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Comcast employees put in the middle of traffic shaping debate

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 29 Oct 2007 11:09 User comments (24)

Comcast employees put in the middle of traffic shaping debate In the words of one Comcast employee, the company's policy of "shaping traffic" which results in disruption of some P2P services is a result of corporate arrogance. "They did it because they think they can get away with it."
This comment was made to Ars Technica, which has published comments from a number of Comcast employees in the aftermath of AP and EFF tests that confirmed issues with not only P2P, but also some business applications when transmitting across the Comcast broadband cable network. Comcast has officially acknowledged only that they "delay" some packets, which is apparently what causes the applications to fail when transmitting to external networks across the internet.

Company sources have reportedly provided INTERNAL emails detailing tech support's responsibility to repeat the official company line. An email sent to a call center manager emphasized that all company representatives must mirror official statements that "We have a responsibility to provide all of our customers with a good experience online and we use the latest technologies to manage our network." It adds "This is standard practice for ISPs and network operators all over the world."

If, in fact, what Comcast is doing is standard practice, it seems strange that the company is dodging the issue with statements like this oft repeated gem from spokesman Charlie Douglas. "Comcast does not Block access to any applications, including BitTorrent."

Perhaps more importantly, if Comcast feels the need to limit traffic to this extent, what effect will this have on future applications like hi-def IPTV and video downloads?

Source: Ars Technica

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24 user comments

129.10.2007 13:09

This had just replaced that big question mark with an emphatic exclamation point!

229.10.2007 13:17

This i probably another reason why people are switching to FiOS if they can get it.

Its cheaper then, or the same price as, Comcast's offer but its a lot faster and doesn't (according to Verizon) have any limits or restrictions.

My connection seems ok but if it starts giving me hassles I might switch back to DSL *shudders*.

Peace

329.10.2007 14:06

oh great because Comcast is buying out our local cable company

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Oct 2007 @ 14:06




Antec 1200 Full-Tower Case/Thermaltake 750-Watt PS/ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Mobo/Western Digital Black WD5003AZEX 500GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" HDD/NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card/CORSAIR DOMINATOR PLATINUM 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 /Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics/CORSAIR Hydro Series H80 (CWCH80) High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler/3-Plextor PX-810SA Sata Drives/Asus IPS 27"PB278Q Monitor 2560 x 1440 resolution,5ms respone time/OS Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

429.10.2007 16:23

Switching to Verizon internet next month, I'm sick of Comcasts crap... The TV and phone still have a 1-year commitment deal on 'em, so I can't switch those yet...

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Oct 2007 @ 16:29


529.10.2007 16:42

i had verizon for the logest then moved to Florida and HAD to take comcast for there the only cable company in the area. Apparently that knowlage has gone to there heads. There the worst company by far I've come across. Everything, TV, Phone, Internet, goes out when it rains....ok maybe that a florida thing, i let it slide. Now they have random drops , like at 11am on a friday. no phone , no tv no internet. i called and asked what going on? he calmly replys like its no big deal, "oh were doing some maintness on some wires, you be back on in an hr." WTF? and thats the excuse they give me everytime, happens at lest 2 a month. Makes no sense to me.

629.10.2007 16:51

Originally posted by MMoReaper:
i had verizon for the logest then moved to Florida and HAD to take comcast for there the only cable company in the area. Apparently that knowlage has gone to there heads. There the worst company by far I've come across. Everything, TV, Phone, Internet, goes out when it rains....ok maybe that a florida thing, i let it slide. Now they have random drops , like at 11am on a friday. no phone , no tv no internet. i called and asked what going on? he calmly replys like its no big deal, "oh were doing some maintness on some wires, you be back on in an hr." WTF? and thats the excuse they give me everytime, happens at lest 2 a month. Makes no sense to me.
Exactly, it'll go out at random times for me too... I wouldn't mind so much if it were just the internet and tv, but the phone service is necessary for me...

729.10.2007 17:09

All I can say is YEAH RIIIIGGGHHHTTT. I do not have Comcast but have seen plenty of complaints about it. One huge one is where people are cut from service after exceeding a non-disclosed monthly MB transfer limit. There are other complaints I have read about this company that would cause me to stay clear no matter how much speed they may offer me. Comcast is not available in my location yet but if it becomes so I will stick with DSL.

They use some of the most childish excuses to cover thier behinds. Anyone can see through their lies and if they can't they deserve the abuse they get from that company. Of course they only way to send the picture that enough is enough is to create a boycott. Everyone leave comcast internet or even cable if possible. From all I have read about and heard about them they are the most abusive Tech company out there.

-Del

829.10.2007 17:20

@MMoreaper

The stuff going out after rain is related. I had this problem when I was on Adelphia internet (before comcast bought it). After 3 months of complaining and 4 different techs comming out they figured it out. The first 3 techs just came over and hooked up thier device to test the connection and it would pass with great numbers. The fourth tech actually walked up to the end of my driveway and opened thier little box up there. Turned out there was bad corosion on the connection. The box had been leaking so when the connector got wet it would not allow conectivity. He replaced the connector and re-weatherproofed the box. Since then I had no problems after rain or strong wind.

Remember on important thing. To them the customer knows nothing and is an idiot. Good luck getting to look into the transfer box. Thought I would mention this to you.

-Del

929.10.2007 17:30

Originally posted by nintenut:
Switching to Verizon internet next month, I'm sick of Comcasts crap... The TV and phone still have a 1-year commitment deal on 'em, so I can't switch those yet...
You do realize you're not locked into a contract for those 2 things right? You're just in one of their promo packages & can leave whenever you want to go spend more money elsewhere. None of Comcast's promos are contracts (except for a couple from Dish buybacks a few years ago).

1029.10.2007 17:42

Quote:
Originally posted by nintenut:
Switching to Verizon internet next month, I'm sick of Comcasts crap... The TV and phone still have a 1-year commitment deal on 'em, so I can't switch those yet...
You do realize you're not locked into a contract for those 2 things right? You're just in one of their promo packages & can leave whenever you want to go spend more money elsewhere. None of Comcast's promos are contracts (except for a couple from Dish buybacks a few years ago).
They wouldn't let me cancel, the rep. said I was locked in until 2008... I'll try again, if that guy was lying I suppose I shouldn't be surprised...

1129.10.2007 18:41

FiOS isnt available in my area, and switching to DSL will mean I need to hookup a phone line, so I'm stuck with the monopoly of CONcast.

I need more alternatives.

1229.10.2007 19:02

I, too, had Comcast. I didn't have a whole lot of choice, unfortunately. My house has very poor phone lines, and Comcast is the only cable company that serves the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area of Michigan. When I first had their service, they were great; the promotional offer was acceptable, the digital cable service with DVR was very nice, and the broadband speed was pretty decent. However, once the promotional rate expired, I started receiving bills for about $140 each month, the DVR would purge itself, seemingly at random, and we experienced outages lasting an hour or more on a fairly regular basis.

Enter: AT&T U-Verse. We now have fibre service from them, with more channels, a significantly faster upload speed, no bittorent absurdity (of which I'm aware, anyway - I've had it running for a while with no issues whatsoever) and we pay $50 less per month. The download speed isn't quite as nice (I get 3 MBps instead of Comcast's supposed 8) but frankly I don't notice a difference.

It's kind of funny, really. I absolutely hated AT&T as of just a few years ago (thanks to crappy home phone service), but it's amazing what can happen when something becomes the lesser of two evils.

1329.10.2007 19:06

woops. Mbps, not MBps.

Dare to dream, eh?

1430.10.2007 2:17
cousinkix
Inactive

Quote:
It's kind of funny, really. I absolutely hated AT&T as of just a few years ago (thanks to crappy home phone service).
I know what you mean. It took me 6 months before a human being responded to fix a billing error. Then, the old AT&T spent a fortune sending me a dozen $5 refund checks. I never cashed any of them, getting a kick of the idea that it costs them even more to send out in the first place.

The new AT&T is really the former Pacific Bell in a new wrapper. Their customer service is better than the old company by a long shot...
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 Oct 2007 @ 2:18

1530.10.2007 4:02

I'm hoping Fiber Optics will be here soon

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 Oct 2007 @ 4:02




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1630.10.2007 19:34
nobrainer
Inactive

There is a way to get around this filtering of p2p or usenet ect,

what you do is rout all your torrents through an encrypted proxy network, this is something i have to do.

http://howto.wired.com/wiredhowtos/index...y;category=Play

what you need to do is create a encrypted tunnel.

here is tor's page for configuring uTorrent and Azureus. i works great and looks just like http traffic on port 80 so no more throttling!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 30 Oct 2007 @ 19:35

1731.10.2007 0:27
WierdName
Inactive

So it's out in the open now. I wonder how many lawsuits they are gonna get.

Originally posted by MMoReaper:
Now they have random drops , like at 11am on a friday. no phone , no tv no internet. i called and asked what going on?
Just out of curiosity, how did you call?

1831.10.2007 19:24
duke8888
Inactive

I hope they get a class actionsuit...

192.11.2007 16:41
frankacne
Inactive

Comcast are just another Dinosaur like ageing rock bands well past their sell by date. If i thought for one moment that my isp was throttling down my link (no i dont use torrents but realise they have many legitimate uses) i would dump them PDQ, and would advise others to do same. Fortunately there are new providers coming online with more realistic attitudes towards their service and customers.

202.11.2007 22:26
egm47
Inactive

Well, I'm stuck with Comcast and have no other choice. I know for a fact that they are screwing not only p2p, but also different upload storage sites for any type of video's.

I'm not into porn but I'm into trying to supplement my Social Security
Disability income by uploading amateur clips to Megarotic.com. When their system sees that its a video format,and going to Megarotic, my upload speed drops from 100k down to 7k and will stay at that speed for at least 5 min. And I'm paying for 8mb\768k.

I read an article that said they were slowing all traffic to any storage site that was a video sharing storage site.

I need the income and this is killing me.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 02 Nov 2007 @ 22:30

214.11.2007 23:35

Well, I guess I'm facing the lesser of the evils situation as well, but in my version of the story, Comcast actually wins. I live in Florida and had BellSouth (it's now "The New AT&T"). During the hurricanes of a couple of years ago, we had a x3 service (home phone, cellular, and cable TV) through BellSouth. Due to the hurricanes, Bellsouth apparently didn't receive our monthly payment. The IMMEDIATELY shut off our service. We were never late before and have this ultimate, supreme credit rating because we always pay our bills and creditors on time. All they had to do was look at our address and they should've realized why the payment was likely late and that it likey wasn't our fault. The lack of cable TV and home phone didn't affect us because those lines went down in the storms (and remained down for weeks), but to cut off anyone's cellular service during an official, federal disaster is just ridiculous (and should be illegal). I wouldn't go with BellSouth (or AT&T now) if they were the only service offered to me. I'd do without.

At our previous residence, we were on a neighborhood fiber ring. Every time the power would go out, we'd lose all HD channels. I'd have to wait until enough people called in to complain, and then they'd send a tech out to the neighborhood junction building to reboot something, and then we'd get the HD channels back. The internet was fast, but it's about 6x slower than Comcast. Since they didn't have modems on each house, at every power outtage anyone with a router in their house would have a MAC address issue on their respective port back at the neighborhood junction building. Again, I'd have to wait until enough people called and complained that the internet was down, or I'd have to demand to talk to a technical supervisor to get the port bounced so it would recognize my router again. They also offered phone service (VOIP), but it was so new back then that it was a service support nightmare, so they dropped it. Because we all had to go back to BellSouth, everyone in the neighborhood started having problems with BellSouth and Internet/Cable provider having a virtual war over the wire pairs coming into your house. BellSouth would come out to hook up your phone, and end up disconnecting your house from the fiber ring, claiming they needed the wire pairs for phone service. Then the internet/cable company would come out to fix the problem and your phone wouldn't work. Of course, you wouldn't find out about any of this until after the technician was long gone, and then each company would try to charge you a service call fee, claiming it was a wiring problem inside your house. To add to that fiasco, if you were building a new home in this relatively new neighborhood, and had your security system activated (which included monitoring via the phone line), they security company kept screwing with the same wire pairs, taking out everything all over again. It was a nightmare.

In contrast, we are now in another new home in a different neighborhood, and have all three services (phone, internet, cable) via Comcast. I have had no bittorent issues so far -- the download speed is frequently exponentially faster than at my previous house, which was on a neighborhood fiber ring. I don't normally like putting all my eggs in one basket like this, but so far all three services have been rather reliable.

Like I said in previous posts to other articles on this same topic, the biggest problem with Comcast is if you have any problems. Their customer support people are worthless. I've yet to find one that can resolve any problems. I always tell them that I'm a recently retired network engineer, so spare me the usual ridiculous round of questions about "Is your computer turned on?" or "Did you reboot the modem?" One would think they would be happy to finally have a knowledgeable customer calling them, but no...I guess they think I'm going to steal their job or something. In my experience, Comcast has been a rather nice service, but again, pray you don't have any problems because you will play hell getting them resolved.

226.11.2007 8:13

GernBlan, you give them WAY too much credit. Some jack-ass manager made a decision to cancle accounts after 1 missed payment. It is probably costing them less than a buck for the electricity to maintain your service for an extra month.

236.11.2007 10:15

Originally posted by Mez:
GernBlan, you give them WAY too much credit. Some jack-ass manager made a decision to cancle accounts after 1 missed payment. It is probably costing them less than a buck for the electricity to maintain your service for an extra month.
Very true on giving them way too much credit. I think even you are, because it was likely just a data entry clerk who canceled our account or even some automated feature of their accounting system. A manager probably wouldn't know how to turn off our service, even if his job/life depended on knowing how. A manager didn't know how to turn it back on when we called them and told them what was going on.

I do want to be clear -- we were NOT late with a payment or missed a payment. A hurricane hit this area 1-2 days after we mailed the payment (along with the rest of our bills because we were worried about this very thing happening due to the hurricane's forecasted track). The payment was actually sent early because of the hurricanes. Regardless, it apparently didn't reach them in time, because they shut off our service within 24 hours of the payment being past due. Here's the CRAZY part: We were in a 3-year contract with them, and to set up such a contract we had to provide a credit card as a backup method of payment. They never even attempted to charge the credit card. Since electricity was down everywhere around us (gas stations, grocery stores, no cable, no phone lines since after 12 hours the backup generators go offline, etc.) we just assumed the backup generators for the cell towers went offline, too, until our neighbors who had BellSouth (Cingular) cell service told us that their phones were working fine. We were furious. Oh, and where was the payment sent? Tampa, Florida -- which was hit worse by the hurricanes than in North Florida where we lived. Apparently, they shut down the Tampa office, rerouted everything somewhere else, and didn't consider the common sense fact that ALL payments from Florida were likely late that month. Idiots.

I will go out of my way to avoid using Cingular, BellSouth, The New AT&T, etc., since they are all now the same company. You know it has to be a bad experience when I'm actually more satisfied with Comcast than I am AT&T! Haha.

246.11.2007 17:15

They are just going to end up a political yo yo :)

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