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How to manage mobile data usage on Android Devices?

Hexnode MDM has introduced an efficient solution named ‘Network Data Usage Management’ to track and manage mobile data usage across Android devices. It enables administrators to remotely monitor and limit mobile data usage on devices. With Network Data Usage Management enabled on devices, admin can separately view the Mobile Data, Wi-Fi data and total data usage of individual devices as well as the data consumption details of respective applications installed on devices. Hexnode MDM can be configured to set alert notifications to administrators or users via email when the mobile data usage crosses the set limit.

In this way, admin can identify apps with high mobile data consumption rates, keep track of data usage of individual devices as well as prevent an organization’s carrier bills from racking up.

Data Restriction Settings on Android

To initiate network data usage management on your Android devices, you first need to enable some data restriction settings on your Hexnode MDM console.

Notes:

  • Supported from Hexnode MDM app version 10.6.0 and Hexnode for Work app version 6.4.0.
  • Enable the Configure VPN restriction under Android > Advanced Restrictions > Allow Settings and associate the same with all policies on devices undergoing network data usage management.
  • Data usage restrictions will not be effective, if VPN is configured in any of the policies attached to these devices. Data usage restrictions are not fully effectual with third-party VPN apps either.


To enable the data restriction settings:
  1. Go to Admin > General Settings.
  2. Under Data Restriction (Android), enable the below options:
    • Prompt to activate VPN– By enabling this option, the admin would receive a prompt to activate VPN during Android device enrollment or after the Hexnode app updates to the supported version.
    • Prompt to activate VPN while in kiosk– Enabling this option provides a prompt to activate VPN when the device enters kiosk mode for network data usage management. This functionality is only supported on devices running Hexnode MDM app version 10.6.0 and Hexnode for Work app version 6.4.0.
Note:

If the option is unchecked, VPN activation is blocked thus preventing network data usage management.

Configuring Network Data Usage Management via Policy

First, let’s find out how to set data usage limits for devices.

  1. From your Hexnode MDM console, navigate to Policies.
  2. Create a new policy by assigning suitable name and description to it or continue with an existing one.
  3. Under Android, choose Network Data Usage Management.

    Setting up Data Usage Restrictions

    Hexnode MDM enforces the following data usage restrictions on devices as per the user’s requirement:

    Data usage restrictions:
    Restriction Description
    Enable data usage tracking Enable this option to track data usage on devices.
    Note:

    Data used for tethering etc will not be listed under Wi-Fi/Mobile data. Instead, it will be accounted under total data.

    Enable network & data usage restrictions Unchecking this option disables the previously set network/data usage restriction on the device. Ensure that Configure VPN restriction under Android > Advanced Restrictions > Allow Settings is enabled for the restrictions to work.
    Network restrictions Restrict the apps on the device (except Hexnode MDM app) from using Wi- Fi data and/or mobile data.
    You can choose from any of the following restriction,
    • No restrictions.
    • Blocks Wi-Fi data.
    • Block mobile data.
    • Block all network connections.

    Exception:

    Even though all network connections are blocked, web apps opened with Hexnode Browser Lite can still be accessed. It is because the network connection for Hexnode Browser Lite is executed through Hexnode app.

    Data Usage Notifications Selectively notify the users and/or admin via email when the Wi-Fi data and/or mobile data exceeds a set limit.
    Data Usage Restrictions Restrict and notify the users and/or admin when the device exceeds the allowed data limit.
    Reset Data Tracking Set appropriate time limit or duration to reset data tracking (daily and monthly).


    How to manage mobile data usage with Hexnode MDM

    Setting up App-wise Restrictions

    Network data usage management can be applied to specific applications based on the amount of data utilized by them. Follow the steps below to enforce data management on specific applications:

    1. Go to Policies. Create a new policy with a unique name and description or continue with an existing one.
    2. Under Android, choose Network Data Usage Management > App-wise Restrictions.
    3. Click on +Add App and choose as many apps you wish to restrict data usage on.
    4. Click Next.
    5. Selectively apply Network restrictions, Data usage notifications, and Data usage restrictions.
    6. Click Done.

Associate Data Management Policy with Devices

Once you have set up data usage limits, the next step is to associate your policy with target devices.

Associate Policy with devices right away

  1. Navigate to Policy Targets and click on +Add devices to select the devices with which the policy is to be associated. Similarly, you can associate the policy with device groups, users, user groups and even Domains.
  2. Click on Save to associate the policy, silently on selected targets.

Associate policy with devices at a later stage

  1. Go to Policies and select the Network Data Usage Management policy previously created.
  2. Click Manage and select Associate Targets. You can associate your policy with devices, device groups, users, user groups and even domains.
  3. Click on Save to deploy the policy, silently on selected targets.

Data Usage Summary

Data usage summary of individual devices can be viewed from the Data management tab.
Data usage summary using Data Management tab

  1. Navigate to Manage > Devices.
  2. Select the device. Click on Data Management from the list of sub-tabs.

Concerning the restrictions enforced to the device via policy, the data usage summary will be listed in tabular format which includes the information: Mobile Data, Wi-Fi data, Total Data, etc. Data usage of the device within specific time intervals can be viewed separately using filters. Also, the ‘Export’ button allows you to download the summary as a PDF/CSV file.

Setting up Reports for Data Management

Data management reports list the data usage summary of the devices enrolled in Hexnode MDM. The data consumed by the applications installed on these devices can also be viewed and exported at a later stage. There are three variants of data management reports:

  1. Devices: Information regarding the data usage of each individual device is listed in this report.
  2. Device Groups: Data usage summary of all the device groups managed by Hexnode MDM are listed separately. It includes details like group name, group type, and amount of data consumed by the group etc.
  3. Apps: All the applications installed on the devices and the total data consumed by each app are listed.

Apart from viewing these data management reports, admins can manually export them either as PDF or CSV files.

You can also schedule these reports to enable the admin/users to receive them at specific intervals.