Viasat mobile app update

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  • Problem
  • Updated 1 month ago
  • Acknowledged
  • (Edited)
I just ran the recently updated Viasat mobile app as I am having some network trouble this afternoon. It took the app forever to fire up and then I had to log in again. And the app looks totally different and is now almost completely useless. I no longer see any diagnostic or system health information, just billing and data usage information. They now appear to show total data used which is a nice addition, but it does not outweigh the all that was lost. There is also information on what share of the data each wifi device used, but that is not correct at all for my system. It showed all but one of my devices at 0% and one device at 1% of data for the last seven days. It looks like this new app really went over the cliff.
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Voyager

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Posted 1 month ago

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Justin Brown

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The diagnostic is under the help part of the app.
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Voyager

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Thanks. I went to look at that, but now the app won’t work at all. Maybe later. I sure wish they would support landscape mode. It is a pain turning my iPad with keyboard sideways to use the app.
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Voyager

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Getting a little better. App runs now, but diagnostic doesn’t work.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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The app has always worked fine for me with Android phones.
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Voyager

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I’m using an iPad so maybe that was the difference, although the app is working better today. The diagnostics now seem to work, but the wifi traffic percentages are still wacky.
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Admiral Korbohuta

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I've never been able to get the app to work on tablets, but it has worked fine on 2 different phones.
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Matt B, Viasat Employee

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Official Response
Voyager,

I just spoke with one of they guys that works on the app.  He said that the update shouldn't have broke anything. (it obviously did)  He wants more info so he can get the right people looking into it.

Email us at viasatlistens@viasat.com.  Be sure to include:
  • Your account number
  • Phone model and OS version number
  • App version number 
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Voyager

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@Matt B Thanks for replying. I sent an email with the information your requested above, however, the app Help diagnostics seems to be working correctly today so I am not sure what was up when I first ran it after the update. I will send another email if a problem arises again with them. I also checked the wifi stats and they are still bogus. Every device listed shows 0% usage for the past 7 days and that is not correct at all. So, not sure how that is supposed to work, but I am pretty sure something is amiss.
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Matt B, Viasat Employee

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Alright, thanks for the update!  It could have been upgrade jitters that worked themselves out, but still info that the app teams is going to want to look at.  I'll be sure to mention the wifi usage info (or lack thereof) as well.
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Voyager

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This is what I see on the usage of wifi connected devices. I don’t use the wifi built into the Viasat modem as I have my own router that is connected to the Viasat modem via ethernet cable.
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Old Labs

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That would be why... the devices attached to your router really wouldn't be visible to Viasat (and shouldn't be although their names via MAC addresses may be discernible and your router is likely providing NAT functionality and configured as a router). The only device really visible to your Viasat router would be your router although that depends on how you've configured your router (access point vs. router vs bridge). They'd have to be connecting directly to the Viasat router either wired or wirelessly if in router mode. Some of those showing may be leftover from when using the Viasat router.

Router's don't normally broadcast device info outside of their LAN segment. That's why you'll find the following disclaimer on the Viasat routers (it's a security issue - one of the primary functions of a router):

The Viasat WiFi Modem may also collect information about devices in WiFi range of the WiFi Modem, including, but not limited to, the device’s unique MAC address, the hostname of the device, and the connection properties specific to that device. Viasat also uses this information to optimize, troubleshoot, measure, and monitor the performance of its network and services. You can request that Viasat delete any of the information based on your device’s unique MAC address by emailing Viasat at Privacy@Viasat.com and providing Viasat with your devices’ unique MAC address, your first and last name, and an email address for us to respond to you.
Viasat doesn't need that information and it's not their responsibility to monitor your usage anyway - from the purist's perspective ;).      
(Edited)
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Matt B, Viasat Employee

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Pretty much what Old Labs said.  If the device is connected to your router, we won't see it, and can't track it usage.  
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Voyager

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@Old Well, I admit it has been 20+ years since I was intimately familiar with the OSI model and various layer protocols such as TCP/IP (I used to use a protocol analyzer fairly routinely to troubleshoot industrial control networks), but the information is in all of the packets transmitted. Every field the wifi router uses to manage the packets had to pass through the modem so the information is most certainly there. It is simply a matter if decoding the payload part of a given layer’s packet as that is the packet for the next layer down the stack. And since the Viasat app knows the names of all of my connected devices (what I blocked out with the boxes) it clearly knows about each of my ethernet connected devices.

I never said Viasat had any obligation to provide this information. However, IF you are going to provide it, then it should be provided correctly!

@Matt Your app does see the devices as you display their names in your app. You display the Cisco wifi router itself AND you display all of the devices that are connected to the ethernet switches that connect to the Viasat modem. I have two switches and the wifi router connects to one of the switches. You don’t show the devices connected wirelessly to my wifi router, I misspoke about that earlier, but you do show the router itself since it is connected through a switch to your modem. However, the traffic passing through the router and the devices connected via the ethernet switches seems to not be captured as every count shows 0%. I would not care if you chose not to show these statistics, but if you are going to display them, it would be nice if they were actually correct and thus meaningful.
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Old Labs

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I'll stand by my assessment if you've got your router configured as a router with NAT and I'm only 5 years removed from the details if you want to get into another measuring contest.

On short use your own router's monitoring capabilities - nobody trusts viasats numbers any way. 
(Edited)
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GabeU, Champion

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Though it doesn't really add to the discussion, my ISP is similar.  If a sub is using a third party router, the modem will not only show the router as the only device connected in its device connection page, the reps can see neither the individual devices connected, nor how much data they've used, as they too only see the router.

Using a third party router has a lot of advantages, but when it comes to troubleshooting there can be some disadvantages.  Par for the course.      
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Old Labs

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Packet headers don't identify the device(s) themselves - only the source and destination IP addresses (and port) for routing purposes. Identification of devices by MAC and name occurs at DHCP when your local IP address is assigned by your router. As such only the router serving as DHCP server can accurately map data usage to a specific device.

I already offered a theory as to where Viasat may be getting your device info from - a carryover from prior use (I've still got long departed devices that show up on my router - chances are that with a full router hard reset they'd disappear) and if not I'd be more concerned with how they're getting it from if your router is configured properly as a "router".

I can still remember the outcry when eSVT would indicate folks had a specific device on their network that they simply didn't have - they in fact didn't but did have an application  that was "compatible" with the device Viasat though they had.
(Edited)
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Voyager

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@Old Yes, I understand, but as I said earlier, the app is not showing the traffic from the router or the other devices connected via hardwire ethernet to the modem. Yes, I understand it can’t see the specific devices in the private network downstream of the router, but it should see the packets from the router itself. It seemingly does not.
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Old Labs

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So, unlike Robin's review, I'll put you down as not impressed - how are the beautiful blue lights?
(Edited)
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Voyager

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@Old. Not impressed is probably too strong a statement. I like that the updated app has a total traffic count for monthly use. Looking at the number it seems to be close to accurate. I am not sure why with an accurate total that they can’t get an accurate apportionment to the specific IP addresses sourcing the traffic, but hopefully the next revision will fix that. So, I would not say I am neutral on the new app at this point: neither impressed nor unimpressed.

The blue light is mesmerizing. That light alone makes it worth paying Viasat $100 each month.
(Edited)
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GabeU, Champion

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This is completely unrelated, but is anyone else no longer receiving email reply notifications?