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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Skype blocked over 3G - how smart is it done?

Skype blocked over 3G - how smart is it done?
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Simon
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:05 AM
 
As we know the iPhone blocks Skype over 3G. And it appears even with OS 3.0 it will stay that way.

My question is how smart the iPhone/Skype are about noticing what network you're actually on. If for example my iPhone were tethered to another iPhone (or to a notebook with a 3G dongle) the tethered iPhone would be seeing a wifi connection to the internet. Would Skype then work on that phone or is it smart enough to figure out it's still ultimately routing data over 3G?
     
Maflynn
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:12 AM
 
Its not the iPhone that's blocking access but AT&T and so that means you have little options in altering that. I'm not surprised by this move and in a strange sense I don't blame them.

Skype is taking away voice usage from AT&T and I don't blame them from protecting their busines [/rant]
~Mike
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:16 AM
 
I don't think it's the AT&T network since Skype doesn't work over 3G anywhere even in countries where the iPhone isn't locked ot one carrier. I'm assuming it's actually Skype itself that's blocking this (per Apple's request) since in the first 3.0 betas Skype actually worked over 3G and this stopped only after the Skype app was updated.
     
HenryMelton
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:19 AM
 
I use an AT&T Aircard for my house network. While trying out the Skype App, I used WiFi off my house network and it worked, at least with their test number.
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:23 AM
 
Interesting. That points in the right right direction.
     
Atheist
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:24 AM
 
Based on this article, it appears it's the iPhone OS that's blocking Skype over 3G, not the carrier. Up until the 3rd beta of iPhone OS 3.0, Skype worked over 3G.
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:27 AM
 
So has anybody with the 3.0 beta tried this? The beta has tethering and Skype runs on it as well. Guinea pigs?
     
Maflynn
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Apr 23, 2009, 09:27 AM
 
Wow, I had thought it was the provider and not the phone - learn something new everyday.
~Mike
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 24, 2009, 02:52 AM
 
So would there be any way for the iPhone to even notice it's transferring data over 3G if it's doing so via tethering? Or does the iPhone simply check to make sure you're on wifi and that's it?
( Last edited by Simon; Apr 24, 2009 at 03:34 AM. Reason: typo)
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 24, 2009, 03:07 AM
 
Interesting.

I know that Vodafone here bans VoIP usage via their cellular network (and have for years), and they appear to actually block the traffic on their network, regardless of whether you're tethering or going online via USB UMTS modem.
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 24, 2009, 03:31 AM
 
How efficient are they at doing that? Skype is very sophisticated when it comes to circumventing blocked ports, NAT, etc.

I checked the policy of my carrier here and they explicitly mention that tethering and VoIP are exempt from their volume data plans. But the unlimited plan (which I got together with my iPhone 3G) has no such mention.
     
turtle777
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Apr 25, 2009, 12:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
How efficient are they at doing that? Skype is very sophisticated when it comes to circumventing blocked ports, NAT, etc.
Very efficient. Those traffic shaping routers analyze the content of the packages, so they can find out what application's data is going in and out.

They are even capable of detecting encrypted VoIP and torrent data streams.
The only way around that would be steganography, but that would be very inefficient and for VoIP probably not possible with the current bandwidths and processing power of consumer hardware.

-t
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 25, 2009, 03:15 AM
 
Really? Because I used to have an ISP that applied traffic shaping to limit torrent traffic. But after their initial success you'd throw in a little RC4 and totally circumvented those efforts. Are the cell phone carriers' measures better, i.e. do they actually succeed in blocking the traffic they're trying to block? Or do they simply force clients to use better encryption?
     
lysolman
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Apr 26, 2009, 11:37 PM
 
The regulation comes from the App.

No App that allows for VOIP calls over the 3G network is going to be approved.

This however changes country to country.

In the U.S., AT&T's TOS do not allow for VOIP to be used over the cellular network, because it would obviously cut into their bottom line. This is also the reason why, currently, tethering apps are not available in the U.S. Apps Store.

What you'll notice however is that this regulations changes country to country. In the UK, tethering Apps are available from Apple's official App store, because the network providers allow for it.

Does this put all questions to sleep?

Skype (U.S.) is written to not be able to make calls over 3G.

This is why a hacked version of Netshare installed on an non-jailbroken AT&T phone functions as it does in the UK. Because the App itself allows for tethering usage, something that is technically against AT&T's TOS, but the App doesn't know any better.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Apr 27, 2009, 02:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by lysolman View Post
What you'll notice however is that this regulations changes country to country. In the UK, tethering Apps are available from Apple's official App store, because the network providers allow for it.
They are?
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 27, 2009, 04:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by lysolman View Post
What you'll notice however is that this regulations changes country to country. In the UK, tethering Apps are available from Apple's official App store, because the network providers allow for it.
Really? Can you post any examples? And what about VoIP apps in the UK?
     
Simon  (op)
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Apr 27, 2009, 04:05 AM
 
To get back to the original topic...

Regardless of carrier restrictions and what not, will a tethered iPhone consider itself on wifi or will it have some way of noticing it has been tethered to a 3G device?
     
Atheist
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Apr 27, 2009, 09:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by lysolman View Post
Skype (U.S.) is written to not be able to make calls over 3G.
Not to get in a pissing match over this but I'm just not sure this is the case. How is it that folks were able to place Skype calls on AT&T's 3G network with the beta of iPhone OS 3.0?

Edit: Maybe the OS wasn't correctly identifying to the Skype app that it was connecting via 3G?
( Last edited by Atheist; Apr 27, 2009 at 09:59 AM. )
     
cbrfanatic
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May 6, 2009, 09:43 PM
 
i jailbroke my phone and altered the mobile substrate to allow certain programs to work over 3G including skype, and a few others...
MPB 2.8GHz, 4GB Ram, 320GB HDD
2TB Raid 1 setup, Wacom 12x19, 24" ACD, Bose SS
FCS 2, Shake, Adobe CS4, Lightroom > Aperture
     
Simon  (op)
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May 7, 2009, 03:03 AM
 
So 19 posts but the question's still unanswered. Can somebody with the 3.0 beta just try it? Pretty please.
     
jasong
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May 10, 2009, 08:10 PM
 
I can't directly answer your question since I don't have the 3.0 beta, but I don't see how the iPhone could have any idea what the network connection on the other end of a wifi router is all it knows is it has an address that leads to an internet connection. That doesn't mean Skype will necessarily work though - if the ISP the wifi router is connected to blocks Skype traffic, then it won't work, albeit for a completely different reason.
-- Jason
     
Simon  (op)
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May 11, 2009, 07:32 AM
 
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. I know my carrier doesn't block Skype and I'm guessing a tethered iPhone will just see 'regular' wifi (IOW Skype will work just fine), but I was hoping somebody with 3.0 beta would confirm.
     
   
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