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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 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.

"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
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