Will AT&T catch you if you tether?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by coolwater, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. coolwater macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2009
    I just saw this YouTube video how to tether with iPhone. I guess it can be done. The guy in the video said AT&T will catch you if you actually do it.

    I am not interested in tethering, but I find it interesting how would AT&T catch someone doing it. I guess some monitoring will be involved, but how would they know? Can someone entertain me in plain English?
  2. sdsvtdriver macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2008
    Southern California
    the type of traffic being transferred. not really hard to do.
  3. BMac702 macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2009
    The only reason they could is if they start monitoring your usage and they would only do that if you all of a sudden start using ridiculous amounts of data, like 2-4 GB per month maybe. Ive been tethering with 3.0 and NetShare and PDANet way before 3.0 and they havent caught me yet :D
  4. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    Well, they haven't caught me, and I've been tethering for a year and a half already.

    I wouldn't worry about it.
  5. ruinfx macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2008
    and they also havent had an actual paid option for tethering for a year and a half. dont be surprised if things tighten up once you are actually losing at&t the extra $30-$40 a month they would get from you on the upcoming legitimate tethering plan.
  6. Link00seven macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2008
    Michigan, USA
    I did notice that the data usage showing up in the wireless.att.com account page when tethering is from "wap.cingular" instead of "phone" so it would actually be quite easy for them to catch it.

    I only tethered once to try it - I'd love to continue but I'm just too paranoid on what could happen.
  7. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
  8. joro macrumors 68020


    Jun 11, 2009
    Talk about a punishment?!?! :eek:

    In any case, I think they would pick it up through data usage. If you're using 1 GB a month, on average, and then all the sudden you go to 5 GB, it's going to raise eyebrows. Although, I've also seen people on this forum that claim to be doing just that and nothing's been said. So I guess your mileage will vary and will depend on how hard AT&T wants to crack down on "illegal" tethering.
  9. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    If people start downloading large files and heavy web traffic thru their laptops then AT&T will probably catch them. As long as you dont transfer many gigs and just stick to web browsing and similar tasks you should be fine.
    I noticed someone mention that he wanted to start downloading movies thru torrents with his iphone 3G connection:rolleyes:
    Gotta use some common sense so you dont get caught and users dont abuse it so we can all continue to enjoy it without AT&T comming down hard on all of us.
  10. lolapazer macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2009

    well first of. you wont get caught. why?
    1. at&t dosent know when ur tethering.
    2. when tethering it is the same thing as downloading steaming vid with ur iphone.
    3. the iphone has unlimited internet it would be rediculus if we had to pay another 50-70 dollars of tethering plan with only getting about 5gb per month when.
    4. at&t dosent have an existing tethering plan.
    5. most likely it will be free.
    6. ive been tethering for a long long time. the most ive done in my usage recived 20.3 gb sent 562.
    hope this helps.
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    If you tether via the iPhone's built in tethering frameworks, then yes, you can be caught. Reason is, the data packets sent between you and AT&T contain certain tattle tale signs that show your iPhone is transferring data to another device (ei tether your laptop).

    However, using a tethering solution with jailbroken apps, has a *very* small chance of being caught. This is because AT&T sees the data packets as going to the iPhone only. The only way to get caught is if you over abused your connection and used it for torrents or some heavy duty stuff.
  12. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    3. the iphone has unlimited internet it would be rediculus if we had to pay another 50-70 dollars of tethering plan with only getting about 5gb per month when. - Read your TOS. Tethering is a violation.
    4. at&t dosent have an existing tethering plan. - Yes they do. ;) http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-ph...ls/?q_sku=sku2940234&q_planCategory=cat310002

    5. most likely it will be free. - And pigs will fly out my butt. :rolleyes: See response to #4
  13. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    it lists some kind of tethering plan that says PDA.net + tethering 65 dollars. if if pda plan means basic data package then its not bad. then is like 40 for data and its like 25 to tether. comming from someone who could not afford 40 bucks a month for a cable connection for net an extra 25 a month isnt a bad deal. its even cheaper then dialup since if you want a dialup plan you would have to pay 25 a month for phone service then 10 for say dialup. tether is still cheaper.
  14. wingsabr macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2008
    All of my to/from data on ATT wireless shows wap.cingular or the number that I sms'd, nothing about phone or iPhone is mentioned.
  15. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    Still tethering and no charges. Bill shows MMS, but no tethering.....:p:p:p
  16. Maverick1337 macrumors 65816


    Nov 4, 2008
    as does mine. when i was paranoid, i just looked at my bill to see if it showed up on anything. it was pretty hilarious to see all the MMS messages lol
  17. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    That's supposedly what everyone has been saying. I don't think AT&T reads these forums. :)
  18. eyefoniac macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2008
    Everywhere and nowhere
    If they catch you they make you work in their silicone mines, and after that they promote you to being a CSR. ;-)
  19. calvy macrumors 65816

    Sep 17, 2007
    People have been tethering on Windows smartphones for years and haven't gotten caught. I don't know why anyone thinks it'd be different for those of us doing it against their will. PDA net is probably the least risky, but I'm doing it the semi official way because I like to plug into USB and tether that way. PDAnet does not have a mac driver. Anyway, I tether every time I travel, and sometimes when I'm away from the home. No issues to date.
  20. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    I think that may be partially what is behind the delay in official MMS and tethering from AT&T for the iPhone.
    From the phones perspective it's all just data.
    AT&T is probably working on configuring their network to segregate the data streams. They could easily use the carrier file to route MMS through one APN path and tethering through another.
    That way they could actually track it.
    Just a hunch, but not impossible.
  21. mackmgg macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2007
    I'm replying to this message tethered to my iPhone :) ive been using it all summer.
  22. fleshman03 macrumors 68000


    May 27, 2008
    Sioux City, IA
    I'm not trying to be difficult or anything, but this raises an interesting question. Wouldn't Net Neutrality come into play? Also - I wonder if you can encrypt your data. That would actually make it illegal for them to view what's being transferred.
  23. Looon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    Don't let the other prisoners find out what you're in for :eek:
  24. redcupr macrumors member


    Jul 15, 2008
    All of my data shows "wap.cingular" in the TO/FROM column of my account data usage, and I "may have" tethered by accident :rolleyes: for a couple days when I couldn't find any wifi for my MBP.

    And I actually used less data per day when tethered, because I was a wee bit paranoid about being caught.
  25. superxero3 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    I'm not sure how PDAnet and the other jailbreak solutions work exactly so i will not talk about them. However, if you look at how the built in tethering capability of the iPhone works, it is quite possible for them to know if you are tethering.

    When you tether, over bluetooth or USB, that interface gets a private IP (my usb interface usually gets, and the computer interface also gets a private IP (mine gets Basic networking will tell you, if you have a private IP and are getting on the internet, you are going through a router running NAT. Since the iPhone's 3G (or edge) signal is what you are connecting to, your phone is in essence acting as a router running NAT. A quick little diagram.

    Computer ( >> ( - iPhone - (3G IP addr) >> Internet.

    Since the iPhone connects two different networks together, it is acting as a router, and when packets pass through a router their TTL is decremented. AT&T could theoretically see when you are tethering by looking at the TTL of each data packet being sent, if they see a TTL one less than what it normally is, it is an indication that your phone is routing packets, therefore you are tethering.

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