Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Encryption Security Your Rights Online

Cable Packet Shaping Causing Slowdowns 356

Posted by kdawson
from the not-exactly-neutral dept.
knorthern knight writes "To counter P2P programs that encrypt their traffic to evade detection, Rogers Cable in Canada has apparently started degrading all encrypted IP traffic, according to a post on Michael Geist's blog. How many of you log in to work over a VPN or ssh-tunnel? How many get usenet news or email over an encrypted connection? This could be a problem for Rogers Cable customers. Geist, who teaches at U of Ottawa, has 'been advised that the University computer help desk has received a steady stream of complaints from Rogers customers about off-campus email service.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cable Packet Shaping Causing Slowdowns

Comments Filter:
  • by garcia (6573) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:49PM (#18649079) Homepage
    Cable companies do NOT want you to actually use your Internet connection for anything more than connecting to their webmail, POP, or SMTP servers and surfing CNN, Google, and their billing site.

    We have known for years that they have been overselling bandwidth and then cutting you off when you use more than their "unlimited service" will permit without telling you any concrete numbers of what that is.

    I would guess that very few people use SSH, VPNs, or other encrypted connections that require the speeds to which we have become accustomed. They don't want that 10% of users on their residential network anyway and they will be happy to have you move to their commercial service packages if you so desire.

    I complain that I have to use DSL and pay for land line service that I rarely use but at least my ISP (visi.com) doesn't give a shit what I do (they allow you to run servers, use all your bandwidth, and offer static and reverse).

    I feel sorry for those that don't have more of a choice :(
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:01PM (#18649187)
      Okay, I can see (from their perspective) how you wouldn't want someone who is paying the same as your other customers using 500x the bandwidth that they use. After all, you're paying for the bandwidth.

      So why not simply SEGMENT your network and put those heavy users on their own block? If you're that worried about P2P crap, they're probably sharing amongst themselves anyway. This would make it easier for you.

      So why not offer GRADUATED pricing levels? 2 GB/month for $x. 5 GB/month for $2x. 10 GB/month for $10x. You could even break it down to traffic that stays on your own network and traffic that reaches the Internet.

      The whole thing about the opposition to "Net Neutrality" is about extracting the MAXIMUM profit from the existing infrastructure with the minimum of technological advancement. Fuck that. We have the technology right now to make this a non-issue in almost every case. They just don't want to use it because there is a chance they can make more money by crippling the system.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:13PM (#18649297)
        So why not offer GRADUATED pricing levels? 2 GB/month for $x. 5 GB/month for $2x. 10 GB/month for $10x. You could even break it down to traffic that stays on your own network and traffic that reaches the Internet.

        The reason for this is because they want to sell an "unlimited" package to people who will only use 2GB/month. Most people want to have unlimited traffic even if they have no concept of the amount of traffic they need.
        • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:11PM (#18649895)

          The reason for this is because they want to sell an "unlimited" package to people who will only use 2GB/month.


          No. They want to ADVERTISE an "unlimited" package so that people will leave their graduated plans and come over to the "unlimited" provider.

          Whereupon the "unlimited" provider throttles encrypted communications. And whatever else for someone going over the maximum of the "unlimited" plan.

          [i]Most people want to have unlimited traffic even if they have no concept of the amount of traffic they need.[/i]

          Not really. Most people would rather save a bit of money. So the companies use deceptive advertising.

          I'm saying that we need to force them to get rid of the deceptive advertising. There's no TECHNOLOGICAL reason for it.

          They can sell "unlimited standard usage" packages that throttle connections after 2GB/month.

          They can sell "unlimited gamer" packages that throttle connections after 5GB/month.

          They can sell "unlimited pro" packages that throttle connections after 10GB/month.

          The reason that they don't is that they can save MONEY by being STUPID and selling a single "unlimited" package and fucking with the connections so that things such as encrypted sessions are dead slow. It's about them being lazy. That is it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Acer500 (846698)

          So why not offer GRADUATED pricing levels? 2 GB/month for $x. 5 GB/month for $2x. 10 GB/month for $10x. You could even break it down to traffic that stays on your own network and traffic that reaches the Internet.

          The reason for this is because they want to sell an "unlimited" package to people who will only use 2GB/month. Most people want to have unlimited traffic even if they have no concept of the amount of traffic they need.

          In Uruguay, we have 2 ISPs: the state-run AntelData, and privately owned Dedicado (thanks to some shady 3rd world deals that created a duopoly).

          The state run company is now advertising some tiered service levels (I'm writing this on the 1 Mbps ADSL with a 10 Gb/month soft cap with a surcharge if you go over that), and have some pretty good advertising detailing the amounts of stuff you can do with each service (the 1 Gb/month, 3 Gb/month, 10 Gb/month and 256 kbps and 1 Mbps unlimited services)

          The priv

      • by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:15PM (#18649933)

        So why not offer GRADUATED pricing levels? 2 GB/month for $x. 5 GB/month for $2x. 10 GB/month for $10x.

        Why not just pay directly for the bits themselves?

        $1 per GB per month [say].

        So that if you used 17.79 GB for that month, then your bill would be precisely $17.79.

        It's pretty much the way the long distance companies have being doing it since time immemorial.

        And if upstream bits are more precious than downstream bits, then bill accordingly: Say, $2 per upstream GB per month, and $0.50 per downstream GB per month [or whatever].

        It's not at all clear to me why the free market [in the form of PRICING] can't take care of this stuff naturally.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LordLucless (582312)
        That's pretty much the way every ISP in Australia works. I'm on a 20GB a month plan, and if I exceed that, my speed drops to dialup speeds until the end of my billing cycle. You can also choose other options that let you pay for excess data at a per-GB rate, if you prefer it that way. Some ISPs have peering discounts, where transfers between others on the same ISP (or other ISPs in a peering agreement) don't count towards the totals, or where using mirrors provided by the ISP themselves don't count (My ISP
      • by arminw (717974) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:30PM (#18652491)
        .......there is a chance they can make more money by crippling the system.......

        The solution of course is for EVERYBODY to use encryption all the time for everything. Not only would that make ISPs unable to selectively enforce arbitrary levels of service, but it would also make the whole Internet more resistant to malware and spying by governments and corporations. I wonder whether this idea would work technologically? Governments most likely would make it illegal however.
    • Rogers does not offer an "unlimited" plan (max 100gb upload/download transfer @ 5 megabit down) except for "buisness/enterprise" users.

      As for all the other stuff, there are lots of smaller DSL ISPs here, just they don't have advertising budgets as Rogers is a mega corporation here. They own radio stations, cable tv networks, cable tv distribution, voip, internet and cell phones. They can get away with it.
      • Rogers is a mega corporation here. They own radio stations, cable tv networks, cable tv distribution, voip, internet and cell phones.

        And the Blue Jays - the only product of theirs I like.

        • by OAB_X (818333)
          How could I forget!

          They also offer pagers as well.

          (offtopic: the Jays actually look like that no matter how well they do this year, they will still finish 3rd in their division, whats up with that?)

    • by vertinox (846076) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:39PM (#18649533)
      I would guess that very few people use SSH, VPNs, or other encrypted connections that require the speeds to which we have become accustomed.

      Actually, some major companies out there have several thousand "work at home" employees that are required to use VPN. Most of these people are in sales type of jobs, but plenty others are required to use VPN to connect to Exchange servers to access email from home.

      Considering MS Exchange and dialup don't really mix, these people often have to have broadband to do their jobs efficiently. Seeing how not having VPN with an exchange server is a security risk, I can't really see any alternatives for these work at home types other than to switch to the provider who downgrades them the least.

      Keep in mind these people are often working on company laptops who are locked down completely and couldn't install P2P software even if they wanted to.
    • The deceitful cable advertising needs to stop.

      These guys need to be sued.

      DSL companies should use it in their ads.
  • by microbee (682094) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:49PM (#18649083)
    I often use ssh/x to connect to work with p2p downloading at the same time. The ssh/x response is horrible. I'd like to be able to shape the traffic so my ssh/x connection gets absolute priority with p2p using whatever is left. I wonder how other people are doing this.
    • If you're running Linux, you can try out WonderShaper [lartc.org]. I have been using it since 2003 and it works great on keeping the SSH connection running 100% while other traffic is chugging along.
    • Easy. Setup a Linux-based router and use HTB/iptables to prioritize your upstream. Thats what I do and it works beautifully. I can saturate my upload w/non-interactive programs (P2P, FTP, etc), and my ssh connecitons work fine. http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/ADSL-Bandwidt h-Management-HOWTO.html [faqs.org] has a really good howto on setting up an example QoS system. It can be easily modified to suit your needs.
    • I'd like to be able to shape the traffic so my ssh/x connection gets absolute priority with p2p using whatever is left.

      If you have a modern, and very cheap, Linksys router there is some very good (free, as in beer) 3rd party software you can use to reflash your router to be far more capable than the standard software it comes with. I think those are some of the abilities it includes.

    • I'm using Gentoo Linux with iptables and ip route/tc/sfq. Unfortunately, Comcast seems to be doing something with my SSH traffic, or encrypted traffic in general, like the article says Rogers is doing. I know the QoS on my server is working correctly because web traffic goes through fine. I've also noticed periods where my upload (and sometimes download) traffic for bittorrent will drop to near 0. This happens at least a few times a day. Yet, when I go to websites while this is happening, it's blazing
    • I often use ssh/x to connect to work with p2p downloading at the same time. The ssh/x response is horrible. I'd like to be able to shape the traffic so my ssh/x connection gets absolute priority

      Traffic shaping is the only way to really do that, but if you have a simpler goal, there is a quick, easy solution. The simpler goal is not to have ssh get absolute priority but to instead have good response most of the time. The easy solution to this is to use p2p software that allows limiting its own maximum b

  • by geek (5680)
    I know in the US there are laws prohibiting companies from gimping their products like this. The specific laws escape me at the moment. Does Canada have anything similar?

    Purposely sabotaging your product against a segment of people is deplorable.
    • by quanticle (843097)
      >>I know in the US there are laws prohibiting companies from gimping their products like this.<<

      No, there really aren't. The entire net neutrality debate is over whether there should be prohibiting these practices here.
      • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Informative)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:05PM (#18649839)
        No, not at all. The net neutrality debate is about whether ISPs can throttle content based on the content's particular source, not on the content type.

        Throttling based on content type is called packet shaping, and it's been done in the US and elsewhere for many years. Nothing about the net neutrality legislation would affect that, and anyone who says otherwise is confused or trying to deliberately mislead.

        Throttling based on source, where content of the same type from different sources receives different priorities, is what the net neutrality legislation is about. In other words, any ISP can choose to tone down streaming video traffic so that all their customers can use basic web and email services. No ISP should be able to block video streaming from Google but allow video to stream from Microsoft, just because Microsoft paid them money. (Unless that was clearly advertised to the ISP's customers before they signed up, that is.)

        In this case, it sounds like the ISP is throttling all encrypted content, regardless of its source or destination, so the net neutrality concept doesn't apply at all.
    • by canuck57 (662392)

      I know in the US there are laws prohibiting companies from gimping their products like this. The specific laws escape me at the moment. Does Canada have anything similar?

      Not that I am aware of, Ottawa is more interested in taxes. The only reason the Canadian government would do something is if the CRTC controlled it, maybe they are experimenting with Rogers/Shaw to see what consumers will tolerate?

      I have noticed Shaw is blocking some video streaming as of late. And occasionally seems to throttle me aft

  • I would think that "packet shaping" is not the right term. "Traffic shaping", "bandwidth throttling" or simply "throttling" are more appropriate.
    • by Wildclaw (15718)
      No, packet shaping is exactly the correct term. It refers to determining priority by looking at the content of packets. The other terms you mentioned are more overreaching and includes all kinds of throttling.

      I am very much an opponent of any kind of packet shaping and a strong supporter of stronger net neutrality. If ISPs feel that they need to throttle customers, they should do so based on bandwidth used (and possible which time of the day the bandwidth is used), and not on the type of information transmi

      • Pff. The first thing that everyone will do is turn on their 'interactive' flag for all traffic and we will be back where we are today.

        Traffic shaping makes sense. VOIP traffic and other interactive applications SHOULD have priority over background-type operations. This is the way all well designed systems should work - your OS should give priority to screen redraws over virus scans.

        As far as P2P traffic, there are ways to suss that out even if you are running it over encrypted sessions by using a variety of
        • by Wildclaw (15718)
          Very common argument which has an equally simple counter argument. If you use more than than x kbps of your prioritized traffic it gets shaped as any other non-prioritized traffic. Much simpler solution and completly content neutral.

          ISP shaping doesn't make sense because different customers use different protocols. The problem is quickly demonstrated in this very article. Why shouldn't a user be able to prioritize his SSH traffic? What about encrypted VOIP packets? Or online game packets? Allowing users to
          • Once you get off your ISP, other carriers have no information as to what your 'quota' for priortized traffic is, and will have no way to determine whether or not to priortize it. And they certainly won't want to burden their routers with trying to figure this out. The idea is totally unworkable.

            Encrypted VoIP packets are still recognizable as VoIP packets (SRTP vs RTP). What is happening with P2P is that it is deliberately being tunneled through another protocol to try to conceal it's nature.

            Content neutral
            • by Wildclaw (15718)
              The ones traffic shaping are the Sending and Receiving ISPs. The backbone in between don't do much packet shaping as far as I am aware. Atleast you don't hear about it, and if they do, they can give each ISP their own prioritized packet quota, just like they give them a quota for bulk traffic. Anyway, Both the sending and receiving ISPs can tie a specific user to the packets and therefore has all the ability in the world to do quotas. Also, even if only of the ISPs in the chain does it, it will still help t
    • by loraksus (171574)
      Of course, there becomes a point where throttling and shaping just isn't an appropriate description of what is happening.

      Take the case of Portland State University - all bitorrent traffic to the dorm subnet is "throttled" to 20k. Not each connection, the whole subnet. Although it isn't blocked in the strictest sense, it might as well be because a 20 meg file takes a week to download.
      That, of course, in addition to the occasional bouts of 800+ms ping times to their gateway.
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        Of course, there becomes a point where throttling and shaping just isn't an appropriate description of what is happening.
        the dorm subnet is "throttled" to 20k. Not each connection, the whole subnet.

              That's not throttling, that's 100% bona fide mechanical asphyxiation! I guess the "shaping" part could be compared to being drawn, quartered, eviscerated, immasculated, beheaded and having your entrails burned... yeah that's shaping all right...
  • Morons (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iamacat (583406) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:56PM (#18649157)
    These days, after all the time to perfect technology and awareness of identity theft and industrial espionage, non-encryped traffic should be banned from Internet at backbone routers. Every ISP can issue you an SSL certificate that indicates the level of verification (possibly none) they performed on your identity. Even with multicast, data can be encrypted with server's private key for which the public key is available to intended recipients, or public. The only exception would be very low powered dumb devices, but those shouldn't be connected to public Internet anyway.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:56PM (#18649161) Journal
    Shaw cable on the western side of Canada also mangles packets. Check with Vonage to find out how Shaw is trying to cripple their business by dropping calls, packets, or just dropping the network connection for people using Vonage VoIP.
  • by zCyl (14362) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:00PM (#18649179)
    This is somewhat "broken". If you can't use https or ssh with an internet connection, then that particular internet provider is little more than a glorified TV. If anything, ssh and https should be the highest priority.

    There are reasons why p2p systems have started encrypting their traffic. Due to popular discontent with bandwidth throttling, they are trying to classify their traffic with a group of services that cannot be removed without breaking the functionality of the internet for that service provider. So their ideal solution to that is to break the functionality of their internet connection?
    • I wonder if maybe the throttling could be progressive. As in, if the encrypted traffic is a few tens of kbps, then let it go, but if the subscriber is just trying to pull down megabits that is encrypted, then scale back that traffic.
      • by dpilot (134227)
        What about X Windows over my company's VPN? I know it's sub-optimal, but every now and then I just need to bring up my CAD application, do a tweak or two, or maybe just export data so I can do some real "telecommute". But every now and then, I need X. For that matter, once I've exported the data, it maybe a few 10s of MB.

        Throttling is not acceptable for telecommuting.
        • Throttling is not acceptable for telecommuting.

          Agreed. I regularly use scp to transfer files with nontrivial size between my home office and my employer's network; if my ISP throttled this traffic, then I wouldn't have any reason to pay for their highest upload speed. Fortunately I live in an area with multiple high speed internet providers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If anything, ssh and https should be the highest priority.

      No, streaming UDP based protocols have to be the highest priority, otherwise VoIP and similar applications won't work.

      Ultimately the only logical way to handle this sort of thing is going to be through service tiers or other non-Net neutral mechanisms.

    • little more than a glorified TV
      ... which is exactly what businesses want. This whole "interactivity" thing is mighty inconvenient.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      If you can't use https or ssh with an internet connection, then that particular internet provider is little more than a glorified TV. (...) So their ideal solution to that is to break the functionality of their internet connection?

      Well, for many services a bandwidth-throttled (but hopefully still low-latency) secure connection isn't exactly a big limitation. Your online banking site or that terminal session you were running are hardly bandwidth hogs. Downloading large attachments over a secured connection i
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      There are reasons why p2p systems have started encrypting their traffic.

      Three words.

      Deep Packet Inspection.
  • Telecommuter (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:02PM (#18649199)
    I am a telecommuter and I have certainly noticed the bandwidth decrease for encrypted traffic; at any given time, for my job, I absolutely have to have roughly 15 citrix-application windows open at any given time, and the only way to access the metaframe server is via a VPN connection (as per corporate security policy). I have noticed major, major slowdowns; it's unfortunate that I cannot do my work properly as a telecommuter due to this new procedure of Rogers. Don't get me wrong, everything still works properly, the only thing is that with this slow down of my Citrix sessions (due to the traffic being encrypted), I have learned to live with a "Click now, work later" style application behaviour; it reminds me of using a 486 PC.
    • by Kevinv (21462)
      i typically use VPN to make one connection to the office, then open all the connections I need from there. I don't have to deal with 15 separate sessions across VPN so speed is better and if I lose my connection to the office I just have to reconnect one session to pick up where I left off.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:08PM (#18649249) Homepage Journal
    Use "brownouts" to shape traffic for "fair load" during peak times.

    During non-peak times, when you can carry every bit at maximum speed, do it.

    During peak times when you can't, then, for the next few minutes or hours, cap everyone at X bits per second, Y bits per minute, Z bits per 5 minutes, and so on so the leeches-of-the-moment get throttled down and people putting less immediate demand on the system don't notice any change. X should be as close to the normal maximum as possible. Y should be less than 60X or Z should be less than 300X, or both. This way, people just doing normal web browsing won't be impacted but I'll be slowed down if I dare to download all of kernel.org during a busy period.

    If you combine charging extra for minimum guaranteed per-second bandwidth and charging extra for high-volume-per-month users with peak-demand throttling, then you can raise revenue and/or discourage people from demanding all-you-can-eat lobster buffet service at cup-o-noodles price.

    Do NOT discriminate based on the content of the traffic, especially if you do not know what kind of content that is, i.e. because it is encrypted. That encrypted connection is probably me working from home thank you very much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dreamchaser (49529)
      That's still a bandaid. The real problem is ISP's overselling their bandwidth for years and it's now coming back to haunt them. They say things like "x speed" or "unlimited downloads" but they don't really mean it and the fine print in their TOS's makes that pretty clear. It borders on false advertising.
      • by e4g4 (533831)
        I couldn't agree more - especially the monthly usage limits a lot of ISPs hide deep in their TOSs. It seems like it's especially a problem now that legal usage of extreme amounts of bandwidth is becoming more widestream (think downloading movies/tv shows from itunes - those files run about 500MB/hour). Perhaps we should start forcing ISPs to more openly report how exactly they think the word "unlimited" is defined.
      • It's not necessarily overselling. It could be oversimplification.

        They may have enough total bandwidth for everyone to download 3GB/month, but set up so the "burst rate" is much higher a mere 10 kbps. Their customers could download an Ubuntu iso in a couple of hours, but only a few times over the course of a month. (but then again, how many times do you really need to download that iso during the month?)

        So for typical usage it is indistinguishable from unlimited, a word itself that has come into the ISP w
      • Telcos have ALWAYS oversold their capacity. So do most other businesses.

        If EVERYONE tries to use their phone at the same time, there are problems. Remember trying to make a cell call anywhere in greater New York City on 9/11? Nevermind the destroyed equipment, the demand on each cell tower was just too much.

        Even today, on busy days like Mother's Day, it's hard to get a long-distance call between certain cities on certain carriers. It's not as bad as it used to be thankfully.

        Other businesses do the same
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dunbal (464142)
          There's a popular restaurant I used to go to that took a different approach: They kicked you out after a certain period of time during peak hours. Think of it as "traffic-shaping" your restaurant experience.

          I certainly wouldn't eat there more than once. Perhaps the owner should consider putting the price up, or building a second floor, according to the laws of supply and demand.

          Then again I guess there's a certain percentage of the population that enjoys being bul
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shmlco (594907)
        "The real problem is ISP's overselling their bandwidth for years..."

        No, the real problem is that ISPs started throttling p2p users who were consuming all of the available bandwidth and the "geniuses" who just had to have free tunes and movies and software said, "Well, we'll just encrypt all our traffic. That'll show 'em!"

        Yeah, that showed them alright. Now everyone is paying for the parasites...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jafiwam (310805)

          Yeah, well in my area both the cable and DSL providers advertise "DOWNLOAD MOVIES IN MINUTES!!!1!!" get all the greatest tunes! Lightning fast games blah blah blah.

          Basically, saying they endorse lots of file sharing-like activity in the ads and not just implying faster surfing, but more, and bigger downloads as part of the point of their service.

          Which makes tying the ads with the false unlimited claim less forgivable.

          But, pretty much everybody should be aware that all telcos and all cable companies ar

    • During peak times when you can't, then, for the next few minutes or hours, cap everyone at X bits per second, Y bits per minute, Z bits per 5 minutes,

      Do that, and suddenly you can't advertise those peak speeds any longer that you are so fond of comparing to your DSL competition.

  • by Brian Ribbon (986353) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:18PM (#18649327) Journal
    When people complain about anything related to ISP surveillance, I always wonder how bothered they really are about security. If you're truly interested, you'll use an encrypted network, preferably an onion routing network, because you never know who is watching. My branch of civil rights activism is highly controversial and generally misinterpreted, so I always make sure that I route my traffic in an encrypted form through my ISP's routers

    Sadly, some people really don't understand that the internet is NOT anonymous and that you must use other measures to achieve a reasonable degree of security.
    • My branch of civil rights activism is highly controversial and generally misinterpreted

      But you don't mind giving us a web-site to find you at (anu.nfshost.com) that tells us your interest is in making paedophilia more accepted in society, or all the other tracks you've left on a simple Google search.

    • My branch of civil rights activism is highly controversial and generally misinterpreted,
      No shit.

      A blog about paedophilia, what paedophilia is and why many assumptions about paedophilia are incorrect
      I'm quite satisfied with my own misinterpretation of the merits of that particular branch of "civil rights" activism. There is no moral ambiguity about paedophilia.

      FFS.
  • don't blame (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feldsteins (313201) <scott&scottfeldstein,net> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:20PM (#18649341) Homepage
    I'm no fan of cable companies, but someone has to speak up about the problems associated with P2P. I'm aware of some educational institutions that saw their newly upgraded networks come to a complete grinding halt - simply because of P2P sharing. They had no choice but to shape their traffic so that other business could get done. They didn't ban it or shut it off. They simply said X amount of our bandwidth can be used for it during business hours and Y amount at other times. And now look what's happened: P2P clients have deliberately foiled such attempts by encryption. Great. Now those institutions will be crippled once again by dorms full of students sharing their entire music collection to the world, many not even aware that they are doing it.

    I don't want to kill P2P. I am no fan of cable companies or the RIAA or the MPAA. But don't blame network admins when they have to fight back on this stuff!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CrazyBrett (233858)
      Fine. So put intelligent rate or bandwidth caps on and be upfront about that policy (this goes both for cable providers and universities). You used to be able to build networks with the assumption that most people wouldn't be transferring data most of the time. This simply isn't true any more.
    • Various bittorrent clients implemented encryption because of ISPs trying to tell their customers what they could use the bandwidth they had purchased for.

      If we had strong network neutrality legislation, it wouldn't have been necessary.
    • I'm no fan of cable companies, but someone has to speak up about the problems associated with P2P. I'm aware of some educational institutions that saw their newly upgraded networks come to a complete grinding halt - simply because of P2P sharing. They had no choice but to shape their traffic so that other business could get done.

      Why is your business more important than my business. I might be distributing my newest song via P2P, while other people are engaged in other business. My filesharing is as impo

    • You oversimplify. I live on a campus with packet shaping. They never "capped" p2p usage, fact of the matter is they just outright BANNED it. No torrents, etc. could be used until encryption came along. Sorry if I don't feel remorseful for bypassing such a criminal system.
      • I don't oversimplify. On the campus I'm referring to, there was no ban. Only a bandwidth throttle for certain kinds of traffic. if your campus is different, I can't speak to that.
    • That's fine for campus networks. AFAIK, they're not selling their services to customers guaranteeing unlimited bandwidth, then throttling the connection when their customers actually try and use what was promised. Cable companies, on the other hand, do.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      I'm aware of some educational institutions that saw their newly upgraded networks come to a complete grinding halt - simply because of P2P sharing. They had no choice but to shape their traffic so that other business could get done.

      Yes they had a choice:

      "The campus network is for academic and research uses only. Any student or faculty found using this network for recreational uses or found using file sharing applications can and will be banned. Students and facult
      • I'm sure the administrators didn't go out and tell everyone exactly what was going to happen.

        Bullshit it was "underhand[ed]." When it first happened we - I mean they - blocked the ports in question. But only until they could figure out how to shape the traffic and bring some usability back. At that point, the entire thing was written up in the university paper. No secrets. Nothing underhanded whatsoever.
    • by FuryG3 (113706)
      This can be solved easily.

      Just auth your users (whether it be on a physical port or otherwise), and tell them you're providing them X GB per month, and Y GB per day, before they're tripped down to 56k-connection-land. If they're hitting their daily/monthly quota regularly, lower the quota for them permanently. Of course you need to have a process in place to grant higher quotas to those who need them, or investigate why someone's hitting their quota all the time if they're on vacation, etc.

      For a Uni this
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by feldsteins (313201)
        I like this line of thinking, however, two small points must be made:

        1. There's no way for the IT department to say "sorry, you're in 56k land now" when the student is complaining to his/her parents/dean/professor/pope that they can't get their homework done on our network even though they pay $20k a year in tuition. The only way to limit individual network ports is to do it on a moment-by-moment throttling, not "use it up, you're screwed until the first of next month."

        2. It takes a lot more than downlo
  • The referenced site is slashdotted...does anybody know?
  • Encrypt it All (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:27PM (#18649397)
    So much for the idea of Net Neutrality. Encrypt all the traffic, and it will all again be treated as equal.

    And if they slow it all down, sue them for not providing the level of service they promised when you signed up. The whole unlimited, high-speed broadband thing is such a fraud anyway, it deserves to land in court -- preferably sooner, rather than later.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:30PM (#18649423)
    Clicked on the link for Michael's site, and got:

    Michael Geist

    This site is temporarily unavailable. Please notify the System Administrator

    And just how are you supposed to to that?

  • This won't fly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:37PM (#18649513)
    Telecommuting is too popular for this tactic to work in the US. There are some very powerful companies that have a vested interest in VPNs being reliable and responsive. How many of you think Cisco would let ISPs get away with this? Sure, Cisco sells lots of expensive hardware to ISPs, but they also sell a lot of hardware and software to businesses and consumers so that VPNs can be established.

    Also, I know that many employees of my local and state governments use VPNs daily. If their VPN connections get any slower, they will be well-nigh unusable. This is essentially a lower-stakes version of NTP wanting to cripple every congressman's BlackBerry. Our monopolies seem to be forgetting rule #1: don't piss off your regulators!
  • The whole attempt to slow encrypted traffic is useless, simply taking the encrypted packet and running it through say, http encapsulation, would make it impossible to degrade; that is only if they are not willing to shape http requests.
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:54PM (#18649721)
    upgrade their shitty equipment?
    Seems like I have read over and over about how North America is like pretty much at the bottom of the ladder of high speed Internet service compared to the rest of the world with the exception of places in Africa.
    I think I read places like France and Korea have gigabit service pretty much nation wide.

    WHY is the (used to be) world leader of technology and one of the richest nations on Earth (USA) still dragging it's feet and living in the past? I know so many people that are STILL running 54k dialup modems at home but their actual throughput averages around 48k. And they are paying an average of $30 a month for such sorry service! Not to mention, frequent disconnects, busy trunks in the evenings, etc..

    How pathetic.

    These companies have no interest in providing a quality service, their only interest is milking their customers for as much as possible as long as they can. They'll continue to use antiquated and archaic equipment to provide substandard service until they are FORCED to by either massive equipment failures or court order.

    • by KillerCow (213458) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:29PM (#18650053)

      WHY is the (used to be) world leader of technology and one of the richest nations on Earth (USA) still dragging it's feet and living in the past? ...

      These companies have no interest in providing a quality service, their only interest is milking their customers for as much as possible as long as they can.


      You answered your own question.

      The entire telecom industry is an absolute scam. Nothing comes close.

      Go work in telecom for a while and you will be amazed. The focus is never on providing service or creating new products. It's always "how can we maximize return on our existing customers and infrastructure" and "how much can we leverage this incremental improvement"?

      Invent something that costs 1/1000th of a cent to deploy and use? Let's price it at 10cents per use.

      Handheld makers invent a technology that lets customers play music on their phones? How can we block them from loading their own music so that they must buy it through our storefront?

      Convert your network to be digital, so now you can carry data as well as voice? Oh.. hold on there. It costs us less to move data than voice, but we should be charging 100-200 times more for this great new feature.

      Don't let any ISVs run a service over your network. That's revenue that you should be getting from your customers directly. Yes, it would make our service more useful, but you can't have anyone else interacting with your customers.

      I could go on and on for days (and I was only in it for four months!) It's an absolute scam.

      Heath-care and banking are just blips on the radar compared to the telecom scam Goliath.
    • Or until they get obsolesced by something else. What that would be, I don't know, but progress marches on. Sooner or later something will come along to make all the telcos and cable companies in the country obsolete. Like the RIAA and the Internet, I hope they don't see it coming until it's too late.
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        Or until they get obsolesced by something else. What that would be, I don't know, but progress marches on. Sooner or later something will come along to make all the telcos and cable companies in the country obsolete.

              It already exists. It's called WiFi. And why do you think those telcos have been fighting it tooth and nail?
        • WiFi is a way around the last-mile monopoly (which, as you say, is what they're fighting.) Given a dense enough distribution of access points, it can certainly compete with the cable/DSL folks in that arena. However, even if WiFi is successful there (and it would probably take an act of Congress at this point given the resources the telcos and cable companies are diverting to stop it) that still leaves the backbones, and I don't know what would replace all that fiber and the corporations that own it.
  • Workaround? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TerranFury (726743) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @05:05PM (#18649837)
    Perhaps one could slap HTTP headers on all traffic, call everything either a GET or a PUT request, and tunnel out with only a modest overhead?
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Perhaps one could slap HTTP headers on all traffic, call everything either a GET or a PUT request, and tunnel out with only a modest overhead?

            They keep pulling this crap and you KNOW it's going to happen, brother. So long as the overhead is faster than the artificial throttle, someone is going to do it.
  • I'm pretty sure Xbox Live uses encrypted p2p udp and tcp, and has no set port numbers. How can they tell that apart from encrypted bittorrent? Did they just gimp live for all of their users?
  • by JustNiz (692889)
    Should cable companies care if you're using P2P or not? I assume its because they have a stupid blanket assumption that all P2P use === copyright breaching.
    But even if they were right (which they're not) why is it the ISP that is getting all moralistic and judgmental in the face of what their customers want to do?
    Its not like the Music Industry's loss affects their sales. In fact, I'd think their sales would suffer much more as a result of clamping down.
    Its similar but more stupid than gas stations refusing
  • by dbitch (553938)
    What's weird is I predicted this EXACT thing about 6 months ago, here on Slashdot:

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=187990&cid=155 02121 [slashdot.org]

    Guess I was right this time. What will be neat a couple of years down the road now is the slow conversion of all traffic to encrypted streams, and I guess we'll see how the ISPs react to this. Maybe *gasp* actually not lie and sell guaranteed bandwidth?
  • ISPs will be forced by the P2P use to charge by the GB. They have no other way to avoid making their service useless to everyone else, just visit any campus to see a useless network in action. Its just the reality of life, not that all the P2P users give a damn so long as they can get their movies

    I'd bet the pricing will be about $9/600MB, making it cheaper to goto the movies then to download them.

    But, as a bonus, all those bots will get huge bills and people will finally have a reason to remove them. And t
  • Some test results (Score:5, Informative)

    by Deadplant (212273) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @07:16PM (#18650955)
    wget http://autocast.ca/test.dat
    Length: 10,485,760 (10M) [text/plain]
    18:52:39 (539.62 KB/s) - `test.dat' saved [10485760/10485760]

    wget https://autocast.ca/test.dat
    Length: 10,485,760 (10M) [text/plain]
    18:53:03 (560.59 KB/s) - `test.dat.1' saved [10485760/10485760]

    No slowdown on https downloads at this moment from this location.

    scp test.dat odin.canadacast.ca:/root/
    test.dat 100% 10MB 97.5KB/s 01:45
    scp odin.canadacast.ca:/root/test.dat .
    test.dat 100% 10MB 602.4KB/s 00:17

    No slowdown on that either.
    Upstream rate is 97.5% of this cable modem's capability (800kbps)

    This is on a saturday, at 7:10pm local time.
    Not quite peak usage time of day but not 3am either.

    This does not prove anything of course.
    I've only failed to prove that there is traffic shaping, I have not proven that there is no traffic shaping.
    Maybe I'll try again at a known peak traffic time.
  • by GrEp (89884) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (200brc)> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:28PM (#18652481) Homepage Journal
    I stayed at a Marriott hotel last week in Long Beach that used stayonline.net as there ISP, and the network was horrid. My colleague figured out after two days that the reason he was banned from the network was for using a non-US encryption standard for his SSH. Total bull. Also, file transers over a few meg seemed to be throttled like mad, making it almost impossible to upload pictures until after I got back home.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

Working...