Any way to reduce data usage?

I live out in the sticks and my only internet option is cellular or satellite. I have satellite service, but I’m limited to 10GB/month. If I go over 10GB, it slows down to unusable speeds. For the last few years, I’ve used 3-4GB/month and all of my usage is for my weather station that updates my website every 5 minutes, and some home security/automation gadgets. My unlimited data plan on my cell phone is how I access the net 99% of the time, rarely using my home satellite service for anything but my weather station updates.

I’m currently about 1/3 through my monthly usage cycle and have already used a little over 4GB. I’m running 3.5.3 with mlat ON, and it looks like my only option is to turn OFF mlat to slow down my usage & avoid going over my data limit. Does anyone have any tricks/ideas to try so that I can leave mlat ON, but reduce data usage so that I don’t go over my cap? I usually see around 3,200 planes and 350k-425k positions per day, and those #s will go up once I can move my antenna to a better location in the next week or so.

I am using an old phone with a FreedomPop LTE SIM. They give 200MB free (500MB on my grandfathered SIM) and with some “friends” I got another 500MB/mo free for a total of 1GB.
That’s enough data for a RasberryPi with moderate traffic (30k positions/day) sent to Flightaware and Flightradar24.
The data for OP situation is a different story though… 425K positions/day is serious traffic.

Maybe you should consider switching providers? Example: TotalWireless (MVNO on Verizon network) has a plan with $25 for zero GB, $35 for 5GB, $60 for 15GB, and sells on each plan, each extra 5GB of data for $10.

You can monitor your TX/RX count using a simple program called VNSTAT
sudo apt-get install vnstat
Once downloaded to your Pi, you can check how much traffic your Pi transmits and receives hourly, daily, weekly, etc.
Ex. vnstat -h -i wlan0 (if you use wireless)
vnstat -h -i eth0 (if you use Ethernet cable)

73- KB4ERT

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Well, I had made calculations in the past, and my Flight Feeder was making some 2,5 to 3 GB of traffic to the Flight Aware servers per month. MLAT usually doubles the data usage.
Also my message rate and planes reported are slightly lower than yours.
I do not think that there is a way to keep MLAT on, and get lower data usage.

Needed VPN/Proxy with data compression

Interesting information published in Russian
Google Translate:

During the work of the ADSB receiving station, an increased consumption of mobile traffic was detected. Logging for the month showed that only 3.5GB of traffic was sent to the network. In fact, the existing mobile operator’s tariff plan had 8GB of traffic, which was exhausted in about 25 days.

The tcpdump investigation showed that the mobile operator counts traffic to IP headers.
The programs dump1090 and modesmixer2 worked in such a way that each received ADSB message (usually 16-24 bytes in size) was sent each in its own IP packet.

The headers of IP packets created traffic even larger than the data stream from dump1090 itself.

I wrote a simple program (BinBEAST Header Compressor) that replaces the modemixer at the receiving station and “packaged” data approximately 600-630 bytes into one IP packet. Thus, the economy of mobile traffic is achieved by about a third.

I think that Flightaware should implement such compression of traffic. When I received Flightfeeder, it turned out that the traffic generated by this station would not be acceptable for use with mobile Internet. I could not install the station where only the mobile Internet is available.

That header compression would be nice indeed… But it has to be implemented at both ends of the data link.

PS: I have did some gain optimizations on my receiver that’s connected via mobile data and indeed the data usage jumped significantly since then.

If a solution is out there to keep the data down I can convince relatives to put stations in their homes in rural Alaska. Internet is just so expensive out there that I can’t ask them to spend it on this…

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Unfortunately I am not sure if is possible to apply for a real-time application (ms resolution) such ADS-B with MLAT.
At least make it avail for non-MLAT feeds, because it seems that I will have to turn off the MLAT receiving anyway to save data.

For normal ADSB on PiAware, an internet packet is sent out when it is filled up with messages OR 10 seconds has passed a partially filled packet will be sent. This minimizes the header overhead. I haven’t looked into how modeSmixer does it’s thing. If it is sending 1 ADSB message per packet I can see how this can run into data usage problems.

PiAware also has some code to limit the number of messages that can go into the packet. Like if a plane isn’t changing altitude or heading then we will block those messages from being sent.

MLAT require all data packets to be sent and the limits are removed. This effectively doubles the data requirements for MLAT site.

Thanks for clarification, especially on the MLAT data usage. I might have to turn that off on the site that’s connected via cellular.

Thanks for the replies. I had to turn mlat off for now. I guess I’ll run it when my next billing cycle starts, and shut it back off once my usage gets too high.

Can you share your usage? I am trying also to run a PiAware feeding to both FlightAware and Flightradar24 and I am at 910MB from 1GB plan on that specific phone. In 7 days with heavier traffic I have racked 560MB of data (provider reports in increments of 20MB). This is without MLAT (on neither of the feeders) and with only an average of 28k positions daily (my home site gets around 385k daily).
I will check the phone on Monday too, but when I have checked last time, the phone logs reported similar data usage.

I don’t have anything set up to track my data usage, since I’ve never needed it until now, but here’s my positions per day. Huge difference between mlat on/off. I’d estimate I was using somewhere around 500mb a day with mlat on, maybe a little less than half of that with it off.