Posts

Mobile Proxy Servers

Many mobile data services implement a forced cache on access to port 80. These caches often have the unfortunate assumption that the access comes from a web browser, and that a human being will look at the page. Vodafone completely reformats page content, while T-Mobile simply recompresses images at a lower quality. For a human user, this can be a nuisance. For an embedded application, content transformation can be far more serious.

There are several workarounds possible:

  • Use SSL. This completely avoids the problem, at the cost of extra data transfer and a longer setup time.
  • Arrange with your mobile data provider to turn off content transformation for your SIMs, or for accesses to your server. It can take a long time to find the right person to arrange this, and the process has to be repeated for every network you use in every country.
  • Add a Cache-Control header to your http requests, and set a meaningful User-Agent header.

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SSL Handshake Overhead for Mobile Devices

If you’re designing an application where devices communicate with a server over a mobile network, there are trade-offs between implementation effort and data transfer. This may not apply to a consumer application, where the application developer doesn’t have to pay the data charges. But if the application is M2M these trade-offs matter.

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