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Drop in P2P Traffic Attributed To Traffic Shaping 251

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the or-just-sneakier-options dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new report based on data from 100 US and European ISPs claims P2P traffic has dropped to around 20% of all Internet traffic. This is down from the 40% two years ago (also reported by the same company which sells subscriber traffic management equipment to ISPs). The report goes on to say the drop is likely due to continued, widespread ISP P2P shaping: 'In fact, the P2P daily trend is pretty much completely inverted from daily traffic. In other words, P2P reaches its low at 4pm when web and overall Internet traffic approaches its peak ... trend is highly suggestive of either persistent congestion or, more likely, evidence of widespread provider manipulation of P2P traffic rates.'"
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Drop in P2P Traffic Attributed to Traffic Shaping

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:34AM (#29271069)

    There may be a "market saturation" effect. I know people who were downloading gigabytes a month (maybe a week) of songs and videos, but in the past year or two they have tapered off. They've gotten most of the stuff they've wanted, and now are just listening to and watching it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by negRo_slim (636783)

      I know people who were downloading gigabytes a month (maybe a week) of songs and videos, but in the past year or two they have tapered off. They've gotten most of the stuff they've wanted, and now are just listening to and watching it.

      From first hand experience I can agree with that to a degree, however I believe it's a multitude of factors playing out here.Traffic Shaping as well as more aggressive bandwidth caps and the increased availability of residential low priced, low allowance pay per GB plans and perhaps to a lesser to degree more people getting more things done with mobile data plans (iphone, non wifi laptop access). That being said, I've found the speed of my torrents at any time of the day much greater than say a year ago.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:02AM (#29271193) Homepage

      The reason is obvious - there are now easier ways to get free music. Just go to last.fm or Spotify.

      Finally we are seeing sites that "get it" and can successfully compete with free.

      • And movies / tv shows. I watch a reasonable amount on iPlayer, and the company I rent DVDs from has also just launched a streaming service (not free, but included in the same monthly subscription I was paying anyway). All of this runs over HTTP. As a result, the amount of HTTP bandwidth I've used has grown hugely; a single TV show over iPlayer uses the same as a lot of casual browsing, especially if you browse with Flash disabled.

        CD and DVD image torrents have probably gone down a fair amount too as b

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alx5000 (896642)

      Or maybe, like I've done, people are switching back to direct downloading.

      Why waste your time installing and setting up an application (incl. firewall settings), when you can pay 55 euro por a year of rapidshare and download anything from anywhere?

      eMule used to be really popular in Spain, with elinks flooding forums all around. Now it's all rapidshare, megaupload, easyshare...

      • by blackraven14250 (902843) * on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @07:32AM (#29271989)
        Because uTorrent is a no install, 30 seconds to port forward one port program that's completely free? If you have trouble setting up uTorrent, you don't belong here.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by alx5000 (896642)

          A lot of P2P users out there aren't aware that they're sharing their whole drive, and you want them to know about port forwarding? What about those situations in which you're not in charge of the network?

          The only thing I pointed out is that, from my own experience, I've seen many P2P sites and forums which have left torrents and elinks behind, in favor of file hosting services like Rapidshare.

          Believe it or not, the majority of file sharers don't belong to that elite you seem to be speaking for, and that mam

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @08:48AM (#29272535) Homepage Journal

            "A lot of P2P users out there aren't aware that they're sharing their whole drive"

            Sorry, that's not a P2P program. That's a trojan. Doesn't matter if the trojan is named eMule, Bearshare, and that the firewall/AV/malware filter accepts it - it's still a trojan.

            We've read about Skype's hidden "features" of recording and forwarding conversations. When configured to do so, that's a trojan.

            By definition, anything that forwards information without the user's informed consent is a trojan.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          If you have trouble setting up uTorrent, you don't belong here.

          Most internet users aren't here. Most internet users probably find a direct download to be easier.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by germ!nation (764234)

        Could there be anything more middle class than paying to use a service to download things you refuse to pay for?

      • And... another step backwards... *great* :/

        First they come up with Torrent, which is a step backward from even eDonkey, which itself got superseded by decentral networks and anonymous networks.
        Now they download from websites again?

        NO! It's just the retards out there who never heard of real file sharing, and therefore can't imagine its advantages.

        But they will soon learn... when rapidfail, megacrapload and easyfail are going to be targeted by the media industry at the exact weak spot that we solved long ago:

  • ISP awareness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GarretSidzaka (1417217) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:36AM (#29271077)

    there has to be more to this. obviously the ISP's are very aware of P2P networks. They market this in commercials that say "download music at increased rates!" which are in context about purchasing mp3's but belie the fact that they provide infrastructure to P2P networks, and anti-IP scenes.

    And im not saying that this is a bad thing...

    • Re:ISP awareness (Score:4, Informative)

      by Animaether (411575) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @05:08AM (#29271461) Journal

      tangentially related to your post...

      A major ISP in NL, Ziggo, has changed their commercials from "download movies" to "download movie trailers". I guess they felt pressure somewhere. Which is a bit silly as there -are- movie 'rental' places online where it would definitely be legal to download movies - even if downloading movies wasn't already legal under current law anyway. (distributing is another matter)

    • Re:ISP awareness (Score:5, Interesting)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @07:16AM (#29271909) Journal

      You're right. There IS more to this. What has happened over the last two years? People have spent more time downloading videos off hulu.com or youtube.com or other video-sharing sites,

      As a result overall traffic has gone up, while peer-to-peer has remained relatively steady. Therefore P2P has dropped relative to all the other traffic on the web, even though people are still downloading the same amount as always.

  • in other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:36AM (#29271079)

    ... usenet usage has grown to 25% of all internet traffic. people move on (or in this case back) to safer technologies. the xIAA are targeting P2P users, so people move away from P2P.

    what's traffic shaping got to do with it?

    • by sgbett (739519) <slashdot@remailer.org> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:45AM (#29271389) Homepage

      shh you!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wild_quinine (998562)

      the xIAA are targeting P2P users, so people move away from P2P. what's traffic shaping got to do with it?

      All the non-techie people I know continue to use P2P like it was the year 2000. It's only the people who know their oats that use any other services or protocols, and most of those guys switched when Metallica went apeshit at the start of the century.

      Nothing changed over the xIAA lawsuits, as far as I can tell.

      • by Swizec (978239)

        the xIAA are targeting P2P users, so people move away from P2P. what's traffic shaping got to do with it?

        All the non-techie people I know continue to use P2P like it was the year 2000. It's only the people who know their oats that use any other services or protocols, and most of those guys switched when Metallica went apeshit at the start of the century.

        Nothing changed over the xIAA lawsuits, as far as I can tell.

        Or, which is likelier, most peopel just switched to encrypted p2p, which means that even if they know it looks like p2p traffic, they can't sue you over it because it's illegal to prove there was something illegal inside the encrypted traffic.

        Problem solved.

  • Scheduling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@[ ]d.co.uk ['spa' in gap]> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:43AM (#29271111) Homepage

    Much more likely people are rescheduling their P2P downloads to run outside of peak hours. I know my ISP (Virgin Media) throttles connection speeds during peak hours, so I schedule anything I want to download to run outside of those times.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by supernova_hq (1014429)
      BINGO!
      When p2p started out, few people understood the benefits of self-throttling during the day. If I let my torrents run during the day, everyone in my house can feel it so I have it throttled down. Then from midnight to 7:00am, it unthrottles and blasts away at full speed.
      • When p2p started out, few people understood the benefits of self-throttling during the day.

        When p2p first started out a decade ago, a lot of users were still on metered dial-up, and people downloaded singles, not albums. It just wasn't practical for a P2P program to dial the internet, search for a song that may or may not be available at a given moment, download it, and automatically shut down the PPP link.

        • I download over dialup when traveling. It takes about 7 hours per television episode, or 3 episodes per day... just enough to keep me busy after getting back from the job.

    • Schedule? You switch you server OFF?

      What? You don't even have a separate computer for it??

      Please turn in your geek card! Thanks! ;)

  • by r6_jason (893331) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:44AM (#29271119) Homepage
    There really hasn't been all that much worth downloading as of late. You can only download the classics so many times, the new content coming out just isn't all that good, be it games, movies or music. I'm sure we'll see a small up tick when the new Star Trek movie hits the underground though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Fotograf (1515543)
      that is also a way to fight piracy! Make less and worse stuff. Good point ?IAA!
    • There really hasn't been all that much worth downloading as of late... the new content coming out just isn't all that good, be it games, movies or music.

      Finally, an anti-piracy strategy that might actually have an effect. This could save the industry!

    • Very true. Coming from someone who used to download 24/7, there's no reason for me to download 90% of the time anymore. I have most of what I want already, and if something new comes out, then I'll hop back on a torrent. But those days seem to be moving farther and farther apart.
    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      I'm sure we'll see a small up tick when the new Star Trek movie hits the underground though.

      Uhh, it already has. It was on Freenet (0.5) a few months ago.

  • Or could it also be that paid-for downloads and streaming audio and video have increased, thus decreasing the share of P2P traffic in the total?

    (No I didn't RTFA, it's way too early for that)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:45AM (#29271123)

    Even my CD collection is gathering dust, finally music streaming that just works.

  • Poor analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @03:53AM (#29271149)

    "The report goes on to say the drop is likely due to continued, widespread ISP P2P shaping"

    The data allows no such conclusion to be drawn. In fact, since all they've done is compared P2P as a percent of total traffic, it's probably more likely that the total traffic has increased.

    • Re:Poor analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rawls (1462507) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:08AM (#29271227) Homepage
      The data for this report was taken during week days in July, when most big TV series are on a break (and as a consequence there is a lot less to download).

      Whereas (although I couldn't find anything specifying the actual dates) the data for the study two years ago seems to have been taken earlier in the year.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JohnnyBGod (1088549)

        Also, video-sharing sites have had explosive growth in the last two-years, so it's normal that P2P is a smaller percentage of the total, now.

      • by tepples (727027)

        The data for this report was taken during week days in July, when most big TV series are on a break (and as a consequence there is a lot less to download).

        Screw TV; July is the time for cams and telesyncs of theatrical blockbusters.

  • Streaming audio and video implies a lot of traffic, and got more popular since 2 years ago, the shape of traffic could had varied. And some of that streaming could had covered some of the areas where p2p was popular, like series, movies, and music.
  • by KreAture (105311) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:03AM (#29271201)

    ...is ofcource spam and porn.

    Can we do traffic-shaping of spam?
    If so I suggest this shedule:
    12pm-8am: 100% drop
    8am-4pm: 100% drop
    4pm-12pm: 100% drop

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by amias (105819)

      i dont know which internet you are surfing but round here its all turned to kittens

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      Delete your MX records, I guarantee a 100% drop in spam.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Can we do traffic-shaping of spam?
      If so I suggest this shedule:
      12pm-8am: 100% drop
      8am-4pm: 100% drop
      4pm-12pm: 100% drop

      Certainly. Ask your e-mail provider about installing blacklists.

  • Non P2P Substitute (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zlel (736107) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:09AM (#29271231) Homepage
    Personally, while my demand for content has actually changed, I am also preferring streaming video to downloads. While content made available via tube sites are much more closely managed and gets deleted more frequently than before, fresh content goes on them more quickly than before. Watching RAWs has become a great substitute to recording. Quality used to be a bigger factor for me, but now it's more of instant gratification - pretty much like radio. The internet itself is now my library.
    • by tepples (727027)

      Personally, while my demand for content has actually changed, I am also preferring streaming video to downloads.

      Conversely, people who are away from home more often than not and who can't afford $60 per month for a mobile data plan prefer downloads.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:09AM (#29271235) Homepage

    So torrents used to compose 40% of traffic. Now it's 20%. What's changed in the last year?

    * youporn.com and similar sites have popped up where they did not previously.
    * hulu.com now exists.

    That right there could easily cover 90% of people's media interests. Especially now that I'm not really into movies as much as I used to be (they suck more, and TV shows are, in some ways, getting better).

    • by 4D6963 (933028) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @04:52AM (#29271417)

      Interesting, my main change in P2P habits is due to the fact that most of the stuff I want is on rapidshare or megaupload, so instead of searching on thepiratebay or eMule (which I hardly use anymore because of that), I search on filestube. I used to download torrents of entire seasons of TV shows, but now all I gotta do is find the episode I want on megaupload, and as soon as it starts downloading I start watching it by opening the .part file with VLC.

      But as for the real cause of the difference between day and night, QoS? Seems obvious.. Nothing necessarily malicious coming from the ISPs, for one thing they're right to have QoS for more time-dependant traffic, and then if you yourself watch YouTube or download some files over HTTP then your P2P traffic is gonna take a hit.

  • The rest of the story is here [arbornetworks.com]. It includes:

    The answer: long after Exchange and Oracle business traffic slows to a crawl, Internet users turn to the web to surf, watch videos, send IM's and happily try to kill each other.

  • by zmooc (33175)

    Bullshit. There is no drop. P2P traffic is still increasing. It's just not increasing as fast as the youtube traffic.

  • For me I may have lost a few % of P2P. Main reason being? Streaming video is so damn convenient. I really doubt that this could be attributed to any drop in 'pirating' or w/e the mafiaa is calling it these days. The pirates have just moved on from torrenting. At least for the casual users it is. For me if there is a show I know I want to watch all of then I'll torrent it (scrubs for example). But if I'm just bored and feel like something random I'll try a streaming site.
    Generally speaking, anime works bett
  • by nemesisrocks (1464705) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @05:17AM (#29271499) Homepage

    The drop in traffic is easy to explain. Most distros nowadays have a NetInst option, where you can download a small CD to boot off, then download only the packages you need.

    All that P2P traffic IS just "Linux ISOs", right?

  • by ZakMcRofl (1295807) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @05:30AM (#29271549)

    I can't believe that in all those comments nobody mentioned the most likely reason for those numbers:
    Encryption.

    Most of the P2P traffic will be Bittorrent. All popular bittorrent clients allow to use encryption and random ports to prevent traffic shaping. Encrypted torrent traffic can - to my knowledge - not be detected by the ISP and is most likely counted as normal traffic in the mentioned numbers.

    Maybe encryption is not very mainstream yet but the hardcore users will always enabled it (even when their own connection is not limited) because it will result in better speeds. So every encrypted gigabyte they used to download normally affects the numbers twice: it's one less gigabyte of counted P2P traffic and one more gigabyte of counted normal traffic.

    On a sitenote: this is also the solution for those affected by traffic shaping: tell you torrent client to encrypt the traffic at all times and watch your speed go up.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Protocol encryption is just obfuscation, it certainly makes it harder for ISPs but can be detected e.g. with flow analysis. The unfortunate reality is that if encryption becomes the default in all major clients (we're not far from this already?) then they will take countermeasures, if they don't interactive performance on their oversold "up to speed X" network will become terrible.

      • by BVis (267028)

        if they don't interactive performance on their oversold "up to speed X" network will become terrible.

        Maybe they should stop fucking overselling their bandwidth by 500% or whatever ridiculous number they use.

        Just a thought. Of course, that would make profits go down, so it can never happen, as profits dropping is, in fact, the end of the entire universe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        then they will take countermeasures, if they don't interactive performance on their oversold "up to speed X" network will become terrible.

        they could just get us to play nice and use QOS so we can mark out torrent traffic/large downloads as bulk and our browsing as browsing, I suppose that is traffic shaping, but atm virgin broadband work something like this
        if they catch bittorrent packets or you have encrypted upload's > ~30Kib/s, then they smash users pings up to ~4s
        obviously a lot of pirates are unethical douchebags and will just mark all their packets voip, but providing a way for the rest of us to download nicely (pun intended), will:
        *

    • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@gn u . org> on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @10:15AM (#29273363) Homepage

      Encrypted torrent traffic can - to my knowledge - not be detected by the ISP

      See http://www.shmoocon.org/2007/speakers.html [shmoocon.org] for Rob King and Rohit Dhamankar on "Encrypted Protocol Identification via Statistical Analysis".

      Here's a brief recap: by looking at {mean value, variance} of {packet size, interpacket delays} going {up, down} and packet entropy for a specific flow, you get a point in a nine-dimensional space. Encrypted protocols tend to cluster together.

      So here's the ISP algorithm: Measure a flow, find its nearest cluster, guess that behind the encryption is traffic of the protocol belonging in that cluster. If bittorrent, kill.

      Note that Rob & Dohit don't look at how many simultaneous connections you make. That also tends to give away P2P traffic.

      So the ISP can see you're P2P'ing. They can't detect whether it's illegal, or who should sue you, but they can (probably) see it's bittorrent.

  • Too much of a hassle (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @05:34AM (#29271555) Homepage

    I hardly use any download 'services' because it's just too much of a hassle for me. First you have to find the files you want. Then you have to click through a whole lot of garbage, and after much downloading and waiting and clicking you find that you have downloaded the Spanish version without subtitles. Or something equally unsatisfying. I'd rather pay for the stuff than go through all that. And I guess more and more people think like that. P2P is a victim of its (not it's!) own success. More and more garbage is put on the web, making it too hard to find the good stuff.

    • by Nazmun (590998)
      Dunno, where your goin... it typically takes me about a minute to find a good hd rip of any movie that is out on blu-ray, etc. Just look at the stats of a torrent before you download it and look more closely at what your downloading so you don't get a foreign version of it. It's really not that hard at all.
    • by Inda (580031)
      You're doing it wrong. A little knowledge of the 'scene' goes a long way. A lot of knowledge means you are never disappointed after finding the files you want after less than 3 minutes searching.
    • by lattyware (934246)
      I don't know what service you were using, but it sucked.
  • More people are using streaming audio and video to get their content. Hulu. YouTube. Spotify. Last.FM.

    Me for example, if I want a song, instead of going to p2p, I just go to YouTube or Google and search for it. If its even remotely popular, I am sure someone has uploaded a suitable video with a suitable version of the song as the audio. Then I can use a YouTube downloader to download the video then FFMPEG to convert it to an audio file.

    Great way to find stuff and less likelihood of being sued too (the RIAA

    • Yea, most users do this.

      Lately, I've just been adding "rapidshare" to the end of a search for any music. It is remarkably successful (and EASIER, and FASTER than your method).

      Why bother torrentting any small (100mb) file?

  • Internet Prime Time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @06:26AM (#29271721)

    I am involved with an Internet streaming site (AmericaFree.TV) and our traffic patterns follow normal Television "Prime Time" - i.e., traffic peaks at roughly 6:00 PM to Midnight in the evening. This happens in the US, Europe and Asia, and the local time zone pattern looks a lot like the "Consumer-Internet traffic" graph (# 2 in the original article [arbornetworks.com]). (Note that all of these graphs do not start at zero traffic, but some higher value, like 50%). In our case (long format video), there appears to be relatively little streaming from at work.

    If you look at Craig Labovitz's previous's post, What Europeans do at Night [arbornetworks.com], it appears that European Internet usage drops quickly after dinner time, but I would interpret these graphs a little differently - European traffic starts dropping at 10;00 PM, while US traffic starts dropping at Midnight. This roughly matches what we see, and also European TV viewing patterns (see pages 22 and 23 of this presenation [authorstream.com]). Of course, American TV prime time is pretty similar to Europe's. Putting all of this together, I don't think that streaming video is driving the differences seen by Labovitz.

    An interesting corollary of all of this is that there is still substantial bandwidth available for P2P in the hours after midnight. Off-hours P2P use could triple and still not be more than the current day-time use.

  • Australia places very low for Internet cost-effectiveness & reach
    - with only costly broadband available to many, even in larger
    cities, such as Adelaide, etc.

    Very FEW ISP plans offer genuinely (ie, unshaped) "unlimited"
    plans, and the ones who do either charge the moon for them
    (ie, if faster than 1.5 Mb/Sec) -or- they have speeds at / under
    the ADSL 1 speed of 1.5 Mb/Sec - ie, too slow to share in a
    larger family or modest university student house.

    International students - even some from wealthy Indian famil

    • In Canberra, ACT only:

      Au $20 buys: ...Unlimited data usage - ie, during off-peak hours ...Reasonable speeds: 2 Mb/Sec (down) / 256 Kb/Sec (up)

      Hey, why should Aussie ISPs be permitted to limit
      their markets to a particular State or Territory, eg ACT,
      in the first place?!?

      (FYI: The ISP is "Velicity Internet"

      and the Plans is "TransACT Big Gig ADSL" )

      We found it using Whirlpool.net.au's Plan Search tool,
      and (later) confirmed its attributes at ISP's web site.

      For anyone wanting essentially unlimited (AH) Internet
      s

    • Beautiful poem.

      It's rare to find real art like this in a comment form.
  • My ISP (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Krneki (1192201)
    As today (1.9.2009) my ISP has updated the Internet prices.

    10/10: 14E
    20/20: 28E
    50/50: 30E
    100/10: 20E
    100/100: 40E

    No bandwidth limitation or throttling. Also no P2P related case was seen in a court (yet?).

    I know, it sucks to be in a 3rd world Internet country like USA. I feel your pain. :(
  • Or it's all an indication that the movies and music being released right now suck and people don't even want to watch or listen for free...
  • Funny speculations. What I'd say from my experience is that while I'm in the US, I never torrent any tv series, since I can watch them on the channels' sites or on Hulu. And that's a big one taken away from torrent to stream-based watching. And let's be serious, most of current series aren't that good that anyone (well, not me that's for sure) would want to store and keep them for eternity, so streamed watching is a bless. I'd say if we could access the channels' websites and Hulu from Europe, that would me
  • We just put the p2p users on their own subnet wide open no shaping, then when they max their connections oh well. It keeps he rest of the customers
    happy and the p2p users can fight for their bandwidth. Best of all we don't have to worry about people trying to get around the shaping etc they get
    what they get.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday September 01, 2009 @08:45AM (#29272507)

    If I may be allowed to re-order things a bit:

    A new report based on data from 100 US and European ISPs claims P2P traffic has dropped to around 20% of all Internet traffic.

    The report goes on to say the drop is likely due to continued, widespread ISP P2P shaping

    reported by the same company which sells subscriber traffic management equipment to ISPs

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