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Thread: How do ISP's monitor/track data usage?

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    Default How do ISP's monitor/track data usage?

    Hi there,

    I'd like to know exactly how ISP's monitor your data usage and I just can’t find an answer…

    According to Glocell’s t&c's "monitoring is session-based, i.e. bandwidth usage can only be calculated when the subscriber's DSL session is terminated.” (in other words when the router is switched off).

    Is this really the truth? I would have thought all ISP’s have the capability to monitor data usage in real time? Do different ISP’s use different ways to track data usage?

    The reason I’m asking is that Glocell makes it virtually impossible! for PC users to track their real time usage - and then they charge R2 per MB when you go over.

    If they can (and do) monitor real time data usage –like other ISP’s do (such as Telkom) –this clause feels like a way for them to fleece customers who accidently go out of bundle @ R2 per MB.

    Does anyone know how they actually monitor this?

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    Grandmaster rubber_otter's Avatar
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    RADIUS servers. And yes, its true that data only gets counted when a session disconnects - in most cases.

    We kick all PPPoE connections at between 03h30 and 04h30 in the morning for this exact reason.

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    Thanks so much for the response!

    Are you speaking Glocell specific though?

    If not - I have to ask - ....if the data can only be counted after a session disconnect -how can service provider offer a "hard" data cap to their customers -where the internet is shut down if your data limit is reached?

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    Grandmaster rubber_otter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadameOveries View Post
    Thanks so much for the response!

    Are you speaking Glocell specific though?

    If not - I have to ask - ....if the data can only be counted after a session disconnect -how can service provider offer a "hard" data cap to their customers -where the internet is shut down if your data limit is reached?
    Nope. I just work for a WISP. Cell data counting must be different in that case. No idea how that works.

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    The current session data usage is also known to cut off for capped packages.


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    Different ISP's use different techniques for monitoring data usage for their subscribers.

    The most common is RADIUS, but unfortunately data consumption can only be recorded during an Interim update, which is commonly set to 3600 seconds ie 1 hour. so every 3600 the NAS would send an interim update packet through to the Radius Accounting servers with an updated set of in/out data for that session.

    The other method is to use inspection loops through special policy switches like the ones produced by Sandvine, which give ISP's real-time usage tracking. This is only in the case of ISP's that own their own infrastructure.
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    Super Grandmaster Nod's Avatar
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    Also look at "sFlow" and "NetFlow". Both do the same thing but used by different vendors.

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