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MiFi Data Usage Analysis?
Zane1Dad
Member

Our monthly data usage continues to explode and there doesn't appear to be a way to figure out what is driving the amount of data... Verizon has a data usage report that shows GB/MB at certain times of the day, but those times apear to be "groupings" of data usage vs. actually coinciding with actual usage.  For example, if one son is doing XBox-Live thru the MiFi, while his mom is "Skyping" with a friend at a similar time, how can I know what's driving the most data?  We live in a rural community with no cable, no DSL, no FIOS, no nothing - except HughesNet Satellite (which still is too slow and not recommended for XBox-live type usage anyway) or the MiFi.  But I want to figure out what types of usage drive the highest amounts of data, and the Verizon analysis tools don't seem to help.  Anybody have any recommendations?

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Re: MiFi Data Usage Analysis?
ashtontr
Sr. Member

Xbox Live and Skype Would use the same amount of data I believe, one thing you could do is Google the usage per second, Both of them are streaming at the same time, I'm sure you'll find something Smiley Happy

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Re: MiFi Data Usage Analysis?
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

Hello,

To understand the actual impact of your data usage habits you will have to conduct some experiments. First step is to isolate each type of usage by itself when no one else is using the MiFi.  Check your data usage to get a baseline.  Consume that data for an hour or so to get a good sample.  When you are done check with Verizon again over the next 30 minutes to see how much your data went up (data reports are delayed).  Rinse and repeat for any application you are concerned about.  I'd suggest doing this for each application at least 3 times so you can feel confident in your results. Skyping may be hard to do for an hour so I would suggest testing everything else first and applying what is left as your Skype data consumption.

That being said I would assume that Skype would be your biggest data drain.  Streaming audio and video definitely are the best ways to chew through a data plan at any given time.  Although you may suspect Xbox to be the same each game is different.  Some games only send small pieces of information across the Internet and are very data plan friendly.  Other games that stream the entire game across the Internet are not.

Trial and error and the process of elimination are your friends.  Given enough data you will be able to gauge your own usage habits and stay on top of your bill before it blind sides you at the end of the billing cycle.

Example of Good Habits:

  1. Avoid Video, use low def options if necessary
  2. Avoid Streaming music, use low def options if necessary
  3. Avoid High-res pictures, use low def options if necessary
  4. Close down your applications when you are done using them
  5. Disconnect from the device when you are not using it
  6. Check in on your usage frequently until you understand what impact your habits have on the plan
  7. Turn off automatic updates for any programs or services
  8. Secure your device by changing the default connection credentials to custom values
Re: MiFi Data Usage Analysis?
Zane1Dad
Member

We have been running experiments based on your advice.  With nothing being done over the MiFi except XBox Live, usage does vary greatly - suggesting John is correct that the amount of data depends on the game.  But XBox Live can consume over 1GB/day!  During another experiment, the MiFi was used only for Skype - and consumed 0.5GB for a 1.5 hour session.  So, Skype is a data hog too - but easier to control (we will now set limits).  Now our biggest question is why do we see data usage when nothing is connected?? There was one day with no Skyping, no XBox Live, no nothing, but yet we saw 0.9GB of usage that day!  Strange... We are in a rural area with no neighbors who can sneak on (plus the MiFi is password protected), so we are very confused about that... Calling Verizon during business hours Monday!  Thanks for the help.

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Re: MiFi Data Usage Analysis?
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

The best explanation that I have seen regarding usage when the device is off is related to delayed billing.  For folks who are in on extended VZW network/towers some tower owners choose to bundle and release usage statistics instead of streaming them to VZW in real time.

If you are not in an extended area then there should be no reason for this behavior.  I'd have VZW investigate and explain what is going on.  Chances are they will work with you and correct any hardware or billing problems that are discovered.

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Re: MiFi Data Usage Analysis?
Zane1Dad
Member

Thanks John.  VZW's help desk guy attributed it to a device (like a laptop) being connected and then some program ran (e.g., a Windows Update); meaning, even though there was nobody in the house using a device thru the MiFi, some device was left "connected".  Their advice was always to "disconnect" (don't just shut down Windows Explorer, for example, but actually "disconnect" from the network).  So, we will keep trying to do that... But your suggestion about the "delayed billing" related to specific towers could be another explanation - so thanks for the help.  We're just putting all the kids in the house on "data budgets" now.... Sure hope prices come down for data; probably will be researching alternatives to Verizon's MiFi soon.

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