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Print 61 comment(s) - last by Pythias.. on Nov 10 at 2:02 PM

Tests reveal Comcast meddles with P2P network connections

Independent testing performed by the AP has revealed 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 DSLreports.com, 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 AP’s 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.


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RE: Bye bye Comcast
By darkpaw on 10/20/2007 9:20:40 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, I'm quite happy. Screw the pirates, more bandwidth for people that don't P2P everything they can get their greedy paws on.

As for blizzard, using Bit Torrent for patching was the stupidest thing ever. So much easier just to get their patches from Fileplanet.


RE: Bye bye Comcast
By Hase0 on 10/22/2007 11:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As for blizzard, using Bit Torrent for patching was the stupidest thing ever. So much easier just to get their patches from Fileplanet.


That cost money and Fileplanet can be a pain in the ass sometimes, not to mention using bit torrent for distributing patches that are used by millions is a really good idea, especially when the files are so huge because the sheer amount of users allows a lot of seeders which = high download speed, and they can save a lot of money this way. They also offer direct downloads for scrubs who cant use bit torrent btw.


RE: Bye bye Comcast
By totallycool on 10/22/2007 11:56:49 AM , Rating: 1
After paying 80$ for the game, and 15$ monthly for the subscription, I really dont wanna help them reduce the costs. Why would i want to share my bandwidth, so that blizz can save their money.

I really hate their torrent patcher, usually just download it thru filenet or disable p2p. (Have you noticed how the check mark says, this would degrad performance, and no where it says that it would also upload from my machine :P)


RE: Bye bye Comcast
By Hase0 on 10/22/2007 3:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
After paying 80$ for the game, and 15$ monthly for the subscription, I really dont wanna help them reduce the costs. Why would i want to share my bandwidth, so that blizz can save their money.


The $80 is for the initial development cost's plus some profit for game, and the $15 is suppose to be for the content and updates they always do, and probably server hosting, but i do agree that $15 a month is lame. So if you don't want them to host primarily through torrents, they would probably raise your monthly subscription fee up and say we need to include the distribution now because you guys were crying too much.


RE: Bye bye Comcast
By Pythias on 11/10/2007 2:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Screw the pirates, more bandwidth for people that don't P2P everything they can get their greedy paws on.


This may come as a shock to you, but there ARE legitimate uses for p2p.


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