Windows 10 allows you to force your computer to use “Metered
connection” mode that reduces data usage and the feature is
useful when users are connected to a mobile network or Wi-Fi
network with a limited amount of data.
Unfortunately, Google Chrome doesn’t respect Windows 10’s
metered connection and it cannot reduce bandwidth usage or
enable data saving mode whenever you’re connected to the
networks you designate as ‘metered’.
On Android, Chromium is able to understand when a network is
cellular and takes various actions based on that. For example,
downloads and prerender/prefetch both adhere to this, among
other things. In a new Chromium commit, Microsoft noted that it
wants to ensure metered networks are properly addressed in
Windows comes with both metered Wi-Fi network and a non-metered
cellular network, but neither of these features is supported by
Chromium desktop version. In fact, Chrome OS does seem to
handle this better than Chrome for Windows.
Windows 10 has a WinRT API to enable support for metered
connection detection in apps, such as Microsoft Store, but
Chromium is currently not using the WinRT API.
To enable support for detecting Windows 10 metered networks
when you’re using Google Chrome, Edge or any other Chromium
browser, Microsoft is now adding “GetConnectionCost” to the
NetworkChangeNotifier class and this will work without WinRT
This code change will enable a new system that can
differentiate between cellular versus non-cellular networks,
which is essentially the same as how Windows 10’s metered
connection feature works.
“This change updates the NetworkChangeNotifierWin class to
retrieve the metered network status and register for updates
from the OS. It also creates an Observer class similar to the
other existing ones to notify other components when it
changes”, Microsoft noted.
According to the telemetry data shared by Microsoft, more than
one percent of wireless connections are marked “metered” on
Windows 10. Interestingly, 35% of all machines have at least
one saved connection marked as metered.
Overall, Microsoft claims that Chromium browsers should support
metered connections to meet customers demand.
It’s also worth noting that Windows 10 currently comes with
another feature that allows users to throttle bandwidth
usage, but the feature currently works with Windows Update
or Microsoft Store only, and it looks like Microsoft is not
planning to bring it to other apps.