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62 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 89860 9-Sep-2011 15:23
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We use Telstra's cable for TV, telephone and internet out on the Kapiti Coast. We have been subscribers for years.

Recently, we believe that the metering of our internet usage became inaccurate. Or, if not inaccurate, then someone appears to be ripping off our quota!

About 2-3 weeks ago, we broke through our 20 GB limit. This had never happened before, so we checked on the usage statistics. There were some very big spikes, so we decided to install usage meters on the computers at home, to see which one was hogging the line.

While my daughter's usage is trending upward, we could not explain the very large peaks in our recent download history (one of which was 4 GB in one hour).

So, I have changed the wireless security settings on our router and we began turning off the cable modem and router at night.

Strangely, we still see downloads in the middle of the night when everything is off. There does not appear to be a pattern to these yet, but they are continuing to happen.

We have asked Telstra for help (We have tried telephoning their service line and also sent in several emails requesting support):
  • can they give us the mac addresses of the downloading machine - apparently not (privacy!),
  • can they explain how it is possible to download half a gigabyte when the cable moden is switched off - apparently not (they avoided the question by telling us they did not support our wireless router - which was also off!)
Telstra have not (yet?) been helpful, but this might just be because we have yet to find the right person to answer these questions. Our problem does seem odd.

Does anyone know if
  1. it is possible to manipulate another subscriber's download statistics?
  2. the time-stamp used for the on-line Telstra download reports is accurate (ie could it be one or more hours wrong)?
  3. it is true that privacy law prevents Telstra from telling us (the bill payer) who is using our service by releasing MAC addresses?
  4. there is someone in Telstra who is willing to answer such questions?
Another possibility seems to me that the Telstra billing software could be buggy.

Any thoughts, advice?

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566 posts

Ultimate Geek
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TelstraClear

  Reply # 519055 9-Sep-2011 16:01
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Hi BiDi,

If you email your account number and contcat details I'll ask one of the technical team to look into this for you:

online.marketing@telstraclear.co.nz

Gary



62 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 519061 9-Sep-2011 16:22
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Thanks Gary, details emailed to you now.

511 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Subscriber

  Reply # 519082 9-Sep-2011 17:20
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as a telstra clear cable user i would be interested in the outcome of this, just out of courosity, if its found that the fault is non customer related i will be checking my own connection....







62 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 519083 9-Sep-2011 17:24
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I will be posting on progress and the final outcome, whatever it is.

176 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 519568 11-Sep-2011 14:50
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I've discovered that the traffic is metered and then forwarded to the subscriber. If the subscriber's modem if off, a packet is lost. Tough, you still have to pay for it.

I fought with them for months and months - my connection was under attack - I noticed the problem, switched the modem off, and got in touch, and yet the attack traffic continued overnight, and they wanted me to pay!

In the end, they silently removed the extra traffic from my account, and pretended the issue never happened (rather than call me up and say "Sir, you were right, we've reversed the charges").

26772 posts

Uber Geek
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Biddle Corp
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 519582 11-Sep-2011 15:38
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jnawk: I've discovered that the traffic is metered and then forwarded to the subscriber. If the subscriber's modem if off, a packet is lost. Tough, you still have to pay for it.


This is the norm for any ISP.

I'd pick that the user is also being subjected to excessive inbound traffic, the most common scenario of this is gamers trying a DoS attack on another user, typically to try and make their latency increase.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 519584 11-Sep-2011 15:42
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Well, I had not considered that. I don't know enough about the technology to know if this is a real possibility or not.

The traffic that we have noticed late at night is typically many 100's of MB. I don't understand how something that big could be just 'sent' to us spontaneously (ie without some kind of request from our computers).

Are you saying that this is a form of 'attack'? A variation on the idea of spam, perhaps? Something is sending stuff that is unsolicited?

If packets are metered before delivery and then not used by any of the machines on the home network, it would certainly be a great way of discretely increasing monthly usage.

BTW, no gamers at our address.


511 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Subscriber

  Reply # 519599 11-Sep-2011 16:21
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sounds a bit like some form of fraud at the ISP end billing you for somthing you did not request or use, and to be honest i would of thought that with the modem off the billing of said data would end as the packet has no destination to terminate on. looks like i will turn off my modem for a week and prove the theroy.





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Biddle Corp
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  Reply # 519605 11-Sep-2011 16:57
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phantomdb: sounds a bit like some form of fraud at the ISP end billing you for somthing you did not request or use, and to be honest i would of thought that with the modem off the billing of said data would end as the packet has no destination to terminate on. looks like i will turn off my modem for a week and prove the theroy.


Mind explaining how you think that could work? An ISP can't bill based upon what goes through your router, they have to back a few steps to the edge of the network.

ISP's can't block traffic you "didn't request", this would break the fundamentals of how the internet works.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 519608 11-Sep-2011 17:03
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sbiddle:

Mind explaining how you think that could work? An ISP can't bill based upon what goes through your router, they have to back a few steps to the edge of the network.

ISP's can't block traffic you "didn't request", this would break the fundamentals of how the internet works.


Well they could put subscribers behind something stateful but I am sure that would create complaints when people find they now have a limit on connections, nothing inbound etc.

I can accept charging for incoming stuff that hits the ethernet at the customer end and is then discarded, but to charge traffic when the endpoint is _switched off_ is totally unacceptable as the traffic was not delivered.




Richard rich.ms

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 519627 11-Sep-2011 18:00
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sbiddle:
phantomdb: sounds a bit like some form of fraud at the ISP end billing you for somthing you did not request or use, and to be honest i would of thought that with the modem off the billing of said data would end as the packet has no destination to terminate on. looks like i will turn off my modem for a week and prove the theroy.


Mind explaining how you think that could work? An ISP can't bill based upon what goes through your router, they have to back a few steps to the edge of the network.

ISP's can't block traffic you "didn't request", this would break the fundamentals of how the internet works.


I am pretty sure that an isps metering of a user is required to be accurate, and that metering should only be charging you for data that you are using. As telstra cable modems are owned by telstra anyway I can't se why they can't monitor the actual data used through the router, like a power meter does, which then send this data back to the isp.

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  Reply # 519637 11-Sep-2011 18:22
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mattwnz:  As telstra cable modems are owned by telstra anyway I can't se why they can't monitor the actual data used through the router, like a power meter does, which then send this data back to the isp.


Cable moderms are nothing but a fairly dumb layer 2 bridge. They don't have anything along the lines of radius capabilities to do this.


511 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Subscriber

  Reply # 519641 11-Sep-2011 18:27
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sbiddle:
phantomdb: sounds a bit like some form of fraud at the ISP end billing you for somthing you did not request or use, and to be honest i would of thought that with the modem off the billing of said data would end as the packet has no destination to terminate on. looks like i will turn off my modem for a week and prove the theroy.


Mind explaining how you think that could work? An ISP can't bill based upon what goes through your router, they have to back a few steps to the edge of the network.

ISP's can't block traffic you "didn't request", this would break the fundamentals of how the internet works.


From what i can see the edge of the network is the Telstra Clear Supplyed Cable Modem, and im prety sure that has the smarts to count data,





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Master Geek
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  Reply # 519642 11-Sep-2011 18:31
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I don't know what is worse - that they do this "for technical reasons" (more like, they are a bunch of lazy so-and-so's who can't be bothered to implement something to figure out when an end point is down), or that it is such a massive fight with them when you catch them out.

Here's a suggestion for how they could do endpoint detection - say, once per hour, ARP for the customer's IP address. If they get a MAC address back, the endpoint is up. If they don't (after retries), the endpoint is down. And its not something the customer could block without completely disabling their internet connection anyway.

Of course, the problem with all that is it could only serve to reduce their revenue stream - it'd cost $$ to develop, and would reduce their fraudulent billing.. *sigh*

511 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Subscriber

  Reply # 519648 11-Sep-2011 18:52
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i get the impression i could actually have an internet connection with TelstraClear on the Cable network and NEVER have it pluged in to actually use any DATA at all but still show usage for the billing period.... lets hope i dont get spamed via DDOS to a connection i have never physically connected but yet still have an ip address for a service i subscribe to..

When its a user pays sociaty the above senario sounds more like a shafting than a service,,,





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