PDAnet updated – now lets users "hide tether usage"

It looks like PDAnet might be about to find itself a few new friends, with the version 3.0 update of third-party mobile web tethering app now letting users “hide tether usage” from angry mobile network admins.

There’s no information as to how it does this on the app’s rather quaint old web site, so we’ll just have to trust it that this is indeed the case.

android pdanet update 3 1 android pdanet update 3 2

The Android app is free on the Android market – plus you’ll need the desktop app (Windows only) on the PC you’d like to connect to the web via your phone. And as before, the free version of the app will restrict access to “secure” web sites that use HTTPS connections. To encourage frequent users to buy the full version.

11 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. What clock widget is that? Really pretty!

    • Gary C

       /  May 1, 2011

      That’s a supplied image from PDAnet. You’d have to ask them, I’m afraid.

  2. sellers

     /  May 1, 2011

    If I was writing PDAnet, I would be billing a constant TTL (Time To Live) as “hide tether usage”. There are a few ways that carriers can detect tethering, but checking for a non-constant TTL would bring the best positive detection rate with the least false detection rate.
    Basically here’s how it works. When your phone wants to send out a packet, one of the things it adds to the packet is a TTL value, the default for Android is 64. That TTL value is decremented by one each time it hops through a network between your phone, so it leaves your phone at 64, leaves the tower at 63, leaves AT&T at 62, so on and so forth.
    The thing is, some tethering apps are written to simply act as a router which means that they decrement the TTL so normal packets would come as 64 and tethered packets would come as 63. In addition, Windows has a default TTL of 128, which is different from the normal Android TTL, very obvious whether the tether app decrements or not.
    If I was PDAnet, I would add a feature that figures out the default TTL for the phone and simply write that TTL to each outgoing packet, so it seems that the phone is producing all the packets. Simple right?

  3. I think that most of them are simply looking for more than one device. When you use a WiFi tether your Android computer looks like a router, and the carrier can query how many computers are attached to that router.

    Not so with a USB tether. If I download x, on the Android handheld, or I download x on the PC, either way the same bandwidth is used, therefore the carriers have no business asking to double-dip us.

    ISPs used to try this nonsense by handing out Windows PPPoE clients, and then hiding the users’ actual account name. I figured out that mine was concatenating characters in front of what I thought that my account name was, within their software, and put it, with the extra characters, into my routers PPPoE client configuration, and was able to take back my data. History proved me right. No ISP does that nonsense anymore.

    Here’s the thing: there are two different opinions about tethering: it’s cheating, and it’s not cheating. The folks that think it’s cheating tend to write as if their Android computer is a phone. The other group recognize that it’s a computer.

  4. PDANet has two options to hide tethering, level I and level II. According to the App menu Level II option is “not recommended”… does anyone know why level II usage hiding is not recommended and what the difference is between level I and level II?


  5. ddd

     /  May 18, 2011

    My guess is that Level 1 routes traffic through the same APN as the regular data, avoiding the APN normally used by tethering. Level II seems to do the same except it even sends modified headers so some websites actually detect an iphone user agent and serve you the mobile version of the website.

  6. Mark

     /  July 12, 2011

    The difference between Level I and Level II is the browser identification data. The browser reports details about the OS, browser version, etc.

    Try this example site with Android, Windows with regular connection, and Windows with PDANet connection.


    You will see that Level II actually identifies the OS as Android. This can cause some browsers on some sites to malfunction because they expect certain Android extensions.

    Go to Google from IE9, Chrome, or Firefox when on Level II. You get some errors and results you wouldn’t normally get from a standard desktop.

    Level II may cause some issues, but it’s going to hide you better.

    PDAnet’s next step should be to completely duplicate the phone’s browser identification details so it looks identical from Windows or Android.

  7. Mark

     /  July 12, 2011

    Well cr@p! Gave you a BAD example. That site uses more complex client side scripts to identify the browser. NOT the details that AT&T would be seeing.

    Here is a TESTED site that “properly” detects Android 2.2.2 when using PDAnet in Level II hide mode, the same way AT&T would detect it.


    • Static2601

       /  August 24, 2011

      Ok, when i use http://www.erikswan.net it tells me that im using safari on Linux, when really im using firefox on linux. Im on a samsung sgh- i897 captivate. anyone else get this??? Seems like a dead giveaway that im trying to get around detection.

  8. class

     /  August 26, 2011

    Hi, does anyone know if there is anything similar for Samsung Wave? (Bada OS)

  1. Tips PDANet 3.0 Adds Feature to Help Mask Tethering Use, But Verizon Users May Be Out of Luck

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