Data Usage issues continue - new info (Chromecast is NOT to blame)

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  • Updated 5 months ago
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  • (Edited)
Hello Viasat reps and community,

Sadly, our data usage issues are continuing - and I have new information.

As mentioned in an earlier post about this issue, I was fairly certain I had narrowed usage down to a Chromecast, which was in an open state on our net (in an insecure state) and seen as a WAP. This is a link to that thread: Data usage issues

We disconnected all Chromecast devices and similar devices (Chromecast, Fire TV sticks, Apple TVs) and the issue continued. Over the weekend, our new Google WiFi mesh system arrived and I installed it yesterday - already, I've been able to derive some really useful info from it.

One of the features of the GWiFi system is that you can monitor device usage in real time, as well as report on usage by the past day, past week, past month or past two months. So when I installed the system, I was careful to take everything off the network and add it back (limiting connections to connections through GWiFi only) one device at at time, watching usage as I went.

Over the course of a few hours, I added a couple of Macs, a couple of iPhones, a couple of iPads, an Apple TV, our Dish receiver and our Audio receiver. I watched usage as I went. All seemed to be pretty good.

So, let's fast forward this narrative to this morning. From what I was able to see from the usage reporting after just one day using the GWiFi system, I think I've got the culprit finally nailed down, based on what I learned this morning (I am pretty sure it's actually due to my iPhone). Here's why I think I know that: When I got up this morning, I checked the usage to see if anything happened overnight - sure enough, my iPhone had used up 20Gbs between 4AM and 8 AM. My phone was plugged into my radio, which acts as a dock and also keeps it charged up. I have an alarm on the phone and when the time comes, it wakes me. The alarm app requires WiFi, so WiFi is on.

So learning this has given me yet another mystery to unravel. What app or process actually is downloading? When I checked my phone's data storage, I have used about 55Gbs of the 256 Gbs storage the phone has available - which is the amount of storage used from the first day I set the phone up a few months ago. The amount of storage used has not budged (much) since then - and yet, according to GWiFi monitoring, there was 20Gbs of downloads requested by that device (only about a half Gb of uploads). What's requesting it? It's obviously not storing it on the phone. 

And so I have a few questions to ViaSat reps and to the community. To the community - I bet some of you will have theories to share concerning what the heck is going on. What could cause such a huge data grab by my phone, without any data actually being added to my phone? Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? I have some theories, but I wouldn't call them educated theories, I'd say they're better described as wild-assed guesses. Does anyone have any WAGs of their own? Or perhaps even a SWAG (a "scientific" WAG)?

To ViaSat reps - have you ever heard of such a thing? Have you recorded anything that would help me to understand what rogue apps might be causing this? I will email more questions and update this thread again when I have a case #.

As for what to do? In the short run, I will keep WiFi off on my phone, until I can get a better handle on just exactly where this is coming from. With GWiFi, I can even schedule Wifi to turn off and then back on in accordance with my needs. That should control a lot of the issue. It still doesn't tell me specifically what's happening. I will also keep an eye on usage to ensure that the problem is limited to my phone. If we've been hacked, I suppose said hacker could use any device on the net - and last night just happened to use my phone. I doubt we've been hacked (for a number of reasons), I am more inclined to think a poorly written app is making repeated and ongoing requests.

This might even be fun (tracking this down) if not for the fact that we've now used 67% of our data in less than a week. Hey ViaSat support, I will trade you some of my trouble-shooting assistance and expertise for more data. Deal?

Rique
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Rique

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  • Concerned, but (possibly) hopeful... (?)

Posted 5 months ago

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Steve Frederick, Champion

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Riq, I am not familiar with the capabilities of the Google Mesh WiFi system, but was wondering if the reporting gives you not only the device using the data, but what apps or websites the device is using, and the data amounts. I have an ASUS router, and it gives me very detailed reporting of each device and what the device is connected to, data amounts, etc.
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Rique

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Hi Steve,

No, it's per-device only. Which is far more than I got from the Apple Airport Extreme (basically, nothing). Per-device is fine with me.

There were a number of reasons I went with the mesh system (and I researched all of them), but the biggest reason is the way our house and attached buildings are laid out. Attached to the original house, we have a passageway which connects the house to the garage. That structure is really more like a house all its own, there's enough square footage for a small apartment (I use it for on-premise office space) - the garage itself has an upstairs apartment. All of this is laid-out in somewhat of a "sprawl". So I wanted to go with something that would give us coverage, all over our "sprawl". :)

So far, I'm very happy with GWiFi (day 2). 

Rique
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mike barber

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 I agree with your request for data. You have done an in depth study of what should be done by Viasat. I have followed this site for a couple of years now and I'm simply waiting until something else comes along. This company is truly terrible in almost every respect. And when another isp comes on to the market they will finally realize how bad they are.
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Russtytrucker

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Alrighty then.
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Jim16, Champion

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I guess he told them!
(Edited)
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mike barber

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I certainly did and I feel so much better now......  lol
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Rique

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For any ViaSat rep watching the thread... the case # for this update is 01648730.

Riq
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Oliver

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Sonos speaker on your network? Iphone connected to that?
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Rique

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Oliver - nope, the GWiFi mesh system lets me see everything on the network. When I switched yesterday, I only added our phones, iPads, Macs, Dish receiver, audio receiver and Apple TV to the network for starters. None of our other devices are even on the network yet. So far, my iPhone is the only device which has exhibited anomalous behavior.
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Bradley

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You just have to go through each setting on the phone. Something, say contacts, notes, pics etc are constantly downloading data to sync.
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Oliver

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He will need an APP for that iPhones wont tell you what apps are doing on wifi only tells you cell data. Android lists what each app uses both on cell or wifi
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Bradley

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iPhones tell you what will is using your battery. Should be obvious.
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Rique

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Bradley, it’s obvious what’s using your battery. It’s not obvious what’s using your bandwidth.
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Bradley

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wasn’t trying to be snide. Was thinking if a program was using enough energy it would stand out.
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Rique

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Bradley, no worries. I didn't take it as snide. All is good! And it was a good suggestion, it's just that battery tracking in iOS isn't really granular enough to be of much use (for usage tracking). It might potentially provide some clues, but nothing obvious. It's another data point in the research, so it's useful to an extent. Thanks!
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Maxwell Pearl

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I'd try Wireshark (https://www.wireshark.org) It's a packet sniffer. You can watch the packets on your network, and figure out where they are going (like what domain/URL.) That might help you narrow it down to what app is actually causing it.

You might have malware on your iPhone.
(Edited)
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Oliver

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I doubt he will be using that.....he would need another access point, hub, and a pc.

Edit: Viasat can look some what by device and data type with the eSVT tool it seems. found this online, i thought at one point viasat was going to offer customers access to some of the historcal data http://www.wildbluetools.com/content/FS/20/24/003_eSVTJobAid.pdf
(Edited)
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johnny c

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Good morning


I would assume you aren’t using iCloud or another service phone company or Norton as a storage area with auto backup, this would use a lot of data. . Also you could turn off auto updates and if you have several duplicate types of apps like weather requiring gps eliminate to only one or two. Most activity on my Battery use is email. But I don’t see that is a big data user.

iCloud type storage backup useage would be a big user of data. I backup my phones to iTunes on my computers.
(Edited)
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James Paramore

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I mentioned the cloud and apple devices on the other thread. It's still my guess. I had the problem on my macbook. I had to disable my cloud account to stop it.
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Rique

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What's mysterious is that both the Viasat usage dashboard and now also the Google WiFi metrics are showing usage in the form of downloads, not uploads. There's a quite normal amount of upstream traffic coming from my iPhone. In addition to that (this has really got me puzzled) is that, even given all of the download traffic (20Gb yesterday morning!), nothing is actually being stored on the iPhone (storage numbers are not changing). So the traffic looks like it is paging through data, but not actually downloading data.

As for iCloud, for the most part, iCloud settings are off. For those apps where iCloud is enabled, I've had very little activity. Additionally, iCloud stores in the cloud, not the phone (unless apps are set to "sync" - and mine are not) so the traffic, if it was there, would show as upstream traffic, not downstream traffic.

I've installed a couple of iOS traffic monitoring apps, but they're not really giving me much more than what I get from the built-in GWiFi usage tracking and reporting. They don't provide per-app usage detail. What I'd like is the equivalent of "Little Snitch" (which is a Mac app), which could tell me what's up with usage per application.

In the meantime, I've used the GWiFi schedule feature to schedule downtime for all of my iOS devices from 1:30 AM to 8:00 AM and that has severely cut the usage down. That could be the fix, but research goes on... (sigh).

Viasat reps - are you following this? The silence (thus far) is deafening. Repeating the case number (also posted up-thread) - the case # for this is 01648730

Rique
(Edited)
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Judge and Jury

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Rique

Read what you have said here very, very carefully.....

"What's mysterious is that both the Viasat usage dashboard and now also the Google WiFi metrics are showing usage in the form of downloads, not uploads. There's a quite normal amount of upstream traffic coming from my iPhone. In addition to that
(this has really got me puzzled) is that, even given all of the download traffic (20Gb yesterday morning!), nothing is actually being stored on the iPhone (storage numbers are not changing). So the traffic looks like it is paging through data, but not actually downloading data."

Perhaps you have stumbled upon a subtle-sync system running during idle time that you were not ever supposed to become aware of.  A mirror-copy of your phone could exist that was slowly uploaded and is periodically downloaded back into your phone for an absolute byte-by-byte comparison and, differences are up-loaded back to the source holding the mirror of the phone. Incoming bytes to the phone are discarded after comparison.  Only the differences need to be uploaded, thus the large download and small upload.  They are syncing to you in real-time in a phone-map method.

Do I need a tin-foil hat?  Don't say yes until you get this thing figured out positively...
(my analysis is pure speculation and based on sci-fi futuristic totalitarian population control and management protocols and Standard Practices

Don't worry, it's probably nothing.  Everything will return to normal soon.
 
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Rique

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Hey Craig, believe me, I’ve got enough of the Reynolds Wrap for both of us! LOL
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Judge and Jury

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Now I wonder... will we need it?  This thing isn't figured out yet.
 
You could set the thing up...  Shut off the phone, remove SD card and copy a very large file onto it, like at least 150MB, then put the card back into the phone.  Wait for the difference to be detected and watch the upload and see if it just happens to be just over 150MB (or whatever you put on it).   If you're really brave and don't think this thing is the work of the NSA, DARPA, or the DOD office of surprise technology, you could make a video telling  them they have been discovered and the phone is going in the disposal (where all the other garbage goes).
 
(Edited)
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Matt B, Viasat Employee

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James
but remember you have to log out and back into the dashboard to see it update.
That's news to me!  From my understanding, it updates regularly with a lag time of up to 24 hours, as long as the modem is online.
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Rique

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Matt B, I've found that a refresh is sometimes needed, but never a log out / log in exercise.