×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bell Canada Official Speaks Out On Throttling

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the bellcastic-doesn't-have-quite-the-same-ring-to-it dept.

Networking 207

westcoaster004 brings to our attention an interview with Mirko Bibic, head of regulatory affairs for Bell Canada, discussing the ISP's traffic-shaping practices. This follows news we discussed recently that a class action lawsuit was filed against Bell for their involvement in traffic shaping. Bibic reiterates that internet congestion is a real problem and claims that the throttling had nothing to do with Bell's new video service. CBC News quotes him saying: "If no measures were taken, then 700,000 customers would have been affected by congestions during peak periods. We want to obviously take steps to make sure that doesn't happen. So this network management is, as we've stated, one of the ways to address the issue of congestion during peak periods. At the end of the day, the wholesale ISPs are our customers and we generate revenue [from them], so we want to make sure we're serving them to the best of our ability as well."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

207 comments

Excuses. (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616851)

Excuses.

Anyone else get a bunch of JavaScript errors form the CBC.ca site?... (Opera 9.27, XP, JavaJRE 6U6)

Damn Canadians! (Note: I am one)

This is what happens... (2, Insightful)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616903)

This is what happens when ISPs sell customers more capacity than they can deliver. They should lose this because they promised a product they couldn't deliver and that's fraud.

Re:This is what happens... (4, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617135)

Do you have any idea how much it costs to get uncontended internet? In the US, $300/mo gets you a T1 (1.5/1.5).

For the vast majority of consumers, if they were forced to use an ISP that didn't "sell more capacity than they can deliver", e.g. an uncontended line, they would prefer not to buy internet at all.

The (sad, perhaps) fact of internet service provision is that without pushing contention to 10~20, prices would be beyond the average consumer's desire to pay for internet.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617311)

I really feel the same way about high bandwidth uncontended internet for everybody as I do about flying cars.
They absolutely should have been here by now. But the fact is the world is not responsible enough for the technology.

Re:This is what happens... (2, Informative)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617937)

"But the fact is the world is not responsible enough for the technology."

I can agree with that in regard to flying cars, we have enough problems with ones limited to the ground, and with flight it only added another dimensions, and exponential problems.

But, I dont really see how having more bandwidth would cause anymore damage... people would still use it for the same purpose, just more of it (information, music, movies, porn, maliciousness, et el)

Re:This is what happens... (5, Insightful)

complete loony (663508) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617383)

The main problem with the current state of ISP's is that they *claim* to sell unlimited / no contention internet access and have no intention of ever delivering. Instead they throttle, block, apply qos, or otherwise impose a hidden limit on the bandwidth you are allowed to use.

If you want to limit the used bandwidth, go ahead. Just spell out exactly what those limits are in a contract with your customers.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618071)

>

If you want to limit the used bandwidth, go ahead. Just spell out exactly what those limits are in a contract with your customers.

"Exactly" is a dirty word and non-existant concept in corporation-to-consumer contracts (especially terms of service).

See: "reserve the right", "may", "will do x for the stability/integrity of the network/product, etc.

Re:This is what happens... (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617471)

Do you have any idea how much it costs to get uncontended internet?
There's a wide gulf between full dedicated bandwidth for every endpoint and unilaterally throttling the crap out of certain customers on a shared pipe. In the absence of the specifics of their TOS, I can't say what they promised, but calling it a 1.5Mbps connection when it never gets 1.5Mbps because they're choking certain services, that's skating the edges of reason.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617727)

I personally think if nobody was willing to pay the current prices for the current level of service they're getting, the prices would go down regardless of the providers' claims the prices can't go any lower.

Re:This is what happens... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617745)

Erm, let's not take this too far. Contended lines are fine, but *oversold* lines are not. Bell Canada sold access to 700,000 more customers than its lines could handle without traffic shaping. Analogize it to water pipes: would you prefer having your shower at half pressure at peak showertimes so that the water provider could sell to more customers?

bullshit - DSL does .. EXCEPT speakeasy (4, Interesting)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617871)

Bullshit -- I've had 7 DSL ISPs for about 9 years, and have downloaded at full capacity (currently 3M, double a T1) nearly 100% of the time (back in the 0.75M and 1.5M days), often exceeding 250G in a month (in the 3M days). At no time has this ever cost me more than about $70 a month. I live in Northern Virginia.

One exception: Speakeasy, who lied to me during pre-sales chat [flickr.com], stating I could use 100% of my bandwidth 100% of the time, and that they don't regulate their connections at all [flickr.com] -- ultimatley called me up and told me if I didn't download less than 100G a month, that they would terminate me.

They then had the gall to try to silence me with a threat of an early termination fee, and took many months to properly pay me back for the pre-paid month of service that I didn't get.

They are assholes. They should burn. But Patriot.Net? Capu.Net? Silcon.com? All great ISPs that let you do what you want.

Re:This is what happens... (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617951)

they would prefer not to buy internet at all.

Mmm, no. They'd prefer to buy internet with speed appropriate for their desired price range.

For the ISP it's much easier to compete by marketing bullshit speeds they have neither capability nor intention to actually deliver. Competing on price would be much more of a pain, not to mention that the big guys lose the advantage of wider throttling gains than the smaller ISPs can achieve.

without pushing contention to 10~20, prices would be beyond the average consumer

It's not a question of contention, it's a question of labels. It would be entirely possible to sell exactly the same service as today, with the exact same infrastructure as today but with an accurate label. If the connection is throttled, fine, sell the connection as whatever the throttling is at. Consumers don't want that? Then let them go to the more expensive competitor that actually upgrades its infrastructure.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

joelwyland (984685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617169)

Actually, it's a fairly common business practice. Since customer's aren't using a resource 100% of the time or because customers will purchase service and not use it (i.e. plane tickets) many businesses will over-sell counting on that unused portion.

Re:This is what happens... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618009)

And that's the fundamental problem just about everywhere. Customers are being scammed out of their cash by promises of high speed. What needs to be done is consumer law updated so that ISPs are forced under threats of massive crippling fines to report the most likely average speeds, with "up to x" either made unlawful or forced to be in much smaller print in advertising.

Reason says (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23616855)

Someone who pays for health insurance, and happens to be chronicaly ill, shouldn't be put on the slow lane just because it costs more to treat him. Same goes for P2P traffic, don't discriminate me bro.

Re:Reason says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617391)

This is what current happens in the health system too, except they don't call it throttling but triage.

Oh yeah? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23616859)

s. We want to obviously take steps to make sure that doesn't happen.

Oh yeah? Then add more bandwidth. Problem solved. Delivering as advertised is not a value added service!

Just an excuse (5, Insightful)

rstewart (31100) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616867)

This is just the same excuse that other telcos are giving for overselling their bandwidth vs their customers needs. These telcos need to learn how to provide enough bandwidth for peak times if that is what they're selling. If someone were to pick up a telephone at peak times and get an all circuits are busy message regularly during peak hours than there would be hell to pay.

We need to stop letting them get away with selling service to us that they cannot provide. As consumers we need to look towards other providers and build a market for service providers that don't pull these kinds of games. We also need to make it clear to these companies that their selling us services they cannot deliver is not acceptable to us. The only way they will ever get that message is through their subscriber numbers. As long as the big telcos and ISPs have the bulk of the customers they will never see the light until an exodus towards alternatives starts.

The only way that an exodus towards alternatives will occur is if we the people move in that direction and help the smaller companies build themselves up by moving to them.

This is all about overselling which has to be done to a certain extent but when the peak times cannot regularly be met then it is too oversold. Unfortunately consumers these days are sheep and will stay with these companies because they are cheaper/easier to get service from.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616901)

Smaller ADSL providers provide ADSL over Bell's network.

Cable internet has a bit more competition. Cogeco, Rogers, Videotron, Shaw, Telus, but, for the most part, they have monopolies over their regions (Want cable TV or Internet in Montreal? You ultimately get served by Videotron no matter who you sign up with).

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

thegameiam (671961) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616917)

Oversubscription is a very, very normal thing in service provider networks. Frame-Relay oversubscription is generally 15:1, ATM oversubscription was about 5:1, IP oversubscription is about 3:1. If you want truly non-oversubscribed bandwidth, prepare to pay a LOT more for it.

The problem isn't oversubscription, it's that the capacity management policies of some providers haven't caught up with the usage patterns of the customers. During peak periods, something's got to give.

Given that there are no providers selling truly non-oversubscribed bandwidth today, would you rather that the providers change their advertisements to say that, or raise their prices to sell dedicated bandwidth?

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616997)

Not being oversold = pay more? Please.

They know damn well the average usages of their customers, this is more a refusal to upgrade the infrastructure and blaming it on those who are serious users. Doing so would actually be competitive even and earn more business! what an idea!

If you are advertising XYZ service, it doesn't mean shoot anyone else in the foot in order to guarantee it.
If you can guarantee something by shortchanging the rest of your customers, thats not exactly a bargain.

How about use your government subsidies for what they were intended (which would actually generate more revenue) and not as profit margins?

In the end its the cable companies looking at short term revenue instead of long term

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

Shaman (1148) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617027)

So, you don't want to pay more for essentially dedicated Internet accesss... but you expect them to pay billions of dollars to upgrade their infrastructure. Got it.

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617063)

They've already been paid billions of dollars by the government. You saying they should get more?

Re:Just an excuse (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617109)

They've already been paid billions of dollars by the government. You saying they should get more?
Source, please.

I keep seeing people write this, but I am unable to find good information to back it up. Are you repeating rumor, or can you substantiate?

Also, received tax breaks != "been paid".

Re:Just an excuse (2, Informative)

Shaman (1148) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617299)

He's right. 11 billion dollars of grants for setting up the DSL infrastructure (and naturally they don't want third-party ISPs using it, even thought they didn't pay for it themselves).

However, now that it needs to be upgraded, no further grants are forthcoming. Why would they be? People don't want to pay anything... much less more.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617415)

Can you provide a link or a reference, I'd like to read more about it & haven't found a good summary or details anywhere.

The best I've seen is estimates of 1-2 billion in federal, state, and local funds to build out backbone which was later privatized.

Most of what I can actually substantiate is not a direct subsidy, but rather allowing telcos to add charges to phone (etc) bills in order to cross-subsidize internet. This is different from a government subsidy, since people can cancel their phone service and move to cell-only if they choose (since taxes are unavoidable, direct subsidies are different).

Do you have any source info I can review?

Re:Just an excuse (2, Interesting)

Shaman (1148) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618103)

We're talking Bell Canada here. No states. You can find this information easily, I have better things to do... since I am typing this from my hot tub watching Zeitgeist on my laptop right now. :)

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617337)

For decades, Bell Canada was a goivernment-regulated monopoly with a guaranteed profit margin. In other words, the people over-paid for decades for phone service, thanks to government regulation. It was necessary at the time, but it should have had a sunset clause whereby the network would eventually revert to and be controlled by the public.

Remember, in Soviet Canuckistan, Bell throttles YOU!

Equality (4, Insightful)

Kaseijin (766041) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617419)

Also, received tax breaks != "been paid".
They have the same effect on the bottom line.

Re:Equality (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617653)

They have the same effect on the bottom line.
You're not a financial accountant, are you?

Subsidy payments received do NOT affect the bottom line the same way as tax concessions do. Tax concessions are a reduction in below-the-line expense -- they do not affect the taxes owed by the organization. Subsidy payments are either income or reduction in above-the-line expense resulting in an increase of tax. Another option is to use the subsidy as an offset to the purchase/buildout of capital, in which case the subsidy will reduce below-the-line depreciation, which can also be deducted from taxable income to a certain threshold.

Tax laws are complicated, and financial accounting is also complicated -- just because the two items affect the cash position in the same way does not mean that they affect the financial statement the same way. Also note that they DO NOT affect the cash position the same way, since a subsidy is typically realized far before a tax consession is realized, resulting in additional income from investment during the time gap.

Re:Just an excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617539)

In addition to tax breaks, the Telcos were allowed to charge fees to pay for this mythical infrastructure upgrade. Telecommunications Act of 1996 authorized this, I understand. So yes, they got tax breaks and they got paid for it.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617553)

the Telcos were allowed to charge fees to pay for this mythical infrastructure upgrade. Telecommunications Act of 1996 authorized this, I understand
Cross-subsidization != government subsidization.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

J3llym4n (1292828) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617785)

Here is a good place to start http://www.newnetworks.com/BroadbandScandalIntro.htm [newnetworks.com]

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617917)

Interesting read, but hardly source material. I've read things like that link before, and again, I'm befuddled by the lack of references and source info.

I'm aware of the information in general, but cannot find anywhere an analysis with verifiable source documents.

Maybe I'm asking too much -- or maybe I've identified an opportunity for myself to create the same & publish.

Re:Just an excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617581)

To keep the profit machine and share-holders happy and to give them further incentive, yes, yes we do! (This message was payed for by the people that only care about getting gross insane profits with no care at all how it effects everything and one-else. Isn't capitalism great ^.^ ).

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617749)

If they cannot provide it then they should not sell it to me. I expect things to work as advertised for the advertised price.

Otherwise I'm being lied to and cheated out of my money and time.

It's as simple as that.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617167)

They know damn well the average usages of their customers
The average usage is fine. It's the top 2% of users that create most of the congestion.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617881)

They know damn well the average usages of their customers
The average usage is fine. It's the top 2% of users that create most of the congestion.
If providing what they've sold is a problem because of those 2%, they need to specifically tailor their services "menu" to separate the 98% from the 2%. The problem is, they want to have their cake and eat it too: they want to offer unlimited transfers at high bitrates, but they don't want to increase capacity to handle a growing customer demand for what they promised in their ads. There are plenty of content-neutral technical measures they could employ that would do the trick. The only trouble is that they'd have to separate their service levels into "unlimited" and "limited, but adequate for 98% of users", and that just wouldn't sell as well. Really, it's as simple as that. They need to stop promising the moon for $15/mo.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

joelwyland (984685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617213)

... this is more a refusal to upgrade the infrastructure and blaming it on those who are serious users. Doing so would actually be competitive even and earn more business!
Naw, they'd be putting out tons of cash just to handle traffic during a 2 hour period (# off the top of my head) and then have a ridiculously overpowered network for 22 hours of the day. Don't get me wrong, I think they need to fix it, but this is a very common business practice that helps them keep costs down because they can count on not everyone using it at the same time. More than likely the ratio has just changed over time and they need to adjust based on current usage trends.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617571)

Except it's not two hours.. Bell starts throttling at 4 pm and continues well past midnight.

Also: They are doing this on third party networks those networks pay for guaranteed bandwidth between the customer DSLAM and the ISP's PPPoe Authentication equipment. That's on top of Bell getting half of the cost ($23 wholesale) of the revenue generated by each customer.

Re:Just an excuse (2, Interesting)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617857)

Bell is throttling from 4pm to 2am, a 10 hour window. If they have to shape the service for over 40% of the day then they have sorely underestimated their customer's needs and desperately need to upgrade their network.

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

klapaucjusz (1167407) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617087)

Oversubscription is a very, very normal thing in service provider networks.

I think you're confusing oversubscription and unsufficient capacity. Oversubscription is a good thing, it's the very reason we have switched networks in the first place.

The point is that a properly designed and sufficiently provisioned network should not suffer from congestion even if it is oversubscribed. If they've got congestion in their network core, then either they're doing their routing and scheduling all wrong, or they're underprovisioning their network.

Which is fine, as long as they explicitly sell it as ``underprovisioned service''.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617527)

Given that there are no providers selling truly non-oversubscribed bandwidth today, would you rather that the providers change their advertisements to say that, or raise their prices to sell dedicated bandwidth?

Tell the truth in advertising, then any providers which don't do this throttling will be easily found by the consumer, and chosen over those that do throttle. The lack of this honesty is probably one reason there aren't providers that don't throttle bandwidth. The free market can't work if the buyer has false information about a product.

Re:Just an excuse (4, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617617)

Given that there are no providers selling truly non-oversubscribed bandwidth today, would you rather that the providers change their advertisements to say that, or raise their prices to sell dedicated bandwidth?
False dichotomy. You're offering only the extremes as choices. The real question is "how should they deal with people using more and more bandwidth as time goes on". This is not just a P2P issue. The longer the internet exists, the larger the stuff people push around on it gets. This is practically a corollary of Moore's Law, here. Hard drives get bigger, cameras gain resolution, RAM increases, screen resolutions grow--- all of this translates to bigger and bigger files and data streams going over the same pipes.

Now, given that usage in general is never going to go back to the "email and text web pages" trickle of the late 90's and anyone with half a brain should realize this, what is an appropriate reaction by those who provide connectivity:

A) Build more capacity and adjust your rates accordingly to cover the cost
B) Choose a particular class of connection you "disapprove of" because it exposes the weakness of your network and throttle it.

over-subscription limit (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618089)

If what you say is true, then we need some regulations that state how much over-subscription is permissible. Yes, some level is acceptable but lately it has gotten way out of line. I'm not going to pretend to know what is acceptable but there has to be some limit.

Re:Just an excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23616957)

From the article:

You have to appreciate that capacity will always be used up. We live in a dynamic world, not a static world, so we could increase the capacity of our pipes, which we do more than anyone else in terms of investment, but we can't predict what new application is going to come along, what capacity that's going to consume, and the ever-growing desire by consumers to consume more and more and have a rich internet experience, and that's good. It's good for consumers, I have no quarrel with that. The point is, it's not a dynamic world so we'll build the pipe, it will get used. Building alone is not going to solve the problem.

We'll have to be realistic here and the answer lies in building, in managing the network, in pricing plans as well, and it's not unlike congestion on a highway. If you have a two-lane highway and you have congestion at rush hour, you're not going to build 20 lanes because those 18 other lanes just won't be needed during non-rush periods. So what do you do? You build a couple of extra lanes for one, you expand the infrastructure. As well, you do things like have bus lanes that allow buses, taxis and cars with more than three passengers to travel on them so that they get faster service than if you choose to drive your Escalade and you're alone on the highway. You get to go on the highway and you ultimately get to your destination, you might just be a little slower. There are a number of issues here. As far as fibre to the node and fibre to the home, I think it's best for me to leave that to somebody else within the company.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

zmjjmz (1264856) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617055)

"As well, you do things like have bus lanes that allow buses, taxis and cars with more than three passengers to travel on them so that they get faster service than if you choose to drive your Escalade and you're alone on the highway. You get to go on the highway and you ultimately get to your destination, you might just be a little slower" Wait what? I believe having an empty highway would be faster than a congested one. So if they built different "pipes" for each service, they'd be better off?

Re:Just an excuse (2, Insightful)

joelwyland (984685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617253)

I believe having an empty highway would be faster than a congested one.
No freeway stays empty. Every time they add a new lane onto one of the freeways in Los Angeles, traffic moves smoothly for about a month and then people see there is more space on the freeway and fill it up again.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

joelwyland (984685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617193)

If someone were to pick up a telephone at peak times and get an all circuits are busy message regularly during peak hours than there would be hell to pay.
I live in California and after any significant earthquake this is exactly what happens. The telcos DO NOT have enough capacity for everyone to use the service at the same time. Granted, this happens less regularly than the traffic shaping at ISPs, but don't forget that your own example can suffer the same problem.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618057)

I live in California and after any significant earthquake this is exactly what happens. The telcos DO NOT have enough capacity for everyone to use the service at the same time. Granted, this happens less regularly than the traffic shaping at ISPs, but don't forget that your own example can suffer the same problem.
The POTS network is a perfect example of how it should work, though. The POTS network is oversubscribed, but not underprovisioned. If the only time it gives you a reorder tone (fast busy) is when the lines are clogged by jackasses calling 911 to report an earthquake (!) and relatives from Ohio calling their cousin to see if he's dead (?), then it's not underprovisioned, it's just experiencing extraordinary traffic.

Now, if you got a fast busy most evenings between 5-7pm just because there were a shitload of people calling 1-900-PSYCHIC for their daily in-depth reading, then the phone network would definitely be underprovisioned. Similarly, the solution is to add more capacity, not to limit calls to 1-900-PSYCHIC to 5 minutes, or once a week, or whatever.

Re:Just an excuse (1)

DuSTman31 (578936) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617495)

Telephone calls use 64KBps. Provisioning for peak times there is relatively straightforward - you just multiply the number of peak users by that figure.

Peer to peer apps, on the other hand, open up multiple connections in order to use all the bandwidth available to them. Additionally, this means that TCP "back-off" mechanisms help less with them than with single-connection apps.

End result of all this is that unless there's massive overprovisioning, p2p apps threaten to fill any pipe the ISP throws at it, and adversely affect other apps while doing so.

Shaping? Si. Throttling? No. (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616885)

If they were serious about addressing congestion, they'd prioritize traffic flows and be done with it. I don't think anyone would have a problem with putting P2P at a lower priority to HTTP. Of course, that doesn't help their master plan of billing content providers for tiered service, so they don't do it.

Re:Shaping? Si. Throttling? No. (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616987)

. I don't think anyone would have a problem with putting P2P at a lower priority to HTTP.

If other protocols were impeded, soon, all P2P would look like HTTP.

Re:Shaping? Si. Throttling? No. (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617191)

If other protocols were impeded, soon, all P2P would look like HTTP.

What do you mean by "impeded"? I'm not advocating blocking anything in the slightest. However, you can prioritize highly interactive traffic (IM, HTTP, SSH) over bulk data like FTP or P2P transfers. This lets all the packets through, but doesn't make browsing impossible just because a tenth of an ISP's customers are downloading screengrabs of the new Indiana Jones.

Re:Shaping? Si. Throttling? No. (1)

Bazer (760541) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618007)

You could prevent that with shaping based on volume. A token bucket tied to a given link would ensure a high burst speed for any protocol and deteriorate after a short period of constant heavy traffic. You'd have to properly set it up so a user won't be able to get more speed than he's allowed to, with short bursts.

Re:Shaping? Si. Throttling? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617907)

I second this. This is what I was thinking as a possible solution if congestion is a reality, though a interim solution until more capacity is added.

I do it with my WRT54G as I use my net for VoIP and gaming, P2P traffic gets the lowest priority and VoIP, Xbox Live and other activities go on as usual.

As a compromise Qos is a better option compared to throttling itself.

Further those who are impacted by this are seeing P2P speeds of 30kB/s, that is slowoooo, I don't think congestion requirs this much of a slow down to cope with peak hour traffic, thats just bull.

Wanna reduce congestion? (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616887)

Then tell all the big site owners to cut out all the tube clogging, virus riddled advertisements. Or charge them extra for it.

Re:Wanna reduce congestion? (4, Insightful)

klingens (147173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616925)

If their network can't take the Net as it is, then they have a few choices:
a) sell slower links to their customers
b) sign up fewer customers (fat chance....)
c) expand the network

Double dipping from customers and content providers is not the way

Re:Wanna reduce congestion? (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617373)

or
d) continue to rip off the customer because they can.

Looks like they picked d).
and leave us no choice, except to demand that the government take over the infrastructure and lease it out, not to the higher bidder, but to ones who will provide the best access. We need an alternative to the corporate ball and chain.

Re:Wanna reduce congestion? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618115)

Then tell all the big site owners to cut out all the tube clogging, virus riddled advertisements.

Very good point. All those ads are currently served for free by the Bandwidth Fairy Guild, and it's unfair that Comcast has to pony up to carry that subsidized content.

Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23616905)

Don't sell more bandwith than you have!
Easy as that.

"There are a number of issues here." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23616909)

From the article:
"...we can't predict what new application is going to come along, what capacity that's going to consume..."

I can help. Add up all the bandwidth sold to all the customers, and you have a prediction for the total peak bandwidth required!

I wonder if they will give me a job.

Re:"There are a number of issues here." (1)

joelwyland (984685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617281)

I can help. Add up all the bandwidth sold to all the customers, and you have a prediction for the total peak bandwidth required! I wonder if they will give me a job.
Unlikely since you clearly don't understand how business works.

Re:"There are a number of issues here." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617413)

And they don't understand simple network management. I think we'd make a great team.

Re:"There are a number of issues here." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617947)

Unlikely since you clearly don't understand how business works.
Business works by praying real hard that people won't use what you sold them? Actually, putting it that way, it explains quite a lot of things from fractional reserve banking to poisonous toothpaste.

Throttling vs Common Sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23616923)

If all the big service providers invested more profits into increasing infrastructure instead of giving shareholders, board members, and CEO's another 1.5M dollar raise this year, they wouldn't have to throttle back the bulk of their customers, the lowly single user. As happens elsewhere, big business gets the gravy while we get what's left on the bone, thrown, without a though of consequence, to their diamond and gold encrusted loafers.

a sort-of monopoly means they can be defeated (4, Interesting)

flar2 (938689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616931)

Bell started throttling my connection, so I switched to Teksavvy. Unfortunately Bell controls the wires so my connection is still being throttled. It's regrettable that Bell still gets some of my money, as Teksavvy has to buy its bandwidth from Bell, but they're getting less of it. As a bonus, the exact same internet service is cheaper from Teksavvy than from Bell. If enough people would switch, Bell might change its policy.

That still gives Bell most of the revenues. (3, Informative)

guidryp (702488) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617189)

"Bell started throttling my connection, so I switched to Teksavvy. Unfortunately Bell controls the wires so my connection is still being throttled."

Looks like win-win for Bell. The get most of the revenues, and don't have to provide internet backbone bandwidth or tech support, they can now mess with your connection and don't even have to listen to you complain.

Bell gets about $20 out of $30 for just providing the throttled last mile. $30 out of $40 if you are on Dry DSL. So Bell gets to keep most of the money and they reduce over-head. I don't think they are going to be defeated by this.

I am with Vianet and being Bell throttled. I am canceling all Bell services (third party DSL, landline and long distance) and moving to Cable + VOIP.

I am actually denying Bell every penny of revenue they get from me. I will also tell them exactly why they are losing a long term customer and all associated revenues.

Alternatives to Bell, and Bell's small print (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617215)

Depending on where you are there are alternatives, such a cable internet. There are issues there too, such as the maximum amount of data you are allowed to download. Videotron [videotron.com], for example limits to 20GB download and 10GB upload on most packages - you have to look at the small print to find this out.

One thing is worth noting is that nowhere in the conditions applied by Bell is there anything indicating throttling. If it is there I can't find it.

In other news : Genetically modified pigs can fly (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23616951)

Also in today's news, Bell's Canada spokesman Bibic said that internet congestion is a real problem and claims that the throttling had nothing to do with [b]Bell's new video service[/b].

A deal is a deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617003)

If no measures were taken, then 700,000 customers would have been affected by congestions during peak periods.
So take measures: Build out your network. Your customers are paying for their bandwidth. Begin to uphold your end of the deal.

traffic shaping only in peak periods? yeah right. (4, Interesting)

Chryana (708485) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617007)

I am a customer of Sympatico Bell, and I can assure you that, unlike what the interviewee would make you believe, traffic is throttled all day, every day. I don't use bittorrent too often, but whenever I start a download, it goes from ~500 KiB/s to ~30 KiB/s within the span of two minutes. The speed stays the same overnight. Not exactly a peak period... Sad thing is, I'm using Cogeco for the summer, and they're even worst, uploads are pretty much completely blocked. :(

Re:traffic shaping only in peak periods? yeah righ (2, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617283)

Yeah, thats how my ISP (claims) to handle it to...

DL 5MB/UL 512KB

But it throttles that 5MB seemingly randomly, ocasionally I can get up to 600k/s download (using BT, HTTP, FTP, etc doesnt matter) other times 15k/s... noon, midnight, weekday, weekend doesnt matter... and 2 or 3 times a week, it just shuts down entirely for about 3 hours somewhere between 9PM and 9AM...

So i assume one of two things.

1. they don't know what they are doing.
2. they most likely dont know what they are doing.

They behave like an infected computer... unless their hardware is constantly dying, inwhich case see assumption 1. or 2.

Re:traffic shaping only in peak periods? yeah righ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617835)

The peak hours they describe are 4:00PM to 2:00AM.

Re:traffic shaping only in peak periods? yeah righ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617935)

I am on sympatico in Montreal and all my torrent downloads are started in the evening when I get back from work, and very often I get 200 to 300 KB/s or more, depending on number of seeders.

so it seems I am not throttled at all.

but then again I have been with them for a few years and I still have the original 5M "high speed edition" without any download limit. maybe they don't throttle those people?

typical bs (3, Insightful)

UU7 (103653) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617059)

Ok, so they need to manage "congestion", so why is it a hard cap of 30 KB/s on downstream instead of say 100 KB/s?
And this DOES have something to do with their video site, you're launching a bandwidth intensive application which will be used during prime "congestion" hours. Disgraceful.

More lies (4, Informative)

yabos (719499) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617075)

Look at the Bell provided graphs:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r20567537- [dslreports.com]

Their ATM capacity is around 170 Gbit/s and their backbone traffic is around 125Gbit/s. They have 45Gbit of spare capacity and this is Bell's own numbers so who knows if they're inflated or not. Also, their DSLAM capacity is enormous so where exactly is the congestion? Maybe there are some DSLAMs that are congested but that's why you upgrade, not throttle your entire network and all 3rd party traffic over the ATM network.

Re:More lies (1)

Shaman (1148) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617349)

When TCP/IP links get to 80% or more, they are essentially saturated. It takes a lot of abuse to get that last 20% of capacity to show up on a graph.

What about transparency and accountability? (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617107)

I believe them.

The problem is, how will we ever know whether or not a particular provider is throttling traffic in a fair and neutral way for the overall benefit of its customers... or whether it is cutting deals to favor business partners... or certain industry segments (the RIAA and MPAA come to mind)... or even political parties?

If common carriers are allowed to do this, how will we know when they stop serving the public and start serving themselves... and how will we able to stop them?

They've chosen to solve their problem in a cheapjack, lazy, sloppy way that virtually guarantees future abuse.

Either way you cut it: it stinks (5, Interesting)

Some1too (1242900) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617121)

I think bell canada has really shot itself in the foot with this one. If they are complaining that their lines are saturated they should install more infrastructure. Someone else pointed out that Europe has many countries with a larger population that have moved towards net neutrality without any infrastructure or network congestion issues. Seeing as bell has started throttling the service to customers who have already paid for a certain amount of data, they are in fact not delivering on their promise of providing said data. I was happily surprised by the insightful remarks on the cbc interview with Mr Mirko Bibic from bell. The full article can be found here http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/05/30/tech-qandabibic.html [www.cbc.ca]. Most consumers seem to have seen through his marketing speak. With the lawsuit from the consumer rights group and the government motion to move towards net neutrality it`s starting to look like Bell`s excuse for throttling is going to be what galvanizes Canadians towards net neutrality.

Re:Either way you cut it: it stinks (1)

Shaman (1148) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617365)

Don't know why. The cable providers are doing the same thing and by some accounts, they are more stringent in their caps or shaping. They started well before Bell.

Re:Either way you cut it: it stinks (2, Insightful)

gmack (197796) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617639)

It's because Bell started forcing third party ISPs to do it even though they have to pay for dedicated links between Bell's equipment and the ISP.

Re:Either way you cut it: it stinks (3, Interesting)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617697)

Except that Bell ads claimed: "No slowdowns! It's not shared!" Indeed, there even was a TV ad where a beaver (the mascot) uses a megaphone to ask his neighbors to please stop internet use -- he is going to download a video. His buddy then tells him that it isn't needed -- they use Bell! (last seen 3 months ago).

At least the cable internet provider was never that stupid with marketing. It was always on a "best available" basis.

Off topic, but illustrative of what I think of Bell:

Now, the ONLY reason I use cable vs. Bell service is that Bell blocks port 25 -- both outbound and INBOUND. I tried it, and was lied to when I asked that exact question. They also will NOT unblock the inbound port for me, making the service useless. The only way to run a private mail service on the Bell network, using Bell services is... there isn't a way.

As a result of the direct lie, I was convinced to try the Bell service. I installed it, and... no email. After a few days I started investigating and discovered the port 25 inbound block. What a waste of time.

Rogers, on the other hand, doesn't block port 25 inbound (they now block outbound). However the Terms of Service explicitly state that I may not run servers. But... I have tried (and continue to try) to purchase business service from them. And they refuse to sell it to me (something about the service not being available in a residential area). I have informed them that I will continue to run these services, and will purchase the business service when they decide to make it available to me. At least Rogers doesn't bother me about it...

Caps? Yes Rogers has a cap. They even allow me to exceed the cap, and tell me how much it will cost. Bell? They have already directly lied to me.

After outright lies and misleading marketing we have lawsuits.

NO WAY that VDSL offering could compete with DSL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617209)

In typical style bell lies through their teeth.

Economics 101 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617263)

People understand how to conserve resources when it directly affects their economic well-being. (Witness unsold SUVs stacking up at car dealerships.) If ISPs are running out of bandwidth, then they need to charge people in a way that more directly relates to their use.

Bill per GB, and set peak and non-peak rates. Be transparent about it though. People should be able to see how much they have used at any time, receive alerts when they cross some preprogrammed levels, and even choose to throttle themselves down when they cross a certain number of GB per month, or just during peak hours.

Make people responsible for their usage, and give them the tools to monitor/control it, and you'll find this problem will fix itself.

The ILECs spend money on improvements every day (4, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617407)

We've seen this. Every single day, the ILECs pour a lot of money into improvements. The spend the money on

      1. Lobbyists
      2. Campaign contributions
      3. ... Ok, well isn't that ENOUGH!?!?
      4. Oh, ok, a few bucks now and then on basic improvements in areas where they can DEFINITELY get a profit on them in the short term.

Now, that all works very, VERY well to improve the company. The profit margins of the company, that is.

But the Incumbent local exchange carrier companies (the ILECs -- other wise known as TPC) in North America have spent so much money on discouraging competition through regulation that they have made their own business very expensive to run. They also have policies going back to the late 1800s of treating jobs as cogs in a machine with replaceable parts, so their labor relations are geared towards replaceability and strike-resilience. It's very inefficient.

And in a business where things can be automated up to wazoo, the ILECs are hamstrung by unions and their own evil need to have huge headcounts so that their lobbyists can pressure their unions to pressure the politicians to do as their lobbyists demand. Need for headcount reduces desire for automation.

You want more bandwidth? Push for campaign finance reform. Whenever you hear ANYTHING that a local ILEC wants from a politician, call your local reps and tell them you wont vote for them again if they vote for what the ILEC wants. Then, after any election, whether your anti-candidate wins or loses, call them and tell them that they didn't get YOUR vote because they voted with the ILEC.

Only by removing the best business model the ILECs have (preserving the status quo and gaming our democracy) will you get ILECs which listen to customers.

diffferent battles (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617411)

I think that while Bell may likely win the battle at the CRTC, they have fallen far behind in the PR battle, and are scrambling to catch up.

Since the traffic shaping controversy began, I've been surprised by the number of negative (towards Bell) comments I've heard about it. Not just from my /. reading, torrent downloading geek friends, but from all manner of non-tech-savvy friends, family and clients. Any and all net problems are now attributed to Bell:

A website is slow -- is this that Bell 'throttling' I've been hearing about?
A (sketchy) website in China is down -- Bell
The internal university network is slow today -- Bell
Skype is unreliable -- Bell
my VOIP is saying 'all circuits are busy' -- aargh. Bell
My DSL connection was down -- Bell's really throttling my internet now!

I hear these things and have to laugh. I think Bell's really shot themselves in the foot when it comes to customer perception and mind-share.

Bell absolutely should be allowed to throttle... (3, Interesting)

dskoll (99328) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617463)

... BUT, truth in advertising laws should kick in. They should only be allowed to advertise their DSL service at the lowest throttling speed. So if you buy service X that throttles protocol Y down to 20kb/s, then Bell should only be allowed to advertise that service as a 20kb/s service.

They should also not be allowed to throttle wholesale bandwith that other DSL providers buy unless those providers agree to the throttling (and advertising restrictions.)

Re:Bell absolutely should be allowed to throttle.. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618085)

truth in advertising laws should kick in. They should only be allowed to advertise their DSL service at the lowest throttling speed. So if you buy service X that throttles protocol Y down to 20kb/s, then Bell should only be allowed to advertise that service as a 20kb/s service.
Most anyone without a service level agreement is paying for "Up to XMb of bandwidth"
All the ISP has to do is say "up to" and they've weaseled their way out of accountability.

Bell Canada on the other hand, used words that promised more than "up to" and I think they're screwed.

Only in Peak Periods, eh? (2, Interesting)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617509)

"So this network management is, as we've stated, one of the ways to address the issue of congestion during peak periods."

This is actually an issue for several of my clients who use P2P for backup purposes, etc. So I watch what is going on in terms of throttling. I can demonstrate that Bell Canada is throttling P2P at just about any time you care to mention, including 4 A.M. Sunday morning. Does Sunday morning sound like a peak period to you? Or does this smell like more B.S. (Bovine Scatology)?

Fortunately, this issue won't be affecting my clients for much longer at all. I have nearly completed a P2P application that does all its work over port 80, and as far as the ISP is concerned, the traffic will be indistinguishable from loading a series of web pages with large graphics.

I dare them to throttle HTTP.

Re:Only in Peak Periods, eh? (1)

deAtog (987710) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618011)

I suspect you've never heard of deep packet inspection. Just because you use port 80 doesn't mean it won't be throttled. If they determine you are not using the HTTP protocol then there is a high probability that it will be throttled.

Read your terms of service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23617605)

Quite simply the problem is this:

unlimited bandwidth is based on consumers surfing and enjoying the web as an end user.

Things such as torrents, skype, joost, and 101 other P2P products break the situation because they aren't surfers - they are servers. The product end users sign up for isn't the unlimited right to run servers and resell / reassign bandwidth to others, but to use for themselves for their own ends.

At the end of the day, Bell will at some point come down and start agressively enforcing their "no servers" rule to include things such as P2P products. People will be unhappy, but THERE AIN'T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH.

Wake up. Few things in the world is truly free.

Incumbents love getting us lost in minutiae (3, Insightful)

doppiodave (911019) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617959)

And that's why Bell's "response" is fronted by their head of regulatory affairs - whose role in life is to keep this entire discussion in so-called public hearings before a regulatory tribunal, the last place you'll ever find an actual member of the general public. Bell has survived for over a century in Canada by ensuring a) that nobody but economists, lawyers and policy wonks ever gets a word in edge-wise; and b) that even when ordered to play nice with new entrants (unbundling network for resale, etc), they will keep coming up with ingenious ways to drag their feet on progress. And they've succeeded brilliantly, partly because non-facilities-based competition doesn't work. But what the telcos, and cablecos, really don't want, in Canada or the US, is for the great unwashed public to discover... FTTH! And that all the copper plant they're squeezing the last dollar out of (for DSL and DOCSIS) is part of a holding pattern to keep typical residential bandwidth down in the 5 Mbps vicinity. In other words, a scarce resource. What's this horsemanure about "uncontended interntet" and freakin T1 lines? That's where the ILECs want the debate to stay. Meanwhile, anybody get a glimpse of the OECD Broadband Report released 2 weeks ago? The one that shows the US dropping - again - among the 30 member countries in BB rankings. And Canada coming up with one of the lowest FTTH scores on the planet. This debate's gotta move to a 3-to-5-year horizon - to a day when throttling is a non-issue, and the real issues resolve to whether residential pipes are still under the control of providers who lie through their teeth, never spend a dime on technical innovation and will fight to the death to own both the pipe and the content.

Re:Incumbents love getting us lost in minutiae (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23618053)

Let's get one thing clear here. Bell, just like its brethren Telcos in the US, exist solely because of taxpayer subsidizing via right-of-ways, last mile, etc. These companies have been getting money twice from the public; once through the subsidies, and then again by charging the customers. For all intents and purposes the taxpayers own most of those pipes, and I think the threat should be "If you don't start a) properly reporting the real speeds customers can expect, we're going to start charging you property taxes on all those wires running across public lands."

P2P (1)

hey (83763) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617965)

If you a Bell customers downloading something with Bittorrent its very possible that some of your peers are also Bell customers. Do the throttle this traffic also? They should encourage this kind of traffic since it doesn't traverse their Internet gateways.

Back in the day... (2, Interesting)

deAtog (987710) | more than 5 years ago | (#23617981)

when I had a single 56k dial-up connection that was shared among four computers congestion was the norm. In such an environment, even viewing a single web page often filled the available bandwidth. This made browsing from multiple computers at the same time nearly impossible. To counteract the issue, I implemented a single SFQ QOS on my router and within minutes after turning it on, the congestion was well under control.

Congestion primarily occurs due to more data being sent than can be received during a specified amount of time. Consequently this often results in unnecessary retransmissions of data and increased congestion. By dropping data which would otherwise be duplicated during a retransmission, congestion is relieved and the flow is normalized.

One must therefore ask, why have they not implemented a QOS at the locations where congestion is known to occur?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...