Networking

Comcast in the hot seat

A public forum has been convened by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) starting Monday at the Harvard Law School. Yet the pertinent question on this issue might just have eluded everyone in their haste to condemn Comcast.

A public forum has been convened by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday at the Harvard Law School. The question that emerged there, according to CNET's News.com appears to be: Is what Comcast is doing clear enough?

Comcast has already confessed to slowing down certain peer-to-peer file transfer, namely that of BitTorrent. What has got everyone so uncomfortable is Comcat's use of deep-packet inspection, as well as what exactly constitutes "fair" or "sufficient" bandwidth throttling on the part of an ISP.

Obviously, the concerns highlighted above are valid ones. Comcast should also have been more forthright from the start about what it was doing in its attempt to manage the use of bandwidth by customers. Yet the pertinent question that ought to be asked might just have eluded most folks. I was chatting with George Ou from ZDNet earlier today, and he sent me the following files projecting the data usage of various protocols, which he has given permission to be used here. While these figures might be hypothetical, the logic behind the numbers are entirely plausible.

bandwidth-hogs-chart1.png

The following is the graph reflecting the above table.

app-avg-bandwidth.png

A part-time BitTorrent seeder is someone who leaves BitTorrent on 12 hours a day; a full-time one is pretty self explanatory. However, no matter how you dice it, there is no doubt that a BitTorrent user does consume a fair amount of bandwidth.

Suggestions to pursue alternative methods of bandwidth throttling ignore the fact that there is no good method of controlling the amount of bandwidth that BitTorrent consumes. If punitive measures were ruled against Comcast and other ISPs who attempt to manage bandwidth, the whole issue might back-fire and result in a state where ISPs implement metered Internet services. This is obviously detrimental to end users as a whole.

Hence the question that should be asked instead should be: Do you really want to continue enjoying unmetered Internet connectivity? If yes, then short of banning BitTorrent outright, what Comcast is doing might be exactly what is needed to maintain the status quo.

Update: George's article is out. Check it out: FCC hearings: Comcast versus Vuze.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

79 comments
TheGooch1
TheGooch1

So, I've been torrenting for the past 7 days, and have downloaded about 2.4GB and sent up about 10% of that, or 240MB. This is leaving Bittorrent on, minus the downtime caused by an automatic Windows update that rebooted my PC. Btw, my max Comcast upstream is about 15k, with 10k being more realistic in order to keep the connection usable for other things such as email, surfing, etc.

thumper
thumper

The Bittorent Protocal Is required by Linux Servers and desktop Machines heck even MACOS Uses Bittorent for the access and retrval of Updates i have recieved word that microsoft has plans to Make Windows Update BitTorrent Compliant and as a WISP Owner and a Comptia A+ Network+ and Cisco Systems CCNA My fealing is by blocking this service all together is agenced the TOS as set forth by ARNA AND Other Backbone level providers have setforth it would be much easyer to tell comcast to place a restriction on the use of the program as i have on my networks our system is desinged to preform limits on the port numbers used by bittorent and sence all bittorent downloads are catiagory based a simple server level policy will fix the bandwidth issue here is and example for users using Windows On my Networks they are limited to 96/96 KBPS which is 1% of the total bandwidth given to our subscribers in the case of users using the bittorrent protocal for updating ie MACOS/Linux we have the bandwith limit set to 2% of the total which still comes out to 128/128 Kbps In five years of operation we have had more issues with gruntela and other usless fileshareing protocals as well as the Yahoo Messanger and MySpace Messanger software pieces because to the need of the desingers of the software to place pigyback programs that report back to the program makers infomation owned by my company such as IP addreases and network based whois info all of which is blocked for view outside of our Network operations Center I mean comcast i know for a fact does a lot of things that they should not do legaly an example is that the software made by there partners used for everything from e-mail to file storage is in turn giving comcast access to any personal infomation that they choose to collect and they even log all the Websites you as a customer visit in a span of every 24 hour period.

wmlundine
wmlundine

...or George Ou as far as I can throw 'em!

barth.travis
barth.travis

This is what happens when you offer a service based on what you *think* people will use. If people find out how to use every bit of what you've sold them, giving them less for the same price is an underhanded response. Another way of looking at it is that this is what happens when you're offering the same down/up ratio that you did based on the needs of customers 5 years ago. The only fair way to deal with this it to either openly restructure your prices, or *gasp!* spend some of your shareholder's profit on upgrading your system to meet customer demand. Why aren't they complaining about people who use more download bandwidth than others? Simple: The model of providing drastically less upload than download bandwidth is outdated now. It just doesn't work anymore. But it's cheaper to vilify "pirates" than spend some of your cash hoard on bringing your service offerings into the 21st century. Customer's needs change. Don't try to deal with it by demanding that they not use new technology. Spend some money and meet the demand. But that's not the way of America Incorporated: Priorities 1. Profit 2. Profit 3. Profit / Customers (tie)

chuckchuck
chuckchuck

As a Comcast user, I pay the extra price for their speed - when you look at the figures, it also shows us something - that it all balances out. Someone may go online and pay their $50-60, but just check e-mail and a few web pages. Someone else pays the same amount and is a "heavy" user (p2p, ftp, browsing, usenet) and SO what? Isn't that WHY they bought a high-speed connection? How about this: why not offer SLOWER speeds to casual users and leave the heavy users the fast stuff! That's why a heavy user wants to use Comcast to begin with! If a heavy user was a "casual-user" they'd go back to dial-up or some other alternative where speed wasn't a concern. So, what's the BIG deal? Leave the heavy users along and give the light users a price break. It all balances out in the long run. Want to be fair? Comcast should offer a tier structure: 1 MB down/256 KB up for $10 5 MB down/768 KB up for $20 10 MB down/1.5 MB up for $35 20 MB down/3 MB up for $50 now . . . If I paid the $50, I'd expect to get what I paid for no matter what . . .

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Satellite TV,Cell phones,Software,the Internet and banking are a some of the items that are in the Government Torrent.You can't slow down the Torrent without having an illegal entry.To me Deep Packet Inspection is the altering of a file's content.This is al-Qaeda use caution. Billions of dollars a month in robbery is paramilitary.If you were to knock out the virus that makes it possible for them to hack it would end.This is probably a single phone line entry.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

Having been on high speed cable since it was introduced, whether TCI, ATTBI or Comcast, the only bottle necks I've had have been inside my own network. With six different computers/laptops and two gaming consoles online, things do get a bit congested. I can not imagine trying to run this mess with DSL. I do think that Comcast could do better by their customers by blocking spam at the source and searching out and destroying the virus creators and spybot senders. I know Comcast won't do this because they collect money from those users too. Those with the power to give us everything also have the powe to take it away.

tomb
tomb

1: If they advertise always on 10Mbps down 2Mbps up, then that is what they should provide, or they are guilty of deceptive advertising. 2: They are not just throttling bittorrent, but ANY long-lived, high bandwidth connection, like file transfers over a VPN. This is wreaking havoc with teleworkers. 3: Instead of wasting effort and $ buying and running gear to trying to turn back the clock to metered, not really broadband, service like existed in the X.25 days, comcast should upgrade their network. What passes for "broadband" in the US is a joke. Last, but by no means least, I don't believe for one minute this is about network stability. It is about undermining a competitive threat to their Pay-per-view and premium movie channel offerings.

JRElliott
JRElliott

If they're throttling the BitTorrent *protocol*, what's to stop encrypting it and tunneling it through another protocol? If their goals really are fairness (or at least equitability) in bandwidth allocation, I don't see how they can achieve that without basing the throttling on *volume* of the traffic rather than *nature* of the traffic. (http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/16/0422249&from=rss)

ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898
ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898

Bandwidth throttling has been going on for quite awhile now. I remember in the infancy of the internet it was even talked about, probably even done. Bandwidth does cost, unfortunately, and it's not easy to upgrade, etc. to meet demands which are ever-rising. So something has to be done. Given that a lot of illegal activity unfortunately happens on torrents, I can see why ISPs want to throttle it, figuring it's the most 'expendable'. But there are things that are on torrents that are useful, like Linux distributions and open source software, which throttling can really be a problem for those who want to obtain a legally free OS or anything else (legally free). I wish they could find more ways to block illegal content rather than just throttle everything. Then I bet they wouldn't need to throttle at all as far as torrents are concerned. What is left would not be too bad. Also another thought is that most ISPs have in their terms of use or acceptable use policies provisions that if you run a server, then you need one of their special or business packages. Many would not want you to run a server on a consumer account. But they don't define very well what is meant by a "server" or imply only an email or web server. Perhaps more should consider P2P servers as in a sense they are a form of private server? I know that would be quite unpopular, but I think there are many things ISPs can still do to resolve these issues without it needing to go through the legal system. Then again, these days, it seems a lot of stuff end up in the legal system anyway. :/

georgeou
georgeou

"I do know that VoIP usage is computed assuming five hours of continuous VoIP calls per day, which is a really high figure. A part-time BitTorrent seeder is someone who leaves BitTorrent on 12 hours a day; a full-time one is pretty self explanatory. However, no matter how you dice it, there is no doubt that a BitTorrent user does consume a fair amount of bandwidth." The reason I used 5 hours of VoIP was to be on the HIGH side for non-BitTorrent applications. But the reality is that Comcast's older 1.1 network will actually support 200 users on their network simultaneously generating 50 Kbps of upstream per user. That means you can pretty much use every application short of Skype HQ Video and Wideband VoIP calls nonstop and it won't hurt the network. On the other hand, fewer than 26 BitTorrent seeders can ruin it for everyone else. "Hence the question that should be asked instead should be: Do you really want to continue enjoying unmetered Internet connectivity? If yes, then short of banning BitTorrent outright, what Comcast is doing might be exactly what is needed to maintain the status quo." We don't need to block or ban anything. Comcast permits BitTorrent Seeds most of the day and only blocks it when necessary. Since BitTorrent knows how to resume, those temporary blocks are effectively delays which are quite reasonable when you consider per-user fairness.

thom_stewart
thom_stewart

I was there at the FCC meeting in the Ames Court Room; this should have been held in a MUCH larger venue as they were turning people away for over crowding. David Cohen, 5th speaker, didn't really come out saying that Comcast blocks, but attempts to throttle, and only during peak usage times to give a balanced load share to all users. Tom Tauke, Verizon's V.P., followed with his apology for the NAPAL "incident". Then there was a bit of insight into the usage of "short-code". all in all by the end of the day all that was truly derived from this hearing was their needs to be a "Bill of Rights" for the internet, and a way of penalizing those who break away from net-neutrality, and that a huge up grade in the service throughout the U. S. as we are dreadfully trailing behind the other high tech countries. This point was driven in by Professor Christopher Yoo, with a bulleted power point slide.

doan4u
doan4u

Customers pay for a service. Comcast mislead customer with advertisement with better bandwidth than other competitor. Comcast don't have a right to reduce use of bandwidth by customers. I lost allots of connection when I play online games with Comcast. My solution is to switch service provider. I haven't have problem with my game enjoyment online now.

putz
putz

Its about time! Ever since my home network service has been switched from Insight to Comcast over the last 30 to 45 days I've seen a huge degradation of Internet bandwidth capability. In addition, my Vonage VoIP service requries a reboot of the Vonage router daily to be able to address VoIP problems. I NEVER HAD THESE PROBELEMS WITH INSIGHT. Comcast in their reprovisioning of Insight Home Internet servics are trying to steer things like VoIP Service away from third party vendors like Vonage and AT&T and instead direct you to their VoIP Packaged Switched services where in my area it comes as a repackaged AT&T POTS service, just encapsulated within VoIP and sold like its Vonage at $20 per month more cost. I hope Comcast take a HUGE hit here from the FCC for facilitating a background environment that causes users to have to use their services. Internet service should be open and public as far as VoIP goes and if Comcast can offer a better VoIP service at a competitive cost then I'll buy it, but don't force me into a lower quality, higher cost service by secretly reprovising services to make Vonage service perform less than optimal on a Comcast internet connection.

Surfer22
Surfer22

Having worked in network planning and architecture for many years, I can tell you w/ complete confidence it's Comcast's own fault. Two things: 1) In the past when you built a network, you determined your backhaul requirements on a 10 or 12 to 1 ratio. That means if you have enough end userrs off any 'node' that were promised in total about 100Mbs, you need to have a dedicated backhaul of at least 10Mbs. This was under the assumption your internet usage would be mild and sporadic so they could get away with this. It also drove down their costs. Times have changed. The new networks I've been part of creating now use a 1 to 1 or at most 3 to 1 ratio for precisely this reason (just completed drawings for a WiMAX network that will be 1 to 1, meaning no need to throttle anyone). As more and more applications come online, users are going to demand more and more from their bandwidth. Comcast needs to quit being cheap and upgrade their backhaul and peering capability or they'll always have this problem. Instead they play games w/ throttling existing facilities, avoid expensive improvements and thereby protect their revenue and margins. DSL is in the same predicament. 2) You should get what you're promised and what you pay for. If you are given high speed (always on) access, you have the right to always be on it. ISPs shouldn't interfere w/ your usage or locations unless what you are doing is deemed illegal. So it's not the applications' or the users' problem...it's the ISP's. The new ones coming on line won't throttle anyone...so Comcast can either upgrade or get left in the dust. There's too much unused bandwidth out there for this to be an ongoing issue. Also, bandwidth has gotten considerably cheaper over the last few years for carriers.

Skruis
Skruis

Part of me thinks, what if my phone company listened to my calls and decided to decrease the quality of them if they didn't like the things I was saying or listening to...or who I was calling...or when I was calling or for any other reason? It's simply not right. Now with telephone service, it's much easier to switch carriers if one company decided that it was a good idea to implement that type of regulation. As far as the broadband industry goes, not everyone has the options of switching to DSL or getting Fiber so some people are stuck with Comcast. Is it fair for Comcast to define what amounts to a usage policy? No. If the decision is made to allow them to monitor and control usage based on the protocols, source and destination...what protocols, sources and destinations are they restricted from monitoring/controlling? I agree that tiered pricing is not the best...I love unlimited and fyi, I'm not a P2P person either, but if the alternative to tiered pricing is my CONNECTION PROVIDER monitoring my usage, then I'm ready to pay for what I'm going to use. Diving further into that, Comcast will have some problems with tiered customers that are not tech savy and don't realize they have a virus or that software on their computer is auto connecting. I think the best result for the consumer and Comcast is to monitor bandwidth usage, not protocol usage, and when a user greatly exceeds the average bandwidth on a consistent basis over several billing periods, then they either get the consent of the user to inspect the traffic (it may be a virus!) or if the user refuses, they force a tiered pricing plan. I think that is more than fair.

wild0104
wild0104

In the interest of full-disclosure the author should have included what the notes about sending email, VoIP and Wideband VoIP over VPN said (represented by the *'s next to them on the graph). I think the issue Comcast is trying to get out in front of it the fact that as high bandwidth usage increases across their (and others) subscribers their current network capacity isn't going to be sufficent to sustain it all. Downstream traffic is going to be much more responsible for this than upstream. And right now BitTorrent traffic likely accounts for the majority of users inscreased bandwidth consumption, both upstream and down. So really Comcast is trying to hold off, slow the increase in bandwidth consumption by its customers. Seeing how Comcast is the largest consumer ISP in the US, they're likely seeing the effects much more than others. Just my 2 cents.

drewcollier
drewcollier

BitTorrent equates to nothing more than stealing. Any other argument is moot. Making a purchase and then using the product in the commission of a crime gives the provider the right to control their product. Why isn't the film and music industry rallying behind Comcast? Why aren't the software programmers? I have never been throttled; because, I don't use p2p programs. Now start throttling my Tivo or Unbox downloads and there will be hell to pay.

compguy101101
compguy101101

I am a subscriber to Comcast and have experienced their network throttling. Just the other day actually I witnessed my legit torrent for moding Guitar Hero 3 go from 20 minutes to 8 hours. Couldn't get passed 50kbps. I am not sure how I feel about this. Part of me supports bandwidth control because when I want to use the internet, game online, or stream a movie, the badwidth is readily available, but then the other half thinks that Comcast has no right to control the service I pay for every month. If they advertise my package deal being 6MB/s then I would expect to get my moneys worth out my allocated bandwidth. I don't expect to hit 6MB/s just like the dial-up days a 56k modem never hit 56k maybe 52k if you were lucky, but 50kbps on broadband is not what I am paying for. I don't want internet usage to go back to being metered *cough AOL *cough, so I think a middle ground needs to be established somehow, but I also think think that my 6MB/s should be obtainable or at least close to no matter what ports or protocols I am using.

Jaqui
Jaqui

is that there is no data from prior to the throttling. fwiw, a 4.2 GB dvd iso of fedora-core linux, before the throttling, on a cable internet box, 37 minutes to download. took 36 hours to have seeded 100% of download.

thom_stewart
thom_stewart

I'm beginning to think that George is one of the ones Comcast has paid to run block for. In the opening of the FCC meeting one of the speaker spoke about how our (the US?s) Broadband was in really poor shape compared to other countries around the world. That the reasoning behind not upgrading to a better standard was likened to the breakup of ?Ma Bell? hampering how the government would not be able to easily warn citizens of a nuclear holocaust. I forget who the gentleman was but he gave several of these unrealistic hyped fears all in the name of the almighty buck.

tomb
tomb

1: Overpromise and charge based on promise 2: Under deliver and spend to the underdelivery target. Settle annoying lawsuits about results of this out of court with gag clause. 3: Profit For the execs, as soon as customers catch on to 2 and 3 suffers, leave with large severance, so "new guy" can start @ 1 all over again, and the suckers will believe him. Also known as lie, cheat, steal, get out of dodge before the townsfolk catch on. As long as it's cheaper to market and lawyer up to increase profits than to improve product quality/service levels, this will be true.

thom_stewart
thom_stewart

is'nt that why I pay $100.00 a month for the static IP and the bandwidth.

xtrememorph
xtrememorph

Issue here is not the user, is the seller, please provide service what you offer. Comcast doesn't dare to offer other packages because of the competitive nature of the business and making them unattractive to consumers, than, that's too bad. What comcast do is bad, is cheating!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

And I pay for it. I have no problem with that. Paying for it and not receiving it, well I have issues with that. Charge, ban, block, throttle I don't care, but don't sell one thing and give less and call it fair, that's just insulting.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...for what is probably the most rational analysis of this topic I've seen. Too much of the debate of this issue has been completely emotional with little or no regard to the realities at hand: 1) Bandwidth is finite. 2) For most users, the incremental cost of the next unit of bandwidth is zero, thus there is no economic barrier to discourage users from using whatever bandwidth is logistically available. 3) It?s easy to whine that ISPs should increase available bandwidth, because those doing the whining do not see themselves as footing the bill for it. 4) Even part-time Torrent servers consume several times more bandwidth than the next heaviest users. There are only so many solutions to this problem, none of which will make everyone happy: 1) Increase available upstream bandwidth, and raise fees to all users to pay for it. 2) Start charging by the byte like in the old days to discourage heavy users. 3) Throttle all upstream traffic, which would render low-latency dependant activities such as VOIP and gaming useless. 4) Apply a QoS methodology to slow non-latency dependant activities such as Torrent transfers in favor of more time sensitive activities like VOIP and gaming. Those are the only solutions I can think of. If there are others I haven?t, do tell. Given the choice of the above four, I?d choose #4. I don?t like #1, because I really don?t feel like paying more to subsidize someone?s Torrent fetish. #2 isn?t going to be popular with anyone, because we all want to feel like we?re at the ?all you can eat? buffet. #3 isn?t viable. #4 seems most reasonable and disruptive to the vast majority of users. Which would you all choose?

georgeou
georgeou

"Tom Tauke, Verizon's V.P., followed with his apology for the NAPAL "incident"." And that wasn't really an "incident"; it was a bunch of hot air over nothing. Verizon never blocked NARAL text messages like so many keep blindly reciting; Verizon had a bureaucratic snafu that delayed NARAL from getting a 5-digit quick dial number. No messages were ever blocked. What Verizon did deserved a quick remedy and an apology from Verizon for bad customer service which they?ve done, but it certainly doesn?t deserve to get them permanently tarred and feathered by people who can?t even get the facts straight. Verizon is pretty much the poster child for corporate responsibility when it comes to broadband. They took a huge risk angering their investors doing those very expensive FiOS installations to the homes. What do they get in return for that? They get called a net discriminator by the likes of Tim Wu.

ldwhyte
ldwhyte

BAM!!!! no other replys needed, somebody gets it!! way to go!!! what business is it of Coke, how much and when of a 20oz soda I use that I paid for, same for Comcast, if you don't want to support 6meg speed per customer, don't advertise it, and certanly don't charge for it, if you are going to lower my usage, regardless of what I do with it(legally), then give me a lower price, and at the least tell me, so I can make to decicion at to whether or not to switch to another isp.

computerd}}
computerd}}

You buy their service for a set price and they should give you the whole package not just part of it. That's just illegal. They are just too cheap to upgrade. The problem they are having with Bittorrent is that users can use a program to open up their ports so they can download faster.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Sheesh guy, a bit of a tip, whatever your sources are for tech info, bin them, they are letting you down badly.

mroseberry
mroseberry

being in possession of a weapon or sharp object would make a person a murderer, having blank CD's or DVD's would make a person a pirate, and every person with fertilizer is making a bomb. Do you see where I'm going with this? If not I'll just get to the point. There is NOTHING ILLEGAL about BitTorrent. Most free open source software is distributed using BitTorrent as well as some legally purchased software is delivered to customers via BitTorrent. Your view of the situation makes it clear that you are not only out of touch with the situation but you also think something is bad only if it adversely affects you directly (which is a very selfish way to look at things). Everyone would be better off if your uninformed and ridiculously slanted views were not shared in a professional discussion.

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

It starts with bit torrent, then what else are they "allowed" to throttle due to some that abuse the system. It will be on-line gamers and XBoxy thingys next I'm sure, then ANY downloads, then ANY thing else they want. Tell them NO, I don't want MY internet throttled.

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Stealing is when you take something away so that the original owner no longer has it. Copyright Violation is when you violate your countries copyright laws by making an unauthorized ( by their definition ) copy of something. With that cleared up, you might want to know that World of Warcraft uses Bittorrent to distribute game patches. Linux distributions, and many other types of legally shareable content are distributed in this way. I share out my comical video productions ( starring me, usually ) using bittorrent so that my fans can get them without killing my Internet connection. My piano performances will also soon be distributed the same way. Are there copyright violations going on? Sure, but they didn't start with bittorrent and are not linked to it in any way. IRC DCC sends, FTP, SFTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, etc are all used to perform activity that may be illegal in a specified country ( but perhaps legal in another! ). Oh, and I have also distributed my software via bittorrent, so no, Software Developers are not behind Comcast or you.

albion8
albion8

Do you know how many completely legit downloads occur via bit torrent? Everything from software updates, to free television broadcasts, to open source software. Go read a book dude, get off that "I dont steal so I am better than everyone" horse, because it doesn't apply here.

georgeou
georgeou

Comcast DOES NOT throttle downloads. They rarely block seeds when they absolutely have to because of network congestion. See my full explanation here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=1031 Comcast supports EVERYONE (200 people on average per loop) on their network gaming, VoIPing, and surfing at the same time. What they CANNOT support is 20 BitTorrent seeders.

aiguy
aiguy

What Comcast is really worried about is that when we can download all the entertainment we need off of the internet, we won't be paying those $120 a month cable bills. And when we all do voice over IP there goes their phone service too. And as soon as Verizon has there FIOS available in my area I'll be switching to their higher speed data services as well! If they want to keep their heads above water they better evolve their product offerings or they'll be one step behind the recording industry on the unemployment line!

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

It would take me a while to get pre-throttling data as I am not home enough to monitor it. Maybe this weekend, if the weather is bad enough to force me to stay home. Thx, JohnG

barth.travis
barth.travis

"If A times B times C is less than X, we don?t do a recall."

georgeou
georgeou

Comcast does not call it unlimited service. They have very specific terms of service that says "no servers" and no constant saturation of the pipe.

georgeou
georgeou

Free Press, EFF, Vuze only wants "random packet dropping". Sure, random packet drops doesn't hurt BitTorrent, but it will sure kill VoIP and Gaming. Eating 80% of the pie isn't enough for them; they want it all. If your application uses low bandwidth and only one session to begin with and it gets stepped on, that's your problem. If the non-hogs get punished too, they don't care.

chuckchuck
chuckchuck

I agree - if they've got complaints, then why not use a tier payment structure and sell slower speeds to people who don't need it? I know an older fellow who has Comcast, pays the same as me, and he's rarely on - shouldn't Comcast give him a break rather than charge someone MORE who uses the speed to it's full extent? Or maybe they should just leave it alone, because in the long run, it balances out? If we pay for speed, then that is what we should get . . . if we didn't want fast speeds, we'd choose a different option.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]What Comcast is really worried about is that when we can download all the entertainment we need off of the internet, we won't be paying those $120 a month cable bills.[/i] Buying bandwidth from a content provider is not a good idea.

kknepple
kknepple

Comcast has no chance of me ever being a customer again.

thom_stewart
thom_stewart

I had to get a business package with a static IP because I was going to and DO run a server here in the house. This server is a domain server, my business, my email, and many more facets of a sever. All of this is web accessible AND no one ever said no. As Comcast was the ONLY choice as we were to far from a hub to get DSL, T1 & other tier lines all bad speeds. Satellite was not a solution. We went to Comcast who gave us this package and knew from the start we were having this server.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

was changed by targetted throttling, in an indiscrimate fashion. If I pull up my torrent software to get something. If at that point ComCast deems it necessary, I get choked, even though I aren't one of those nasty pirates. Over in the UK I don't get the joy of dealing with Comcast, however I'll bet a considerable sum that a specific TOS is not what any internet provider wants to see. The ambiguity is far more useful to them business wise than their customers.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]If the BitTorrent users want to keep forcing this issue, they might just get what they wish for and they won't like it. [/i] In the short term, in markets without DSL competition, I think that is most likely. [i]There is nothing ambiguous about the restriction on hogging the network. If it means a more explicit definition in Comcast TOS that explicitly prohibits BitTorrent seeding, then fine but that would be far less favorable to the Seeders than the status quo. If it means going to a tiered Internet service or metered Internet service, it will be far less favorable to the Seeders.[/i] There will still be the problem of past interference with content, but Comcast can probably afford enough liars to get away with that, too. I have a couple questions for you George. I don't have your networking background, and I'm not sure what equations I would set up to even make a decent estimate. Comcast's service is generally 4+ Mb down, 380kb up -- plus or minus a couple kilobits up, and with a wide range of effective download speeds. First question: Which is the limiting factor on BitTorrent traffic on Comcast's LANs, Comcast customer uploads or Comcast customer downloads? Second question (which may be irrelevant based on the answer to the first): How much upload capacity would have to be added, just in terms of kbps, to handle the new demand for BitTorrent traffic? I'm very suspicious that Comcast is exaggerating the impact on their ability to provide bandwidth to other customers, and that Comcast is motivated to do so because of their role as content provider.

georgeou
georgeou

There is nothing ambiguous about the restriction on hogging the network. If it means a more explicit definition in Comcast TOS that explicitly prohibits BitTorrent seeding, then fine but that would be far less favorable to the Seeders than the status quo. If it means going to a tiered Internet service or metered Internet service, it will be far less favorable to the Seeders. If the BitTorrent users want to keep forcing this issue, they might just get what they wish for and they won't like it.

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