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biosci

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2010
750
36
Chicagoland, IL
So I have an ATT Unlimited iPhone plan. The iPhone will not allow me to tether. However, when used in my Android phone (SIM Swap), I actually can tether.

Now, I have heard of people tethering their unlimited plans and getting warnings and notices almost immediately for doing this. However, I am wondering if the data sent from a laptop triggers this more so than say if I were to use the tethering for my iPad or other mobile device.

Thoughts?
 

imaketouchtheme

macrumors 65816
Dec 5, 2007
1,097
4
It's tethering in general. When your phone is issuing IP addresses, it is noticeable no matter what is connecting.
 

baypharm

macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2007
1,951
973
It's tethering in general. When your phone is issuing IP addresses, it is noticeable no matter what is connecting.

Oh Yeah? And you don't know about changing your devices' IP address at will? Or disguising it, or better yet…well let me just say it is a non issue for me. If you are computer savvy at all, it's child play.
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,349
12,279
Unless you connect via VPN or spoof your browser user agent, AT&T can easily see that the traffic is coming from your iPad or laptop and not your phone based on info from HTTP headers. Whether they care enough to check or not, who knows? You really should be using a VPN anyway.

It doesn't matter if you change the device IP address since the only IP address the carrier sees anyhow is the one for your phone. The IP addresses assigned by the phone to your iPad/laptop are just internal.

The thing is tethering is really a phone feature. There are old Symbian phones that allows you to tether. Since majority of Apple's iPhone sales come from carriers, I'm guessing they have agreed to add code somewhere in their firmware or via carrier settings (maybe a specific APN used only for tethering?) to block Personal Hotspot for all subscribers not on a tethering plan.

Carrier-branded Androids run firmwares already customized by carriers so they can easily implement blocking there, too.

Factory unlocked phones, custom firmware, rooted Androids and jailbroken iPhones, carriers don't have this preventive measure. Carriers can still know what device the traffic is from (if not using VPN or spoofing user agent) but it just makes doing this slightly more difficult. Unless you're using tons and tons of data though, they're probably unlikely to go through the hassle.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
22,757
15,253
Jacksonville, Florida
So I have an ATT Unlimited iPhone plan. The iPhone will not allow me to tether. However, when used in my Android phone (SIM Swap), I actually can tether.

Now, I have heard of people tethering their unlimited plans and getting warnings and notices almost immediately for doing this. However, I am wondering if the data sent from a laptop triggers this more so than say if I were to use the tethering for my iPad or other mobile device.

Thoughts?

You will know soon enough as ATT will send you an email/text, indicating they know and what plan they are moving you to! Liklely they will add a teathering plan to your SIM card
 

bhayes444

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2013
772
292
Factory unlocked phones, custom firmware, rooted Androids and jailbroken iPhones, carriers don't have this preventive measure.


While true that some manufacturers have the carrier hotspot as default, there are tethering apps available for Android that don't require root to work and allow you tether.
 

biosci

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2010
750
36
Chicagoland, IL
Unless you connect via VPN or spoof your browser user agent, AT&T can easily see that the traffic is coming from your iPad or laptop and not your phone based on info from HTTP headers. Whether they care enough to check or not, who knows? You really should be using a VPN anyway.

It doesn't matter if you change the device IP address since the only IP address the carrier sees anyhow is the one for your phone. The IP addresses assigned by the phone to your iPad/laptop are just internal.

The thing is tethering is really a phone feature. There are old Symbian phones that allows you to tether. Since majority of Apple's iPhone sales come from carriers, I'm guessing they have agreed to add code somewhere in their firmware or via carrier settings (maybe a specific APN used only for tethering?) to block Personal Hotspot for all subscribers not on a tethering plan.

Carrier-branded Androids run firmwares already customized by carriers so they can easily implement blocking there, too.

Factory unlocked phones, custom firmware, rooted Androids and jailbroken iPhones, carriers don't have this preventive measure. Carriers can still know what device the traffic is from (if not using VPN or spoofing user agent) but it just makes doing this slightly more difficult. Unless you're using tons and tons of data though, they're probably unlikely to go through the hassle.


When using a VPN, do you activate it on the phone end of things or on the tethered device (ie iPad)?
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,349
12,279
When using a VPN, do you activate it on the phone end of things or on the tethered device (ie iPad)?
Theoretically, either will work although I generally activate it on the phone. It might look suspect if only some of your traffic is encrypted and going through the VPN.

Mind, I'm on Mobile Share Value so I do have official tethering included in my plan.
 

Menel

Suspended
Aug 4, 2011
6,351
1,356
So I have an ATT Unlimited iPhone plan. The iPhone will not allow me to tether. However, when used in my Android phone (SIM Swap), I actually can tether.

Now, I have heard of people tethering their unlimited plans and getting warnings and notices almost immediately for doing this. However, I am wondering if the data sent from a laptop triggers this more so than say if I were to use the tethering for my iPad or other mobile device.

Thoughts?

No, not at all. Tablet is easiest to detect.

Any network device tethered through decrements ttl.
In Windows/OSX you can adjust your ttl, to pre-correct.

Not sure this is still what they monitor, or if they got trickier.
 

biosci

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2010
750
36
Chicagoland, IL
No, not at all. Tablet is easiest to detect.



Any network device tethered through decrements ttl.

In Windows/OSX you can adjust your ttl, to pre-correct.



Not sure this is still what they monitor, or if they got trickier.


Not quite sure what ttl exactly is but is there a guide somewhere to show the differences or how it works (values) between phone and other devices. Or even how the processes work?
 

JackieInCo

Suspended
Jul 18, 2013
5,178
1,601
Colorado
I've been using Tetherme on T-Mobile for the past year and not heard a word from them.

There was a week when my DSL modem broke so I used my 5S T-Mobile unlimited plan to tether to my computer. I used 75GB that week.

This month, my DSL was having issues and was downloading at half speed. I used my 5S again to tether to my computer as I was downloading a few torrents. Used 35GB in about three hours and again never heard from T-Mobile.
 

biosci

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2010
750
36
Chicagoland, IL
I've been using Tetherme on T-Mobile for the past year and not heard a word from them.



There was a week when my DSL modem broke so I used my 5S T-Mobile unlimited plan to tether to my computer. I used 75GB that week.



This month, my DSL was having issues and was downloading at half speed. I used my 5S again to tether to my computer as I was downloading a few torrents. Used 35GB in about three hours and again never heard from T-Mobile.


Don't they throttle your speed? I get throttled instantly basically around 5gb...

Also anyone know of there's a big difference in how data is read or shown to the carriers between hotspot (wifi) or connected via USB?
 

JackieInCo

Suspended
Jul 18, 2013
5,178
1,601
Colorado
Don't they throttle your speed? I get throttled instantly basically around 5gb...

Also anyone know of there's a big difference in how data is read or shown to the carriers between hotspot (wifi) or connected via USB?

No. there is no throttling on the unlimited plan. It is the same speed at 75GB as it is at 5 on T-Mobile.
 

biosci

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 16, 2010
750
36
Chicagoland, IL
No. there is no throttling on the unlimited plan. It is the same speed at 75GB as it is at 5 on T-Mobile.


That's awesome. ATT is really irritating me... I wonder if the aggressiveness of competitors would eventually change the tune of ATT. Like the FaceTime issues of the past...
 

ratsg

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2010
382
29
Not quite sure what ttl exactly is but is there a guide somewhere to show the differences or how it works (values) between phone and other devices. Or even how the processes work?

TTL = time to live

every time a packet that originates from your device goes thru a layer 3 device, the TTL for your packet is decremented by one, till it (worse case) reaches 0 then is sent to the bit bucket. TTL is a mechanism, that among other thing, keeps misguided packets from floating around the Internet forever.

That is a very high level explanation.
 

Fry-man22

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2007
455
26
Not quite sure what ttl exactly is but is there a guide somewhere to show the differences or how it works (values) between phone and other devices. Or even how the processes work?

A TTL value is assigned to packets so they can't be bounced around indefinitely in the event of a routing error. Once the TTL value on the packet is 0 the network will not forward it.

This probably will raise more questions that it will answer, but here's a thread where I asked for help automating setting the TTL to +1 when tethered.

Basically all clients that connect would need to have their TTL increased so when it makes the first hop through the tethered connection it is decremented to the value the carrier expects (64 for non-Windows I believe). The ideal solution would be on the device managing the connection where it sets ALL traffic coming from the device to 64. I believe some of the tethering apps do this.

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1140306/

I gave up my unlimited on my phone just to make this headache go away. If you don't have a good home connection maybe it still makes sense, but for me the convenience was worth it.
 

quackers82

macrumors 6502
Mar 13, 2014
340
168
It's tethering in general. When your phone is issuing IP addresses, it is noticeable no matter what is connecting.

Its the headers the mobile networks will look at , as when you tether the traffic from the other devices is done via NAT so it all goes out via the same IP. The fact the iPad runs iOS and also that there are versions of the iPad with 3G/4G built in i don't think it would ever get spotted.
 
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