Verizon tethering experiment

I need a backup for Internet in Grass Valley for when my WISP goes down. (Which is frequently, every Sunday morning lately.) Verizon now enables tethering on iPhones at no extra charge, just data used, part of the new simpler service plans. So I tried it briefly.

Quick result is it’s not bad. I have two dots of signal on my iPhone. I get 4Mbps down, 130kbps up on a DSLReports speed test. Latency to somebits.com was 130ms average, compare 90ms on my WISP link. But the jitter was terrible, some 400ms+ pings. At $5-$10/GB I’m not going to want to use this regularly, but it’s fine as a backup.

One oddity. My tethered network connection is genuinely IPv6, and my Mac automatically uses it. Yay! The downside is the first time I tried this I could only connect to IPv6 sites; v4 only sites like my own blog wouldn’t work. I originally tested this by configuring my ethernet to “off” in the Mac network preferences, and maybe somehow it retained the IPv4 route through the wire? Explicitly unplugging the wire worked fine.

I’ve been considering getting a mobile hotspot; Wirecutter recommends Verizon’s Jetpack AC791L for $200 (or $50 with a two year contract). It looks pretty reasonable if I want a dedicated device and not just use my phone. Main reason I see to do that is for travel, so I can keep my US SIM card in the phone. Verizon’s plan seems to allow extra devices on my account for $10 / device and I can turn it off and on. Or just buy the Verizon device with the contract.

                                                        Packets               Pings
 Host                                                  Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1. 172.20.10.1                                         0.0%   158    2.7  18.9   1.8 303.4  43.4
 2. 69.sub-66-174-31.myvzw.com                          0.0%   157   37.5  77.4  28.2 319.4  70.9
 3. 20.sub-69-83-164.myvzw.com                          0.6%   157   41.1  81.8  26.2 400.8  75.2
 4. 170.sub-69-83-164.myvzw.com                         4.5%   157   36.7  81.5  25.2 323.5  78.8
 5. 2.sub-69-83-164.myvzw.com                           5.7%   157   35.1  77.9  30.4 382.5  71.4
 6. 12.sub-69-83-163.myvzw.com                          8.3%   157   41.4  72.9  30.1 455.9  69.5
 7. 33.sub-66-174-29.myvzw.com                          2.5%   157   42.1  83.5  29.6 380.4  81.1
 8. et-2-0-0.GW11.SAC1.ALTER.NET                        8.9%   157   28.1  71.8  28.1 349.4  65.8
 9. ???
10. 0.ae1.BR3.SJC7.ALTER.NET                            3.8%   157   46.5  94.3  35.6 394.6  71.2
11. 204.255.168.26                                      8.3%   157   56.1  80.3  32.7 289.6  61.7
12. 100ge12-2.core1.den1.he.net                        10.8%   157   76.8 120.1  76.8 509.8  60.7
13. 100ge14-1.core1.mci3.he.net                        21.7%   157   99.9 124.2  86.2 310.3  45.4
14. 10ge4-1.core1.mci2.he.net                          49.7%   157   93.1 120.8  84.0 454.4  58.9
15. wholesale-internet-inc.10gigabitethernet1-3.core1. 38.9%   157  105.2 125.4  79.4 336.2  61.4
16. lag-to-oak.edge-b.clay1.mci.us.as32097.net         39.7%   157   94.2 130.1  77.5 377.2  64.2
    lag-to-oak.edge-a.clay1.mci.us.as32097.net
17. lag-core-a.dist-1-3.clay1.mci.us.as32097.net       34.4%   157  101.9 122.1  82.0 333.8  54.4
    lag-core-b.dist-1-3.clay1.mci.us.as32097.net
18. wk.somebits.com                                     0.6%   157   97.5 135.5  77.6 436.9  72.9

127 packets transmitted, 127 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 79.470/131.121/471.344/69.791 ms