Comcast Screws with File-Sharing Traffic
October 19, 2007 8:07 PM
comment(s) - last by
Tests reveal Comcast meddles with P2P network connections
Independent testing performed by the
that Comcast actively interferes
with peer-to-peer traffic going to and from its high-speed internet subscribers, by impersonating users’ machines and sending fake disconnect signals.
While traffic shaping – the act of throttling a given piece of Internet traffic based on its type, like BitTorrent or VOIP – is becoming increasingly common amongst ISPs interested in preserving quality of service, it seems that Comcast is one of the first companies that actively impersonate individual connections. Most providers will simply slow down some traffic in favor of others, or block a protocol’s port number to prevent it from functioning.
According to the report, Comcast’s technology affects users across many different networks, including e-Donkey, Gnutella, and BitTorrent. Robb Topolski, a former software quality engineer at Intel and Comcast subscriber, began to notice unexplainable performance problems with his P2P software. Posting to the popular forum
, he collected similar reports from other Comcast users around the country.
In the case of BitTorrent, Comcast’s technology only kicks in when a user’s client has a complete copy of the file and is uploading it to other users, and not while downloading.
Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas would not comment directly on the matter, instead only saying, “Comcast does not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent.”
There are currently very few regulations regarding traffic shaping, and none that specifically cover Comcast’s particular use. The FCC says that while consumers are entitled to run the applications and services of their choice, they are subject to measures of “reasonable network management” by their ISPs. The closest directive governing Comcast’s behavior – which still doesn’t directly apply – would be found in AT&T’s conditions for acquiring BellSouth, where it had to agree not to manipulate traffic in any way based on its origin – not service type.
Comcast’s “traffic discrimination” has important ramifications for the growing number of services that are leveraging P2P as a means to distribute large files quickly and cheaply. A company like Blizzard Entertainment, who relies on BitTorrent for distributing
World of Warcraft
updates that often measure hundreds of megabytes in size, may have trouble reaching its players if it or they are behind a Comcast internet connection. This problem will only worsen if other ISPs decide on a similar course of action.
Ashwin Navin, co-founder and president of BitTorrent Inc. confirmed the
findings, and noted that he has seen similar practices from several Canadian ISPs.
“They're using sophisticated technology to degrade service, which probably costs them a lot of money. It would be better to see them use that money to improve service,” said Navin.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Is this not common knowledge?
10/19/2007 11:22:49 PM
I would have thought technologies such as those from Sandvine were becoming more common at ISPs. I know mine has recently begun using similar technology.
RE: Is this not common knowledge?
10/19/2007 11:59:34 PM
I'd assume all the broadband companies are doing it or something else similar while most have upped the maximum transfer speeds over the last decade slightly over time unfortunately they don't seem to be very sustainable and are throttled back majorly when downloading gigs and gigs of data and or as well as doing a lot of uploading data. For some reason upload speeds are heinous at best for broadband from what I can tell. I know my time warner road runner service appears to throttle bandwidth a lot whenever using bit torrent and p2p programs and has really terrible upload bandwidth compared to its download bandwidth.
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
Hulu to Hit $1 Billion in Revenue by End of Year
December 18, 2013, 1:35 PM
Harvard Undergrad Busted by Wi-Fi after Making Bomb Threat to Avoid Finals
December 18, 2013, 10:37 AM
San Francisco's Market Street Receives Free Outdoor Wi-Fi
December 17, 2013, 11:14 AM
Facebook Announces Auto-Play Video Advertising in Your News Feed
December 17, 2013, 10:00 AM
NSA Debates Granting Snowden Amnesty if He Keeps His Mouth Shut
December 16, 2013, 1:17 PM
Amazon's New "Pantry" Service to Compete with Costco, Sam's Club
December 13, 2013, 11:26 AM
Most Popular Articles
China's Lunar Rover Enters Orbit, Prepares for Historic Sat. Landing
December 13, 2013, 5:00 PM
Metro-Enabled Firefox Browser Expected to Land After Two Years of Work
December 12, 2013, 5:21 PM
The History of Normandy: How Nokia Plotted a Low-End Android Line
December 11, 2013, 8:12 PM
Ten Senators Sponsor Bill to Scrap Corn Ethanol Market Manipulation
December 13, 2013, 1:52 PM
China's Moon Rover Lands Safe and Sound, Starts Snapping Pics
December 16, 2013, 1:22 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
AT&T Explores $100B+ USD Deal to Acquire Vodafone's European Operations
Nov 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information