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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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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.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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