Project Fi and the Great Firewall

Sean Hunter jamesb2147 at
Sun Nov 15 02:00:57 UTC 2015

Hello everyone,

I come to you to humbly request your assistance, on or off list. This not
an urgent technical matter, but something I'm rather fascinated by at the

While in China recently, I noticed that my Project Fi phone was accessing
Google. Not only Google, but Facebook, YouTube, Gmail, Twitter, and many
other normally perma-blocked websites. It's taken me a few days of sleep
deprived thinking to realize this, but I'm seeing the same or similar
26.x.x.x addresses across countries I've visited, including China, Spain,
Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

I'm not a cellular guy and I know even less about MVNO's, but I'm curious
if I'm inferring the technical operations of the network correctly. It
sounds like the local cellular companies are provisioning access upon
arrival, then packing up the packets and shipping them off at layer 2 or
below to Google, who's then handling the IP stack and up internet access.
I'm also assuming the Great Firewall then acts above these layers since
it's not blocking access on my phone.

If my inference is correct, I'd be curious to see if those responsible for
the Great Firewall are aware of this deal Google has with a Chinese
cellular provider and the technical specifics of how it works. Might we be
seeing a softening of Great Firewall policies for foreigners, or just
another soon to be inspected or blocked flow of traffic?

Anyway, I'd just love to hear from a knowledgeable engineer about how this

If you've read this far, thanks for your time and have a great day!

More information about the NANOG mailing list