AfterDawn: Tech news

Comcast P2P traffic filtering confirmed

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 19 Oct 2007 10:46 User comments (25)

Comcast P2P traffic filtering confirmed The Associated Press has confirmed what some Comcast customers have been claiming; that the company interferes with the flow of P2P uploads on their network. Comcast officials have denied that this practice occurs as recently as August.
Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas indicated at that time that customers "downloading and sharing video, photos and other rich media" were using their internet service "as intended." His only comment to the AP's new test results was that "Comcast does not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent." Of course blocking uploads hardly blocks access to the program.

Based on Douglas' past comments, this doesn't appear to be a case of ISP censorship, because they don't really seem to care what's being uploaded from their network. They're just trying to sustain high connection speeds for all their customers without adding a lot of additional bandwidth.

Instead of treating file uploads as a nuisance to be stamped out, broadband ISPs might do well to take the opportunity to explore how P2P traffic affects their network, and find optimizations that can help alleviate speed issues with the least amount of financial overhead. With streaming video already gaining a hold and true IPTV applications being marketed to the general public in some areas, it seems like a sure bet that a glut of traffic is coming soon.

ISPs that have long marketed their service for multimedia are finally having that claim put to the test in a serious way. Those that choose to limit customers instead of improving their networks may face an uphill battle staying competitive.

Source: Associated Press

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25 user comments

119.10.2007 11:28

"ISPs that have long marketed their service for multimedia are finally having that claim put to the test in a serious way. Those that choose to limit customers instead of improving their networks may face an uphill battle staying competitive. "

Very well put. I'm beginning to see what all the unspecific complaints about Comcast in general are all about.

219.10.2007 12:42

Originally posted by TheExcel:
"ISPs that have long marketed their service for multimedia are finally having that claim put to the test in a serious way. Those that choose to limit customers instead of improving their networks may face an uphill battle staying competitive. "

Very well put. I'm beginning to see what all the unspecific complaints about Comcast in general are all about.
I was on comcast and Hughes net and I have learned they throttle you no matter what they advertise their plans for.

319.10.2007 14:36

I can confirm that Bell Sympatico does the same. My emule downloads fluctuate like the wind. I used to have 5-10 downloads going at once (not concerned with speed since emule's speed is low for everyone). Now I only have 1-2 simul. downloads if Im lucky, no matter what my router is set at.
Ugh..bastards.

419.10.2007 16:35

I recently switched to At&t because I had downloading issues. My torrent client acted up all the time as If I was on a dial-up line. Peer connections would time out all the time. I even used my friends charter pipeline to see if it acted up, everything was okay. At home was where all the frustration was at of paying for a service only to let you down, but Ive would have never suspected Comcast was monitoring my internet usage. Now that Im reading this, all seems clear to me now.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Oct 2007 @ 16:40

519.10.2007 18:34

Well that's just Comcastic! <--I hate those commercials

I am just wondering if what they are doing is legal. From what I understand they are sending a forged packet making it look like the other computer says to drop the connection.

619.10.2007 22:11

Sorry I double posted the message

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Oct 2007 @ 22:18

719.10.2007 22:16

I have Bell Sympatico as well and have had no problems at all with torrents. I use Utorrent 1.6.1 and usually have 4-6 torrents ul/dl at a time with no speed issues at all. The speed has stayed consistantly fast since I started. I have heard through word of mouth that Rogers Cable does throttle torrent traffic. It would be nice if someone could confirm this for my own curiousity.

820.10.2007 1:54

regardless the hax out their(god bless their souls) will figure a way to screw the system....

920.10.2007 7:29

I left comcast a while ago switch to Talkamerica. Works great. Comcast too much!!

1020.10.2007 13:32

If anyone's interested, I have Verizon FiOS and as far as I know I'm not experiencing any traffic shaping.

1120.10.2007 18:56

Unlimited should mean unlimited and broadband should mean broadband.
That's what you're paying for, so demand it!
Time to bring back the truth in advertising law, apparently.

1220.10.2007 22:38

truth in advertising, LOL

1323.10.2007 22:00

I would have thought this is common practice.

1424.10.2007 12:27
PhilC90
Inactive

Here's some FAQ's from Comcast's site, they look pretty good:

http://www.comcast.net/help/

1526.10.2007 7:31

Is this just the first small steps of those in control of "having their way".Might we may one day look back at the previous days of the internet and say "they were the good old days."

1626.10.2007 12:19

I'm on the Rogers network, I can't confirm that they impede file transfer traffic, but I can tell you from experience, my transfer times have increased significantly. On the surface, I would have to say it seems that they are limiting the flow of file traffic.
That doesn't help for us tele-commuters.

1728.10.2007 1:19

I recently moved and now have Comcast everything (phone, internet, and cable). I was rather leary of putting all my eggs in one basket like that, but so far they service itself is rather nice. My previous neighborhood was a on direct connect fiber ring (no modem required) which was fast and easy (it was either working or it wasn't and was very easy to troubleshoot because of that), but Comcast internet is actually faster and I haven't had any trouble with P2P. Although I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, there are some things you have to do to your PC/router's configuration to get the fastest download/upload speeds out of P2P. I wonder if many of these complaints are from newbie P2P users who just simply don't know this. My experience as a network engineer has proven to me that 95% of people currently using computers have no business doing so because they are mental retards when it comes to anything more technical than an automatic can opener.

To summarize Comcast service in one sentence -- it's fast, nice features (phone and cable lineup), but if you encounter any problems and aren't technically savvy enough to resolve it yourself (or know what to demand of them), then God help you because you are in a world of $h*#.

The installer was an idiot (who looked and acted like a 16-year-old dweeb), the help desk person we called about HD channels was a completely unknowledgeable idiot, and the only thing we were continually told (no matter if the question was about phone, cable, or internet) was, "We don't support routers." Uh...that's good, because whether or not I use a router has no relevance on why I'm not getting basic HD channels. Nitwits.

From my firsthand experience, I don't think Comcast is messing with P2P traffic anymore or less than any other ISP.

1828.10.2007 1:28

Originally posted by GernBlan:
I recently moved and now have Comcast everything (phone, internet, and cable). I was rather leary of putting all my eggs in one basket like that, but so far they service itself is rather nice. My previous neighborhood was a on direct connect fiber ring (no modem required) which was fast and easy (it was either working or it wasn't and was very easy to troubleshoot because of that), but Comcast internet is actually faster and I haven't had any trouble with P2P. Although I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, there are some things you have to do to your PC/router's configuration to get the fastest download/upload speeds out of P2P. I wonder if many of these complaints are from newbie P2P users who just simply don't know this. My experience as a network engineer has proven to me that 95% of people currently using computers have no business doing so because they are mental retards when it comes to anything more technical than an automatic can opener.

To summarize Comcast service in one sentence -- it's fast, nice features (phone and cable lineup), but if you encounter any problems and aren't technically savvy enough to resolve it yourself (or know what to demand of them), then God help you because you are in a world of $h*#.

The installer was an idiot (who looked and acted like a 16-year-old dweeb), the help desk person we called about HD channels was a completely unknowledgeable idiot, and the only thing we were continually told (no matter if the question was about phone, cable, or internet) was, "We don't support routers." Uh...that's good, because whether or not I use a router has no relevance on why I'm not getting basic HD channels. Nitwits.

From my firsthand experience, I don't think Comcast is messing with P2P traffic anymore or less than any other ISP.
Alot of other services are offering all in one packages,they are not bad,could be cheaper but then again I think everythign can :P


I would say most tech help and service people do not know anything beyond the basics of whatever it is they were trained to do 0_o

1928.10.2007 2:04

Quote:
I would say most tech help and service people do not know anything beyond the basics of whatever it is they were trained to do 0_o
I agree, but I think it's more like they don't do anything beyond the least of what is required in order for them to maintain employment.

2028.10.2007 18:02
WierdName
Inactive

Some random comments:
1. About that post mentioning truth in advertisement: There is truth in advertisement. The problem is that said truth is hollow. What it does is imply something but actually states something else. I.E.
"With our improved formula, you won't get it any cleaner!"
All that states is that you won't get it any cleaner. In all reality, this actually states nothing. The reason is that, first of all, "cleaner" is a relative measure based on an unspecified control base. Also, for a product to be "improved," it just has to be changed. That could mean better (also a hollow, relative word) quality or maybe just an added lemon scent. You really have to read into advertisements. They are usually completely true, the problem is discerning what the real truth is and not what the implied truth is.

2. I am on AT&T/Yahoo/SBC Global and not, as far as I know, experiencing any problems.

EDIT-
3. This is BS. This means you're paying for a service you aren't fully getting.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 Oct 2007 @ 18:04

2128.10.2007 19:54

Originally posted by WierdName:
Some random comments:
1. About that post mentioning truth in advertisement: There is truth in advertisement. The problem is that said truth is hollow. What it does is imply something but actually states something else. I.E.
"With our improved formula, you won't get it any cleaner!"
All that states is that you won't get it any cleaner. In all reality, this actually states nothing. The reason is that, first of all, "cleaner" is a relative measure based on an unspecified control base. Also, for a product to be "improved," it just has to be changed. That could mean better (also a hollow, relative word) quality or maybe just an added lemon scent. You really have to read into advertisements. They are usually completely true, the problem is discerning what the real truth is and not what the implied truth is.

2. I am on AT&T/Yahoo/SBC Global and not, as far as I know, experiencing any problems.

EDIT-
3. This is BS. This means you're paying for a service you aren't fully getting.
when it comes to net services, they sale you what they advertise unless of coarse you put it to use then the fine print kicks in and they can charge you what they see fit or drop you, most of the time they chose rolling blackouts or lower bandwidth to the heavy users.

Its a pay scheme making everyone pay for what they are not using, they should offer half rates with limits on them (100KBS down,50up, at 2GB a month before its halved) this plan would sale for 20 a month, a 40$ plan would be 400+ kbp down/up with a 6-12GB limit before things are halved but if they do this people would find out the limits on board band and their lil "we are faster" ad schemes fall on their ass.

By keeping ignorance bliss to the user they have complete control on how they manage bandwidth.

2228.10.2007 20:24

Originally posted by WierdName:
3. This is BS. This means you're paying for a service you aren't fully getting.
Which is exactly why the linked Comcast FAQ above completely denies that they are limiting P2P bandwidth. For that to be stated so clearly on their website and with all the legal issues that would come from that statement, I would have to guess that this rumor of confirmed P2P traffic filtering can be written up as the same type of urban myth like Bubble Yum bubble gum is only soft because they use spider eggs as an ingredient. You laugh, but that was a real urban myth that was passed word-of-mouth (back in the 1970's -- well before the internet or even PCs), and it caused Bubble Yum to all but disappear off store shelves for quite a few years.

Frankly, I don't think they're filtering anything. That would require them to actually do some work, which they are clearly not knowledgeable or skilled enough to do, judging by my experiences with their technical support.

2328.10.2007 20:57

Quote:
Originally posted by WierdName:
3. This is BS. This means you're paying for a service you aren't fully getting.
Which is exactly why the linked Comcast FAQ above completely denies that they are limiting P2P bandwidth. For that to be stated so clearly on their website and with all the legal issues that would come from that statement, I would have to guess that this rumor of confirmed P2P traffic filtering can be written up as the same type of urban myth like Bubble Yum bubble gum is only soft because they use spider eggs as an ingredient. You laugh, but that was a real urban myth that was passed word-of-mouth (back in the 1970's -- well before the internet or even PCs), and it caused Bubble Yum to all but disappear off store shelves for quite a few years.

Frankly, I don't think they're filtering anything. That would require them to actually do some work, which they are clearly not knowledgeable or skilled enough to do, judging by my experiences with their technical support.
what they have is a throttling system and with any program it can go nuts on some people, I wonder just how automated it is, anyone have the skinny on how their network hubs work?

Could it be as simple as acouple mediocre techs watching over a program that distributes bandwidth for thsounds ?

244.11.2007 22:08
xhardc0re
Inactive

total bulls**t by Comcast. We need a smoking gun. Something, maybe an internal memo or some employees with logs & something, anything to prove the throttling. I mean, just a simple test of a BT a few miles from Comcast to a non-Comcast provider is proof enough. This gets interesting because if CC is doing so, and not informing their customers, they are stealing from their customers. It should be very clear what is considered fair-use of the network. The ultimate test is a lawful user of BT who is getting linux apps or using legaltorrents or various public domain sites. Versus the user who is dL hollywood (garbage, of course) movies & RIAA-mp3 files. How can CC tell which user is doing the trading of illegal content? Impossible. Too many users to do that. So both users, the legal downloader & the z0mg teh p1racies!! user, are getting screwed. CC has no right to throttle someone's bandwith if they are not abusing resources. Targeting legal BT usage & punishing those users should be a crime & the FCC should punish them severely.

255.11.2007 19:00

Quote:
total bulls**t by Comcast. We need a smoking gun
Want a smoking gun do you?...well not sure how well this will work, but it MIGHT be of some use to many of you:

http://forum.utorrent.com/viewtopic.php?id=31631
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Nov 2007 @ 19:01

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