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Tethering And Apns


tictag
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On the odd occasion I’ve wondered into a mobile phone shop, I’ve often been advised that tethering is not permitted on some mobile [data] contracts. But how do they know the data request is from a tethered device?

 

As far as I know, there are three items of data required to make a mobile data connection:

  • SIM (Subscriber Identity Module, stores IMSI). Your unique and personal account identifier.
  • IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity). Your device’s unique identifier, sent every time a connection to the mobile infrastructure is made
  • APN (Access Point Name). The data gateway between your carrier and the Internet.

Once the data connection is established e. g. GPRS, HSPDA etc, my smartphone is assigned an IP address and I can use this information to connect my smartphone browser to any web server I choose. I can also connect my email client, apps and so on.

 

When I open my portable wifi hotspot app and tether my laptop, whilst there maybe additional DHCP and NAT software running to enable the connection, what leaves the smartphone should be exactly the same i. e. IMSI, IMEI & APN. So how does the carrier know that I’m tethered?

 

The proof of the pudding for me is in the eating. During my Ireland trip, I was told categorically that the Vodafone Ireland infrastructure would not permit me to tether but would allow me to use my smartphone web browser. Of course I tried to. ..and it worked perfectly. I kept an eye on my data usage (via a text message to request an account update) to ensure I stayed within my PAYG top-up allowance.

 

Do they just say that tethering isn’t allowed and will rack up massive per mb charges just to frighten their customers into not attempting it?

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I have tried to use tethering on my Samsung Galaxy 2 on the Talk car phone warehouse net.

 

It has only been useable once that was near Aylesbury in a hotel with its own internet-which I did not want to pay for :).

 

It worked at an acceptable speed.

 

On all the other occasions it was blood vessel burstingly slow.

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Hi . ... we're with Orange . ... and when we up-graded our phones . ... Samsung Galaxy S3Mini . .... I specifically asked the question . ..

 

. ... could I use the phone for tethering . ....?? . ... answer . .... Yes . ....

 

Cheers

 

Pete

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I am able to tether on Virgin OK.

 

John

Volvo V70 D3 SE (was Peugeot 4007, SsangYong Korando), Pulling a Lunar Clubman SI 2015. If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

 

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Orange do allow it, Tmobile don't even though they are the same company now. Odd, I know.

 

I often wondered how they could tell. One thought I had, there must be some way that sites can tell what kind of device you are using to access them, since they can automatically (annoyingly) divert you to the mobile version of their website. I don't think they use the fact you are accessing via a mobile network as I'm sure it still happens when you connect via wifi.

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Orange do allow it, Tmobile don't even though they are the same company now. Odd, I know.

 

I've recently switched from Orange pay-as-you-go, which didn't allow tethering, to a T-mobile £8pm SIM-only contract, which does allow it. Works fine via my i-Phone provided there is a 3G signal.

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I've tethered using wifi from my TT vodaphone contract phone to my Nexus7, but the connection was painfully slow.

 

I don't know if I'm not supposed too?

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My Android on Tesco tethered fine and it was very useful. Switched to iPhone on Tesco and was dismayed to find it did not: never thought to ask. My mate has the same phone on 02 (which Tesco piggyback) but his menu has option to tether, mine does not. When I ask Tesco I get meaningless jam tomorrow verbiage: they claim they are negotiating with Apple. Yeah, and I'm negotiating with Obama. Next time I'll know to ask: for caravanners tethering is a very very useful feature.

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I don't know if I'm not supposed too?

 

The answer seems to vary, as this thread appears to be a testament to.

 

My Android on Tesco tethered fine and it was very useful. Switched to iPhone on Tesco and was dismayed to find it did not: never thought to ask. My mate has the same phone on 02 (which Tesco piggyback) but his menu has option to tether, mine does not.

 

Interesting that the iPhone knew it couldn’t tether. How, I wonder?

 

As the subject inferred, I wonder if this is something to do with the APN? I remember once upon a time having to configure the APN manually (via the carrier’s technical support team) when I couldn’t establish a mobile Internet connection. I’m currently with Vodafone on contract and my APN is: wap. vodafone. co. uk (Android > Settings > More Settings > Mobile networks > Access Point Names).

 

Perhaps if this were different e. g. when tethering, then it either wouldn’t work or carry hefty per MB charges? Configuring the correct APN might allow all smartphones to tether. ..

 

 

On all the other occasions it was blood vessel burstingly slow.

 

Delightful adjective ;)

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Interesting that the iPhone knew it couldn’t tether. How, I wonder?

 

Don't know but when first got Galaxy S3, tried everything I could think of to tether - didn't realise it was 'switched off'. Phoned T mobile who confirmed 'off' and an extra £5 per month to turn the 'off' 'on'!

Sam :beardy:

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I have an iPhone 4 on a monthly contract with o2. If I wish to tether I go to settings and turn on the Personal Hotspot. The T & C for o2 say I should not tether, but I have never been blocked although I only use it on odd occasions.

 

Previous to my iPhone I used a Nokia N95 (o2) and tethered through a Joikusoft app without any problem, but again for occasional use.

 

John

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The question of 'How do they know?' Well it used to be down to something called TTL which is the number of 'hops' that a data request can travel between devices or servers before it dies. This is almost always set to 50. So your laptop starts at 50 then the phone takes one off and sends the request to your network provider. They have software that looks at the TTL number and if it is 50 they know it has come from the phone, if it is 49 then they know it started somewhere else.

 

The answer is/was to set your laptop to a TTL of 51. I don't know if this still works though, or if the networks now have another solution to detecting this.

 

 

EDIT: Apparently some ISPs are now setting the TTL on the incoming packet to 1; this means it stops at the phone and will not go to your laptop!

Edited by Trevor Marron

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The question of 'How do they know?' Well it used to be down to something called TTL which is the number of 'hops' that a data request can travel between devices or servers before it dies. This is almost always set to 50. So your laptop starts at 50 then the phone takes one off and sends the request to your network provider. They have software that looks at the TTL number and if it is 50 they know it has come from the phone, if it is 49 then they know it started somewhere else.

 

The answer is/was to set your laptop to a TTL of 51. I don't know if this still works though, or if the networks now have another solution to detecting this.

 

 

EDIT: Apparently some ISPs are now setting the TTL on the incoming packet to 1; this means it stops at the phone and will not go to your laptop!

 

Didn't know that - very useful. Suspect mine is set at 1 cos can't tether with anything.

Sam :beardy:

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Don't know but when first got Galaxy S3, tried everything I could think of to tether - didn't realise it was 'switched off'. Phoned T mobile who confirmed 'off' and an extra £5 per month to turn the 'off' 'on'!

 

This was exactly the same message I got from Vodafone Ireland but it seemed to work regardless.

 

For interest I've just checked out T-Mobile online help and there are many articles about tethering (for example: http://help. ee. co. uk/system/selfservice. controller?ARTICLE_ID=20154&CONFIGURATION=1016&PARTITION_ID=1&TIMEZONE_OFFSET=&segment=Consumer&isSecure=false&CMD=VIEW_ARTICLE) and not one mentions the need to have this function enabled by T-Mobile or any additional costs, so I've just phoned their tech support and they confirmed that with only one exception (something called 'the full monty') all their plans allow tethering.

 

Might be worthwhile contacting them?

Edited by tictag
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The question of 'How do they know?' Well it used to be down to something called TTL which is the number of 'hops' that a data request can travel between devices or servers before it dies.

 

EDIT: Apparently some ISPs are now setting the TTL on the incoming packet to 1; this means it stops at the phone and will not go to your laptop!

 

That would work! Though ICMP would send a TTL expired message back to the source for every packet requested, which unnecessarily increases traffic so maybe not an efficient solution to preventing tethering. The test would be to:

  1. Confirm a tethered connection is established e. g. Windows network & sharing centre or by using the ipconfig command
  2. Trace route from your smartphone (using e. g. the Fing app) then trace route from the tethered laptop (using e. g. the tracert command)

So, who has a mobile contract that doesn't allow tethering?..... ;)

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I use O2 and am able to tether my laptop ok. In Spain I have used Vodafone and again able to tether .

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TrevorMarron

 

The things people know on this forum :).

 

It took my 66 year old brain several months to work out my Galaxy2 wireless mode needed to be switched OFF to turn the wi-fi-tethering hot spot ON.

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I'm with 3, on an ultimate internet 500 plan, that isn't supposed to allow tethering. It connects perfectly to my Nexus tablet, but won't connect to the wifes laptop. Can it tell Android from Windows? :blink:

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What version of Windows? If memory serves, some versions of windows don't permit connection to 'ad hoc' wifi networks. If this is the case, Bluetooth tethering might work. ..

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It's Windows 7. She can tether using her phone on EE :blink:

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According to the giffgaff forum you can tether provided its not via iphone. Apparently its an apple thing

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been thinking about getting the one plan from three when my phone contract is due for renewal some time in January.

 

http://www. three. co. uk/Discover/Phones/All_about_The_One_Plan

 

It says that it's the only plan that gives tethering as standard with all you can eat data. ....

 

Is anyone using the one plan at the moment ?

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