Recently several cellular carriers, notably Verizon Wireless and AT&T, have started to enforce 5 GB/month usage "caps" or even eliminate their previously "unlimited" data plans. In Verizon's case, all new cellular data plans now have a 5 GB/month allowance and carry a $0.50/MB overage charge -- that's $500.00 per additional gigabyte per month.
Existing active contracts are typically exempted from the overage charges, but may still be subject to reduced performance, suspension or cancellation if the 5 GB limit is exceeded. However, contract renewals may be subject to the new usage limitations and fees. Please contact your cellular carrier regarding your specific contract situation.
Verizon Wireless Data Plan Terms: http://support.vzw.com/terms/products/broadbandaccess_nationalaccess.html
AT&T Data Plan Terms: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/legal/plan-terms.jsp#data
Proxicast wants to remind you that the LAN-Cell 2 has several built-in features that can help you monitor and control your cellular data usage costs and even prevent overages from occurring.
The LAN-Cell 2's Cell-Sentry is an easy to use feature that can alert you when your cumulative monthly usage has reached a user-defined threshold. It can even block additional cellular traffic to keep you under your allowance. Cell-Sentry can be found at the bottom of the WIRELESS -> CELLULAR setup screen.
Even if you don't anticipate going over your monthly allotment, Cell-Sentry can be an invaluable safety net to protect you from "run-away" applications or unplanned user traffic.
Other LAN-Cell 2 features that can help manage your cellular data costs include:
- Bandwidth Management - The flow of data to the 3G cellular modem can be "throttled", restricting the maximum speed to less than the available capacity from the carrier. For example, many video surveillance applications may require only 100-300 Kbps, but it may not be possible to slow down the camera's data rate. With bandwidth management, the LAN-Cell 2 can adjust the maximum outbound data rate to stay under your plan's limit.
- Dial-On-Demand - The ability to make instantaneous 3G connections only when outbound packets need to be routed to the Internet and automatically drop the connection when it is idle.
- Firewall Rules - Using stateful packet inspection technology, administrators can block bandwidth hogging applications such as audio streaming or video conferencing.
- Keep-Alive Timers - The amount of data used to maintain a cellular connection can be adjusted and the LAN-Cell can restart at specific times and stay connected only for a fixed duration.
- Security Features - Unauthorized users can be prevented from accessing the Internet. Unsolicited traffic from hackers can be reduced via anti-probing features and secure user-definable management interfaces.
Cell-Sentry and all of the cost management features are already in every version of the LAN-Cell 2 firmware. We encourage you to try them out to prevent unexpected cellular data overage charges.
We have prepared an in-depth Tech Note on how to use Cell-Sentry and the other LAN-Cell 2 features to manage cellular data costs. The Tech Note can be downloaded from:
LCTN005: Minimizing Cellular Data Costs Using the LAN-Cell 2
Tip: If you need help estimating how much data you're using each month, you can use Cell-Sentry to report a running total to the LAN-Cell log or via E-mail alert. See our Knowledgebase article on LAN-Cell 2 Data Counters.