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Comcast Discloses Throttling Practices -- BitTorrent Targeted

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The Canadian    0

Comcast came clean with the Federal Communications Commission late Friday, detailing how it throttled and targeted peer-to-peer traffic -- maneuvers it has repeatedly denied.

The cable concern said (.pdf) it indeed hit "particular protocols that were generating disproportionate amounts of traffic." The peer-to-peer protocols, Comcast said, include Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack and Gnutella -- vehicles used to transport copyrighted material without the owners' permission.

On Aug. 1, when the FCC ordered it to abandon its throttling practices, Comcast denied that it was blocking any services including "peer-to-peer services" like BitTorrent or engaged in any blocking of services.

Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said at the time, "We are disappointed in the commission's divided conclusion because we believe that our network management choices were reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices and that we did not block access to websites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services."

By a 3-2 vote, the FCC concluded that Comcast monitored the content of its customers' internet connections and selectively blocked peer-to-peer connections in violation of network neutrality rules. The selective blocking of file sharing traffic interfered with users' rights to access the internet and to use applications of their choice, the commission said.

"Comcast's practices are not minimally intrusive, as the company claims, but rather are invasive and have significant effects," the commission said, demanding an end to the practices by year's end.

Comcast, which filed Friday's report to the FCC to comply with its Aug. 1 order, is appealing the ruling.

In Friday's report, Comcast said the throttling began " widescale deployment" in 2007.

The traffic was throttled using a Sandvine Policy Traffic Switch 8210:

"The Sandvine equipment has been used (1) to determine when the number of simultaneous unidirectional upload sessions for a particular P2P protocol in a particular geographic area reaches its pre-determined threshold, and (2) when a threshold is reached, to temporarily delay the initiation of any new unidirectional upload sessions for that protocol until the number of simultaneous unidirectional upload sessions drops below that threshold," Comcast wrote the FCC on Friday.

Contrary to the FCC, Comcast said it never inspects the contents of a user's files.

"For purposes of managing network congestion,8 the Sandvine PTS 8210 has been

configured to identify unidirectional P2P uploads for the protocols -- identified below -- that were determined to be the primary causes of upstream congestion.9 To do this, the Sandvine PTS uses technology that processes the addressing, protocol, and header information of a particular packet to determine the session type. The Sandvine PTSes, as deployed on Comcast's network, do not inspect the content. These devices only examine the relevant header information in the packet that indicates what type of protocol is being used (i.e., P2P, VoIP, e-mail, etc.).The equipment used does not read the contents of the message in order to determine whether the P2P packet is text, music, or video; listen to what is said in a VoIP packet; read the text of an email packet; identify whether any packet contains political speech, commercial speech, or entertainment; or try to discern whether packets are personal or business, legal or illicit, etc."

Comcast said that P2P traffic continues to comprise approximately half of all upstream traffic and in some locations, P2P traffic is as much as two-thirds of total upstream traffic. The data also show that, even for the most heavily used P2P protocols, more than 90 percent of these flows are unaffected by the "congestion management."

Fitzmaurice, in a statement Friday, said:

We manage our network for one reason: to deliver a superior, reliable, high-quality experience to every high-speed Internet customer, every time they use our service. As we previously announced in March, we are changing the way we manage network congestion by the end of this year. The new technique does not manage congestion based on the protocol or application a consumer uses. This new technique will ensure that all customers get their fair share of bandwidth every hour of the day. As we roll out these new practices, we'll make sure our customers are fully informed.

Source: WIRED

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gadean    0
"Comcast's practices are not minimally intrusive, as the company claims, but rather are invasive and have significant effects," the commission said, demanding an end to the practices by year's end.

Wow, now this is a step in the right direction. I'm a firm believer in "you should get what you pay for" and the practice of throttling traffic does not guarantee this. If a large provider such as Comcast were to win this battle we would see many other companies follow suit. That's bad.

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afusion    0
Wow, now this is a step in the right direction. I'm a firm believer in "you should get what you pay for" and the practice of throttling traffic does not guarantee this. If a large provider such as Comcast were to win this battle we would see many other companies follow suit. That's bad.

I couldn't agree more with you, comcast finally took a look at the rules and didn't F with the FCC

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zhangm    1,281

Can't wait for the FCC to slap them with a hefty fine for this violation.

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Electric Jolt    12

Is there at least one ISP out there that is decent to it's customers and provides fast speeds and does not block anything such as port 80 or protocols for p2p sharing and has no information in the contract stating that you are not allowed to run a webserver or related? In the United States, I do not think there is one ISP anymore that actually provides the customers with unlimited data, fast download and upload speeds, and does not block anything or say you can't do such and such. Verizon does not allow webservers and blocks certain ports including port 80, Comcast is blocking protocols and now from recent news I heard soon a cap will be official. They are really the only good ISPs around here, it is a sad thing that they are starting to get involved in your activity. This seriously is the beginning of a war between good guys believing in legal or illegal. Today so many believe they can download music for free and get applications they think are helpful but stupid to pay for off torrents and they are really great people, but then others believe that is wrong because it is illegal and they will do anything and everything they can to stop them from getting the stuff off the internet for free. While they do anything and everything to stop them, they get illegal while they do it and now Comcast got down and dirty so now they are going to get a fine for a violation now. Real smart, they do illegal stuff so Comcast can do illegal stuff, until they figure out its them againest their own customers and if they aren't pleased that Comcast screwed with them and Comcast won't do anything, then they go to court and the customers have more control. The war is going to begin soon, I can see it now, good guys againest good guys, bad guys stirring up more trouble and handing it out to the good guys and the war continuously going on. :doctor: :spam: :ninjapirate:

Will it ever end? :iiam: :no:

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victory28    0

Great decision by the FCC who usually make crappy ones... but I'm sure Comcast will find a way around this anyways. I sense bandwidth caps coming soon and from them every other isp will do the same in turn...

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7Dash8    560
I'm a firm believer in "you should get what you pay for"

So how does downloading pirated material on bittorrent fit in with these "firm beliefs"?

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macrosslover    462
So how does downloading pirated material on bittorrent fit in with these "firm beliefs"?

sigh, not everything on torrent is pirated. alot of legal stuff are starting to use torrents as their main distribution method. don't automatically assume the worse.

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gadean    0
So how does downloading pirated material on bittorrent fit in with these "firm beliefs"?

This is not an issue directly related to bittorrent. Certainly, the way it stands now, it affects bittorrent users the most but essentially this is about providing its customers with what they paid for. If anyone is stealing its Comcast because they are taking their customers money and providing them with a secretly crippled product!

But on a side note, bittorent is not a protocol specifically targeted towards piracy. Insinuating that those who use bittorent are stealing is showing how little you know about the protocol and its many legitimate uses. I suggest you polish up on your knowledge a bit first before throwing out insults.

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7Dash8    560
sigh, not everything on torrent is pirated. alot of legal stuff are starting to use torrents as their main distribution method. don't automatically assume the worse.

I keep forgetting most people use bittorrent to download legal stuff, what with tens of gigabytes of "linux distros" that people download every month. Please don't shovel BS in my direction and call it fertilizer... you know and I know exactly what 99% of stuff on bittorrent is, and it's not legal stuff.

So excuse me if I say that I don't have any real sympathy for torrent traffic being throttled....

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markjensen    94
I keep forgetting most people use bittorrent to download legal stuff, what with tens of gigabytes of "linux distros" that people download every month. Please don't shovel BS in my direction and call it fertilizer... you know and I know exactly what 99% of stuff on bittorrent is, and it's not legal stuff.

So excuse me if I say that I don't have any real sympathy for torrent traffic being throttled....

I am a Linux user.... And I've been made into a stereotype.

I switched from Comcast about 7 years ago. But I use bittorrent to download and seed different Linux versions for other people to get quick copies.

Yes, it is a minority traffic, as a lot of warezers and pirates use the same method of distribution. However, no distinction is being made for legal verus illegal traffic. And that certainly is unjust.

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bobeck    25

this is what bothers me as a comcast user...throttling based on usage...use more than 70% of your capacity for more than 15 minutes and get throttled

Can you give me some "real world" examples of how much bandwidth consumption would be considered too much? For example, how many movies would I have to download to be affected by this new technique?

Since the technique is dynamic and works in real time, the answer really depends on a number of factors including overall usage, time of day and the number of applications a customer might be running at the same time. First, the local network must be approaching a congested state for our new technique to even look for traffic to manage. Assuming that is the case, customers? accounts must exceed a certain percentage of their upstream or downstream (both currently set at 70%) bandwidth for longer than a certain period of time, currently set at fifteen minutes.

the faq on network management is an eye-opening read for what's in store for us...i know the link is old and before the disclosure but it seems that moving to a protocol blind system where they can't be blamed for picking on certain protocols and using a bandwidth blanket approach so to speak is worse in my opinion

http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/Freque...work-Management

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Typhon    0
I keep forgetting most people use bittorrent to download legal stuff, what with tens of gigabytes of "linux distros" that people download every month. Please don't shovel BS in my direction and call it fertilizer... you know and I know exactly what 99% of stuff on bittorrent is, and it's not legal stuff.

So excuse me if I say that I don't have any real sympathy for torrent traffic being throttled....

O I'm sorry do we look like we care? LOL

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Pink Floyd    15

Good call, Now Bell Canada has to pay also. But even with this kind of decision, I would not use this provider eh!

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7Dash8    560
Yes, it is a minority traffic, as a lot of warezers and pirates use the same method of distribution. However, no distinction is being made for legal verus illegal traffic. And that certainly is unjust.

Well then start getting mad at the "warezers" as you call them. If a large group of people abuse a protocol to the point where they become a menace, I don't think it's fair to expect an ISP to sit on their hands and say "oh well" about it. So you wanna get outraged, get outraged at the abusers.

O I'm sorry do we look like we care? LOL

Who's "we", you and your Aunt? When someone posts a topic like this on a public board, expect to see different opinions posted, some of which may challenge your narrow mind. Or do you just want to see the standard "ZOMG those greedy corporations!!!!" response that every braindead idiot posts?

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markjensen    94
Well then start getting mad at the "warezers" as you call them. If a large group of people abuse a protocol to the point where they become a menace, I don't think it's fair to expect an ISP to sit on their hands and say "oh well" about it. So you wanna get outraged, get outraged at the abusers.

Meh. I just assert my right to switch providers. :)

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Lyric    14

My ISP is great....no blockage of anything, and unlimited download/upload. The speed isn't "super fast" but their service is awesome.

takes me about 1-2 hours to download two 700-800mb movies. :D

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strekship    16

Too bad Comcast has a monopoly on high speed internet here.

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CCRATA    0
Well then start getting mad at the "warezers" as you call them. If a large group of people abuse a protocol to the point where they become a menace, I don't think it's fair to expect an ISP to sit on their hands and say "oh well" about it. So you wanna get outraged, get outraged at the abusers.

Who's "we", you and your Aunt? When someone posts a topic like this on a public board, expect to see different opinions posted, some of which may challenge your narrow mind. Or do you just want to see the standard "ZOMG those greedy corporations!!!!" response that every braindead idiot posts?

Your way of thinking is exactly the same as the corporations which is no longer valid in this day and age. You are a dinosaur and need to evolve. There is no abuse. I pay for 8MB always on unlimited. That means I can use 8MB 24/7 365. If you can't provide that do not advertise it as such. It's false advertising plain and simple. Go away you corporate shill

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iconoclast    1
Too bad Comcast has a monopoly on high speed internet here.

Same. If I don't want comcast I have to drop down to 56k.

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mspeak    0
Wow, now this is a step in the right direction. I'm a firm believer in "you should get what you pay for" and the practice of throttling traffic does not guarantee this. If a large provider such as Comcast were to win this battle we would see many other companies follow suit. That's bad.

+1 x elventybillion/.

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