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As more sophisticated tools for traffic shaping are unveiled, the question soon becomes which service providers aren't throttling customer traffic

Adding itself to the small-but-growing list of ISPs that admit to traffic shaping, Canada-based Bell Sympatico has confessed to using “traffic management” on heavy users “during peak hours.”

“We are now using a Internet Traffic Management to restrict accounts,” wrote an unnamed forum administrator on Bell Sympatico’s support forums. According to the administrator, Bell Sympatico’s traffic shaping affects an unmentioned number of applications and protocols, including BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, Kazaa, eDonkey, eMule and WinMX.

A Bell Sympatico Manager chimed in immediately afterwards, explaining that “there continues to be phenomenal growth of consumer Internet traffic throughout the world” and that “Bell is using Internet Traffic Management to ensure we deliver bandwidth fairly to our customers during peak Internet usage.”

According to the Manager, the bandwidth cap was introduced sometime last year and “doesn't affect the vast majority of [Bell’s] customers.” One concerned user asked if the traffic management will be removed as network capacity increases, to which the administrator replied that he “can’t answer this question,” and noted that it would be decided as the issue arises.

Internet service providers have found themselves under an increasing burden as bandwidth-intensive internet services like online video and file-sharing have proliferated. While the true volume is unknown, many think that 30%-50% of all internet traffic is P2P-related, with a recent survey from traffic-management company Ipoque pushing that number towards an astonishing 90%.

In response to this, many providers have employed a variety of techniques to limit customers who are deemed to be using more than their “fair share,” a tactic that has been the subject of much debate as part of the controversy surrounding “network neutrality.”

While traffic shaping is by far the most common, a few companies have employed more exotic methods: Comcast is thought to impose an invisible 600 GB bandwidth limit on its “unlimited” internet service, and a recent study conducted by the AP found that the ISP impersonates BitTorrent clients for the purposes of interfering with their connections.

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By sj420 on 11/10/2007 1:16:20 PM , Rating: 0
The thing people don't like is being promised a speed and not receiving even 10% of it.

Basically, if you are running ethernet broadband (and some other internet services) you are on a hub with your neighborhood. This means that even though they advertise "6megs down, 3 megs up" its your entire hub that gets that. Meaning you will barely see 1MB/s If anything they should sell based on KBP/S because thats the speeds I always see. Never have I seen over 1000KBP/S sustained. It always drops down to about 200-600. Most recently it won't even get up to 200, let alone DL at a good rate. Instead of waiting the

I think the companies are biting themselves in the ass, considering eventually people will get tired of their DSL speeds on broadband cable and either give up entirely or try and find a better service.

It seems this is a case of false advertising. Because though they are trying to prevent file sharing, they are preventing their customers from downloading normal files at any decent rate. Personally I have a feeling that with the times cable will become obsolete and some new service will pop-up that will be direct-to-consumer instead of hub based and will be blazing fast simply because of the direct connection. This method seems more difficult because of wiring, but technically they can use hubs to direct connect, instead of hub share. This would still be splitting the line and bandwidth on cable though.

Eventually people will get angry at their ISP's for forcing slow speeds onto them. Just like any other company, if they sell a service they should be trying their best to keep that service in tip top shape and even trying to make it better all the time. Instead they are now limiting their service to their PAYING consumers. This is something called bad business practice! Even though more people are getting online I doubt a large company such as comcast needs to filter traffic to maintain bandwidth. How about limit the business upgrade to actual businesses? Or possibly use the money to upgrade the company in all forms, and not buy your 6th yacht.

RE: Still
By sj420 on 11/10/2007 1:19:36 PM , Rating: 1
Finished sentence:

Instead of waiting the 5 minutes I figure it would take it takes 30 minutes. Or two hours. This shouldn't be happening on cable, even though this sounds a bit selfish considering the dial-up users out there, once you are on cable you would understand. You get use to the speed and when it slows down it gets really unbarable.

P.S. Sorry for the double post, had to finish that sentence.

RE: Still
By Alexstarfire on 11/10/2007 1:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
I whole heartedly agree. When they advertise they say "up to" which I don't really have a problem with as long as it's not consistantly under the advertised speeds. In fact, most of the time it's over advertised speeds for me. I guess the people in my hub don't really use the internet that much.

The thing about the stats they give for P2P sharing is just retarded. Does it really matter how many people actually P2P share? NO. It all of the files people share were on dedicated servers, like or, then it'd still be THE EEXACT SAME AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC, if not more actually. The thing is, the businesses that run those dedicated servers pay a very high price for getting the services they need. Consumers essentially don't. Basically, we found a way to circumvent the limitations that have consumer grade cable gives us and the companies are getting angry over it because they are losing money. So what does every whiny child do? They act selfish and try to stop us from cicumventing it.

They have no reason to actually throttle our P2P traffic. P2P has it's uses, such as those who can't afford business grade cable service for a dedicated server. They are essentially just throttling the internet, but in a different fashion. It's not throttling the HTTP port, but you can get basically ANYTHING from P2P. The only difference is you don't have a browser interpretting the files and such.

In the end it all comes down to money. The ISPs don't want to have to upgrade the infrastructure becuase it costs money. I can understand that, considering that the US is huge compared to the other highly developed internet countries, like South Korea and Japan. However, this is no excuse for not doing what they are supposed to do. If they want to throttle ILLEGAL TRAFFIC ONLY, then be my guest; hoever, this is far from what they are doing. They just want to suck money out of people while they still can. And it'll work.

Comcast throttles P2P as well and I think it's downright wrong. It should be illegal IMO. There are only three reasons why I'm still with Comcast. One, my parents are paying for it and they don't really notice. Two, Comcast is the only service in my area that offers speeds over 1.5Mbps. And three, my P2P servies haven't been slowed down by them yet. Many of my files still coast at over 1MB/s. Some don't, but when I'm connected to 10 out of 1000 seeds then it's no wonder.

RE: Still
By Christopher1 on 11/10/2007 9:36:35 PM , Rating: 4
Well, I don't mind them throttling p2p if it is to make other people's applications run better, and to allow people to still get to the internet while I am Azureus-ing it.

However, the things they are doing now (forging reset packets, etc.).... those are getting on my nerves, and are making me quite unhappy with Comcast, even though I can download things like I used to..... I cannot seed some things like fan-made movies like I used to so that other people can get them faster.

RE: Still
By Alexstarfire on 11/10/2007 11:08:46 PM , Rating: 3
That is quite true. Once I'm done downloading I can't seed anymore. I have a big problem with them throttling my speeds so others may POSSIBLY run better. I mean, if I'm getting better than advertised speeds then I don't have a problem with setting my advertised speeds as my limit. I mean, the extra bandwidth is just that.... extra. But who are they to say that someone else's internet traffic is more important than mine? If they want guaranteed speeds then they should pay for it just like the businesses do. As I said in my last post, I don't expect to get my maximum speeds all the time, and most of the time I don't anyways. If network traffic is slowing me down then so be it, but if I'm being slowed down just for using P2P then that's just retarded. It'd be like your cell phone company restricting how long your conversation is just so others can get better service during peak hours. Not exactly the same, but I think you get the idea. You wouldn't take that, now would you?

RE: Still
By Christopher1 on 11/11/2007 12:19:22 AM , Rating: 1
Not exactly the same situations there, but you are right that we shouldn't really take either situation.

The problem with p2p, at least according to the companies, is that when someone is using p2p the 'separate connections' number skyrockets and their servers have a hard time handling that, according to someone who works for Comcast whose blog I was reading yesterday.

If that is the case...... then just adding 'bandwidth' and stuff won't help.... they actually need to re-do the whole system, in order to make them able to handle those massive numbers of connections.

RE: Still
By sj420 on 11/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: Still
By clovell on 11/12/2007 11:50:03 AM , Rating: 1
Cable internet works on a shared connection - don't expect dedicated bandwidth from it. Do you really think these ISPs are throttling back P2P traffic at random or arbitrary points throughout the day? More than likely, they're doing it as-needed - like if you're dl'ing season 2 of Heroes, and your neighbor is trying to grab an album of his grandson off of snapfish.

RE: Still
By xsilver on 11/11/2007 10:14:21 AM , Rating: 2
Just FYI, I think your cell phone company does exactly that.
Say if you're in a cell tower that can handle 500 users.
If the line is currently maxed out and you're on it and have been on it the longest. The next person calling on your tower would likley kill your call.

The reason we dont see this often is because the cell towers usually have capacity way over what expected usage is.
Bandwith capacity however does not have that much overhead and for users too much is never enough.
With the cell phone thing, the best way to test it is on new years eve. Try calling in a downtown area at 11:40pm or so, Im pretty sure you wont be able to have more than a 5 minute conversation before it cuts out.

RE: Still
By Alexstarfire on 11/11/2007 4:57:13 PM , Rating: 1
Man, I'm glad I don't pay for my own stuff yet. With all the crap I'm hearing I'm thinking about saying f*ck every company. I might just have to go stone age on there ass. Might have VoIP or something and that's it. Haven't heard anything too bad about VoIP yet.

RE: Still
By clovell on 11/12/2007 11:51:00 AM , Rating: 1
It uses a broadband internet connection.

RE: Still
By kinnoch on 11/10/2007 2:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
"This means that even though they advertise "6megs down, 3 megs up" its your entire hub that gets that. Meaning you will barely see 1MB/s If anything they should sell based on KBP/S because thats the speeds I always see. Never have I seen over 1000KBP/S sustained. It always drops down to about 200-600. Most recently it won't even get up to 200, let alone DL at a good rate."

They advertise 6Mbps (Mega BITS), not 6MBps (Mega BYTES). There are generally 8 bits in a byte, so its really just a marketing thing to make them seem faster. At 6Mbps, you shouldn't see more than 750KBps sustained.

RE: Still
By Lifted on 11/10/2007 3:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
There are generally 8 bits in a byte


RE: Still
By BladeVenom on 11/10/2007 4:13:09 PM , Rating: 4

Old protocols and older computers might not, but most of them time byte means 8 bits.

RE: Still
By Lifted on 11/10/2007 6:05:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, I looked it up. It's odd that in all of my comp sci classes it was never mentioned by an profs. Perhaps it was in some texts but I just didn't care enough to remember.

RE: Still
By plewis00 on 11/11/2007 7:55:51 AM , Rating: 2
On old modems and with older transmission protocols you could have up to 11 bits per 'transmitted' byte, a start bit, stop bits and a parity bit (optional). I was always taught to call it 10 bits per transmitted byte that way the calculations are easy to guesstimate (divide by 10, easy for most people) and it averages out depending on what protocol you are using. Hence yes, generally it is 8 bits per byte but when you are transmitting it down a line it all changes.

RE: Still
By Christopher1 on 11/10/2007 9:38:45 PM , Rating: 1
Hmm...... that explains the speeds that I get then.... just joking!

I knew this and anyone who has had a basic computer class would know this. Anytime you see bits in a suffix, divide by 8 and you get the real Kb speed of the thing in question or megabyte speed of the thing in question.

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