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O2 “Unlimited” data + Huawei B618 Router

chuffffy

Member
I’m looking at getting the 12month unlimited data sim contract with O2 to use in a B618 router. I know there are cheaper options with Three or more “unlimited” data option with Vodaphone. However these have far lower download speeds that O2 where I stay.

Looking at the small print in the O2 package it states “If you regularly use 650GB of data per month or tether 12 or more devices we may consider this to be none permitted use and have the right to move you to a more suitable plan”. I don’t think the 650GB limit is an issue for me but the 12 device limit could be a deal breaker as using this for a family home internet connection I'm going to be way over this. From online guides it looks like the use of a VPN could allow me to hide the number devices using the internet connection and I’ve had a play around with the VPN settings on the B618 and it seems to work okay. However, when using a VPN certain web sites and streaming services such as iPlayer don’t work.

I'm curious if there are any other ways to hide the number of devices being serviced through the B618 router or if anyone else has tried the O2 “unlimited” data package and seen issues with exceeding the device limit?

Thanks
Colin
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
I suppose this would depend upon precisely how O2 are learning of what devices you have connected, which is probably something they can do through the router since they supplied it (certainly that's what fixed line ISPs can do but I'm not sure about mobile, particularly as they seem to be using a stock model from Huawei).

So if you connect most devices via WiFi then it might be worth using a second router or mesh WiFi network to handle the wireless side of things, while switching the WiFi on your Huawei off. This way their router won't know what devices are connected and a second router may also allow you to set a custom DNS server (ideally an encrypted one), which would make it even harder to probe some of the traffic.

However there are other ways for ISPs to probe HTTP internet traffic and TCP/IP fields in order to identify the different devices or software in use, although how far mobile operators go with this I don't know. You could of course use a VPN and simply pass through a UK IP address.

Just remember that O2 are probably looking to see how many of those devices are active at the same time. People tend to hop-on and hop-off of home networks via lots of different devices, so you could have 30-40 devices but if only 12 or less are active at the same time then that's what counts.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
I am getting hacked off with O2.
I have a market stall on Saturdays in Worcester, the O2 tower is very close, 70-100m, although there are a lot of buildings around.
I can, by careful positioning, get a full LTE signal, however at around 10:30am EVERY Saturday, data stops working.
(Other market stall holders say every day is the same).

O2 claimed the mast was broken and "fixed" it 2 weeks ago - there has been NO improvement.

Dropping down to 3G, I can get basic data services, enough to run my payment system.

Last week, I was pinging the tower; the one time after 10:30am where I managed to get a response (~11:20am), the ping was 24,800mS.

I called it in as a fault, O2 said there was nothing wrong.
 

chuffffy

Member
Thanks for the feedback Mark. The router is my own and my devices connect to it via a BT whole home mesh Wi-Fi. But as you say there are likely many ways O2 could sniff out the amount of tethered devices.

Good point regarding how many devices are active at the same time as I suspect most of the time we would have less than 12 devices active . But with the amount of smart devices we have (phones, nest cameras, tablets, computers, etc) we could exceed this at peak times. I am tempted to give it a try and wait to see if O2 flag any issues with the amount of tethered devices and if it became a problem I could look further into the VPN or DNS options.

Sorry to hear your pain Captain. I’ve had an O2 mobile for a few years and found the data connections around my area to be fairly reliable, fingers crossed it stays that way.
 

Captain_Cretin

ULTIMATE Member
Thanks for the feedback Mark. The router is my own and my devices connect to it via a BT whole home mesh Wi-Fi. But as you say there are likely many ways O2 could sniff out the amount of tethered devices.

Good point regarding how many devices are active at the same time as I suspect most of the time we would have less than 12 devices active . But with the amount of smart devices we have (phones, nest cameras, tablets, computers, etc) we could exceed this at peak times. I am tempted to give it a try and wait to see if O2 flag any issues with the amount of tethered devices and if it became a problem I could look further into the VPN or DNS options.

Sorry to hear your pain Captain. I’ve had an O2 mobile for a few years and found the data connections around my area to be fairly reliable, fingers crossed it stays that way.
What I have found is that they seem incapable of fixing errors, Malvern transmitter has had a 3G data fault for TEN YEARS, that they keep saying isnt a fault.
Emailing O2 CEO got a partial fix, but it has never been properly fixed, and 3G data in Malvern is effectively useless (sub dial up download speeds).
Now 4G is failing in Worcester, and there is no chance of a 5G service any time soon.
 

Verita

Casual Member
What happens on the 'public' side - the bit from your ISP: ISP's can often collect MAC addresses of individual devices, from their own routers. BT use this to limit log on durations for BT Wifi/FON access, for instance.

The BBC collect MAC addresses where they can for licensing operations, usually from public access points.

Essentially, MAC addresses don't make it past the Level 2 device (the ethernet switch) but if the switch is part of an ISP router (Level 3) , then MAC addresses are often collected and logged internally for restricting access.

Router logs can be accessed by ISP's on many ISP-supplied routers with TR069 or similar remote management. They're used to fire-fight config issues or user complaints.

The feature can sometimes be disabled, or the level of logging minimised.
 
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