Could my LNFZ usage have been counted toward my limit?

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I have the 10Gb per billing period plan with the midnight to 5am LNFZ.
Last night I was having a horrible time trying to load things and I kept getting disconnected repeatedly from World of Warcraft. Pages kept freezing up, only partially loading, or giving errors.

I rebooted my modem and router and the problem persisted.  So, I managed to get the ESVT to load and got the message that said "Escalate - The configured speed settings for this subscriber are incorrect. The modem is being throttled at a speed lower than its provisioned rate."

I called tech support (around 3am) and was told that my modem wasn't registering that it was in the LNFZ for some reason. I had to reboot it again.

I've noticed that the last few weeks my speeds while subject to FAP have not improved at midnight and that my modem has not been rebooting at 5am like it used to. It seems to be confused about the hours of the LNFZ because my speeds continued to be ok for an hour or two after 5am once it actually went in to LNFZ mode.

So, since the modem is what calculates the usage, is it possible that some of my usage that put me over my limit could have been done during the LNFZ and the modem may have counted data toward my limit that was not supposed to count since it didn't realize it was during LNFZ hours?

Is there any way to check this? My phone was being wonky and I had a hard time hearing the technician, so I think chat or e-mail might help.

If it did count LNFZ usage toward my limit, is there any way for me to get credit to my account for some of that usage?
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zanne

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Posted 2 years ago

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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Sure wish I had access to MyESVT - I find this "escalation" message intriguing and suggests ESVT is capable of detecting a subset of certain anomalies while allowing a more direct way to report them while bypassing a layer or two of the typically scripted phone support.   

The following thread, https://community.exede.com/exede/topics/internet-suddenly-disconnected-and-wanting-activation-code, suggests that MyESVT allows directly submitting and escalation request when these cases are detected (see Steve Heller's reply) with some added benefits as described by Exede Brad later on in that thread. I'd escalate using that is you can figure it out for the reasons Brad mentions.

I've studied the usage counter far too much than I care to admit (and a lot of that was spent hypnotically observing the modem's blue light behavior while not using my connection), but my observation (read that as guess) is that the modem's firmware only counts data incrementally between the usage count polling intervals conducted every 15 minutes by the server side (under normal circumstances it's 15 minutes but can be longer and up to 24 hours under abnormal circumstances). That incremental report then likely gets added to the usage count at some DAP central database which is what's actually reported to us. Similarly it appears that the server only sets the modems current state based on DAP policy and how your account is configured on the server. I find no evidence the modem does much more than it's primary purpose - modulation/demodualtion - and secondarily the incremental usage counting based on state set by the server.

Anything much beyond that would slow the modem down with some additional heavy lifting not really pertinent to its primary function..

It appears much of this is implemented with a client/server architecture and I spent to many decades working with those than I care to admit. One of the real challenges with them is synchronizing states across physically disparate devices (modem and server). When those states become un-synchronized bad things tend to happen without a strong two phase commit process which involves some amount of "can you hear me now" (and even then stuff happens). 

The fact that the tech indicated that the modem wasn't registering as being in the LNFZ would      
certainly warrant a data credit IMHO - but obviously that's not my call. Discussions elsewhere on other forums suggest similar (although not identical) issues occurring on a beam or core node basis (since we're dealing with different servers).

All of the above is clearly much too technical for casual users (however techies probably fell it's not technical enough and I had to strike a balance) - I only offer it as a potential explanation to the more technically inclined who may be able to follow it (or maybe the ViaSat engineers who may be lurking in the shadows but suspect they already know what the problem is - determining how to fix it and doing so is another thing. And as I said, all just an educated guess...     
(Edited)
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zanne

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Ah. I was told by tech support that the usage amount was actually calculated on/by the modem itself. It was indicated that the modem was programmed to set the DAP in motion when it calculated that it had gone over the limit. But I could be wrong on this.

Now, if the modem is calculating and telling the server that users went over the limit, that would explain why the modem might add in usage during the LNFZ if it didn't put itself in LNFZ mode.

Another possibility is that there is some confusion on the server's side on what time the LNFZ is supposed to be and that it is giving the wrong information to the modem.

I know there are other possibilities, but I think with either of those options, I should be entitled to a data credit. The tech told me he thought it made sense for me to conclude that the modem might have tallied up LNFZ usage as regular usage if it didn't know it was LNFZ time.

What does it mean if the lights are blinking rapidly btw? I've noticed my lights flash like crazy even when I'm not using the internet.
(Edited)
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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As I said, just guessing based on observation and past experience. I suspect ViaSat has a three tiered support system, and my inclination would be to put less faith in tier one and two explanations than those of tier three - but that's just me. At the very least, I don't see anything within the modem that indicates it has a clock (a timer yes but not a clock) and I'd find it hard to comprehend how it could know on its own when LNFZ kicks in (similarly don't see any evidence of battery backup which would be needed for a clock in the event of power outage). 

Rapid blinking generally indicates the connection is being used (either by me or another running application).

When I turn off the computer (or sleep), shortly thereafter the handshaking between modem and router stops and all lights are solid. Every couple minutes or so there a single flash which I suspect is simply router/modem exchange (can you hear me now or are you there). Behavior may be dependent upon how your router interacts with the modem for hand shaking. Then every 15 minutes or so like clockwork under normal circumstances and in this "deep sleep", there's a flurry of activity for upwards of a minute which I subscribe to the periodic usage check - it also appears to be initiated by the server but I'd need to record it and play the dancing lights back in slow motion to be certain. Once completed, the lights go solid. The reason why I think that flurry is the usage reporting is because I've tested it when not in sleep mode and not in LNFZ - with hands off the keyboard and immediately after a flurry like that, I'll perform a known download of a certain size and then step away for the keyboard awaiting the next flurry. Once it occurs and shortly thereafter that download is accurately reflected in the usage meter and corresponds to my router's statistics. I'll also use that technique at the start of the LNFZ to determine whther the data is being counted. In my case, the NRTC meter displays to the nearest .01 GB so a 5 MB or greater download does the trick with the rounding involved. Some of the screenshots I see here suggest the Exede meter displays to the nearest .1 GB and would require a 50 MB download or greater for that technique.     

But I could be wrong and doubt we'll ever get a fully detailed explanation from ViaSat. With all the handshaking going on, it's also one of the reasons I never turn off the modem (or unplug it from the WAN port) - I don't want to risk a missed wakeup call since the one and only unexplained data usage issue I had in 3-1/2 years was when either signal or a brief power outage just happened to occur right at the start of the LNFZ. In your case, it sounds like the front desk failed to make the wakeup call... the result is likely the same in either case.

P.S. If the full usage count were actually maintained within the modem, I can think of no logical reason why the modem status page at http://192.168.100.1/?page=modemStatus  wouldn't simply display it rather than the less useful Ethernet Interface Statistics  - note I did say logical ;)
(Edited)
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zanne

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I wonder if the server was mistaken about what time it was or about when my LNFZ starts then. If it is just getting the modem to tell it how much data it sent and received and didn't have the right time recorded for LNFZ for whatever reason, maybe it counted data. That really would explain a LOT about my usage problems of late and explain the LNFZ not kicking in. I wonder if I manually have to reboot the modem at midnight to make it work-- although, the tech noted that the ESVT on his end was showing my LNFZ was not working even after I had rebooted my modem twice and it was after 3am.

I get power outages from time to time-- had one the other day. It was in the middle of the day though.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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That's actually my leading theory - a database persistence error at the server layer. Many of the issues popping up recently are state related (i.e. LNFZ, account activation, Liberty pass mode, dapped, time zone, etc.). That could be either a corrupted database or simply a database programming error. At the same time, many of the issues seem to be specific to beam, gateway and core node users are assigned to. 

The modem itself probably has a very limited amount of static RAM which is needed to survive power outages. All that state information has to be persisted to permanent storage somewhere, likely multiple databases at the core node level to avoid a single point of failure which would impact all users rather than some.

My guess is that account state information is retrieved whenever the modem boots or resets due to signal loss, and is probably retrieved based on the modem's MAC address which is then mapped to account information.

Over in the other forum, many of us use the signature line to indicate a little bit about our environments. Over there, that information is sometimes useful in letting us determine the common factors behind issues without having to ask each time.

Unfortunately over here there are no signature lines, although the profile tagline can be used for that purpose (see mine). 
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Didn't read the following comments but we can look at this Zanne. We'll have to look at metered usage and Overall usage to see if your LNFZ did in fact get counted or if the modem is in the wrong time zone. I know if you start something right before or something extends right after it does count sometimes. 
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zanne

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Ok. I think it is either logging me as having earlybird or being in a different time zone because it has been consistently not starting LNFZ when it should and not ending at the right time either.
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Josh

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would like to 2nd this topic as I have been getting the same message of modem being throttled at speeds lower than provisioned rate, would also like to mention that my modem is provisioned for liberty10 plan, which we do not have. also I usually have to call in every single morning at free zone because it is throttled between 1-5mbps which is also another sign of liberty10. but my plan is showing on esvt correctly. also I have had free zone useage count on my daytime data before. sometimes my 12-5am might be 11pm-4am and that is what is causeing my data loss because I think I am in free zone when actually I might be over by 1 hour. the modem reboots automatically at different times so it is pretty random.
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zanne

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For me it always skews later. Like I'm on west coast time or something. And I have had some sites that try to auto-detect my location claim I'm in California but I'm in Central time zone in Louisiana.
(Edited)
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Don't worry about about the site detection, they're just guessing based on the dynamic IP address you've been assigned - some look up the ip address range to see the ISP it's registered to (Viasat corporate is in CA), still others use global databases that keep track of where that IP address was known to be used from. If you create an account with a site that offers them, they know where you are once you login since you gave them an address (and it's based on your login). Otherwise, I'd need to go to the Oceanside CA home depot to pick up the 2x10 I just ordered for store pickup in Virginia.          
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zanne

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Yeah, it's kind of funny because the detection is so out-of-whack. I have some that think I'm in Michigan, Ohio, California, and Texas. But I tell things not to track my location.
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Josh

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Zanne I am also in Louisiana and have had the same issues for the past 4 months.
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zanne

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I wonder if we are on the same beam. Maybe the server for our beam isn't sure when the LNFZ should start? Or maybe something is buggy?
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zanne

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My LNFZ is continuing to not start when it should. The other day it was after 3am and it had not kicked on. Last night it did not kick on when it was supposed to either. And tonight it did not kick on until I called tech support and had them reboot the modem (I had already previously rebooted the modem to try to make it enter LNFZ but it didn't work). So my LNFZ didn't get turned on until an hour and 22 minutes past the time it should have been on.

It has been consistently failing to enter LNFZ mode at midnight even with reboots on my end.

Additionally, I was told that the only way to know whether or not the LNFZ is on from the ESVT is if I am already capped and it would show the Data Allowance Policy as Green instead of Red. However, if I have not already gone over my monthly limit, there is no way to tell from ESVT when the LNFZ is actually in effect. I think this should be remedied. They need to add an additional data field that indicates the status of LNFZ. It can be something as simple as Late Night Free Zone or whatever they want to call it for the purposes of ESVT. If it goes in to effect it can have Green for yes and Red for no to indicate the current status.

This is very frustrating to have to call to get my LNFZ turned on because it isn't turning on automatically.
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david, Champion

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"However, if I have not already gone over my monthly limit, there is no way to tell from ESVT when the LNFZ is actually in effect. I think this should be remedied. They need to add an additional data field that indicates the status of LNFZ. It can be something as simple as Late Night Free Zone or whatever they want to call it for the purposes of ESVT. If it goes in to effect it can have Green for yes and Red for no to indicate the current status."

Do you know how many people have asked for a LNFZ indicator over the almost 3 1/2 years I've been with Exede? It would be so simple to do so evidently there's a reason Exede won't implement it. Basically we've been told it's not needed as the system is flawless and a LNFZ indicator is not needed. As someone who's been bit at least once with LNFZ not starting when it should and using up all my data, I know better.
(Edited)
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zanne

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Yeah, I've been with Exede for a few years now and one of the first things I suggested after joining was that they need something to let us know when LNFZ is on.