Question Excessive nonspecific data usage by hotspot phone?

gellfex

Distinguished
Feb 27, 2006
12
0
18,510
0
I'm using an old Blu 4.0 phone as a hotspot for a 4 unit door intercom system that runs on wifi, using a prepaid 1gb data only wireless account. I should be fine, the video door system only uses 60kB/s for the few seconds it's operating, and none when it's not. I have background data use turned off, and no other active apps. Yet it's using too much data, way more than a regular phone would, and will run out the gig in a week or so. The app I'm using to study the usage does not assign it to anything other than OS, and the usage is symmetrical, not all upload as it would be if the intercom were uploading video excessively.

Does a hotspot consume data with "handshaking" and such at a higher rate than just phone use?

Does anyone know an app that creates a database file of bandwidth usage so I can graph and study usage over a several day period? Or any other tools I can use to figure this out?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
What intercom system is being used?

What defines "operating" with respect to " the video door system only uses 60kB/s for the few seconds it's operating"?

Not sure about the connectivity involved and where the prepaid 1GB is being applied.

Are you able to provide a schematic?

Overall, every bit is being counted and it is likely that the billing plan allows charging for 2 GB even if the traffic is 1 GB + 1 bit.

Potential apps:

Solarwinds

PRTG

Wireshark

Google for "andwidth monitors" then narrow the search criteria as applicable to your situation and requirements.
 

gellfex

Distinguished
Feb 27, 2006
12
0
18,510
0
Th
What intercom system is being used?

What defines "operating" with respect to " the video door system only uses 60kB/s for the few seconds it's operating"?

Not sure about the connectivity involved and where the prepaid 1GB is being applied.

Are you able to provide a schematic?

Overall, every bit is being counted and it is likely that the billing plan allows charging for 2 GB even if the traffic is 1 GB + 1 bit.

Potential apps:

Solarwinds

PRTG

Wireshark

Google for "andwidth monitors" then narrow the search criteria as applicable to your situation and requirements.
Thanks Ralston. It's "4 wire" system from a small vendor GBF Electronics, that has a little wifi com unit for each apt attached to the door panel that calls the resident on an app when their doorbell is pushed, and the resident can see the visitor, but not vice versa. So there's no major communication until the button push, and then that 60kB stream. I've verified this watching the live bandwidth with 3G Watchdog, which graphs live but doesn't record history just cumulative usage. I want a second by second CSV dataset I can graph and see what is going on over like 48 hrs.

FWIW prepaid doesn't work like that. When you go over, you're not connecting till you add more money!

I'll check out your app suggestions.
EDIT: I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough, I need an standalone android app for the phone, there is no PC involved in this setup!
 
Last edited:

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Thank you.

Immediate question: are you able to check the data growth on some regular basis? E.g., look at the total data every hour or so and plot the growth? Time (x), data (y).

My thought is that every single bit is being added and that is to the vendor's advantage - would very much expect that each doorbell "phones home in some manner" and that action adds to the data. Overall intent to run up the data usage and force end users to buy more GB's....

====

Does the following link present the User Manual for the doorbell system in use?

https://gbfelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/PL960-Series-IP-Doorbell-Manual-20190530.pdf

Please verify.

That said, I considered moving your post to Consumer Electronics. However, I decided to leave your post in Networking and link in the manual.

If I identified the correct manual, Appendix B, physically numbered Page 32 discusses SSID broadcasting and the IP addressing involved.

Do you know the IP addresses for all four doorbells?

You will need some sort of wireless sniffer to cumulatively capture the network traffic and store the data in the desired/required CSV format.

Not sure what Android apps would be available for such a requirement.

However, googling "android wireless sniffer" resulted in a number of available products.

I will have to defer to others regarding any specific application suggestions.

And there may well be other ideas to capture the doorbell network traffic.
 

gellfex

Distinguished
Feb 27, 2006
12
0
18,510
0
Thanks Ralston, but that is not the product I have. It's this one https://gbfelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/GBF-User-Manual-for-multi-units-apartment-building-intercom-system-Four-wire-System-V02.pdf There's not a lot of info there, it's a not very well translated Chinese manual.

While I share your suspicion of companies using alternate ways to monetize, in this case they do not sell the bandwidth. There is no monthly subscription charge from the vendor at all, the equipment is standalone. In fact, the assumption is that I'm using my own household wifi, but I live several miles away from this building! I may end up having to rely on a tenant setting up an SSID for me on their service, but relying on a tenant for this is unprofessional and not optimal.

I don't think I need to sniff each of the 4 devices, just get a picture of bandwidth over time. It's annoying that the app I'm using will graph, but not save that data! I'm going to head up there now and do a test I should have done before, power down the door system and see what happens to the usage. After that I'll try a different phone with the SIM card.
 

Mr.Spock

Prominent
Dec 8, 2019
549
57
590
39
any chance your doorbell system may be doing other things in the background like checking for updates or syncing timelocation? also apps like Googledrive and onedrive may sync periodically?

I'm using an old Blu 4.0 phone as a hotspot for a 4 unit door intercom system that runs on wifi, using a prepaid 1gb data only wireless account. I should be fine, the video door system only uses 60kB/s for the few seconds it's operating, and none when it's not. I have background data use turned off, and no other active apps. Yet it's using too much data, way more than a regular phone would, and will run out the gig in a week or so. The app I'm using to study the usage does not assign it to anything other than OS, and the usage is symmetrical, not all upload as it would be if the intercom were uploading video excessively.

Does a hotspot consume data with "handshaking" and such at a higher rate than just phone use?

Does anyone know an app that creates a database file of bandwidth usage so I can graph and study usage over a several day period? Or any other tools I can use to figure this out?
 

gellfex

Distinguished
Feb 27, 2006
12
0
18,510
0
Well, it seems these units do an excessive amount of handshaking or something. Always between 10 and 50 kB/m that vanishes when I power down the system. Log shows about 60mB/day, that works out to around 2gB/mo. Now it's just a business decision whether I want to pay that bandwidth or depend on a tenant's wifi. I'm reluctant to do the latter, even if they set up an SSID for me. Just seems unprofessional.

Thanks for trying to help me, I should have done the power down test before.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS