Can verizon tell that I'm tethering?


Last Updated:

  1. lucidstate

    lucidstate Active Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ok so I'm currently having an argument with a friend. He seems to think Verizon will have no problem detecting the fact that I'm tethering regardless of how much I actually use my phone as a hotspot. I told him I should have no problem as long as I don't download ridiculous amounts of data. He tells me that mobile browsers are coded to only pull less data from a website than a PC browser would. I think this notion is silly. I realize that many sites will redirect you to a mobile version of their site, but most offer a "full site" link. So it's not that the browser itself is pulling less data, it's that the site is just sending less data. If Verizon could bag you for clicking the "full site" link then everyone would be losing their service.

    So I guess my main question is:

    Does verizon (or any other carrier) have a way to detect if you are tethering other than the amount of data you are pulling per month?
     

    Advertisement
  2. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    8,852
    Likes Received:
    2,367
    Yes. It doesn't matter how much you tether, they can find out the second you connect that you are tethering.
     
  3. lucidstate

    lucidstate Active Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    2
    Could you elaborate? What is it exactly that defines the traffic as going to a computer and not a cellphone?
     
  4. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,498
    Likes Received:
    131
    While I'm not sure on the details.

    It isn't too surprising.

    For one thing, your using your phone as a modem.

    While your phone is the means to accessing the data..

    I'm pretty sure your computers Network Interface Card would have to be used.. So, really..its not so much the fact that your using a computer to access the data..

    The fact is your using anything that isn't your phone to access data.
     
  5. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    8,852
    Likes Received:
    2,367
  6. lucidstate

    lucidstate Active Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ok but consider the following situations:

    1. I believe some PC browsers allow you to change/block that info. If they could then you could just send out the same stats as your mobile browser.

    2. If #1 is possible then the opposite is also true. You would be able to change your mobile browser to appear as a normal PC browser. I imagine some people would want to change this anyway so they don't get redirected to mobile versions of sites automatically. If this were true, people would be accused of tethering just for modifying their mobile browser, regardless of whether or not they were tethering.
     
  7. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    8,852
    Likes Received:
    2,367
    Are you really that hard headed? Do you really think your browser is the only thing on a computer that sends and receives data?

    Not to mention the completely different ports that are used ?
     
  8. lucidstate

    lucidstate Active Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    2
    Whoa easy guy. I'm not saying I know all this for sure. I'm just throwing what I know out there so you can tell me if what I think I know makes sense or if I'm totally off base.
     
    rsarno likes this.
  9. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    8,852
    Likes Received:
    2,367
    Sorry for the snap off, but the bottom line is, the person who is connecting you to all those fancy machines in the 'cloud', can tell you everything about the device your using to access it's network.
     
  10. lucidstate

    lucidstate Active Member This Topic's Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ok thank you.
     
  11. speedracer68

    speedracer68 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    3
    Here's an interesting story for what it's worth. At work, we decided to stream the live audio broadcast of the local high school football games through UStream, but the stadium didn't have any kind of Internet access. I told my boss that I could use my phone (rooted Eris) as a modem since I had an unlimited data plan.

    It worked pretty well, however, the days following the games, I noticed that my phone had trouble accessing the 3G network. I was getting a symbol that read 1x instead of 3G in an area where I usually get great coverage. When I could get 3G, the speeds were much slower than what I was used to on my Eris.

    I later read somewhere online that carriers could, in fact, tell that you were tethering, and even if you had unlimited data, they would penalize you for using your phone as a modem without paying.

    Don't know if this is true or if my experience was anything other than just a random glitch, but ever since I got my Droid 2 (have never used it for tethering) I've never experienced slow 3G speeds or being dropped to 1X.

    Again, it may not mean anything, but it's food for thought.
     
  12. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3,132
    Likes Received:
    369
    Here is the honest truth. Yes, they can tell. No, they aren't going to do anything unless you abuse the hell out of it by transferring dozens of gigs a month. Don't sit there and run torrents, just use it for browsing, email, etc. (like you would your phone). For the most part, if you are paying your bill and not stressing their network much more than you would with just your phone, it is easier for them to turn a blind eye than potentially lose a customer.
     
  13. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    3,132
    Likes Received:
    369
    This was more than likely a glitch in the system. Our cable internet goes down quite frequently here. I use my EVO to tether and my girlfriend has used her Incredible (I have also used iPhone 4 on ATT) and we never had issues. Again, we weren't going crazy with the data transfer. Just browsing the net, running a messenger, etc.
     
  14. speedracer68

    speedracer68 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks. That's good to know because I was thinking of using the tether for root users again on the D2 but wasn't sure if Big Red was really watching.
     
  15. Knewz

    Knewz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2010
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    72
    lordofthereef is right. They can tell if you are tethering. The only way they can't tell is if you disable NAI. Im sure it can be done with rooting. With WinMo phones you just changed a string in the registry and.......invisibilty!
     
  16. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    8,852
    Likes Received:
    2,367
    Incorrect.. While disabling NAI in older flip phones allowed for tethering (who else was tethering on 1x:D?) It still doesn't make your tethering activities "invisible" to the ISP.

    And if your argument is they can't figure out who's using it due to the diabled NAI, your wrong. That's what the ESN/MEID/HEX is for. Altering the ESN/MEID/HEX is a federal offense.
     
    seejoshplay likes this.
  17. sonicanatidae

    sonicanatidae Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    14
    First, I agree 100%..

    I'm just saddened at the double standard here. VZW can illegally lock bootloaders on phones in the C-Band and customers are effectively powerless to force compliance.

    Modify an ESN however and the terrorists win. VZW will have some law enforcement agency kicking footballs up your butt in a matter of minutes. :mad:
     
  18. stormishelley

    stormishelley Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    7
    When you tether, you're using a different APN than you would be if not tethering. I work for a carrier and this is how we tell, probably the same for verizon.
     
  19. gaiusgracchus

    gaiusgracchus New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    How Does AT&T Detect Jailbreak Tethering? | PCWorld

    ATT in particular will throttle usage, and they don't care how much you use while tethering. The new app described in the article may help, though.

    I think these carriers are jerks for going after people for tethering. If you pay for a certain amount of data, it is none of their stinking business how you use it or on what device.

    Greedy bas*****!!!
     
  20. syntrix

    syntrix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,418
    Likes Received:
    303
    DPI boxes are in place, and they can inspect the packet. It will be different between a smart phone and say a laptop.

    They can detect it today, but are they doing anything with it? Who knows if they are now or will be. EVERY major carrier has something like this.
     
  21. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    8,852
    Likes Received:
    2,367
    Which is exactly why I flip on a VPN when I'm doing anything important.
     
  22. syntrix

    syntrix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,418
    Likes Received:
    303
    Which is exactly what I do, too!
     
  23. Colchicine

    Colchicine Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2010
    Messages:
    768
    Likes Received:
    224
    I've only tethered once (partly out of fear) when I was at a hotel and couldn't get wifi. Tethered it up, computer ran FAST long, connected long enough for me to send a critical email. I never got any finger wagging at me, but I did think the VZW hitmen would come nab me in my sleep.
     

Share This Page

Loading...