days period, one would have used 84 GB of 4G speed data. But practically, most people (including me) do not do that and so their total consumption of 4G speed data over these 84 days is less than 84 GB. For more about Jio 4G plans see https://www.jio.com/en-in/4g-plans.

Jio offers more expensive plans without any data limit per day – e.g. the Rs. 999 plan which offers 90 GB for 90 days. Note that in this plan, it seems that one can consume entire 90 GB data at 4G speed within one day OR consume varying amount of 4G speed data each day not limited to 1 GB or 2 GB as long as the total data consumed does not cross 90 GB and one is within the validity period of 90 days.

It seems that if in 90 days one does not consume 90 GB then the rest of the available data is lost. That is, it is not carried forward even if one buys another Rs. 999 plan.

If one exhausts 90 GB before the 90 days validity period one can continue to get “unlimited” data but at the poor NOT-BROADBAND speed of 128 Kbps. I am quite sure that one can also choose to buy another plan, say Rs. 999 plan again, to use Jio 4G speed data as soon as the 90 GB data is exhausted, and then switch to using that new plan instead of staying on the old plan with its poor speed of 128 Kbps. But I do not know how exactly one would do that.

Also, there are recharge plans of lesser amounts like Rs. 49/- for an additional 600 MB of 4G speed data than can be used when one crosses the 1 GB/day (or higher 2 GB/day) limit for 4G speed data in some Jio plans. However, these recharge plans are far more expensive per GB of 4G speed data than the regular Rs. 399 or even Rs. 999 plan.

Airtel and other vendors would be having similar such plans too.

The typical user though prefers the 1 GB/day 4G speed data limit plan as it is significantly more economical than the Rs. 999 plan (or equivalent from Airtel) without per day 4G speed data limits. This post focuses on how one manages to do Windows Update with such 1 GB/day 4G speed data limit economical plans of Jio, Airtel and other 4G service providers in Puttaparthi (and elsewhere in India). I have taken the example of Jio 4G which I use but I think most, if not all, of the general approach mentioned in this post would apply to other 4G service providers like Airtel too.

I had not yet done a Windows update using Jio 4G. My earlier Windows Update for both my (assembled) desktop and Dell mini-Laptop were done using the 8 Mbps till 25 GB BSNL landline broadband plan (which gave a real speed of around 6.5 Mbps that was a STEADY and RELIABLE speed till 25 GB limit was hit for the month).

Today (12th Sept. 2017) morning in my apartment flat in Puttaparthi, I did a Check for Updates, followed by download of its listed updates of 416 MB size according to Check for Updates, on my Dell Windows 8.1 mini-Laptop using my Jio 4G mobile Internet connection. I thought of making a detailed log of the process capturing the time it took, as well as a summary of it, both for my own reference needs in the future and for anybody else who might be interested in such information.

Windows Update’s Check for Updates tells us how big the download may be. This is important in the case of 1 GB/day Internet connections as if one downloads close to 1 GB or 1 GB in the morning/afternoon then there may not be any more 4G speed data available to them for the rest of the day on that connection. Especially for those persons who have only one Internet high speed connection with such 1 GB/day limit, this is important to note. Such big downloads may best be done in the evenings with the knowledge that the connection’s 4G speed data may not be available for them after the download is done, till the per day data limit gets reset (few minutes after midnight in the case of Jio 4G).

Currently for me it is not so crucial as I have the additional BSNL landline broadband to fall back upon (even after crossing its 10 GB/day limit it will give me 1 Mbps speed; last month it continued, as an announced bonus kind-of thing, to give me 2 Mbps even after crossing the 10 GB limit).

Anyway, in my case the Windows update download size was reported by Check for Updates as 416 MB. So that’s less than half of my 1 GB/day limit.

The higher speed of 5 Mbps or more during daytime that I can usually get from Jio 4G if the USB 4G modem/dongle is placed in my balcony, made Jio 4G the faster way to get the download done.

I started the Updates download (with Dell mini-Laptop placed on a small plastic table in the balcony and with USB 4G dongle directly connected to its USB port) at 10.29 AM. The initial part of the download seems to have got done very quickly as the reported percentage of download quickly moved to 39% (perhaps in 4 to 5 minutes). Then it got stuck at 39% for many minutes. Don’t know whether that was a reporting issue or some real bottleneck. I was wondering what the issue was and did some Internet browsing on Windows Update (download) getting stuck (at a particular percentage). But when I later checked I found that it had jumped to somewhere in the 70’s (completion percentage). The download got over at 10.45 AM (though the install of the updates process after that took more time).

So it took only 16 minutes for the 416 MB (Check for Updates reported) download from Microsoft Windows Updates server to get done using Jio 4G Mobile Internet.

The speed measure that I got from fast.com was around 7 Mbps or slightly more (RSSI typically in the -60s). Assuming speed of 7 Mbps, download of 416 MB should take 8 min 18 secs – for calc. see http://www.download-time.com/, if the server AND the Internet connection from server to client could provide sustained 7 Mbps speed. In my case, perhaps the (Microsoft Windows Update) server and/or the Internet connection from server to client could not deliver this speed. Anyway, around 15 minutes for 400+ MB Windows Update download is something that I am happy with.

Note that the previous successful Windows Update was done on this mini Laptop on 8th July 2017. The two month period between (successful) Windows Updates may be the reason for this Updates download to be over 400 MB.

The installation process got over at 11.29 AM (including restart and me having logged on with my regular userid). The installation process seems to have taken 10 minutes or so longer due to pauses for some of my notes about the installation process, Internet speed and data download figures reported by the 4G modem and Jio service provider.

So time taken for Windows Update was around 15 minutes for the download (416 MB) and 35 minutes for installation process (including restart of laptop) after that. If I had used my 2 Mbps BSNL Landline connection the download part may have taken half an hour to an hour, I guess. Of course, if I had done the same with my earlier 8 Mbps (real speed of around 6.5 Mbps) BSNL landline connection (about twice as expensive as the 2 Mbps plan), the time taken would have been similar to Jio 4G time of 15 minute download (of 416 MB Windows Update).

The detailed log given below may be skipped by readers not interested in such details.

Detailed Log

Dell Mini-Laptop on small plastic table in balcony with 4G USB modem/dongle directly connected to its USB port and aligned in a way that the dongle has clear line of access to outside balcony window area through insect-net window-pane. Mobile Internet service provider is Jio (in Puttaparthi).

10:29 AM (12th Sept. 2017): Start of 416.2 MB Windows Update download
10:31 AM – 18 % downloaded message
Got stuck at 39% for some time (minutes) but seems to have resumed by itself with percentage downloaded jumping to 70’s when I checked and noted that it had resumed.
10:40 AM – 91% complete

Speed tests done while download is going on
Fast.com speed – 7 to 8 Mbps
Ookla Beta speed – 6 to 7 Mbps

10:43 AM: Stuck at 93% complete
10:45 AM: Preparing to Install; So 100% of download is completed.

Speed tests
10:47 AM: Ookla Beta – 9.37 Mbps
10:48 AM: Fast.com – 7.2 Mbps
RSSI was in the -60s dBm typically, from beginning of events captured in this log. Some readings: -65, -67, -63 … but went into -70s at times e.g -76 dBm; And at times was in the -50s e.g. -58 dBm; but usual value would be in the -60s.

10:50 AM: Installing update 1 of 6

Before starting this entire activity, I checked Jio 4G data availability. It was full 1 GB.
10:52 AM: Jio 4G data availability shows 655.76 MB. [Note that it seems to take some time for Jio usage details to get updated to current usage. So I should check half an hour or so later to get proper data usage.]

10:54 AM: Installing update 2 of 6
11:03 AM: Installing update 4 of 6 [Update 3 took long to install]
11:07 AM: Installing update 5 of 6
11:08 AM: Installing update 6 of 6
11:10 AM: ‘Restart PC to finish installation’ message is shown. [So installation of update 6 of 6 is also done.]

11:10 AM: Disconnected Jio connection using Mobile Partner. Due to slow response to disconnect, I finger-pressed again which resulted in additional Connect (after disconnect) which I disconnected immediately. So I did not see the message box giving Upload and download data for the first (and main) connection/session. Fortunately, Mobile Partner maintains a log of data usage. From its log entry for the main session:
Start Time: 9/12/2017 10:23 AM; End Time: 9/12/2017 11:11 AM; Duration: 48 mins 20 secs
Upload Data: 30.99 MB; Download Data: 387.70 MB [So Total Data: 418.69 MB]
11:19 AM: Restarted Mini-Laptop [This is a 9/10 min pause for recording of data which should be deducted from total duration to arrive at download + install time for this Windows Update.]

[As Mini-Laptop is shutting down; Note that time is not shown on Mini-Laptop at this point]
Working on Updates – 21% complete .. Don’t turn off your computer [Message shown on laptop]
[Stuck at 30% complete for some time.]
11:25 AM (Cell phone time): Restarting [Message on laptop]
11:28/11:29 AM (Cell phone time): Working on Updates – 62% complete [After restart I think I saw it pick up from 30% complete]
11:29 AM (Cell phone time): [Laptop computer is ready for logon; Note that Laptop time shows 11:28 AM showing that it is behind cell phone time by around 1 minute]

11:29 AM (Laptop time): Logged on
Control Panel -> Windows Update & Check for Updates menu choice (NOT Check for Updates button) shows:
Most recent check for updates: Today at 10.29 AM
Updates were installed: Today at 11:10 AM

Update history shows that last successful updates were done on 8th July 2017. [On 1st and 2nd Sept. 2017 some updates were tried but failed. I think the Mini-Laptop was on Automatic updates on those days. Further, from sometime close to and after 8th July 2017 till 1st Sept. 2017, the Mini Laptop does not seem to have been used due to which it was not connected to the Internet and so did not attempt any Windows update.]

11:34 AM: All of the above work was done.
11:36 AM: Checked Jio a/c 4G data availability; Showed same figure as earlier – 655.76 MB.

12:42 PM: I think a little while before or at 11:36 AM I may have connected to Jio 4G to check Jio a/c data availability. Shortly after that I would have disconnected Jio 4G. Then I moved the mini Laptop back to my computer table in my bedroom and connected it to BSNL landline Internet. Using this connection I checked Jio a/c 4G data availability (at 12:42 PM). It shows it as 622.99 MB. That is, Jio a/c 4G data usage for Windows Update and small speed tests in this log is 1024 – 622.99 = 401.01 MB.

5:51 PM (12th Sept. 2017): Jio a/c 4G data availability shows same figure of 622.99 MB (as shown at 12.42 PM). Under Usage details for 12th Sept. 2017 it has only one entry: 10:23:33 (AM) Consumed: 401.01 MB. Note that I am checking Jio a/c usage details on the web now using my BSNL landline broadband Internet connection.

 

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