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T-Mobile Using Image Compression Proxy?


  1. Kimboinatl

    Kimboinatl Active Member

    I search on this here, but I couldn't find anything, so I'm starting up a new post. Let me know if this has already been discussed.

    I typically tether my Cliq to my laptop via PDANet. Usually I never noticed anything funny, but recently, when I copy and pasted the URL of an image to a friend of mine, I noticed that the URL was something like this:

    Code:
    http://64.19.142.12/androidforums.com/guest-welcome.jpg
    I kept seeing something like "http://64.19.142.12/" at the beginning of the URL of the image. I did a reverse DNS lookup, and it's some IP in Lyndhurst... To make sure it was from tethering, I connected to my neighbor's wireless network, pulled the image up again, and got the URL. No weird IP.

    So it appears that this is T-Mobile compressing images (or at least doing something with them). The problem is that the 2nd hop seems to be significantly slowing down my browsing... pulling images up on my phone actually appears to be quite a bit faster, which it did not before this happened.

    Anyone know any way around this? I set my user agent in the browser of my laptop to an Android user agent string, thinking that it might think I'm on my phone, but that didn't appear to work (but I might have gotten the user agent string wrong).

    EDIT: Just a thought, but couldn't a carrier determine whether you're tethering (for free) or not based on the user agent string of your browser? I mean, if I keep sending out a user agent string that says I'm using Chrome, well...

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  2. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    I just ran the same test with no strange image proxy. I would check on your APN settings, they may be set to WAP internet which may use some sort of image compression service. Also, pull up an image directly on your device and see if you get the same results.

    And yes, a carrier could figure out you were tethering, if they really wanted to. While there was at one point a "no tethering" clause for Android on T-Mobie, I have never heard of any instance where they enforced it. If you're a user that consistently comes close to the BW cap every month it may be something to worry about. If you stay below I feel safe to say you're in the clear.
  3. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member

    The "web2go" plan is designed to provide internet for "non-smartphones". Would make sense if a proxy is compressing images/sites to speed up browsing on the underpowered devices. I had the $10 web2go plan for my unlocked Nokia n900. It worked, using the internet2.tmobile.com APN. However speedtest.net results always had me with really high latency, and showed my location as somewhere in the midwest, when I'm near DC. When I was put on the smartphone plan ($25), following a call to tech support, they told me that I should be on epc.tmobile.com APN, and that "everyone" should be on it. However, that APN did not work when I was on the web2go.

    While my ping times went down, and my new gateway/proxy were geographically closer to me under the $25 plan, I switched my plan back to the $10 online. When the change took effect at the start of the next billing cycle, when trying to access the web, I was prompted to "upgrade my plan" and that "the web service is not designed for your phone" messages.

    FWIW, I was still getting over 4Mbs under the $10 plan. There also may have been a change which allows the web2go plan to access the web via all the APNs. What does that all mean? It means that an unlocked "super phone" should be able to use the $10 plan without issue, and still experience the 7Mbs+ connection.
  4. Kimboinatl

    Kimboinatl Active Member

    This is interesting... My data usage resets on the 20th, and before then I had gone over (probably a good 2GB over... woops). My speed was also throttled back, obviously. This was also when I was noticing the weird image proxy thing. One my data usage was reset, I also noticed that there was no more image proxy... I can't help but to think that this isn't a coincidence. Definitely staying under 5GB from now on though. I'm on epc.tmobile.com.

    Huh... now that would be interesting.
  5. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    Hmm. That's interesting to note, Kimboinatl. I'm on an employee plan so I'll see what I can do about jacking up my usage this cycle and see what happens when I surpass the data cap.

    (I only mention that I'm on an employee plan, because Tmo wont be a dick to me if I purposely go over the cap)
  6. Kimboinatl

    Kimboinatl Active Member

    That would be really cool. I'm very interested to see if you notice the same thing.
  7. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    A little update.

    I did kind of forget about this, after my last post, until yesterday. But I've been downloading some large files from my website while I've got my phone plugged in and managed to go from 180MB of usage this month to 2.5GB in less than 24 hours.

    With a long weekend there is no reason that I can't get past 5GB by Sunday(safe estimate in case I forget, again).
  8. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member


    Now that I no longer work from home, the Dish Network Remote Access app will ensure that I regularly exceed 5GB per month.
  9. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    7.9 GB and I haven't been throttled yet. I guess my plan is still 10GB/month.
  10. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member

    Maybe because the billing cycle just ended a few days ago?
  11. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    Nope, my cycle ends on the fourth.
  12. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    Well, according to T-Mobile I'm at 11.5GB and not so much as a peep from them.
  13. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member

    Game on...literally. Now I can watch all the games/races/matches I want to catch via Dish Remote app.

    :D
  14. Kimboinatl

    Kimboinatl Active Member

    Interesting. Did you notice any slowdown after 10GB? I definitely noticed a big loss in speed when I went past 5GB.
  15. Swizz

    Swizz Well-Known Member

    Not a drop!

    Crazy bastards.
  16. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member


    I was switched to the "Android Plan", from the "web2go" (where I was using the N900) around mid-November, and my plan cycle started on Nov 24th. I'm already at 5.1GB, and just received a text from T-Mo:

    "Due to the amount of data you have used this billing cycle, your data speed will be slowed for the remainder of the cycle."

    I'm getting about 1-3Mbs now, depending on location. Was consistently 3Mbs+. I'll test more at my usual locations as I pass them.
  17. colnago

    colnago Well-Known Member

    I'm still getting 3.9Mbs at work, following the "restricted speed notice", where I get "bad" reception (3-4 bars, and -87dBm to -92dBm on Defy).
  18. ooShellyoo

    ooShellyoo New Member

    They are definitely compressing images sent over their mobile network. Several others have confirmed this behavior. The internet2 apn used to be unaffected but since a couple weeks ago has also experienced compression.
  19. imcdona

    imcdona New Member

    You can determine if your carrier, Tmobile or otherwise, is compressing images by simply downloading an image on both 3G and wifi and comparing the file size of the downloaded images.

    Having done this test myself I can confirm that t-mobile does compress images.
  20. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    I did this test using a large photo file and using 4G the file was NOT compressed.
  21. zachavm

    zachavm Well-Known Member

    Honestly, that seems almost like a feature and not a problem. If they are going to throttle you anyway, it kinda nice to have them compress things. Yes, it does suck that you can't get around it while tethering though.
  22. Biscuit1001

    Biscuit1001 Member

    Maybe. It would have been nice if they disclosed this somewhere. And it's a problem when you:


    • Don't know they will do this ahead of time;
    • Run your own server (suddenly seeing traffic redirected through a strange IP made me think there was a security issue;
    • Do graphic design for a living and need to see the actual quality of an image.
    And further, I'm not on an unlimited plan. I pay $35 for 3.5GB. If I don't want images compressed, I shouldn't be required to have them.


    Yet another in the long list of reasons to never do business with T-Mobile again.
  23. Petrah

    Petrah Psychotic Female Guide

  24. Crashdamage

    Crashdamage Well-Known Member

    All carriers compress images sent via MMS. T-Mobile does not compress anything sent by email, uploaded to cloud services, etc.

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