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How to set a data limit for a WiFi connection on Windows 10

Mobile data plans are expensive compared to those that you buy from an ISP. It makes sense that you’d want to limit your use of a mobile plan.That said, even ISPs don’t give you unlimited bandwidth and if the plan you’ve purchased is conservative, you might want to set a data limit for a WiFi network. On Windows 10, that’s pretty easy to do without having to use third-party apps.

Data limit for WiFi

Open the Settings app and go to the Network & Internet group of settings. Select the Data Usage tab. Make sure that the correct network is selected under ‘Show settings for’. If it isn’t, open the dropdown and select the WiFi network that you want to set a data limit for. If it doesn’t show up, try connecting to it.

Alternatively, if you want to set a collective limit on the data for all the networks that you connect to over WiFi, you can simply select the ‘WiFi (all networks)’ option from this dropdown.

Once you’ve selected the correct network, click the Set Limit button under Data Limit.

In the window that opens, select the time period that the data must be used in. You can set it to monthly if you’re on a monthly plan which most people are. If you need a one-time limit e.g., if you’re using WiFi at a hotel, you can select the One-time option. Alternatively, if you have an unlimited plan, you can select the Unlimited option.

For the Monthly and One-Time options, you have to specify when the plan is renewed, and how much data you’re allowed to use. With the Unlimited option, you need only specify when the plan is renewed. In all cases, the data can be specified in MB and GB.

This will apply to all network activity. If Windows 10 downloads updates, they too will count towards the data measure by the app. Likewise, all background activity by apps that require downloading information will also be measured. You cannot set app exemptions for the data limit.

If you have the mobile hotspot turned on, and there are devices connected to it, their consumption will also be factored in when measuring your data usage.

When you exceed the data limit, Windows 10 will warn you about it. It won’t disable the internet so if you continue to use it, you may have to pay extra for any additional data that you use. The rules for this are of course dictated by the data plan you’ve purchased from your ISP.

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