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Why am I having data overages on my MiFi?
rasgrif
Member

My usage was more than 150% again as much in the first month we had the Mifi than before when we had a 3G FiveSpot. And we still had the 3G hotspot for the first 8 days of that month. Granted, with my child home from college we asked to add a four more GBs but- 10GB to 26 + GB? Because of the mid billing change of plan, I could not track usage online but I called 2 days before the billing period ended and was told I still had 4 GB. Bercause of that phone call eror, that last overage (4GB) was corrected on the bill after I called Verizon Customer Service. I am awaiting a bill audit but I checked hourly usage for the last two days and, at night, while we were asleep, and our computers were off or asleep, we show data usage in approx. 15 minute increments all night. 4.6 MB total between 1AM and 7AM.  (And no- no one should have been able to sit near by and pirate our signal- we live in the middle of a vast field of corn stubble). This has gone on every night as far back as I checked. And each overage varies-though most hover around 135-145 KBs. We are going to try some closer tracking for the next while but this seems like a device problem and there are other posts that suggest there is one. (I will post the outcome of this issue after the billing audit and, I feel sure, more long discussions with Verizon.) Late reporting from non-Verizon towers doesn't seem a logical answer to these constant and regular data usages. Any one else tracked the details of their overages and found similar patterns?

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

One of your machines, most likely your child's computer from college, is talking over the internet at night.  Your data usage statistics do not reflect human interaction, it reflects how much data is being requested by your devices.  You do not have to be present at a keyboard to be held liable for data usage.

What you should do is try turning off your machines at night one at a time.  This will help you isolate which one is the late night chatter.  Once you know the source of the leak then dig deeper and see if you can figure out what may be going on from there.

From the looks of your data log the leak is fairly consistent which should make finding it fairly easy to do.  Keep checking your usage logs after you shut down a machine and see if the leak stops.  You could also do it the other way around too and only have one machine powered on at a time, that would actually be more scientific that the first approach.  A few data sessions on each machine at night should reveal the source of the problem.

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

One of your machines, most likely your child's computer from college, is talking over the internet at night.  Your data usage statistics do not reflect human interaction, it reflects how much data is being requested by your devices.  You do not have to be present at a keyboard to be held liable for data usage.

What you should do is try turning off your machines at night one at a time.  This will help you isolate which one is the late night chatter.  Once you know the source of the leak then dig deeper and see if you can figure out what may be going on from there.

From the looks of your data log the leak is fairly consistent which should make finding it fairly easy to do.  Keep checking your usage logs after you shut down a machine and see if the leak stops.  You could also do it the other way around too and only have one machine powered on at a time, that would actually be more scientific that the first approach.  A few data sessions on each machine at night should reveal the source of the problem.

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
rasgrif
Member

Thank you for your response.as for my child's PC as the problem, it was not even in this state on the days these were recorded- just 2 Macs. We are now trying your suggestions on this but I would note this is new to the 4G device.- no other change since we changed (unwillingly) from a Verizon 3G. Are we able to switch this device to 3G for most usages?

Also- in another post, you suggested software to track usage, including what the machines are connecting with. I am considering doing that but saw a note from a Verizon Rep who said Verizon does not recognize data tracked by 3rd party programs. Convenient for them- but I also saw someone who used such logs to successfully sue Verizon- twice. Always considering that source for this info, if I can't get a handle on this fast, I may just fight to return the device and void the contract. I think Verizon has a lot of very angry people from the posts I saw and is responding poorly. I can not find a like level of anger for other 4G carriers on this issue.

Carol

Private info removed as required by the Terms of Service.

Message was edited by: Admin Moderator

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
Pitkingirl
Member

if you use MIFI as you local network and you have a wireless printer, scanner, or multifunction device, Verizon is probably charging you for the data volume to and from this device.   I was doing some high-volume scanning of old paper records and our data usage went crazy.  I can't prove this, but after I reinstalled our old router and changed back to my internal network for all but internet, the usage has dropped back to normal.  I think this is a crooked business practice and even an invasion of privacy, since if they can track this as usage, they can also track the data.  I should not have to pay them for using my own internal communications.

Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

Its true that VZW does not recognize 3rd party monitoring applications.  However, you don't need them to recognize anything, they are not in the computer maintenance business.  Its not their world to help you troubleshoot a misbehaving personal computer.  3rd party monitoring applications are  purely for your benefit so you can find the leak and stop it.

You have already proven that the Jetpack is doing its job and providing internet.  That's where VZW support stops.  Now the real task at hand is to get that troublesome PC to behave while it is connected.  When it comes to monitoring applications on a PC I suggest some free software called Networx.  Networx is the most user friendly monitoring application I have seen so far because it has a feature that can display and breakdown usage by the individual applications and services on a computer.  This makes it very easy to pinpoint the leak and put a stop to it.  There are other free monitors out there too like WireShark and ProcessMonitor from Microsoft, however those applications require much more knowledge to pick out the useful information that you need.

As far as configuring the Jetpack goes all Jetpacks should have a feature that allows them to stay in 3G only mode.  Granted that will make all devices use 3G while connected but it may be the easiest step to keep your usage down while your childs PC is connected to it.

Here's how I suggest you proceed:

1. Switch your Jetpack back to 3G only

2. Get a monitoring application installed on the troublesome PC (ex. Networx)

3. Get comfortable with the monitor and see if you notice anything unusual

4. When you are ready then turn off all PCs and leave on the bad PC

5. Switch Jetpack back to 4G

6. Monitor the activity and get a good sample

7. Compare the 3G activity to the 4G activity on that computer

This isolation test should tell you exactly what the problem is.  Once we know which app/service is misbehaving on 4G LTE then we can reevaluate to see if there are any options to stop it.  Sometimes its as simple as a configuration change to turn off updates.  Sometime the application needs something else or can be completely removed.  If no decisions can be made then your fall back is always to leave the Jetpack in 3G only until that PC can connect somewhere else.

If you would like the steps to convert the Jetpack to 3G only then send us your Jetpack model.  We can look up the user guide for you and provide you the steps from there.

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

Local traffic is not monitored by VZW.  You can scan, print, or send documents to local machines all you want and it will not impact your VZW bill.  All that VZW cares about is communication that goes over the internet.

If you have a personal device like a printer that happens to be performing network lookups or checking in with some kind of a online service then that usage will be held against you.  This is commonly the issue when users have a tablet and use some kind of a online print to email or scan to email feature.  Cloud printing features certainly do use the internet and the data will count against you.

No one is being crooked, there is simply a misunderstanding of how your connected devices are behaving when given different connection options.  I have seen numerous threads claiming that local data is being held against users and have not yet seen any evidence to support it.  There should be a better explanation if you look deeper into what is going on.

Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
rasgrif
Member

As I said, the PC can't be very responsible for these overages since it went out of state for two of the weeks in question. The Networx sounds great but is not Mac compatible. Any Mac suggestions?

My Jetpack is a MiFi 5510L. I would very much like the directions to go back to 3G for most usage.

Carol

Private info removed as required by the Terms of Service.

Message was edited by: Admin Moderator

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
Pitkingirl
Member

John:

Ethel's husband here.  I note you say 'monitored', not 'measured'.  Interesting detail that I'm not sure is unintentional. Not to say you are definitely wrong about this, but the evidence is heavy, from my 42 yeas of IT experience, that Verizon is charging us for local network traffic if I only use the MiFi as my router. The only thing I have not checked is system-to-system data movement as that is rare and usually we don't not even have mapped drives, and we use large USB drives for backups and data movement. Neither of us listens to music online since we have satellite radio and our own digital music on a local system for that and it is not on the network at all.  We do not download movies or music.  We went through all the research, including powering down EACH local wireless device for periods of time in turn, powering down ALL local wireless devices,  stopping any and all automatic downloads of updates and patches, not watching U-Tube videos that people send links to, not sending no large attachments such as photos, and THEN stopping my project of scanning hundreds of documents from our wireless multifunction device (print, scan, fax, copy).  According to the MFD setup, it is not allowed to communicate with the manufacturer as lots of them like to do these days. Our data usage only and immediately plummeted when I stopped the scanning project.  When I reinstalled our original router for our local network and continued my scanning project via THAT wireless network, MiFi data usage went way down to 'normal'.  I even monitored when my wife plays Words With Friends on her Ipad for which she has a separate account.  Our data volume is far exceeding what we experienced when my wife operated a home-based graphic design studio and regularly had large uploads and downloads of client designs and online testing of websites.  The volume is pretty much isolated to the 'phone' number allocated to the MIF  device and NOT to the other two numbers on the account.

Like I said, I can't prove it.  I also can't prove the government is not monitoring me.  But this smells very bad to me.

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

Not a Mac guy, I do not have any good suggestions for monitoring in that world. : (  You might have to snoop around a Mac forum to see what other fellow Mac users suggest.

See page 54 of the MiFi 5510L User guide to switch to 3G Only:

http://www.novatelwireless.com/files/4513/6218/1792/UG_MiFi_5510L_VZW__30Jan2013.pdf

If the Jetpack was still leaking after the collage computer left the network then it may be an issue with the Macs afterall.  Use the isolation technique I mentioned above and see if you can figure out if one or both of the Macs are yapping on the internet without your knowledge.

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Re: MiFi Overages like crazy
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

"Monitored" is my personal word for the scenario.  Didn't mean to stir up anything by it, but I think you get the gist.  We don't know if VZW can "see" our local traffic or not, that's a conspiracy conversation outside the scope of the current problem.  However the bill should not reflect your truly local activity. I don't doubt anyone's technical skills here, just saying no one has been able to prove it so far.   If you can find a way and capture the problem VZW should be able to refund you something for your efforts.

I'd be happy to work with you and answer any questions you have on the subject.  Likewise I'd be interested to reproduce any steps you can document for us to help you build your case.  I can tell you right now that we as users cannot see exactly what Verizon sees when it comes to preparing the bill. This is primarily the largest obstacle when it comes to determining a leak.  The raw data from our usage logs are hidden from us to protect our own privacy (or something like that).  All VZW will provide users with is a log of the various sessions.  Anything deeper than that needs to be rigged up with the use of monitoring devices and applications before the traffic hits the Jetpack. 

For example you could have an environment like this at home:

MonitoringEx.png

In this example the best spot to setup a monitor would be at the bridge.  Monitoring from here would capture everything headed to the internet.  The Jetpack could also use simple MAC filtering to ensure that only the bridge is connected to it and keep your logs clean from interference.  How granular you get from here will depend on your level of investment and interest into the subject.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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