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Translating Capped Vs. Uncapped Into English

Author: Sherryn de Vos
Date: 2017-03-20
Do you know the difference between capped and uncapped? This is the “Dummies” guide to Capped and Uncapped internet!
If tech lingo like 'shaped lines', 'capped' and 'uncapped' goes above your head, you are not alone. Technology is evolving so quickly, it’s not easy to keep up with the digital world. We thought we would help you out by discussing capped and uncapped in language that you don’t need a degree in Computer Science to understand.

The Basics

Let’s start with data. Data is the essence of being able to go online and for you to be able to access the internet. Should you be using fibre, ADSL, mobile, satellite, etc, it is all the same data. The only difference between them is the price, which will vary depending on the technology used. The fibre line is considered the best and quickest way to go online. It is also important to keep in mind that the internet is simply all of the computers in the world connected to each other.

Line Shaping

Shaping is the technology used to control the speed and amount of data used during a certain time. So, during periods of high traffic, when there are a lot of people using the internet, the service provider will shape the line. This will mean that they are slowing down the service to certain sites. So, should there be a lot of demand on the provider, they will slow down popular sites like Facebook, YouTube, etc. In certain cases, service providers will shape the line on certain sites permanently. Sites like gaming sites, torrents, or lives streams could be shaped.


Although similar to shaping, this is when the service provider will slow down the speed to the entire line. So, instead of slowing down certain sites when the line is under pressure, it rather reduces the speed of the entire line. You might be wondering why throttling and shaping happens. Think of it like being in a supermarket. If you are in a queue with six people in front of you, you will need to wait until it’s your turn to get to the teller. But, if you are doing your entire grocery shop and there is someone with two items, you will need to go to a normal teller, while they can go through the express counter.


This is the second fastest network you can buy. All cellphone internet uses capped, as there are no uncapped options available. Here is the down low on capped:
  • It is faster than uncapped.
  • Capped is more expensive than uncapped.
  • You will pay more per GB.
  • You only have the options of prepaid and capped. Prepaid carries over to the next month if you don’t use it but, with capped, you lose it if you don’t use it.
  • Perfect for home and business use, but not if you are a very heavy downloader.
  • Having capped is like having a business class ticket on a flight, you will be bumped up the queue boarding the plane.


This service is shaped and throttled more often than the capped service. You can request the provider to give you the policy of when and under what circumstance they shape or throttle.
  • Uncapped is the lowest priority, which is like having an economy ticket and boarding the plane one by one.
  • The monthly installment on uncapped is lower than capped.
  • Uncapped is not suitable for business and is more for homeowners and casual internet use.
  • It is perfect if you like to know exactly how much you are paying extra for data per month.

Leased Line/ Diginet

  • This is the fastest on the internet and is basically like having a first class plane ticket. You will bypass the whole queue to the front.
  • This, like a first class ticket, is the most expensive internet you can buy.
  • You will be uncapped with no limitations.
  • This is perfect for mission critical businesses, but not really for household use.

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