Comcast Throttles BitTorrent Traffic

Afraid of excessive bandwidth usage, ISPs have been throttling BitTorrent traffic for almost two years now. While most ISPs simply limit the available bandwidth for BitTorrent, Comcast has now taken it one step further, and is actively preventing its customers from seeding, if the latest user reports are to be believed. Comcast is not alone in this: Canadian ISPs Cogeco and Rogers use similar methods on a smaller scale. These more aggressive throttling methods can't be circumvented by simply enabling encryption in a BitTorrent client, as Comcast is reportedly using an application from Sandvine to throttle BitTorrent traffic; the application apparently breaks every (seed) connection with new peers after a few seconds if it's not a Comcast user, making it virtually impossible to seed a file, especially in small swarms without any Comcast users. Although some users report that they can still connect to a few peers, most of the Comcast customers chiming in have seen a significant drop in upload speed.

Sandvine's throttling works like this: a few seconds after one connects to a peer in the BitTorrent swarm, Sandvine sends a peer reset message (RST flag) and the upload immediately stops. Most vulnerable are users in a relatively small swarm where one only has a few peers to which to upload. However, only seeding seems to be prevented, as most users are able to upload to others while the download is still going; once the download is finished, though, the upload speed drops to 0.

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BitTorrent Accounts for 35% of All Internet Traffic. BitTorrent service is one of the most useful Internet services today. How ISP can cut most popular Internet service from its customers? Comcast just created another way to loose its customers. Looks like they are going same path as AOL by offering service for newbies who don't know better.

well, if this were in norway, you'd see me fleeing to a competitor of my isp if they where to throttle the BT traffic. I guess,well, ALOT of people would flee from the throttling ISP since BT is in many ways going commercial, with leagal downloads and everything, it would be a BAD move for any ISP trying to make money of their users...

So where is the real source go to Torrentfreak it directs you to DSL reports, Then DSL Reports re-directs to same story on digg, and then that story takes you back to torrentfreak ?

I think if you signed up before they put this in place and your minimum contract hasn't run out - and it didnt say anything about limiting what you use the internet for, you could either terminate your contract early without cost on the grounds they arent supplying what they agreed to. If your 12 month contract is up ... leave if it effects you.

The resolution is simple: leave Comcast and go to another provider (if there's such a possibility, of course).

Everyone here obviously has no idea why Comcast is doing this.

They are a media company. A rather large one.

They are being used by Warner Brothers, another media company, to sell movies. AFAIK, Comcast isn't making a dime off of WB, yet their network has been supporting WB...until now.

Wake up, folks. They don't care about your warez, they don't care about your music or pr0n, they don't care what individuals are doing.

They are trying to stuff their competition. Close them out. Choke them.

When you own the waterway, you decide which ships get to sail thru.

Comcast has decided what you are going to watch on their pipes. And it will not be the competition.

You're not saying goodbye to BitTorrent. You are saying goodbye to choice.

Actually you guys are very lucky compared to me. I live in the boonies where there is nothing but two options for internet service Dial-Up or Satellite through Hughesnet.

At least with Dial-Up I would have a decent connection and could download a much as I wanted albeit slow 56k speeds.

With Satellite internet through Hughesnet is where we've officially entered into a hellish contract with absolutely ****ty service.

Hughesnet goes by the Fair Access policy which indeed is not fair at least one bit. On the home/consumer plan they can throttle your bandwidth after exceeding 200 Megabytes in 24 hours. If you exceed the 200 Meg cap be it web browsing or downloading they can lower your service speeds/bandwidth to essentially worse than Dial-Up, at about 2 KB/s making web browsing or downloading impossible for a complete 24 hours. Once your Fap'd you're in the fapper crapper for an entire 24 hours with a completely useless service.

Granted they give you a 3 hour window between 3am and 6am EST to download whatever you need without it applying to your usage threshold, it's still not worth it since most people can't stay up that late.

To make matters even worse there are now phantom downloads which no one can explain especially hughesnet's crappy tech support outsourced to india who don't understand anything that's beyond reading from a script or book. That's right, you don't even really have to use the service and sometimes it becomes barely useless in mere minutes due to un-explained phantom downloads which have mysteriously used up the entire 200 Meg threshold even when not using the service.

Torrents, forget torrents. They are nearly impossible due to the heavy IP routing hughesnet does, the fact the modem is esentially a router and that you don't get a static ip address with the home/consumer plan. It's almost impossible to connect to any seeds/peers. When I happen to connect to any seeds/peers as well as get a steady download going the speeds are drastically slow which makes torrenting essentially a PITA and not worthwhile or worth the time.

Also encryption or any other tricks used with other ISP's Do Not work with Hughesnet Satellite Internet.

I know this discussion is about Comcast and other ISP's throttling, but I wanted to say the situation could be much much more worse than what is is right now for you. Consider yourselves at least lucky you go a somewhat decent ISP you can rely on that works much more decently than what I've got and a somewhat usable service. For me it's either Hughes Satellite or Dial-Up which Dial-Up seems to be much more reliable, but I opted for Hughesnet since I wanted/needed to complete downloads and browse a bit faster when not in Fap mode than what Dial-Up offer. Hughes is undoubtedly the most crappy ISP or Fake broadband ISP anyone can have. It's Broadband, Bound and Gagged! Pay no attention to the lying deceiving commercials they dish out :P

No one should be seeding on a residential cable or DSL account. Those accounts were never meant to do any hosting at all, read your Terms of Service and quit crying.

don't be so mean about it. if somebody is seeding something for the time they are downloading it that's one thing. If they are seeding something all day 24/7 but they alreayd have that file complete then that's different. just like it's a difference if you host PS3 games or something like that on your account and then running a server all day all night.

I don't know if this is all of comcast though. In atlanta I haven't noticed my speeds affected at all. I don't stay on their all day and mostly only download stuff one time a week.

If downloading from Giganews was like eating at a four-star restaurant, then downloading from torrents would be scraping up some roadkill for dinner.

With that aside, Comcast's business practices are an atrocity (but their speeds are decent).

Thats total bull****, the BitTorrent protocol needs to be improved to stop these kinds of things and programs like "ZipTorrent" used by the MPAA to slow down torrents.

As to any decision like this from Comcast, there are negatives and positives: the upside is that it limits Comcast's liabilities in connection with warez through the BitTorrent cloud and controls their side of the connection for those who are seeding warez or media content like music or videos. The downside to this is that there are many legitimate uses for BitTorrent, such as 100% legal distribution of various flavors of Linux and other F/OSS bits.

It's sad that Comcast (who happens to be my provider) has taken this fairly draconian step, but it was inevitable. Now, if Comcast can take that kind of business decision about the BitTorrent cloud I hope that they will make a similar decision and (somehow) clamp-down on obviously compromized customer's connection that are being used for botnets.

Comcast customers should call Tech Support. Every tech support call costs Comcast MUCH more than they save by throttling upload speeds (think about the cost / hour of a tech support person versus the cost of bandwidth / month).

If every customer called tech support, worked through their troubleshooting, escalated to supervisors, etc., you can be damn sure Comcast bean counters would do the math in your favor in a few months.

Not only do we all get really ****ty upload speeds, but now they are throttled. Ridiculous. The next gen of Internet is going to require us to have two-way connections. What are these providers going to do when that happens? Sigh.

The day a viable alternative to Comcast shows up in town will be the day I quit using their horrible services forever.

I don't even use torrents, but this is a bad precedent to set.

Move to Sweden. None of that crap. 24-100Mb connections with no restrictions or caps for a low monthly cost. Several providers to choose from.

I can't even imagine having to cope with stuff like that.

i've heard of a iptables command thats supposed to help, can anybody tell me how to use iptables on a dlink di-624 stock firmware?
pm me if you can help,
thanks!

Heh our cable provider in western Canada (Shaw) made a half-ass attempt that was easily circumvented with encrypted packets. I certainly hope they don't get any new ideas...

at work we pay $1300 for a dedicated 3Mbit symetric line a month... that is the only time you will ever get true in monitored, unthrottled and unmeetered bandwidth... when you have a dedicated connection that isn't a residential one

neufuse said,
at work we pay $1300 for a dedicated 3Mbit symetric line a month... that is the only time you will ever get true in monitored, unthrottled and unmeetered bandwidth... when you have a dedicated connection that isn't a residential one

Actually, the high cost is for the dedicated upload speed in your symetric line.

kcobra98 said,

Actually, the high cost is for the dedicated upload speed in your symetric line.


The keyword is actually dedicated... symetric doesn't increase the cost much, but when you put the service contract on the line, and get a dedicated line the price skyrockets... we had our choice between a shared symetric line (basically cable type inf.) for only $450 a month or get a dedicated fiber optic line coming in through smart jacks which as an "unlimited" surcharge on it and the symetric fee and monitoring service fee's ontop of Verizon's dedicated line to the CO fee's...

I have 2mbit DSL at home, the UL and DL speeds are the same (2048/2048: That makes it SDSL, right?)

I've never noticed any dip in d/l or u/l speed, though. Always constant, hovering at 2mbit/sec.

#4 Posted by +*John* on 18 Aug 2007 - 07:22
Solution seems obvious to me. Increase prices to cope with increasing costs due to customer demand. If people want to use 500GB per month in bandwidth, charge them for it. Simple

Ah no it isn't that simple when you sign up you aren't signed into a contract that say you can on use so much bandwidth per month for a particular internet application. Comcast isn't a corperate network where they can filter what ever they want when ever they want, it's a service to residental people and no one signed up to be censored.

I agree with altermind If any one is on Comcast cable they should fight back there's no reason for that kind of crap, theres a reason you pay almost $50 a month for that service and they shouldn't be allowed to be a bunch whinney pricks just because you use more bandwidth than other customers. It's like saying you can no longer watch espn because you have it on all the time and they can't share that signal to every one, well they need to figure out to make it happen you pay for the service enough said.

oh great.... time to move on. ridiculous how in my area i was with Mediaone, then they got bought over by AT&T, then they sold to Comcast. same cable line in the same house for over 7 years now. now i have to check for other providers in the area.

I'll miss my 8 mbit speed line though!

Sad thing for us Comcast users, they've made a practical monopoly here in Chicago...it's either Comcast 8mbps cable, or AT&T 3mbps DSL...but I haven't seen the effect of this. Keeps seeding*

I hope Verizon FiOS comes to save the day!

CrimsonRedMk said,
Sad thing for us Comcast users, they've made a practical monopoly here in Chicago...it's either Comcast 8mbps cable, or AT&T 3mbps DSL...but I haven't seen the effect of this. Keeps seeding*

I hope Verizon FiOS comes to save the day!

not just chicago, its exactly the same thing here. And this news about comcast is not surprising. They've been doing alot of screwy stuff. They kick me off my connection, for trying to connect with EFNET.

...? or... AT&T (which used to be Bellsouth down here) could start offering DSL at 6Mb speeds. Like they do in the southeast.

...but then Comcast would counter with 12Mb speeds. Like they do in the southeast. I really hope my internet connection doesn't goto crap now that AT&T has taken over.

What are you paying a month?

Well, I guess I can stop playing with my router settings now. This type of connection problem started a few weeks ago and I was blaming my router. I'm going to call on Monday and if they are doing this I will be moving to another company, lucky for me there are options where I live.

I think its false advertistment for a company to offer certain bandwidth (only on the hopes everyone isn't online at the same time)..if you offer certain bandwidth...its should be constant rather one is online or every customer you getting paid from....some companies even re-sale excess bandwidth...but do they offer their customers a credit/refund.....

Solution seems obvious to me. Increase prices to cope with increasing costs due to customer demand. If people want to use 500GB per month in bandwidth, charge them for it. Simple

Fritzly said,

Not really; if I pay for "Unlimited" I expect to get it.
Otherwise it is a fraud.

You actually don't pay for unlimited... Comcast doesn't say unlimited anywhere in their ad's or marketing material... they stoped that years ago when they started this process with throttleing and kicking off high bandwidth users...


You actually don't pay for unlimited... Comcast doesn't say unlimited anywhere in their ad's or marketing material... they stoped that years ago when they started this process with throttleing and kicking off high bandwidth users...[/quote]
I was not referring to Comcast specifically; my comment was a general one. Btw I do not use Comcast. I had cable service with them and I ditched.

No, what we need is a truly COMPETITIVE marketplace.

This isn't about their costs, but their maximizing profits.

In the few areas where people have more choices, no one is throttling, because they lose users as soon as they do.

Yeah no kidding, same thing here on cogeco. I haven't been able to seed for well over a year now. There have been 1 or 2 peers i've been able to upload at 50k to, and thats within the one year stretch. Seeding for registered sites? Forget it, 1-2k/s max, and it resets every few seconds. What Comcast just started doing now, has been going on for ages here. Encryption does nothing as well. And we can't upload while downloading either, it doesn't matter.