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Canadians Find Traffic Shaping "Reasonable" 291

Posted by kdawson
from the if-only-they-knew-what-it-is dept.
gehrehmee writes "A recent Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll on ISPs' use of traffic shaping suggests that 60% of survey respondents find the practice reasonable as long as customers are treated fairly, while 22% believe Internet management is unreasonable regardless. The major Canadian Internet and phone service provider Rogers, meanwhile, compared 'person-to-person file-sharing to a car that parks in one lane of a busy highway at all times of the day or night, clogging the roadways for everyone unless someone takes action.' Is there a lack of education about the long-term effects of traffic shaping on free communication? Or are net neutrality advocates just out of touch?" The poll found that only 20% of respondents had ever heard of traffic shaping. The article is unclear on whether the "60%" who found the practice "reasonable" are 60% of all respondents — most of whom don't know what they are talking about — or 60% of the minority who know. If the former, then the exact phrasing of the question is the overwhelming determinant of the response. At the CTRC hearings, which wrapped up today, Bell Canada executives revealed that the company "slows certain types of downloads [P2P] to as little as 1.5 to 3 per cent of their advertised speed during 9-1/2 hours of the day."
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Canadians Find Traffic Shaping "Reasonable"

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  • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:09AM (#28701921) Homepage Journal

    This isn't a question about Net Neutrality at all. This is a question about network management. If you asked people this question: "Do you think data being consumed in real time (video, phone calls, etc.) should have higher priority than data being transferred for later use?" the answer from a reasonable person is likely to be "yes". And it's not a bad answer.

    The actual Net Neutrality question is: "Do you think Rogers Cablesystem should be allowed to degrade Vonage's VoIP traffic if they don't similarly degrade Rogers' own VoIP traffic?"

    The real problems come from confusingly bad articles like these, where people are being mislead to believe network management is the same as net neutrality. That's the lie that is being used to skew the statistics of public opinion. And it doesn't help that P2P proponents try to use the same lie to claim some mythical rights under the guise of net neutrality, either. If a router has a choice between discarding one packet or another, it's disruptive to fewer people if it throws away the VoIP packet. That's traffic shaping 101, and has nothing to do with network neutrality.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by plover (150551) *

      it's disruptive to more people if it throws away the VoIP packet.

      Oops, fixed that for me.

    • by noundi (1044080)

      The real problems come from confusingly bad articles like these

      I wonder just how often this statement is true, or perhaps I should be careful with what I wish for. Some might say it's unfair to say but isn't it time journalism is rendered strictly as entertainment only? I mean sure there is occasionally some journalist that actually tries to report the truth, but it's really no secret that more often it's about luring readers to see the ads using sensational headlines and too often just plain lies.

      • I mean sure there is occasionally some journalist that actually tries to report the truth, but it's really no secret that more often it's about luring readers to see the ads using sensational headlines and too often just plain lies.

        Well, the journalists have probably figured out that plain lies works for the advertisers, so they figure they'll get in on the act, too...

    • by Blymie (231220) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:30AM (#28702059)

      The problem is, that this *is* about network neutrality as well.

      What happens when someone wants to start offering cable TV over the net? It's already started, and that's much more bandwidth intensive than P2P. It is also completely legal, to boot! In Canada, you can rebroadcast OTA TV without paying anyone a dime, currently.

      What happens when someone starts to offer live video streaming, aka movie downloading, legally?

      Heck, what about video game patches, add ons, downloads of Linux distros, etc, etc, etc. All of these are entirely legal, and all of them can use P2P.

      Bell's silly contention is that P2P somehow causes severe bandwidth issues. In reality, they take objection to ALL bandwidth intensive applications. They've stated so in the past, with comments like "only 5% of users use P2P, everyone else only checks their email and views a few webpages a night". To them, a "few webpages" means looking at Google news, and barely using anything bandwidth intensive like YouTube. The real issue here is that Bell vastly oversells its bandwidth.

      Throttling in *any way* causes issues with Network Neutrality. An ISP is a pipe. Provide $x bandwidth, with $y data cap, and GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY. Anything else is entirely, completely, and fully dishonest.

      Hell, Bell and Rogers sell movie rentals, TV access, cable and the like. To them, any way they can make bandwidth intensive applications look bad, is a big, massive boon to their business.

      • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:50AM (#28702213) Homepage Journal

        Heck, what about video game patches, add ons, downloads of Linux distros, etc, etc, etc. All of these are entirely legal, and all of them can use P2P.

        The difference is that you're not sitting at the end of the pipe watching your P2P bits arrive, while the phone and video and streaming audio users are. If your phone service has to compete with your P2P service, which would you rather have go badly?

        If you are downloading a distro, and at the same time you place a VoIP phone call, what do you do if the audio is all broken up? Do you pause the torrent client to get better phone service? I do*. Now, put the torrent client in your neighbor's house, where you don't have have the ability to pause your neighbor's download when you want to use the phone. Is it fair?

        And before you cry "but the bandwidth! the bandwidth! I paid for the bandwidth!" bandwidth is NOT the same as capacity. If you want a guarantee of capacity, sign a contract to rent a fiber between you and your server. Otherwise, you have to deal with the fact that it's a multi-use, multi-user network, it's shared, and there will be packet loss when it's saturated.

        * well I did when I had Vonage.

        • by Blymie (231220) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:24AM (#28702573)

          Essentially your argument is "You should not be using the full speed your modem provides".

          That's all you're arguing. I could saturate that speed using torrents, using edonkey, using netflix, using youtube, simply clicking on a download link for a webpage, or even updating security patches to a new XP box! It's an invalid argument, hands down.

          Plain and simple, Bell oversells its bandwidth. Most dialup ISPs used to have a 1/10 ratio when selling to subscribers. Good ISPs used to have 1/5. I suspect Bell is somewhere in the 1/1000 range, or even 1/10000.

          If Bell was *really* concerned about their client's experience, they'd use packet shaping to ensure that P2P had a *lower priority* over SIP and other protocols. They don't, however, because they have a vested interest in ensuring that bandwidth heavy traffic is not used on their network, because:

          1) it competes with all of their other businesses! Bandwidth usage = competition with TV, Video downloads, etc
          2) it would require them to invent in technology upgrades
          3) it makes sure that other ISPs can not compete with Bell as effectively

          Keep in mind that there is almost NO competition here in Canada. If Bell was *competing* for subscribers, they'd to their best to ensure that their service was better than the next door over. They don't, because their only competition is the cable company, who also does not compete.

          After all, with only two players in the market, why compete?

          The same sits true for cellular services in this country, which is replied to with absurd statements of how we are 'spread out'. Absurd, the have a few low-grade, old tech towers strung in the open places, but other than that, our population density is just as high as any place else.

          This is about a lack of competition, pure and simple.

          • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @11:57AM (#28704243)

            Essentially your argument is "You should not be using the full speed your modem provides".

            No, that isn't the argument at all. The point of traffic shaping (a.k.a. Quality of Service) is that some kinds of traffic need to arrive in a timely manner, while for other kinds of traffic there won't be any noticeable effect if the packets arrive a second or two later. Voice and video streams become practically useless if there's significant delays or packet loss, while your Linux disc image will work just fine even if the download finishes 15 seconds later than it otherwise would.

            As for your arguments about ISP's overselling their bandwidth, well yeah, we all know that, and we all know about the near-universal lack of competition, but those issues are generally separate from Quality of Service and Network Neutrality.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          what do you do if the audio is all broken up? Do you pause the torrent client to get better phone service? I do*.

          I do what all Competent IT/Networking people do. I set up my router to give VoIP top priority so it self throttles, I never have a problem with P2P breaking up my VoIP or web-surfing.

          It seems the reality is that most of these Cable broadband companies are simply lacking in competent IT, networking and Executive staff.

        • Thing is it doesn't just kill P2P when saturated. Sure I'm fine with my TCP torrent getting lower priority than a UDP VOIP call but that isn't what happens. No what happens is that the ISP kills or throttles to death anything that looks like a torrent because they designed their network poorly and have found that changing usage patterns are costing them more when it comes time to pay for their upstream connection.

        • by mrops (927562)
          I believe a lot of folks here have no Idea what Bell is doing.

          Bell is not just doing it to its own customers but to Internet wholesellers who use Bell's infrastructure for the last mile to customer, something that used tax payers money to lay down in the first place.

          What happened is bell was throttling their own customers, people started jumping ships, Bell was loosing customers like sand through a closed fist. When this happened they started throttling all other ISP who used Bell for the last mile. I
        • by Nadaka (224565)

          Heck, what about video game patches, add ons, downloads of Linux distros, etc, etc, etc. All of these are entirely legal, and all of them can use P2P.

          The difference is that you're not sitting at the end of the pipe watching your P2P bits arrive, while the phone and video and streaming audio users are. If your phone service has to compete with your P2P service, which would you rather have go badly?

          If you are downloading a distro, and at the same time you place a VoIP phone call, what do you do if the audio is all broken up? Do you pause the torrent client to get better phone service? I do*. Now, put the torrent client in your neighbor's house, where you don't have have the ability to pause your neighbor's download when you want to use the phone. Is it fair?

          And before you cry "but the bandwidth! the bandwidth! I paid for the bandwidth!" bandwidth is NOT the same as capacity. If you want a guarantee of capacity, sign a contract to rent a fiber between you and your server. Otherwise, you have to deal with the fact that it's a multi-use, multi-user network, it's shared, and there will be packet loss when it's saturated.

          * well I did when I had Vonage.

          what if you are watching the bits? The company I work for is developing live video streaming using a P2P protocol.

      • Sad thing is, every router made in the last many years has had all sorts of traffic management that is fair, impersonal, and doesn't violate privacy, or single any one person, or one protocol or technology out.

        I would have no problems with an ISP implementing something like WFQ, or even FIFO when their main pipe is clogged.. its when they decide that my particular choice is not one of the selected ones..

      • by mcgrew (92797)

        What happens when someone starts to offer live video streaming, aka movie downloading, legally?

        You never heard of YouTube?

      • by DarthVain (724186)

        Not to mention when they are selling the stuff they advertise that people need high speed, so they can download movies, etc... but then turn around once you have an account and slows your connection basically because you are doing what they told you could do?

        I believe that may be the definition of crazy.

    • by phoomp (1098855) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:42AM (#28702155)
      60% agree with the question.

      20% understand the question.

    • by seasleepy (651293) <seasleepy@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:43AM (#28702157)
      The comments on Michael Geist's blog [michaelgeist.ca] indicate that the polling went rather like you expected.

      Interestingly, just prior to the release of the survey, one of the people who was called over the weekend (the survey was conducted July 9 - 12th) contacted me to report:

      I took a Harris-Decima phone poll over the weekend and their questions about traffic shaping could be roughly summed up as "Did you know that your neighbour's movie downloading is slowing down your Internet?".

    • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:54AM (#28702261) Homepage

      The actual Net Neutrality question is: "Do you think Rogers Cablesystem should be allowed to degrade Vonage's VoIP traffic if they don't similarly degrade Rogers' own VoIP traffic?"

      That's your take on it, but it's not necessarily the right way to look at the problem. Some of us think ISPs should not be allowed to unfairly degrade specific protocols. It's one thing to shape traffic in a way that guarantees reliable service for all users, but some ISPs like to degrade P2P in ways that are not in proportion with actual impact on network resources.

      I recall seeing a post by an ISP employee who bragged about degrading P2P performance down to unusable levels (something like 1% of available bandwidth shared among all of the ISPs users) and laughing at the fact that customers might think the problem was on the peer's side rather than the ISP's side. I find that despicable, and a true violation of the principle of net neutrality.

      • by plover (150551) *

        But specific protocols imply certain usage patterns: VoIP implies that there are two humans who will not be able to communicate if their service is degraded below level "x". Video on demand (Hulu, for example) means there is one human who will not be able to use the service if it is degraded below the level "y". Web traffic is slightly more forgiving in that it's not dependent on any specific sustained level of data transfer, but needs a certain responsiveness to be practical for one user, so let's call

        • by plover (150551) *
          Oh, I've just thought of a third option for improving your performance. If getting the data in a timely fashion (faster than level "z") is important to you, you can choose to get it through a different protocol that uses a different ruleset. Downloading it via http: would put you at level "w", and you'd have the data in your hands much faster. It may cost you more (you might have to pay for a subscription to a web service that lets you download n GB per month) or it might be hard (hosting a copyrighted f
        • In reality, I think that the setting "z" was pushed down to 1% because of a demand by the rest of the users to increase x, y, and w.

          No. According to the poster in question, the percentage was set with the express purpose of crippling P2P traffic and making it feel so slow compared to ordinary traffic that users would think there's something wrong with the peers rather than the ISP.

          Like I said, I don't mind it if ISPs shape traffic in a way that guarantees fair access to all users. What bugs me is when ISPs

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      You nailed it on the head hard.

      99.9978% of the time Traffic shaping is not for keeping those damned evil P2P users down but to screw with a competing service. Comcast in my area screws with ALL VoIP traffic except their own. Broadvoice and Vonnage in Michigan is crap compared to the same service in DSL. it's because Comcast found a way to screw up VoIP, increase the retention time in the modems for data packets. Jitter goes through the roof. Because their VoIP goes into their equipment, it does not

    • Push Poll (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheMeuge (645043)

      I believe the term we're looking for to describe this survey is a "push-poll".

      The question goes as follows:
      "Do you think the ISPs should be able to use traffic shaping to limit access to child pornography, terrorist websites, and illegal economy-hurting piracy, or do you support the criminals?"

  • treated fairly.

    Kind of a key point there folks. I'm guessing 20 or so percent of respondents said "Yeah, right. They won't "treat us fairly" so what's the point." I'm also guessing the other 15% or so said something along the lines of "I like cheese".

    Don't use so many caps in your subject line, it's like screaming at a baby who is hungry.

  • Bell Canada executives revealed that the company "slows certain types of downloads [P2P] to as little as 1.5 to 3 per cent of their advertised speed during 9-1/2 hours of the day

    Hey, that's fine by me. Force people to download when it won't affect other people. It's either that or pay a small fortune for a service with guaranteed bandwidth.

    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:19AM (#28701983)

      Why not? Because I pay for an Internet connection, not a web and email connection. Who are you to decide that my use of the internet is less important than yours?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      Bell Canada executives revealed that the company "slows certain types of downloads [P2P] to as little as 1.5 to 3 per cent of their advertised speed during 9-1/2 hours of the day

      Hey, that's fine by me. Force people to download when it won't affect other people. It's either that or pay a small fortune for a service with guaranteed bandwidth.

      You do realize that by using P2P to get my Warcraft patches & Ubuntu ISOs that I am reducing the load normally incurred by going all the way to California for them, don't you?

      Look up content distribution networks (CDN) and see how they helped reduce traffic on the internet. Now think about how P2P allows people to be 'kinder' to everyone who uses the internet. By shaping the traffic, you are telling me to go back to the old way when I would request 1 GB of data from across the country and everyon

      • or I guess the Bordens in Canada. They also get to sell fatter pipes to the companies you download from rather than have you use a P2P solution that doesn't put a huge load on expensive dedicated corporate lines. Add to that the various media lobbys that have convinced everyone that everything that is P2P is copyright infringement, and there you go.

        Also, if I'm downloading media to watch I still need to keep up with the rate at which I'm watching it. So the guy that uses a protocol that streams it to him

      • I disagree.

        The problem of reducing network load for large volumes of data in a one-to-many delivery is solved by CDN solutions providers such as Akamai.

        The problem of reducing cost or decentralizing distribution points (related to the low cost) is solved by P2P.

    • And it's not what the ISP is advertising.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:17AM (#28701957)

    I mean, there are a few other things on the internet that use a little bandwidth.

    I would suggest that everybody who puts something on youtube that gets more than 100 views has to pay extra tax. In addition, their upload gets downgraded for the next 3 months. That'll teach them for making the internet a popular tool for sharing information!

    On a more serious note: I suggest we block all traffic between copyright lobbyists and internet providers... that should solve the problem rather quickly.

  • Terrible Analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:17AM (#28701967) Journal

    The major Canadian Internet and phone service provider Rogers, meanwhile, compared 'person-to-person file-sharing to a car that parks in one lane of a busy highway at all times of the day or night, clogging the roadways for everyone unless someone takes action.'

    I'm not a customer of Rogers but I do know that Comcast and Cox cap you at your cable modem (and I'd bet Rogers does too) ... so a better analogy might be:

    'a car that parks in its own lane of a busy highway with a lane for every home at all times of the day or night, clogging that lane for themselves unless they take action.'

    And the best analogy would be:

    'a single person driving nonstop cars in their own personal lane of a busy highway at all times of the day or night, clogging that lane for themselves because they paid for the lane and they're going to fucking use it.'

    If you can't support 5Mb/s don't advertise 5Mb/s! And don't sell people plans with that written on it if you can't support everyone doing it! Oh? You've discovered people will shell out a lot more money for better connections so you like to be able to advertise 5Mb/s? You don't say ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "If you can't support 5Mb/s don't advertise 5Mb/s! And don't sell people plans with that written on it if you can't support everyone doing it! Oh? You've discovered people will shell out a lot more money for better connections so you like to be able to advertise 5Mb/s? "

      I do not know how this comment got a score of 3 but this is plain stupid. Since the beginning of telecommunications networks have been sized in a statistical fashion. Guess what!, if every mobile phone tries to call at the same time the netw

    • by Targon (17348)

      There are many ways to look at it, all of them somewhat legit and acceptable to a good sized group of people. For starters, an ISP will generally go on the idea that they need enough bandwidth to handle the average amount used. This is not on a per-user type of basis, but across their customer base. Now, if you get 5 megabit/second service, chances are that you will be downloading at 5 megabit speeds SOME of the time, but not all of the time. The same thing goes for upload bandwidth. Now, if you

      • Running your own web server for example is not covered under a residential class service, even though it will work technically, you have not signed up for providing a commercial service for that price.

        That would depend on who your provider is, wouldn't it? A webserver on Teksavvy residential service is completely allowed. Bell, on the other hand, doesn't support it. That's not to say they won't let you do it....just that if it causes problems, they'll tell you off.

    • If you can't support 5Mb/s don't advertise 5Mb/s! And don't sell people plans with that written on it if you can't support everyone doing it! Oh? You've discovered people will shell out a lot more money for better connections so you like to be able to advertise 5Mb/s? You don't say ...

      The problem is that different people have different requirements.

      I've just gone through my logs for May and I'm averaging 70Mb per day. Yes, my usage would comfortably fit on a POTS 56k modem.

      But I don't want to go back to tha

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Comcast advertises their top price 15mb line here in my town.

      the fun part is.. there is no point in time that you can get 15mb from anywhere. It's just not possible. even in the dead of the night you CANT because they dont have the backbone bandwidth.

      They want to sell you super deluxe with speed boost, but without spending any money on the backend. It's like the ISP in the early 90's that advertised unlimited super fast internet for $19.99 and only had 10 dial in modems in the pool and a ISDN connectio

    • by Atrox666 (957601)
      It's kind of like when a used car sales man sells you a car but disables everything but first gear after delivery and then tells you it's so you won't cause crowding on the freeway..then he laughs in your face, kicks you in the nuts and steals your wallet.
    • 'a single person driving nonstop cars in their own personal lane of a busy highway at all times of the day or night, clogging that lane for themselves because they paid for the lane and they're going to fucking use it.'

      No a better analogy would be a contracted post office. They limit the number of letters a person can send a day and the number they can send in a month. They want to stay competitive and look good so they offer more letters per day then they can handle. They then act surprised and blame the customers for jamming up the service when they choose to exercise their ability to send a large number of letters in one day.

      The car analogy just doesn't make sense because the roads are public and not a paid for servi

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:18AM (#28701975) Homepage Journal

    You know, we're sort of a strange breed up here.

    In some cases, sharing music is legal in Canada, and the whole thing is treated as a much different issue than in the US. If you get a letter from the ISP, it's just informing you that there was something downloaded on your connection, rather than a lawsuit. Some time over the next few weeks, in fact, I'll be securing someone's wireless connection because they got just such a letter even though they don't use P2P.

    This sort of think continues that sort of idea. Rather than destroy everyone's bandwidth, or charging the p2p folks insane fees, silently controlling when the traffic goes through works for everyone. The regular folks get good internet during peak times, and the p2p people get good internet during the trough times, and they don't get massive bills in the mail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NatasRevol (731260)

      And the p2p people get screwed during peak times because they're considered second class. Like say you need a critical patch for a server during business hours.

      • by Sj0 (472011)

        If it's that critical, download it from the vendor instead of using bittorrent.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sj0 (472011)

          On second thought, if it's that critical, download it with your business internet connection, rather than your 29.99 home dsl line.

    • by canajin56 (660655)
      That's not quite how it works. Sharing music is only legal because downloading it is illegal, and a judge said that both parties can't have made the copy, especially since one party was automated. His non-car analogy was that a library "makes available" books and a photocopier. But if you decide to go beyond fair use and photocopy dozens of books in full, it's your fault, not that of the library who made it possible. You don't get sued because how can the RIAA gather enough evidence for a subpoena, if s
      • by Sj0 (472011)

        I'm sorry, I sort of zoned out there after you were wrong on the first point.

        Sharing music is quasi-legal in Canada because of a levy paid on recordable media.

  • by mario_grgic (515333) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:27AM (#28702027)

    Do you think Bell and Rogers should invest some of the money into increasing bandwidth that they oversold thousand times over, instead of giving hundreds of millions in executive bonuses and lobbing politicians?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cbiltcliffe (186293)

      Do you think Bell and Rogers should invest some of the money into increasing bandwidth that they oversold thousand times over, instead of .... lobbing politicians?

      I don't know about you, but I kind of like the idea of lobbing politicians. Kind of like dwarf tossing, only less politically incorrect.

      And more satisfying.

  • I'm not buying it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:27AM (#28702029) Homepage

    It's like asking the general public whether it's better to use an oropharyngeal airway or nasopharyngeal airway. There's no way a random group of people get what traffic shaping and net neutrality really mean. I look at our customers, even the ones who can grasp technical topics, you have to keep it really simple. They had to skew those questions to get answers on that topic, there's no way.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:27AM (#28702031)

    Depending on who makes the poll questions and what the questions are you can get different answers from the same group of people.

    Do you think the individuals who use most of the bandwidth should be limited so you can afford cheaper bandwidth?

    Do you think the government should put a limit on how much bandwidth you use?

    Most ideas come with trade offs. Depending on the views of the poll writer you can get their bias in the questions.

  • I don't see how traffic shaping can really work over the long term especially if the main reason for it is to try to stop an activity like P2P which for the most part is in a legally grey area at best. I could understand the ISP offering to route certain types of traffic with a higher priority (assuming you can identify that type of traffic) but something like P2P traffic could be made to just hide amongst the other encrypted traffic.

    I'm sure this is already being done but spotting probably P2P traffic shou

  • Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:31AM (#28702063)
    Quite simply this practice would go away if our telephone companies actually competed. I live in Halifax and we have excellent but still expensive internet via the cable company. Yet I have never seen an advertisement that really compared the differences between local cable and local dsl (huge around here). It is almost like they are afraid to compete. Prices haven't changed in years except to go up a tiny bit. Yet if the cost of bandwidth and equipment has plummeted why haven't prices plummeted? In a competitive environment this should be a huge opening for someone to come along and get a price war going. If my Cable internet company made any profit when I paid $40 a month ten years ago then their costs should now be a few dollars per month. Plus it seems that there is a huge opportunity to leap frog them with either wireless or fiber.
  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:31AM (#28702065) Journal

    Baring in mind that most consumers are clueless, mentioning traffic shaping will mean nothing to them, especially if the connection seems reasonably quick to them. You can't miss what you never had in the first place, and with traffic shaping, it makes the network providers get away with a worse service for the same money the consumer pays in subscriber fees. They make lots of profits, and they have zero will to invest in the network because it's easier to fleece the consumers instead. The politicians are guilty of being technologically ignorant and allowing this fraud to take place.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:34AM (#28702097) Homepage

    Most of these things are pretty worthless. Last year the provincial government of New Brunswick put out a report about self-sufficiency. They then did a poll about it.

    I got called as part of that poll. They asked me if I had heard of the report, with a bunch of answers (read it, read some of it, heard about it, know it exists, never heard of it). I answered "heard about it". The next question the pollster asked was "do you agree with the findings?"

    "I haven't read it and thus have no idea what the findings are" would be a pretty rational response, considering I just said that I hadn't read it. Not an option. The options were agree/disagree. I argued with the person on the phone for quite a while over that. Unsurprisingly, the results came out and found that while almost nobody read the report, most people agreed with it. Of course they did, the title sounds like something they should agree to!

    (There was a similar story about a question where they asked "do you support more health care spending even if it means running a deficit?" Most people said yes. Later in the poll they asked people what a deficit is. Most of the people who said yes to the earlier question couldn't answer. So, people are quite happy to agree with something when they have no idea what it is.)

    This is the same type of nonsense polling. Most of the people asked have no idea what the issue is, but throw words like "reasonable" and "treated fairly" in there, and of course they'll agree with it. If you don't know what traffic shaping is, why would you ever disagree with being treated fairly?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by amateur6 (1597289) *

      Later in the poll they asked people what a deficit is. Most of the people who said yes to the earlier question couldn't answer.

      That, right there, is very sad. And scary. Seriously, can we institute some kind of comprehension requirement before people are allowed to vote? And I don't just mean in phone polls.

  • by Ash Vince (602485) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:38AM (#28702117) Journal

    I once did voluntary work at a small community ISP. We only had a few hundred users at most but so many people used napster and then gnutella that we had to implement traffic shaping.

    The reality is that if you do not, then badly configured clients with no upload limit set will saturate whatever bandwidth is available if the user is sharing something popular. In our case that number of requests coming in prevented people from being able to access their webmail so we started traffic shaping based on port.

    Not a perfect solution since some people put their client on port 80 which we did not shape but largely it worked since we had lots of download bandwidth coming in, but were much more restricted on upload due to using ADSL lines. At the time an ADSL line was too expensive for most people so this way we could all share one and split the cost (£3 per month).

    Anyway, we found that without traffic shaping everything ground to a halt, with it we could provide a balanced service for everyone. When you step into the person who wants a cheap net connection and has no need to use tons of bandwidth traffic shaping becomes a reasonable tool to ensure they can always get what they pay for.

    Since most ISP's declare they will do this in their terms and conditions and they usually tell you the contention ratio of users to bandwidth I do not see how people can really object. If you want to always use the full possible bandwidth then buy an internet account with a 1:1 contention ratio. I know these are ridiculously expensive, but that is because the vast majority of people do not need this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by citizenr (871508)

      The reality is that if you do not, then badly configured clients with no upload limit set will saturate whatever bandwidth is available if the user is sharing something popular

      you mean they will saturate THEIR upload that they paid for.

      In our case that number of requests coming in prevented people from being able to access their webmail so we started traffic shaping based on port.

      so ISP was overbooking so badly it couldnt handle the traffic, that ISP should upgrade, shrink speeds it sells or just die

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tridus (79566)

        "so ISP was overbooking so badly it couldnt handle the traffic, that ISP should upgrade, shrink speeds it sells or just die"

        Just to be clear, you really think any ISP is going to be able to afford to have dedicated speed so that every user can max out their connection, all the time?

        Residental Internet is nowhere near expensive enough to pay for that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by citizenr (871508)

          "so ISP was overbooking so badly it couldnt handle the traffic, that ISP should upgrade, shrink speeds it sells or just die"

          Just to be clear, you really think any ISP is going to be able to afford to have dedicated speed so that every user can max out their connection, all the time?

          Residental Internet is nowhere near expensive enough to pay for that.

          There is overbooking and there is overbooking.
          Poster complained about upload. Upload is usually a measly 1/10 of download speed. That means even overbooking 20:1 will let half of your clients stream at full speed into the internet. Even at peak times its rare to see above 50% customers online, and even then below 30% uses their connections extensively.

          Yes, shit does hit the fan if you overbook 100:1 and never upgrade your infrastructure.

      • by Ash Vince (602485)

        You obviously did not read the entirety of my comment and know nothing about the terms and conditions under which and ISP's sell access.

        Almost every ISP sells the same bandwidth over and over again up to the number of times in they declare as the contention ratio when you sign up. ie - 1:50 contention ratio (standard residential last time I checked) means they will sell the same bandwidth 50 times. The bandwidth they quote is the maximum available bandwidth if you were the only person using it.

        If you do not

    • by jez9999 (618189) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:17AM (#28702501) Homepage Journal

      At the time an ADSL line was too expensive for most people so this way we could all share one and split the cost (£3 per month).

      An ADSL line costing £3/mo was too expensive? When was this, like 1700?

  • Rogers, meanwhile, compared 'person-to-person file-sharing to a car that parks in one lane of a busy highway at all times of the day or night, clogging the roadways for everyone unless someone takes action.'

    Close but no banana. There's one severe disparity in that analogy. They're not parked cars. This example makes it look like the resource is being wasted, unused, and entirely withheld from others that need it. I'd go for that comparison if it were a car that was driving on that highway. I might hav

  • When it comes to traffic shaping I am a firm believer that the companies should not be overloading their connection. If an ISP advertises a certain rate they should not be relying on most people not using the Internet except during prime time as an excuse to promise service they can't actually provide. P2P has many applications and it's only going to get bigger so the ISPs need to start adapting by either not accepting more customers than they can currently handle during all hours of the day at the maximum
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:43AM (#28702161) Homepage

    ...would give the ISPs a financial incentive to speed your music and video downloads along. But you'd never support such an outrage, would you? Because then you'd actually have to *pay* for downloading all your "tunes" and movies.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Well, I would, and I've been on board with that for a while. Paying for actual usage is the best way to solve the problem. People don't like it because they have this idea of "unlimited" Internet from back in the dial up days. It's an outdated model when people have connections capable of such high speeds.

      Now in order for that to actually get some support, you need net neturality to go along with it. The whole thing falls apart if its $1/GB unless you download from ISP approved companies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrsquid0 (1335303)

      This would be a good idea, if the charges were reasonable. Charging $1/Gb is unreasonable. Charging something like $0.05/Gb would be reasonable and I suspect would be widely supported.

    • by Dotren (1449427) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:35AM (#28702689)

      ...would give the ISPs a financial incentive to speed your music and video downloads along. But you'd never support such an outrage, would you? Because then you'd actually have to *pay* for downloading all your "tunes" and movies, watching Youtube, browsing webpages, playing online games, and downloading free software.

      There, fixed that for ya. Not everyone who uses gigs a month are downloading music and movies. Some of us just use a lot of bandwidth for normal internet activities and even some work related activities that involve downloading large ISO files.

      This solution is a win for the cable TV companies, a win for Hollywood, and a win for some of the ISP companies, but would be a big lose for a lot of internet users, and I'd bet its way more than the 5% number that they like to throw around.

      The ISP companies had a chance to increase capacity in preparation for this internet boom years ago, with government breaks no less, and they chose to ignore the issue and take the money anyways. This became even more apparent to me recently when someone described some of the newer optical networking technology is out now and just how much data can really be sent over a single strand of fiber when using it for multiple channels... its an insane amount and much more than I had been led to believe by the information the ISPs have been putting out about the evils of Youtube/Hulu and file sharing (legal or not but, of course, it serves their purpose and Hollywood's to "educate" the masses with the idea that ALL file sharing is wrong) and how they're at "max capacity" and must consider other billing methods or risk the meltdown of the intertubes.

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      Both Rogers and Bell in Canada do. 1.5$ per GB for standard account. 3$ per GB for a lite account. 1$ per GB for their most expensive account.

      If they changed reasonable rates I wouldn't mind.

      For comparison Teksavvy, an independent ISP sells it for 0.25$ cents a GB, you can also pre-pay for 100GB for 10$ (0.10 cents a GB).

      So does that seem like fair prices? Also note that Teksavvy as an independent has to lease its lines from Bell, and Bell traffic shapes Teksavvy's customers as well.

      Neither Bell or Rogers h

  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:52AM (#28702239) Homepage Journal

    The major Canadian Internet and phone service provider Rogers, meanwhile, compared 'person-to-person file-sharing to a car that parks in one lane of a busy highway at all times of the day or night, clogging the roadways for everyone unless someone takes action.'

    I'm glad I'm not in Canada, because Rogers is either phenomonally stupid or a bunch of lying asshats. Rather than a car parked on a busy highway, it's more like a convoy of SUVs full of people travelling from Chicago to St Louis for the all star baseball games. They're using the highways for what they were designed for. It's not the convoy's fault that I-55 is only four lanes for most of the way, and it's not P2P users' fault that Rogers hasn't kept their infrastructure up to date.

    We're not just looking at text-only web pages and sending email on a 33k modem any more, we're streaming videos, downloading Linux ISOs, and swapping files via P2P.

    It irks me that the corporates consider P2P to be evil; not all P2P is piracy. I know independant musicians who depend on P2P to get their music out.

    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:07AM (#28702397) Homepage

      I'm glad I'm not in Canada, because Rogers is either phenomonally stupid or a bunch of lying asshats.

      Thankfully, that's an "or", not an "xor", because there's no reason to think that they aren't both true.

    • I'm glad I'm not in Canada, because Rogers is either phenomonally stupid or a bunch of lying asshats.

      Or both.

      This is the ISP that regularly monitors customer traffic.
      How do I know? They send you an email if your computer gets infected with an IRCbot. How would they know you're infected, without monitoring traffic from your computer?

  • Real poll result (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:53AM (#28702249) Homepage

    The most likely real meaning of this poll: about 50% of those surveyed have no clue what the pollster is talking about, but since the poll question says "customers are treated fairly", respondents think that it's reasonable to be fair.

    For instance, "Would you be in favor or against reasonable restrictions of the use of DHMO?" often returns an answer that approves of the restrictions not because the respondent knows anything about the restrictions or DHMO but because those restrictions were described as "reasonable" in the question. That's sort of thing is one of the standard techniques for getting polls with the answer you want.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjh13hxehl4 [youtube.com]

    You can get any answer you want out of a survey.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:07AM (#28702393)

    Torrents aren't typically a problem because they're downloading huge files. This is what the network is designed to do, and the end user expects to set-and-forget so it could reasonably have a time frame of 'tomorrow'. The part that's contrary to the design is the uploading of huge files. You're not supposed to be doing that. Chances are, you even signed a contract that said you wouldn't run a 'server' of any kind.

    The business model needs to adapt. However, I don't think it is very honest to blame the ISP for expecting you to play by their terms. We should be lobbying for change, perhaps at the legal level or perhaps by seeking/creating alternatives.

    You leet's out there need more upstream, and your ISP needs to start seeing you as a data provider, and a lot of this will get better much sooner. Until that happens, please limit your P2P upload rate to something minuscule and give the rest of us a fighting chance to have access to a speedy network.

  • Plane Analogy (Score:5, Informative)

    by castironpigeon (1056188) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:07AM (#28702407)
    I don't like the car analogy. How about this one? An airplane has 100 seats. The airline sells 200 seats. The airline complains when 200 people show up because, clearly, the airplane has only 100 seats and the airline's hands are tied in the matter. However, they do propose a solution, noble and helpful businesspeople that they are. If everyone pays a little more they'll scrap the whole airplane idea and hire a couple of charter buses to get everyone where they need to go.
  • A recent Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll on ISPs' use of traffic shaping suggests that 60% of survey respondents find the practice reasonable as long as customers are treated fairly, while 22% believe Internet management is unreasonable regardless.

    Hmmm, I wonder why it didn't report on people's views on the use of laparoscopy in cases where the risk of trocar injuries is elevated?

    Oh! I know! Because that is a question for surgeon's to answer, not the general public.

    The major Canadian Internet and phone se

  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bender Unit 22 (216955) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:28AM (#28702603) Journal

    If it is slowing down downloads etc a bit to make sure voip and other things works then I really don't care.
    As long "a bit" isn't slowing things to a crawl 27/7 perhaps like 20% during peak hours. Then I'd rather have a cheap throttled internet connection where time critical packages are getting through fast.

    Of course in the real world until now, what I have seen from a few ISPs is that traffic like unencrypted bittorrent are barely getting through 24/7, until you force encryption on or run it through a VPN tunnel.
    My former ISP had a acceptable speed on my 20 megabit ADSL. But still when I forwarded all traffic in a VPN to a hosting center the speed on all protocols increased, torrent, http, ftp etc. even though most of the destinations had more routes to go through.
    So I guess in theory it could work but the implementation is often much different.

  • The other shoe... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter@NOspam.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:28AM (#28702615) Homepage Journal

    "As long as all customers are treated fairly in the way they are affected, most believe that traffic shaping is a reasonable approach for ISPs (Internet service providers) to take," said the survey.

    That first clause, "As long as all customers are treated fairly", is the tricky bit.

  • I'm willing to bet that poll question was a little more suited to the results then they are letting on.

    When you qualify that poll question "Is traffic shaping reasonable?" with "as long as the customer is treated fairly" it means something completely different then the reality of the situation. If the ISP's get their way they won't give a shit if it's fair to the customer so long as they don't start loosing business.

    So the poll question may be "fair", but the reflection of reality certainly isn't going to b

  • I am going to ring the bullshit bell. I would not be surprised if this "survey" was done on behalf of the telecommunications industry. As the adage goes you can make statistics prove whatever you like.

    First of all what "percentage" of Canadians even know wtf "traffic shaping" is? Second, even if it was explained to them in detail, would understand? Thirdly how was it explained, and with what bias? Considering for a moment that Rogers Communications describes it as "a car that parks in one lane of a busy hig

    • by DarthVain (724186)

      ... edit window broke... probably due to my scathing vehemence... Anywho:

      unclear if it was taken from the entire sample or some sort of aggregated polling, and that the wording (or lack thereof) would be the determining factor of how people voted. That last line pisses me off even more, because it is plainly marketing speak. If they only slowed my p2p connect by 1.5 - 3% I wouldn't give a rats ass. However it is phrased as "to as little as", which makes the sentence so meaningless that they can never be cal

  • Tag: FalseDilemma (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jank1887 (815982) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @09:53AM (#28702921)

    "Is there a lack of education about the long-term effects of traffic shaping on free communication? Or are net neutrality advocates just out of touch?"

    No bias to that statement there. It seems that the people surveyed support fair traffic shaping. I.e., shape based on content, but be agnostic to the source. QoS has been talked about for quite some time without it being political. VOIP/televideo/VoD gets a certain degree of higher priority over things that are fine coming in possibly disordered packets. let customers know this when they buy a plan. But most importantly, do it fairly. If you sell VOIP, treat all VOIP at the same QoS level. Now, if Comcast offers live streaming TV, but degrades ALL non-streamed video delivery, maybe there's a problem. But that should be a treatable problem. As long as it is source/destination neutral, QoS can increase usefulness of a network for everyone.

  • Smoke and mirrors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Corson (746347) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @11:45AM (#28704105)
    Unlike radio/tv broadcasting, the Internet suffers from bandwidth limitations so I guess traffic shaping is something we should expect sooner or later. But the issue is, ISPs sell "unlimited" access packages and that's misleading. They should clearly indicate that for this and that particular software they apply traffic shaping.

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