Have you ever been out of the office and need to make a last minute change to a spreadsheet or presentation? In a perfect world, our smart phone would support Microsoft Office and it would be easy to do a last minute update. Reality is not this simple though; for starters, you might not have WiFi in the vicinity to gain access to the office database, and trying to navigate a spreadsheet on a 4cm screen while zooming in can be challenging.
“Tethering” is a way to bring the best of both worlds together – the ubiquity of 3G service with the comfort of larger screens on laptops. Tethering is the use of an Internet-enabled mobile device as a modem for another device. It enables users to go online from their laptop while on the road when there is no other means of Internet access.
Of course, like most things, tethering is best done in moderation. I wouldn’t give up fixed access in the home or office, but for times when I am on the road and need occasional access, tethering helps improve productivity for those last minute networking emergencies.
How can Sandvine help?
Sandvine’s network policy control solution allows service providers to detect mobile subscribers that are tethering their mobile devices. The detection is accomplished by the use of multiple conditions in a network, triggered by a subscriber. With enough triggers Sandvine’s solution can confidently and reliably conclude that the subscriber is tethering.
If Sandvine’s solution identifies significant occurrences of tethering activity in the network, the marketing business unit may consider designing a “Business Road Warrior” opt-in service plan. For an additional charge, this service plan would be tailored to users who frequently tether their mobile device to a laptop and require increased bandwidth and quota. In another example, users who are using tethering for gaming could be sent a notification “Interested in subscribing to our tethering service for an additional $4.99 / month?” This opt-in service plan would ensure there is no bill shock at the end of month due to high usage.
Overall, identification of tethering in the network through network policy control helps ISPs recoup some of their costs, and subscribers using tethered devices will benefit with secured pricing, convenience and transparency.
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