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Grossly misrepresenting data usage
steve_sheldon
Enthusiast

First a little background, I am a professional software developer, I work from home and have a long history working for companies like Microsoft and Macromedia. I was actually a programmer on Microsoft Office among others. I have been waiting for a while to get to the point where I could find a good solution for working on the move. The 4G LTE service by verizon is exceptional, it works amazing, the only problem I have is it seems to report data so innacurately that if I were to use it the way I think could be deemed reasonable usage, it would overbill me by literally $1500 per month.

Let me explain...

I recently signed up for 4G LTE hotspot to use for work while on the road. I tested it for the first time today and wanted to get a feel for how much data I would be using so I ran the following network traffic monitors:

  • Windows Network Monitor
  • VZ Access
  • Another 3rd party tool (wire shark)
  • netstat

With some of these tools I monitored the data directly to the MAC Address for the device, that way all traffic is accounted for, it wouldn't matter what applications I am running I just see the raw data going in and out of the machine down to the individual UDP and TCP ports.

For a baseline, I did the following test:

First I logged into My Verizon, my usage was nomina (close to zero) because I hadn't used the adapter. Next I did the following:

1. A 10 minute skype call (~7 megabytes)

2. I opened facebook, then closed it (~320 kilobytes)

3. I opened bbcnews.com then closed it. (~300 kilobytes)

4. I ran speedtest.net (~10 megabytes)

So in total I saw ~18 megabytes of data be processed through the mac address associated with my wireless card and through to the 4G LTE wireless adapter.

I closed the machine and waited for My Verizon to update. Imagine my frustration when I saw my data usage at 1.15 GB. Is it just me or does this feel almost criminal?

Notes

How can my machine send in and out about 18 megabytes and my data plan show over 1.1 gigabytes of usage? Verizon might counter that the numbers measured don't matter because they have a footnote in VZAccess that says:

"The Statistics View should not be used to estimate or monitor data usage during your billing cycle. Please use the network tab to view estimated data usage for your current billing cycle".

However in my opinion (and I would think most other customers opinions) the reason for this disclaimer should be to cover obvious technical difficulties in reporting data usage since actual numbers are very difficult to provide due to network latency and packet dropping. But these kinds of errors should be more like rounding errors in the 1% or 2% range, for this number to be off by 1 GB on 18 MB is criminal.

Oh and by the way, this has appears to have nothing to do with network packet dropping. How do I know this, easy you can see too - just open a command prompt on windows and type the following in it:

netstat -e -t 1

You will see all data coming in and out of the system and the number of dropped / discarded packets are among the statistics. If the packets are being dropped en masse it's happening somewhere in between on verizons network and I don't see a good reason to be charged for that.

Bottom line... I can see no good reason that my test with 18mb of data sent/received should result in 1 gb of billed usage.

Update

Still waiting to hear back from Verizon like everybody else on different threads talking about this... If you are experiencing this problem please contact me. I am trying to get a large group of people together so I can make a case for us all to get this addressed. As one person I can't do much about it, as a group I feel we stand a chance. Especially since my business partner has a law firm and would call on our behalf. This is flat out manipulation and wrong. I promise to respect your privacy and use your email address for nothing other than this intended purpose.

How far is a company willing to go to cheat their customers ...

... It appears pretty far. I just did another test to see I wasn't crazy - 5mb (I mean how low can I go here) got translated into about 200mb of usage. This is wrong and needs to be addressed for all of us.

Respectfully,

Steve

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Tags (2)
Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Tidbits
Legend

Exactly how did you set it up, and when did you set it up?  How long have you had the card?

I know that the meter changes.  I have seen it go up and down on my phone.  One day I have seen it at 600mb and 3 hours later drop to 440mb.  So if you are looking almost immediately after then everything hasn't been factored in. 

Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
steve_sheldon
Enthusiast

I am using a wifi adapter so I can check using my PC. I looked at data usage thorugh wireshark, through windows network monitor (you can add colums to show bytes transferred) and also through VZAccess. I also used netstat as stated above. The numbers I am seeing are only going up Even if they went down by the amounts you mention it would still be over by hunders of megabytes.

Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Tidbits
Legend

You are running a VPN to the Mac address?

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Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Tidbits
Legend

Wondering if there's a large amount of packet loss and that's why there is the discrepancy. That's what I believe when my usage drops on MyVerizon. They adjusted the meter for packet loss.

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Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
steve_sheldon
Enthusiast

If it's packet loss it's over 90% - the network would be at a stand still, performance would suck.

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Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Tidbits
Legend

It could happen and it might be a down or about to go down DNS server in your area. It might be Verizon tower have connection issues which could cause it as well.

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Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Tidbits
Legend

Just trying to figure out

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Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Wildman
Legend

This seem to be a common situation recently because I have seen the same issue on my account and I agree if this is correct this should be corrected..   I have seen about a gig difference between the Verizon data system and actual data use from the device.

This could lead to a surprise bill for some customers because of the level of inconsistency.

Re: Data usage reporting is so innacurate it's pretty much stealing from your customers
Tidbits
Legend

I agree with that especially those who are on tiered plans.

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