Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Businesses Networking

Comcast Confirmed as Discriminating Against FileSharing Traffic 532

Posted by Zonk
from the harshing-on-my-patching dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Comcast has been singled out as discriminating against filesharing traffic in quantitative tests conducted by the Associated Press. MSNBC's coverage of the discovery is quite even-handed. The site notes that while illegal content trading is a common use of the technology, Bittorrent is emerging as an effective medium for transferring 'weighty' legal content as well. 'Comcast's technology kicks in, though not consistently, when one BitTorrent user attempts to share a complete file with another user. Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer -- it comes from Comcast.'" This is confirmation of anecdotal evidence presented by Comcast users back in August.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Comcast Confirmed as Discriminating Against FileSharing Traffic

Comments Filter:
  • by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadph@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:23AM (#21042285) Homepage
    ...noticing problems downloading the patches on Comcast?

    Just wondering since WoW uses Bittorrent to distribute its patches (one example of a very legitimate use).
    • by ivan256 (17499) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:41AM (#21042633)
      I know that people are always bitching about how long (45 minutes+ for some people I know) it took them to download a patch... While at the same time I've been able to download patches over my non-Comcast connection at over 2MBytes/second... I don't know that all of those people have comcast, but I know that some of them do.

      </anecdote>
      • My comcast connection (10 megabit) takes 45 minutes to download a patch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SuperMog2002 (702837)
        Mac or Windows? Back a few months ago, I had both a Mac and a Windows box, and the Mac always downloaded the patches MUCH faster (as in, more than 10 times faster) than the Windows box, even though port forwarding on the router was configured for the Windows machine,
  • Encrypt Everything (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snowgen (586732) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:26AM (#21042323) Homepage
    They're basically doing this with a "man in the middle" attack by sending false messages to both parties in the communication, pretending to be the other. This is why all net traffic needs to be encrypted and signed.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:39AM (#21042571)
      Why isn't this illegal? It sounds like they are impersonating one of the sides of a conversation.

      Are they allowed to do the same thing with Skype (or anything else they want) and tell the other side I want to disconnect? Where is the legal line?
      • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:48AM (#21042797) Homepage
        It likely is illegal.

        Just because it is their network DOES not give them the right to FORGE IP packets to look as if they come from elsewhere.

        That would be like a courier service forging documents from 2 people wanting to communicate saying "Stop sending documents" if they didn't want them to talk. They'd never do something that stupid, and if they did, they couldn't get out of charges by saying they were only forging documents through their service.

        Forgery is illegal. Someone who had a forged RST packet sent in their name should have forgery charges pressed and sue for impersonation.

        A technical defense is to block RST packets. Probably not hard to do under Linux, and likely trivial.
        • by jimicus (737525) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:51AM (#21042857)
          A technical defense is to block RST packets. Probably not hard to do under Linux, and likely trivial.

          Also probably very silly to do. And won't work unless both ends of the communication are doing it.
        • by quantum bit (225091) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:57AM (#21043007) Journal

          A technical defense is to block RST packets. Probably not hard to do under Linux, and likely trivial.
          Sure you could modify the source to ignore the RST flag, but that would probably completely hose your networking, since it's sort of an integral part of TCP/IP functioning. Sometimes the packet with FIN set does get lost.

          I guess it might work for a while until you ran out of memory for tracking state of all the connections that never close. :D
        • by fm6 (162816)
          Once again, it's amateur lawyer time at Slashdot.

          It likely is illegal.

          Just because it is their network DOES not give them the right to FORGE IP packets to look as if they come from elsewhere.

          That's certainly dishonest, but that doesn't make it illegal. They're basically lying to their customers (or rather, their customers' software). Lying isn't illegal unless you do it in connection with an actual crime. For example, you can go around telling people that you're Steven King, and not be breaking any laws.

      • by 44BSD (701309)
        I may be wrong, but from the descriptions it sounds as though Comcast is simply forging TCP RST packets. From the articles, it seems as though the traffic type (at least in the Lotus Notes case) is determined solely by destination port. If this is the case, application-level encryption would not be an effective countermeasure.
    • This is why all net traffic needs to be encrypted and signed.
      Instead of talking about World of Warcraft, or how much Comcast sucks, we should be discussing why & how to go about implimenting some type of encryption envelope around all our traffic.
    • In practice, it would require that everyone that gets a moderate amount of traffic to probably upgrade hardware to handle all the extra overhead of cipher processing. Also, since most users are clueless as to how it works, they will accept any old certificate and click "Yes" to everything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by secPM_MS (1081961)
      You didn't go far enough. Comcast and other carriers have a good commercial motive to use deep packet inspection and modification to remove adds from web pages being transferred and replace them with adds that they are paid to display. Clearly, additional results could be added to search results as well. This breaks the business model of the web.

      The simplest solution, and one that I think the web sites will eventually support (once they get over the cost for HW encryption support) is to use SSL / TLS. Thi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by headbulb (534102)
      All net traffic? Why? That isn't addressing the original issue of the carrier messing with packets it shouldn't.

      Instead if all traffic being encrypted along with taking lots of otherwise unused cpu and perhaps Bandwidth. Lists of ip address that are suspect will have their packets dropped at random instead.

      The fight isn't on any technical means, it's more on a political means.

      So in the end, encryption while a good technical work around. Is escalating the fight. This isn't what we should be fighting for, we
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      you can't encrypt the TCP handshake. The Comcast attack (by sending false TCP resets/RSTs) still works against encrypted traffic. Encrypted traffic is carried as the data payload with in-the-clear TCP headers. As long as Comcast can discern (or even cares to discern) which traffic is undesirable from the TCP headers themselves (e.g., TCP port number, weighted aggregate traffic, many-to-one traffic connections, etc.) Comcast can still send your box a TCP RST and torch the session.
  • Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:26AM (#21042325)

    Now maybe the "net neutrality isn't important because we can trust giant corporations not to screw their customers crowd" will shut up. Of course, the people getting paid to lobby or keep those bills out of Congress won't change their mind, but maybe regular people will. And that's a step in the right direction.

    This story does make me wish I was not boycotting Comcast already though, so I could boycott it for this.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@worfMOSCOW.net minus city> on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:45AM (#21042701)

      Now maybe the "net neutrality isn't important because we can trust giant corporations not to screw their customers crowd" will shut up. Of course, the people getting paid to lobby or keep those bills out of Congress won't change their mind, but maybe regular people will. And that's a step in the right direction.

      This story does make me wish I was not boycotting Comcast already though, so I could boycott it for this.


      Actually, this will hurt net neutrality because everyone is getting QoS confused with Net Neutrality!

      QoS is legal, and it should exist. Prioritizing classes of traffic is OK, provided the classes are generic classes of traffic (e.g., email, web, ftp, p2p, voip, etc).

      Net Neutrality is compatible with QoS. What Net Neutrality proponents want isn't avoidance of QoS, but to prevent deals where if you use Windows Live Search, it comes up instantly, while if you use Google, you'll find yourself waiting a good minute for the frontpage to load up. I.e., both use the same class of traffic (web), but service is differentiated based on who can pay.

      So Comcast causing Bittorrent problems is OK for Net Neutrality. But if Comcast suddenly lets Blizzard's WoW updates unimpeded while causing problems for say, Linux ISO torrents, then that conflicts with Net Neutrality.

      Basically, like traffic should be treated alike. But unlike traffic may be treated differently. So if Comcast charged an extra $10 for enhanced VoIP QoS, that's OK, as long as it's for all VoIP, not just say, Vonage only, or Skype.

      Net Neutrality opponents like to bleat the Anti-QoS line because it's the easiest way to spread FUD, when they really mean "Google, pay us, or we'll make your page take ages to load, while making Windows Live Search load instantly".
  • World of Warcraft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:28AM (#21042349)
    If one wishes to find a legitimate example of bittorrent sharing of legitimate files, one need look no further than the largest MMORPG on the market - World of Warcraft. Patches are automatically (assuming the user doesn't disable the feature) downloaded using bittorrent. And Blizzard is more than aware of and approving of this, given that they programmed the feature. Needless to say, I think any internet service provider who disrupts a consumer's legitimate use of their internet connection is a service provider that doesn't deserve the consumer's money...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mashade (912744)
      Good example. Another is the Ubuntu release that came out yesterday -- all the mirrors were crushed, while this was Bittorrent's time to shine. [tipotheday.com]
    • by shoptroll (544006)
      OCRemix.org also uses BitTorrent as a distribution mechanism for people who wish to grab large file sets from the site, namely collaboration projects centered around remixing specific game soundtrack.
      Eclipse.org uses it as a distribution channel for their IDE.
      I believe podcasts/netcasts (and most likely video podcasts/netcasts) make use of it as a distribution channel.
      There's also linux ISOs, movie/game trailers, game demos, game mods make use of it as well.
      XFire uses something similar to BitTorrent for sha
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by langelgjm (860756)
      Also, besides common cry of "Linux ISOs!" (which, you have to admit, is a pretty lame argument for most people out there), BitTorrent is used for legally distributing such things as:

      - "America's Army" (the U.S. Army's free video game). I've uploaded over 80 GB of that alone in the past few weeks.

      - Aronofsky's director's commentary for the movie "The Fountain," which was not included on the DVD release

      - The Pirate Bay's "Steal This Film - Part 1", which talks about the raid on their servers

      I.e.,
  • Encryption (Score:5, Informative)

    by Drachemorder (549870) <brandon@NoSPAM.christiangaming.org> on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:29AM (#21042367) Homepage
    In my experience, bittorrent transfers are much faster on my Comcast connection when I choose to encrypt them. That suggests to me that Comcast is indeed throttling normal bittorrent traffic.
    • In my experience, bittorrent transfers are much faster on my Comcast connection when I choose to encrypt them. That suggests to me that Comcast is indeed throttling normal bittorrent traffic.

      An alternate explanation would be that most of the well-connected peers may require encryption by this point; then you'd see the same effect even without interference from Comcast.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster (516420)
      Comcast and the others who engage in packet shaping are only hastening the day when encrypted protocols protected by strong encryption (AES probably) are commonplace. Perhaps they realize this and are using the packet shapers as a stop-gap measure while they upgrade their infrastructure to handle the increased loads, but I doubt it.
    • Re:Encryption (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ZeroFactorial (1025676) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:43PM (#21043809)
      Given the nature of the "man-in-the-middle" approach they've taken here, it won't be long before they try to foil the encryption, too.

      That's the entire premise of a man-in-the-middle attack - give both sides false keys, but hang onto the false keys and the real keys yourself, then encrypt/decrypt accordingly with appropriate keys in each direction to keep them oblivious to your presence.

      Taking a stance like "well at least we still have encryption," rather than fighting for your rights is extremely dangerous. People keep saying "they aren't a common carrier, so they're within their rights."

      What the hell? When is it within a carrier's rights to WILLFULLY LIE ABOUT OR MODIFY the correspondence or transmission they've been entrusted to carry?
      If the US postal service opened your mail and scribbled out sections of your letters, would you still feel so copacetic about things? I know I wouldn't....

      This is a step towards being subjugated exactly like China.
      Step 1) Comcast imposes "totally legal" restrictions on internet traffic.
      Step 2) United States Government makes deal with Comcast to be sole provider for govt networks.
      Step 3) Congress passes legislation to help put other providers out of business.
      Step 4) Comcast becomes primary provider in US.
      Step 5) Government officials give kickbacks to Comcast to regulate "perfectly legally" what internet traffic is allowed to pass.
      Step 6) The US is adopted by a loving family, with an older brother named communist China.

      Okay, so it's a stretch.... but this IS the beginning of a violation of rights. There is no shortage of evidence that the constitution was created to protect people from violations such as this, EVEN if you've agreed to it!

      Why do you think we don't allowed indentured servitude anymore? It was a contract that was entered into willfully..... The law is there to PROTECT people from jackass people/companies like Comcast who try to decide that it's within their rights to violate peoples' rights, just because the law says they can.

      To quote the declaration of independence.

      That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
      WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. Whether we like it or not - those elected officials were picked BY us from AMONG us. If we are too stupid to choose people who will do something about it (and if we are unwilling to run for office ourselves) then we are consenting to whatever happens!

      This is exactly a situation where if what Comcast is doing is "legal" it's time to enact some legislation to ensure that this kind of completely unethical behavior (which SHOULD be illegal) never happens again.

      The law is(read: SHOULD BE) there to protect you and me, not big business. We have a congress, and not a king, for just this sort of situation.

      Help me Obi-wan Kenobi(read: voters of the USA). You're my only hope.
  • Not just P2P traffic (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheHappyMailAdmin (913609) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:29AM (#21042369) Journal

    I've posted this before, but it's pertinent and bears repeating, it's not just P2P traffic that Comcast is filtering. A sysadmin I know has been blogging on Comcast filtering corporate e-mail traffic as well.

    http://kkanarski.blogspot.com/2007/09/comcast-filtering-lotus-notes-update.html [blogspot.com]

  • by fz00 (466988) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:30AM (#21042377) Homepage
    After Comcast loses all their customers to DSL, will they complain about [whatever DSL company]'s unfair monopoly advantage?
    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:39AM (#21042569)

      After Comcast loses all their customers to DSL, will they complain about [whatever DSL company]'s unfair monopoly advantage?
      This is exceptionally unlikely to happen. The social groups that Slashdot folks circulate in are not the average. I know it's hard to believe, but very few of Comcast's customers give a shit about BitTorrent of p2p, even if they where aware of their existence. Most of Comcast's customers are average low-volume (if at all) computer users who have Comcast to view television, and picked up Interweb connectivity as part of a package.

      Comcast has decided that p2p degrades their system, for them it's more of a technical issue than a political one (though I'm sure the **AA Gestapo have been in touch with them).

    • by bsane (148894)
      I'd love to try DSL... Unfortunately like most comcast customers I don't have any other broadband options available.
  • Title Inapt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jkabbe (631234) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:30AM (#21042393)
    When I read the words "discriminating against" I assumed that Comcast was simply giving higher priority to non-bittorrent traffic. Given what they are doing, I think "interfering with" would be better language. This isn't just a passive downgrading. This is active blocking.
  • by name*censored* (884880) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:31AM (#21042409)
    Whilst I'd be opposed to such an idea being put into practice, why doesn't comcast request that legitimate torrent/tracker sites register with them in exchange for guaranteed non-filtering (similar to proposals against Net Neutrality)? It'd make comcast happy, since they're able to reduce the amount of traffic on their network and say that they provide options for legal P2P. I know that it would likely result in

    1) Comcast charging for the privilege
    2) Outcry from legitimate sites
    3) Losing paying customers who pirate
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      Your idea would be terribly damaging for the Internet. Innovators need to be able to provide online services without individually registering themselves with every ISP on the planet. Allowing this would make ISPs the gatekeepers and judges of the Internet, and I don't want that.
  • Fix to comcast. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:33AM (#21042447) Homepage
    Set your bittorrent client to only use encrypted traffic. It fixes comcast's little red wagon fast.

    Almost all up to date bittorrent clients support this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by garbletext (669861)
      Incorrect. The Sandvine appliances that comcast uses do not need to inspect the packets to classify them as Bittorrent, they can do so by other methods e.g. pattern and timing analysis. Not many network protocols generate packets the way bittorrent does; it's a dead giveaway. As long as they can identify your usage as bittorrent, the RST trick still works. Of course, you could change set your client to open a very conservative number of connections, possibly thwarting traffic analysis, but then you'd be
  • by sdkramer (411640) <seth@@@sethkramer...com> on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:33AM (#21042453) Homepage
    make them somewhat responsible for what content is on their network?

    "Hello, RIAA. I have reason to believe Comcast is allowing illegal music trafficking to occur."

    It's Comcastic!
  • Comcast... Where? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kainaw (676073) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:34AM (#21042457) Homepage Journal
    Comcast is in many different cities - each office running independently of all others. Which offices are blocking bittorrent? I use it all the time, on Comcast, without any trouble. I have more issues at work (with traffic shaping junk) than Comcast. So, I do not see how this is a company-wide problem. It may be something only used in problematic areas.
  • by Kohath (38547) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:34AM (#21042465)
    This is the worst Internet injustice since the last thing that had Slashdot's panties in a wad. And that one was so horrible that everyone forgot about it.
  • When people were first talking about issues, I setup Azureus again to help seed some of the site projects over at OCRemix. However, in the last two weeks I've noticed that I'm getting NAT Ok? and Firewalled status messages on Azureus, despite it still allowing me to push through at 20kb/s upload (which seemed like a fairly good upload seeing as I could barely muster 5 kb/s on Charter at my previous residence). I know for a fact I haven't been monkeying with my firewall or NAT Router since I got everything
  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:38AM (#21042549)
    Their [youtube.com] commercials [youtube.com] make sense on a whole new level now.
  • Question.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:40AM (#21042589)
    Actually two of them:

    1. What hardware/software would carriers have to use to do this?

    2. Can it be defeated?

    Fwiw, Rogers cable in Canada is rumored to be doing the same thing (and perhaps more). Michael Geist talks about this on his blog: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1859/ [michaelgeist.ca]
    • Re:Question.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by kwandar (733439) on Friday October 19, 2007 @01:33PM (#21044743)

      Actually, Canadian users should file a complaint about Rogers misleading advertising with the Competition Bureau (not advising purchasers of their high speed service in their advertising that they will lower the speed of P2P apps). I have, and so have others. It really is a question or priorities and complaint volume though, and at present the number of complaints has been very few.

      For anyone interested, the Competition Act [canlii.org] and there are numerous sections dealing with misleading advertising. By not advising they public they are actually reducing the speed of P2P apps, they are knowingly making a material misrepresentation to the public (Parts VI and VII.1).

      You can file complaints with the Canadian Competition Bureau about Rogers, here [competitionbureau.gc.ca].

  • by isaac (2852) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:41AM (#21042623)
    Comcast would be well within their rights to drop or deprioritize bittorrent packets, but it's not at all clear that sending TCP reset segments with forged source IP addresses is kosher.

    If all traffic flowed through a Comcast-controlled proxy that was disclosed, there probably wouldn't be a problem, but Comcast is actually forging source addresses on both sides with the effect of concealing their actions and fooling the parties on each end into terminating their connections at (what they believe to be) each other's legitimate request.

    I imagine this method of traffic limiting could be litigated sooner or later since it affects customers who are not party to the RST-inserting carrier's TOS.

    -Isaac
  • ...are people surprised?

    if enough people complain or walk then they will change their practices.

    By the way - well spotted.
  • The issue of traffic shaping should be kept separate from the issue of:

    --Comcast using forgery or masquerading

    --Comcast deceiving customers about its true terms of service

    --Comcast hiding what it is doing, thereby giving no means to complain or give them feedback about technical problems
  • What would be nice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cryophallion (1129715) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:50AM (#21042851)
    If I remember correctly, Comcast says that something like 1% of the user base causes 15% of the bandwidth, etc. Therefore, they throttle the thing that takes up the most bandwidth (torrents), in the name of helping out all the other users.

    However, I would love to see stats on what percentage of their users actually use bittorrent. Until someone can prove that more than 1% use it, they can use that argument and 85% of people will shout"Yeah, more bandwidth for me, screw those pirates", without realizing the legitimate torrent uses (such as linux distro rollouts, patches as mentioned before, media defender email leaks, etc).

    At leas the media is finally catching on, but until we get people to realizing that it is a slippery slope that affects them, there will not be enough uproar to stop them.

    So, if we could only get our hands on how many people use it... we might be able to make some noise. Until then, the average joe will say "So What?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by realmolo (574068)
      Comcast is probably breaking the law. And what they are doing is shitty.

      But they are well within their rights to throttle Bittorrent traffic. And they NEED to.

      I used to run an ISP, and I've worked at many, and let me tell you, Bittorrent traffic is EVIL. It HAS to be throttled. It's an extremely inefficient, "talky" protocol. It opens thousands of connections to every BT client (yes, you can limit the number of connections your BT client *accepts*, but those connections still have to be *routed* to you befo
    • by Mad Dog Manley (93208) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:50PM (#21043933)
      If I remember correctly, Comcast says that something like 1% of the user base causes 15% of the bandwidth, etc. Therefore, they throttle the thing that takes up the most bandwidth (torrents), in the name of helping out all the other users.

      Correction... they throttle in order to get the 15% back and resell it to more users, without having to upgrade existing infrastructure.
  • Legal action? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Thaelon (250687) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:56AM (#21042981)
    Could Comcast be found guilty of fraud law or violating some computer usage law because of this?

    On one hand, they're deliberately pretending to be the person you're communicating with (fraud?). On the other they're deliberately degrading performance of a person's internet connection (vaguely DOS-ish), a person one who isn't necessarily their customer.

    Thoughts?
  • by Krojack (575051) on Friday October 19, 2007 @11:56AM (#21042993)
    I work for a VoIP provider and of all our customers, only the people using Comcast have voice brake-up. All other broadband including myself (charter) have perfect quality. It's sad when we get blamed for this when in fact its not our problem. I was on the phone with Comcast many times over just to get them to clear the problem up so my sister could have good VoIP quality. It still has problems here and there but at least its good now for the most part.

    BTW, This has gotten worse ever since Comcast started offering VoIP.
  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:06PM (#21043157)
    So, since, as it appears, they are sending spoofed packets ... Couldn't you claim unauthorized access to your PC, impersonation of another person, and forgery of information ... or something along those lines. Its certainly illegal to pretend to be someone else as a person, maybe not in and of itself, but as soon as you do something to harm one of the parties involved (thinking identity theft).

    I just can't believe that somewhere along the lines there hasn't been a law made that makes spoofing illegal, they are claiming to be someone/something else to which you have agreed to communicate with.

    Of course, if its not actually sending packets as if they came from the peer, then its a different story.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:15PM (#21043323) Homepage Journal
    what goes around, comes around as a hammer.
  • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday October 19, 2007 @12:56PM (#21044073) Homepage Journal
    ... if Comcast is essentially attempting to disable Bitorrent, are they by any chance either violating or subverting one or more RFCs? Substitute the proper term for 'violating', that was the strongest word I could come up with quickly.

    I recall that in the Early Days of the Internet, not abiding by the RFCs would get you in hot water. Especially screwing up with SMTP would do it, but even bad behaviour due to your incompetence would get your T-1 unclocked, and it would take a few calls to the powers that be to assure them that you found someone who knew what they were doing and that problem wouldn't occur again. At least not for a while.

    My point is, perhaps it's time for the other Internet providers to consider requiring Comcast to not mess with traffic in this way, or sanction Comcast.

    Sanctions could be as graduated as throttling at the NAPs, degrading Comcast traffic, even disconnects.

    Some providers have a stake in this. If the legal Bitorrent users (WoW for instance) get a crossed hair over this, why would they not ask their providers to pressure Comcast into stopping this?

    Ultimately, this may be Comcast clinging to their ToS and 'server' restrictions, and that would mean Comcast users won't be sharing out Bitorrent files. Bummer.

    Another wrinkle, I wonder if Comcast sends forged RSTs to Comcast users sharing with *other* Comcast users. Intranetwork traffic shouldn't 'cost' so much for Comcast.

    My theory is simple - Imagine if ISPs started throttling or denying traffic from Akamai, because of the volume... What a mess. And while Bitorrent is used for all sorts of purposes, so is SMTP. So if they think the illegal use of Bitorrent is sufficient excuse for them to deny it, why don't they throttle/deny SMTP, since simple spam is bad enough, but the emails of worms/trojans/scams also are objectionable. even arguably illegal. And certainly harmful, to users and the Internet. Maybe even Comcast.

    Of course, that's not the point. Comcast is trying to avoid costs due to the volume of Bitorrent traffic that leaves them paying for NAP ports, lines to other ISPs, and routers/switches to manage all this.

    In other words, they are trying to control costs by controlling usage.

    One of the reasons I got out of the business pre-2000. Couldn't make a profit with my business model. Network costs were too high.

    Well, another option is to surcharge high-volume users. Or charge more to afford to provide the service ostensibly advertised.

    It's not often I can be happy to have Cox Cable. My Qwest DSL before just sucked, but the traffic got through.

    Good luck. My bet is the best avenue is a class-action over either false advertising or Magnuson-Moss.

  • by JohnnyComeLately (725958) on Friday October 19, 2007 @03:24PM (#21046621) Homepage Journal
    I've had people get into arguments saying it's MTU or someother issue with P2P, but I've been just going on emperical data and personal observations. My internet connection to Cox ONLY becomes spotty (at best) when I fire up ANY version of a P2P software. I can go months without rebooting my PC, Router, and Cable modem, but the moment I fire up LimeWire it drops to slow performance and often locks up within 5 minutes. Rebooting the cable mode can instantly fix it. Dont run Limewire? It'll go back to normal. Run Limewire after rebooting? Back to slow performance and a reboot it right around the corner. Again, I've tried different types of P2P, so I'm not buying any breakdown in the TCP/IP stack (MTU problems, etc). It's almost as if they drop my IP lease because I still see traffic but nothing works. Their "stop communicating" message would also make sense.

% A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back the when it begins to rain. -- Robert Frost

Working...