Real-world tests show how Rain throttles VPN traffic

Mobile network operator Rain appears to be throttling VPN usage on both its 5G packages.

This is according to multiple speed tests conducted by MyBroadband following complaints of throttling on Rain’s 4G network earlier in February.

Rain CEO Willem Roos previously told MyBroadband that the operator does throttle VPN usage in order to ensure its streaming quality limits are maintained.

Many customers were frustrated, however, as many claimed they were required to use a VPN for work, and not to circumvent Rain’s streaming restrictions.

With Rain’s 4G uncapped package, streaming resolution is limited to 360p, while the Rain 5G Standard package is capped at 720p.

The Rain 5G Premium product, however, has no streaming resolution cap, so throttling on this package would seem unnecessary.

Nevertheless, MyBroadband’s speed tests have shown that even Rain’s top-end package is being throttled when using a VPN.

Using popular paid-for VPN service Surfshark, we carried out a series of speed tests on the MyBroadband Speed Test website.

Our tests found that Rain was throttling download speeds significantly.

Rain 5G Premium

We first conducted 10 speed tests on Rain’s 5G Premium package – five with the Surfshark VPN off, and five with it turned on.

With the VPN off we measured an average download speed of 293.81Mbps, while upload speeds averaged 11.07Mbps.

Latency varied greatly, going from as low as 12ms to a high of 33ms for an average of 21.8ms across the five tests.

With the VPN on and set to a South African server, download speeds dropped by more than 50%, measuring an average of 122.21Mbps.

Upload speeds were not impacted as significantly, with a decrease of less than 1Mbps, likely indicating no throttling.

Naturally, latency worsened, but this is to be expected when using a VPN, as the connection is routed through a server.

This increases the number of hops in the data transfer process, increasing the total round trip time.

The images and table below show the results we achieved for the speed tests on Rain’s 5G Premium package.

Download speed Upload speed Latency
VPN off
296.93Mbps 11.23Mbps 33ms
304.50Mbps 13.50Mbps 31ms
283.11Mbps 9.91Mbps 18ms
317.87Mbps 10.90Mbps 15ms
266.63Mbps 9.81Mbps 12ms
293.81Mbps 11.07Mbps 21.8ms
VPN on
121.26Mbps 8.78Mbps 30ms
104.59Mbps 10.25Mbps 27ms
121.37Mbps 11.95Mbps 34ms
120.02Mbps 11.33Mbps 22ms
143.82Mbps 9.65Mbps 30ms
122.21Mbps 10.39Mbps 28.6ms

 


Rain 5G Standard

We then conducted the same tests on Rain’s 5G Standard package, which the operator limits to a 30Mbps download speed cap.

Interestingly Rain appears to have whitelisted MyBroadband’s Speed Test platform to show the maximum potential speed had the user been on the Premium package.

This meant that our tests without the VPN showed download speeds with an average of 155.58Mbps.

Upload speeds averaged at 2.85Mbps, whereas latency was around the 29ms mark.

When connected to the South Africa-based VPN server, however, we recorded download speeds of only a fifth of those without the VPN, with an average of 33.10Mbps.

Once again, uploads – while slower – appeared not to be impacted nearly as significantly as the downloads with an average difference of less than

Interestingly, however, is that the latency was actually lower with the VPN than without it, at an average of 24.2ms for the five speed tests.

The images and table below show the results we achieved for the speed tests on Rain’s 5G Premium package.

Download speed Upload speed Latency
VPN off
150.17Mbps 3.70Mbps 25ms
156.34Mbps 2.63Mbps 31ms
133.90Mbps 2.83Mbps 28ms
154.39Mbps 2.08Mbps 28ms
183.12Mbps 2.99Mbps 34ms
155.58Mbps 2.85Mbps 29.2ms
VPN on
33.76Mbps 3.24Mbps 27ms
31.96Mbps 1.60Mbps 26ms
32.79Mbps 3.11Mbps 20ms
33.51Mbps 2.08Mbps 24ms
33.47Mbps 2.44Mbps 24ms
33.10Mbps 2.49Mbps 24.2ms

International servers

There is bad news for users looking to make use of VPNs to access the international libraries of streaming services like Netflix as well.

We also connected to Surfshark servers located in the UK and the US and once again, it appeared that Rain was throttling download speeds.

On the 5G Premium package, download speeds were throttled down to between 30Mbps and 50Mbps while connected to the UK server, while the 5G Standard package dropped down to between 15-20Mbps.

Connecting to a US server was far worse, however, reducing download speeds on both packages to less than 1Mbps.

Now read: Supersonic Air Fibre vs Rain – Prices, speeds, and streaming compared

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Real-world tests show how Rain throttles VPN traffic