Bandwidth Stealing - not a thing

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Over the eclipse weekend, when I wasn't home, I did a bandwidth stealing non-scientific test. Y'all should know the results.

There are four devices that use my router. My laptop, two iPhones, and a WiFi enabled printer. Other devices are locked out at the router. Only my approved devices can connect to the router. And the guest WiFi is disabled at the router. My router is connected to the modem by an ethernet cable. 

Saturday morning, I headed South. I left the modem plugged into 110v and working. I left the router plugged into 110v, connected to the modem and operating. I left my WiFi printer plugged into 110v and turned on, albeit it in sleep mode. 

At my first stop, for coffee, I checked my data use using the My Exede site. I was at 12.4GB.

Several times throughout the trip I checked data use using the My Exede site. I was at 12.4GB.

When I returned Tuesday evening and connected, the first thing I did was check my data use. It was at 12.4GB.

To those people who complain about data stealing, I encourage you to do some real testing. Not an overly simplistic "I didn't use my computer for two days and now 2GB are gone" kind of testing.

Unplug your router. Disconnect it entirely from the modem. Now that your WiFi is not available, wait a couple hours so any last minute data count held in the modem is transmitted to Exede. Use your smartphone to connect to MyExede and see what bandwidth you've already used.

Then, don't use the router for anything. Go for two days or longer of total disconnection. Check your use from your smartphone if you feel you absolutely need to know. DO NOT CONNECT ANYTHING TO THE INTERNET. 

At the end of the second day, before you connect your router again, check your data use using your smartphone and see where your data use is.

Now, I realize going for two days without connecting to the internet will seem like a gut wrenching, emotionally unbearable experience. It really shouldn't be. However, for feelings of agitation and uncontrollable quivering lasting more than four hours, see a doctor immediately. Side effects such as rashes, hives and a general feeling of weakness have been observed in some test subjects. Those feelings generally go away after six hours and are not life threatening.


Do that and I'll listen to your complaints.

My conclusion? Data stealing doesn't happen.
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Brian, Champion

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Posted 2 years ago

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Brad, Viasat Employee

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haha like the side effects!
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Gwalk900, Champion

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"My conclusion? Data stealing doesn't happen"

I agree 100%

The data in question isn't stolen, its simply a question which device or Network vulnerability is at the root of the consumption.

The modem has to remain powered up so as to maintain the "loop" with the gateway so that the modem is able to report any usage. The remainder of the users equipment is isolated by simply disconnecting the Ethernet cable between the users router and the Exede modem.

They only fly in that ointment is those users with the WiFi Modem, however the "radios" can be turned off.

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Bev, Champion

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Thank you Brian!

We know Exede/Viasat doesn't steal data - connected devices use it when people aren't actively using them or, in the background while they are using them. People underestimate how much data things use, especially social media sites - they assume those are like any other website and, they aren't. They confuse MB, Mb, KB, Kb, etc... when they do file transfers. The mistakenly assume usage means download only. They forget about the Internet of Things that might be connected in their homes and so forth.

You're right, data stealing doesn't happen, well unless your Wifi is compromised, then your neighbor, or as happened to me once, an idiot EX relative parked in front of my home and hacked my wifi from her laptop. I caught her parked out there and, being the nerd that I am, used my computer, before she realized I was awake, to send a very nasty, noisy message to her computer before blocking her and changing my password. LOL
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Gwalk900, Champion

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It seems that many users don't understand the concept of background processes and the complexity and number of "connection paths" that exist in a typical home network/


Multiple devices both wired and wireless along with any enabled internal router services are free to use your connection.

With the exception of those with the WiFi modem isolation can be accomplished simply by unplugging the Ethernet cable from the back of the Modem.

The Modem is then free the "sync" with the Gateway to insure accurate usage meter reporting.

The users LAN side equipment is free to operate within the household.

How hard is that to grasp?

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Bev, Champion

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And if you have the wifi modem use the parental controls to block internet access for things you don't want using your data but, do want on your LAN (home network.) Prental controls aren't just for kids - you can use them to block any device from accessing the internet.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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For some, very...

When we say ensure that your router is properly secured, we mean "from all enemies both foreign and domestic".

More often than not they fire back, but I live way out in the sticks and don't have to be concerned about Bev's war-driving ex-relatives ;)

More often than not the data thief is calling from inside the house and knows what you did last summer.

For example, are you sure the DirecTV or Dish Installer didn't connect their receiver to your unsecured network - mine tried wirelessly, asked for the password and was told forget it. I did explain the limits of satellite internet to him and he went away with an education at least. 
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Alex, Viasat Corporate Communications

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Thanks Brian, very interesting experiment! We do understand why people get frustrated by data they've purchased seeming to 'disappear' or get 'stolen' since it can be difficult to patch all those data holes (or even know where they are). If you've got a leaky sprinkler system and your water bill is high, it can be tempting to suspect the meter is off versus doing the difficult work of digging up the lawn to find the leaks. That said, we're always happy to do our best on our end to help people troubleshoot their 'sprinkler system' as best we can.
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Andy Schack

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Where did my data go is probably one of the biggest issues I deal with as an Exede dealer. Since I do all my own installs I take time to attempt, I stress ATTEMPT, to educate the customer and even leave them a brochure with instructions on how do save data......90% of the time, even with the information printed out for them, they don't follow through. Luckily we can look at SVT and get a snapshot of where the data is going. If we see a lot of "marketplace" usage, we'll ask "did you turn off auto updates on ALL your devices?" which is usually followed by a long pause and then "well, no, not all of them" Well THERE'S your problem! Unfortunately very few people are proactive these days. They buy all this technology but don't want to put forth any effort in learning how it works.

I'll share a quick funny example that happened just yesterday at the store. This customer comes barging into the store (never barge in with guns blazing when you want help...doesn't really set the table if you know what I mean) holding up her iPhone saying "your internet messed up my phone" Erin asked what she meant and she said "look at my Facebook" .... it was in spanish. Erin quickly and nicely replied "but you aren't ON Exede right now, you are using mobile data" The woman got a blank look for an awkward moment and then said "I know". Anyway, Erin set her Facebook back to English and the woman left happy.....didn't apologize for being rude and accusatory, but left happy.
Moral to the story: When you install internet for someone you become responsible for EVERYTHING that goes wrong with a computer or device. Oh well, too late to become a doctor, right?

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Brian, Champion

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There's a lot of truthiness here.
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Bev, Champion

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So true, I see it here and on other support forums I voluntarily TRY to help people on. The old "But it's a computer so ANY computer program should just work perfectly on it." Never mind that you shoved a PC disk in a MAC or, tried to run a game that requires at least 2 GB graphics memory on a laptop with integrated graphics and ZERO graphic memory.

Daily I get told I'm an idiot after looking at someone's DXDIAG report and informing them that they lack the RAM to run something. They tell me they have 1 TB of memory when in fact they have 2 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. LOL

Used to be, back in the days before Windoze, you had to know a bit about a computer to use it. Now, plug one in, press the power button and click on pretty pictures is all you have to do. So many have no clue what is inside their computers, or what any of it does - it just works.

So, asking people to learn data usage management is like asking you or I to know how to wire and cable an entire Viasat gateway right this second. - Sure we could learn how to do it in a relatively short time, but we can't do it right this second. Now you and I would learn ASAP if we were given the task but not everyone WANTS to learn anything about their computer, what it does, how it actually works and, what it wants the internet for - they just want it to work perfectly, ultra fast all of the time and, not cost a lot to do it. Never mind learning how and why satellite internet is metered and how their computers and other devices are using data when they aren't actively using the device or computer.

Too much "If I can't see it happening, it isn't happening." going on. :) I'd love it if it were that simple but, it isn't.