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ISPs Experimenting With New P2P Controls

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the diamond-in-the-rough dept.

Networking 173

alphadogg points us to a NetworkWorld story about the search by ISPs for new ways to combat the web traffic issues caused by P2P applications. Among the typical suggestions of bandwidth caps and usage-based pricing, telecom panelists at a recent conference also discussed localized "cache servers," which would hold recent (legal) P2P content in order to keep clients from reaching halfway around the world for parts of a file. "ISPs' methods for managing P2P traffic have come under intense scrutiny in recent months after the Associated Press reported last year that Comcast was actively interfering with P2P users' ability to upload files by sending TCP RST packets that informed them that their connection would have to be reset. While speakers rejected that Comcast method, some said it was time to follow the lead of Comcast and begin implementing caps for individual users who are consuming disproportionately high amounts of bandwidth."

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less peering (3, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880447)

give increased speeds when you don't leave the network. downloads will complete faster, so less peering will be done.

They want control but should not have it. (5, Interesting)

Odder (1288958) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880527)

Here's how media companies will kill the free internet we all know and love:

"Legitimate" media caches and disruption of all other P2P traffic only makes step one worse. They will continue to slow the rest to lower than their heavily filtered networks can deliver. The result will look like broadcast media does today, one big corporate billboard, instead of a free press. Part of censorship is shouting louder than others.

Yeah, I've said this before [slashdot.org] . As long as ISPs have the same story, so will I.

Re:They want control but should not have it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880597)

Yeah, I've said this before.

It's funny that links to one of your shill threads, but that's not the only thing you've been doing lately [slashdot.org] . What was that about "silly trolls" and "excellent karma" again?

Re:They want control but should not have it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880671)

Looks like off topic bullshit to me.

Re:They want control but should not have it. (0, Offtopic)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881323)

shhh will, please get back to sorting out your crappy code at Microsoft.

Re:They want control but should not have it. (2, Interesting)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880771)

"Legitimate" media caches and disruption of all other P2P traffic only makes step one worse.
It's a tiered internet in disguise, one step at a time. Not only that it's a double edged sword... I download OpenOffice via p2p, but in reality I assume the "legitimate" cache would be so far under utilized they would take the numbers to congress as some measure of "proof" to pass anti-p2p legislation.

Attn: shill (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880861)

Mod down, Twitter clone.

Re:They want control but should not have it. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880977)

A while ago I read an article about how 33.6 modems would go extremely fast if the infrastructure of the internet was more up to date hardware wise. Is there any truth to that? It seems like the ISP's are on one hand limiting bandwidth to limit any sort of competition in the media department they may have, and on the other hand limiting their speeds because they don't have the technology in place to handle people using the internet. At least that's what I've gleaned from the various articles on ISP connection throttling.

Re:They want control but should not have it. (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881243)

Is a while ago more or less than ten years?

Re:They want control but should not have it. (1)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881415)

probably in the neighborhood of 10 years

Re:They want control but should not have it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880989)

Can we put all of twitter's sockpuppets [slashdot.org] out of their misery please? The more they get modded up, the more he can troll at will.

Re:They want control but should not have it. (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881819)

Why can't we have an ISP that advertises the fact that it doesn't interfere with your traffic that it doesn't track the information you transfer or track packet use.

You would think corporate America would have this cropping up, or is this like telephone companies, small start up internet companies can't compete against the big dogs?

Re:less peering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880627)

That happens naturally. Generally there's way more bandwidth available within the network -- the transit points are huge bottlenecks.

Legal content? (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880467)

> which would hold recent (legal) P2P content ...

Yeah -- THAT will solve P2P congestion. (Morons)

Re:Legal content? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880863)

No, but it will be a good "proof" for the argument against P2P. Akin to "See? We have caches with all the legal P2P content and yet no decline in P2P traffic. So it's proven that P2P is mainly used for illegal means".

Yes, I know it's no proof. Tell your congressman, not me.

Common Carrier? (1)

generica1 (193760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881043)

Furthermore, don't they have common carrier status, so all of it is legal for them to cache??

Re:Legal content? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881757)

We have caches with all the legal P2P content and yet no decline in P2P traffic. So it's proven that P2P is mainly used for illegal means".

But how do they know what is and isn't legal content?

Since they don't have common carrier status it is illegal for them to cache all the illegal content I download.

Perhaps it's time for (4, Insightful)

fohat (168135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880471)

ISP's to quit offering unlimited service, or stop overselling what they have. What's the point of having a 15 or 20 Megabit downstream, when I can only download 50 Gigabytes of traffic per month? Because i'm sure as hell not going back to renting my porn from the video store...

Re:Perhaps it's time for (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880883)

It's a bit like having a 300hp car but only fuel for a mile.

Yay for car analogies! But this one at least works.

Re:Perhaps it's time for (2, Interesting)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881021)

A more realistic car analogy:
It's a bit like an average person having a fast car.
They drive it to work, school, shopping, and entertainment.
Most of the time it is unused, but when they are using it the extra speed is useful.

Re:Perhaps it's time for (3, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881087)

But they have to pay by the gallon for the gasoline they use.

Re:Perhaps it's time for (1)

jwkfs (1260442) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881723)

And you can only get that gasoline from certain stores! And that gasoline is produced and controlled by guys in turbans who drive Rolls-Royces! Wait, what?

Re:Perhaps it's time for (1)

vuffi_raa (1089583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881985)

more like, you get 1 gallon free a week and the rest is $50 a gallon and you have to buy it from one store

Re:Perhaps it's time for (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880903)

Ok, really, do you *need* more than 50 gigs of porn a month? I get buy on only 30 gigs a month, I'm sure you can do the same.

Re:Perhaps it's time for (5, Insightful)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880981)

ISP: We offer "unlimited" internet access.
Customer: Sweet! *starts downloading*
ISP: Oh, we didn't mean you should use it.

They advertise a low price and a high speed, then oversell to get that price then reduce the high speed because of it. Hmm, methinks they need more truth in advertising.

Re:Perhaps it's time for (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 6 years ago | (#23882021)

The only thing preventing it from being full-blown bait-and-switch fraud is the excuse that they tell you up-front that it's not really unlimited (at the bottom of section 475, paragraph q3 sub-paragraph MLCXVIII clause 1111!!eleventy-one).

I say if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck...

Re:Perhaps it's time for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881519)

My thoughts exactly. Why am I paying for broadband if it's going to be throttled? I might as well go back to dial-up.

ACs experimenting with new FP controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880479)

1. cut a hole in a box
2. put an FP in the box

Apply traffic shaping per-user, not per-service (5, Insightful)

spazdor (902907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880487)

This is all we need. The problem is not that the providers aren't giving us enough bandwidth (they aren't). The problem is that they care what we spend it on.

This is no good... (5, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880505)

Ok so, my ISP (theoretically) wants to keep the data my neighbour has downloaded, incase I want to download it to.

Yet, obviously these caches will have to be legal content, which means filtering out illegal content, which means they will be tracking everything I download, and thus, can force me to 1) pay more for this, 2) notify appropriate authorities, 3) limit my interaction with the rest of the world via the internet.

Although as stated in the article/summary its supposedly "temporary" but this means that ISP will have to start gathering massive amounts of storage, inevtiably making one ISP better at this than another, and hey fuck it, lets just have one ISP... and the internet just becomes Wikipedia.

I honestly can't see any benefit to this, it seems to just end up with steralization whichever way I look at it.

Re:This is no good... (4, Insightful)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880753)

well all that's potentially happening is that your ISP is joining your torrents but only serving those in particular IP ranges, but really really fast - to me this is an added benefit, I'd probably choose an ISP that carries the latest kernel downloads locally - it's not really any different than a html proxy cache (except that because the torrents are crypto corrected an ISP can't inject ads into them)

Re:This is no good... (4, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880937)

Yeah I'm aware of that, and I agree completely, the problem is can you actually see an ISP (outside of smaller, barely making a profit, looking for clientele please join us ISPs) doing that so honestly?

That was sort of my point, in the immediate conclusion it seems like a great idea, but it gives far too much power to the ISP, or even more power to the government to control what the ISP can do.

It will make sponsored content (Windows Update, Fox News, etc) the primary purpose of the cache after awhile, it is a business after all.

People without the money to pay ISPs or Governors, or whatever to get their content approved for cache, will be on this lesser accessed, slower WWW, making it a pain to get real information or media, and since people are fundamentally lazy, they will inevitably give in, and just go with "what works, right now!"

Re:This is no good... (4, Interesting)

Triv (181010) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880969)

I'd probably choose an ISP that carries the latest kernel downloads locally...


hahahahaha. You think the ISPs are going to start caching the Linux kernel? Where's the money in that? Now, if you want the latest Britney Spears video (kickbacks for promotion from the RIAA) or movie trailers (ditto from the MPAA) or game demos, you're set.

You gotta understand, to the content distribution companies, "legal P2P" = "free shit that we'll give you under the hope that you'll spend money later". Linux absolutely isn't on that list.

Re:This is no good... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881159)

I live in NZ - "locally" means "this side of the Pacific" - I pay by the Gb - which goes to pay for that fibre between you and me - since I pay for the Gb wherever the packets come from and my ISP pays for however much of the fibre is used then caching each and every torrent is in their interest

The same thing applies to everyone, but maybe not quite so extremely (replace "fibre" with "peering")

Re:This is no good... (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881967)

Yet, obviously these caches will have to be legal content, which means filtering out illegal content,
I don't know if you can make that assumption. We have a mechanism in place by which an ISP is essentially given immunity for hosting 'illegal content' - the much maligned DMCA notice. As long as they respond to DMCA notices, they have very little legal liability.


It seems plausible, at least, that an ISP could deploy a 'torrent sniffer' that automatically joined the swarms of any torrents that the ISP's users were in and then started to serve only local users from its cache. It might be possible to become a tracker spoofer such that the ISP could start redirecting all requests for cached content to itself rather than out over the (expensive/bottlneck) of peered connections.

So every once in a while they have to respond to a DMCA notice and kill a cache. Its not the end of the world, eventually someone else will come along and start a new torrent for the same content anyway and the game begins again.

Unfortunately, I think the only reason ISPs are not more interested in something like that which would deliberately follow the letter of the law is that they want to make nice-nice with the MAFIAA so that they can resell MAFIAA content directly to their own subscribers. If ISPs would stick to being INTERNET service providers and stop trying to diversify into being CONTENT providers I think we would already see such automated 'blind-eye' caching mechanisms in place.

Here's a better idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880507)

Support multicast. If you build it, they will come and make a multicast P2P program on top of it, relieving your backbone connections of all the redundant connections.

Re:Here's a better idea (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880621)

Hell even without p2p multicasting it would help, the direct competitor to illegal P2P is illegal flash streams, multicasting giving them a boost would seriously reduce P2P.

Re:Here's a better idea (3, Informative)

N7DR (536428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880897)

Support multicast

Cable companies use the DOCSIS specifications: multicast is pretty feeble (I won't argue with you if you say "broken") in the versions of DOCSIS that are currently deployed. However, that changes in DOCSIS 3.0. It is one of the "big three" benefits in DOCSIS 3.0 (the others being channel bonding and IPv6 support). DOCSIS 3.0 will probably start being rolled out by at least some cable companies next year.

I've got a good solution.. (5, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880537)

How about they roll out the infrastructure we paid for with our tax dollars, then not apply any "controls".

you know, a proper, neutral internet that fulfills the promises they made again and again to our government officials when they were given grants, local monopolies, etc. etc.

Re:I've got a good solution.. (5, Informative)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881081)

And where is the government we paid for? They should be seriously thumping these clowns over the head for even considering "combating internet traffic" which is clearly the type of traffic intended when the 1996 Telecommunication Act [fcc.gov] was passed and the deregulation started.

Section 706 paragraph (c) line 1 states:

(1) ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITY- The term
                            `advanced telecommunications capability' is defined, without
                            regard to any transmission media or technology, as high-speed,
                            switched, broadband telecommunications capability that enables
                            users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data,
                            graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology.

The key here being enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video, thats right, originate AND receive. Somebody clue these dolts in to the fact the internet is not TV 2.0.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way subscribers are utilizing their ISPs, this is exactly as it was envisioned by the authors of the 1996 Act. Imagine that, government officials having better vision for the future of technological advancement in telecommunications than the people running the companies. I can tell you why, the problem is also the clueless bean counters and MBAs could care less about technology, innovations, etc. and would demand a monthly fee just cause if they could get away with it. These people should be running illegal whore houses and extortion rackets, not technology corporations.

If our government doesn't step in and force these bozos to provide the service they advertise and were given deregulation perks for then we may need to step in and explain that they don't own our back yards through which they run their damned cables, I deserve a tariff since its my land they're hauling all those bits through.

Fine... (1)

pinguwin (807635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880551)

Ok, what are those caps? What are the exact limits of bandwidth. If I download X bytes, will I have Y speed? Until they answer that, it's all hot air.

alt.binaries (5, Insightful)

bassakward (823721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880553)

Isn't this just what alt.binaries was doing for the ISPs? Local caching? And they just got rid of those.

Re:alt.binaries (2, Interesting)

Core-Dump (148342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881289)

Thank God not here (Netherlands).
Here it is LEGAL by law to download music or movies for own use, and binaries are just the perfect way of getting them...... as long as it lasts.
But then again, seeding torrents is illigal here, but the dutch MPAA/RIAA isn't able to sue private persons because of the privacy laws here

Easily Distinguishable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880559)

"localized "cache servers," which would hold recent (legal) P2P content..."

And we all know what a wonderful job ISP's have done in the past at deciding what content is legal and what's illegal. I wonder what they'll do about encrypted traffic.

Re:Easily Distinguishable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880601)

I wonder what they'll do about encrypted traffic.
Not cache it, obviously. Unencrypted traffic will therefore be faster, so people will use less encryption. Was that a trick question?

No thanks (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880577)

1 - sort of defeats the purpose
2 - id rather them not know what i'm getting, be it legal or not.

total bandwidth used, not downloaded (3, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880583)

My ISP very cleverly tells me I can download 12gb per month, which is true. What they don't tell me is anything I upload when I'm peering is also counted to the 12Gb total.

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (2, Interesting)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880667)

Curious, how do you know you have downloaded (and/or uploaded) 12GBs?

I mean I doubt you grab the calculator everytime you download a file, or a webpage is finished loading... They could even be inserting corrupt packets, and including that in the 12GB total, or what about ICMP, Ping, DNS's lookups... surely thats included aswell, which is probably in at least the 10's probably the hundreds of MB's after 12GB's...

"no no, see this graph? says there it was 12 GBs"

Ive always gone for the DL/UL limited ISP's cause then as slow as it may (or may not) be, I know that im getting what I can get in a given amount of time... including overhead, and corruption.

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (2, Informative)

hankwang (413283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880789)

I mean I doubt you grab the calculator everytime you download a file, or a webpage is finished loading...

My ISP tells it somewhere on the web interface for my account settings. Moreover, the web interface to your ADSL modem probably also shows it somewhere, at least since the last reboot.

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (3, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880833)

I mean I doubt you grab the calculator everytime you download a file, or a webpage is finished loading...

My ISP tells it somewhere on the web interface for my account settings. Moreover, the web interface to your ADSL modem probably also shows it somewhere, at least since the last reboot.

ah, and I'd trust my ISP for accurate metering. it is in their best interest to provide you the full service, right?

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (3, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881453)

Yeah, the ISP usually has a meter, but like Plasmacutter said, you trust it based on what?

And yes, most Modems, and also Routers have some sort of tracking... my modem doesn't however (Motorola SB5101), only various statistics about the signal/frequency/channels/Hz/etc...

And my router (D-Link EBR-2310) has WAN and LAN packet count, however does not say anything about the size of the packets.

Granted both are cheap pieces of shit, but so are most for home use...

And your OS can track it to some degree aswell, but what if you restart and forgot to write the last amount down?

But, I was just saying, how do you know that what you have sent and received is only what was necessary? it could easily be fudged intentionally, inadvertently by poor hardware, etc, or by miscalculations on any one of those steps. It's not accurate enough to really base a service on, at least not so strictly 12 GBs Maximum, it's like charging telephone calls per syllable, it would be an approximation because of different languages, accents, etc.

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880829)

Curious, how do you know you have downloaded (and/or uploaded) 12GBs?

Are you serious? its not exactly rocket science.

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (1)

FriendComputer (787127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880927)

The (only) ISP in my town has been doing this for a long time. $30 a month gets you 1.5Mb/514kb and a 5GB/month download limit, with a $1 charge for each additional GB. They have some "premium" packages that basically come with more bandwidth (I think it's 20/30/40GB) for about another $10 each per tier.

I've actually gone over my bandwidth limit just playing WoW, and I didn't even play that much.

The really sad thing is the town is pretty decent size (100k or so) and less than half an hour from the world headquarters of a major telecom company.

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881449)

theres only one isp in a town of 100k?

sounds like you need to read up and start the second one ;)

Re:total bandwidth used, not downloaded (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881393)

What they don't tell me is anything I upload when I'm peering is also counted to the 12Gb total.

In Soviet America, uploads download YOU! Or something...

testing, please ignore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880595)

making sure anonymous posting still works.

testing again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881335)

it's been an hour and a half, can I post yet?

and who says p2p control is necessary? (3, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880649)

how about we also have http controls, and mms controls, and...

oh wait those are not being continuously vilified by the MAFIAA, who also own the news.

This actually isn't as bad as it looks... (2, Interesting)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880669)

Having a local cache server, while it does spark privacy concerns, is actually probably the best solution they've come up with yet. ISPs won't have to spend a great deal of money on upgrading infrastructure, and users don't get shafted by reset packages. It's something of a compromise between doing it the right way (upgrading everything) and the wrong way (strangling the users).

Re:This actually isn't as bad as it looks... (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880907)

Answer me one question before applauding the idea: How are they going to discriminate between legal and illegal content without looking at what you're downloading?

Re:This actually isn't as bad as it looks... (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881223)

They can't, and I acknowledged the privacy concern, and I'm not applauding it yet. If they didn't discriminate at all, it would be excellent, but thanks to capitalism, greed and corruption, the **AA have their fingers in too many pies. ISPs already spy on us all the time, so it's not like we're losing anything we haven't already lost. I like my privacy, but I'm under no illusion I actually HAVE any.

usage-based pricing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880673)

Even better: make the pricing also destination-based and time-of-day-based, and suddenly, P2P software will care about locality and peak hours, solving the traffic issues.

As an ISP, if you bill the user exactly what it costs you, then the user will minimize your costs because he minimizes his! You also end up charging your "problematic" users appropriately (or losing them) so you don't mind them, and you win against the competition because they lose money on people who find their plan cheaper, and they lose the customers who find your plan cheaper.

Instead ISPs use convoluted pricing schemes so they run into all kinds of problems and need this telecom conference to help them.

I say, make the pricing scheme as accurate as possible, and let the market forces solve the problem.

The Next NNTP? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880675)

I don't see a whole lot of difference in legality between this and hosting newsgroup messages. Legit reasons for both.

Re:The Next NNTP? (1)

bassakward (823721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881027)

Except a lot of ISPs just got rid of a whole lot of newsgroups, including the alt.binaries that peoples used for files (legit and otherwise).

ISPs can cache illegal content (4, Informative)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880683)

I don't know why people keep getting hung up on legal vs. illegal content; the law clearly says that ISPs have no copyright liability for their caches:

http://www.bitlaw.com/source/17usc/512.html [bitlaw.com]

Re:ISPs can cache illegal content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881923)

b-b-but...the DMCA is a BAD EVIL law!! I know so because c0ry d0ctorow told me so!

They better deliver what they promise. (2, Interesting)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880697)


I'm told I get 10 MBPS. As far as I'm concerned, that means 10 MPBS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as I pay my bill. Any effort to throttle that back and I sue for false advertising.

Re:They better deliver what they promise. (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880813)

Please go ahead. We have just bought immunity. MWhaaaaa!!!

Re:They better deliver what they promise.DID YOU M (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880865)

I'm told I get 10 MBPS.

Wow would I like to be on a system like that!!!

Or did you possibly mean: 10 M b PS?

Re:They better deliver what they promise. (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880901)

I'm told I get 10 MBPS. As far as I'm concerned, that means 10 MPBS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as long as I pay my bill. Any effort to throttle that back and I sue for false advertising.

Read it again. It says "UP TO 10 Mbps", doesn't it?

Re:They better deliver what they promise. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881421)

If they're selling him "up to 10 Mbps", then that means he should get to use "up to 10 Mbps" whenever he likes, via any application or protocol, as long as he's paying his bill.

"Up to 10 Mbps" only means "we don't guarantee there will be 10 Mbps available for you to use", not "you have to limit yourself to under 10 Mbps" or "we will artificially limit you to under 10 Mbps". If there's 10 Mbps or more available, then you get to use the full 10; if there's less, then you get to use whatever bandwidth is available.

Re:They better deliver what they promise. (1)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881747)

The problem comes in with things like cable-delivered services, where a number of customers are essentially sharing a "party line". If one customer is using the 10MBPS fully, others don't get much at all. The question is, is the ISP (cable company) justified in cutting back on what each customer can use in order to be certain that the limited bandwidth is distributed "fairly" among all the people that the cable company chooses to put on the same circuit. Or does the cable company really have an obligation to make more bandwidth available by cutting down on the number of subscribers per "line"?

This doesn't happen much with the (slower-speed) telecom DSL service, because each customer has a dedicated pair back to the central office, as long as there is no significant "leakage" of signal within a cable bundle.

Comcast is a little cry baby (2, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880711)

I hate to applaud AT&T on anything, but they have made a ginuwine commitment to a nuetral network refusing to partake in shaping until forced by legislation or until they find a solution that dosn't hurt their customer base. All it takes for traffic shaping to fail is for one person so not do it...then everyone goes to that one person. At the same time AT&T is rolling out increased infrastructure. I upload consistently at 112 kps almost 24/7 (I backup 10 gig files almost daily to colocated servers). My clients cable provider disconnects their internet if excessive upstream is detected...it seems like this is more of an issue for the cable companies rather than dsl providers becuase DSL providers sell dedicated BW as opposed to portions of shared BW (like cable does).

Re:Comcast is a little cry baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881259)

...but they have made a ginuwine commitment to a...
Let's play spot the person who listened to late 90's hip hop "stars".

Use a hoe (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881497)

...but they have made a ginuwine commitment to a...
Let's play spot the person who listened to late 90's hip hop "stars".
That would just be ludacris [ytmnd.com] .

The pipe out of the DSLAM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881475)

it seems like this is more of an issue for the cable companies rather than dsl providers becuase DSL providers sell dedicated BW as opposed to portions of shared BW (like cable does).
The pipe out of the DSLAM is just as shared as the channel in a DOCSIS cable network.

Let's see how this works... (5, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880743)

1. Cache known legal content to improve download performance.
2. Significantly reduce performance of content with "unknown" legal status.
3. Result: legal content gets preferential treatment so legal downloading performs better.
4. Non-"neutral" treatment completely justified by the war against contraband.
5. Hit content providers for kickbacks, those that don't pay get their content treated as "unknown" legal status.
6. PROFIT!

The U.S. government caps these kickbacks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881527)

5. Hit content providers for kickbacks, those that don't pay get their content treated as "unknown" legal status.
I can register the United States copyright in my work for $35 [copyright.gov] , giving me a certificate of presumed legal status. So if ISPs demand any kickback greater than $50 from me yet advertise their residential service as source-neutral, I might take them to small claims court for false advertising.

p2p creates cost shifting (3, Interesting)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880755)

P2P shifts costs of distribution from central servers and spreads the load out among the downloaders. This is *helpful*, and it is more equitable given that the marginal costs of data copying is near zero - pushing the price of downloaded content lower and lower.

The pricing seems like such a non issue. The elephant in the room is that companies like Comcast are making a killing, taking a ton of money selling services that largely go unused. many service businesses over sell their capacity to ensure high usage rates, but broadband has taken it to an absolute extreme.

The obvious and easy solution is for providers of cable and DSL services to price their offerings according to usage, and when it comes to bandwidth, the accurate solution is 95% billing: you use a ton of bandwidth, the customer gets charged more. They don't really want to do this though - they make a lot more money buying in bulk and selling little access services for much higher rates than the bandwidth used.

One huge upside of changing the pricing system for home Internet to 95% billing is that you don't have to go metering and capping bandwidth to homes. People could get an *extremely* fast connection, but if they utilize it fully 24/7 then they get billed a high rate. This is not that complex a concept to implement technically.

Where the ISP's are Wrong! (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880763)

You should be allowed to use the bandwidth you paid for as you please. It's not your ISP's business what you decide to do with what they sold you. Whether it's downloading via BT, or watching video on Hulu, no one else should be trying to decide which are Good Bits and which are Bad Bits.

Comcast: Not that bad (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880795)

I have Comcast, and I've never experienced any traffic shaping or throttling.

Their policy, now that it's no longer P2P specific, seems sane.

Two conditions have to be met for them to throttle your traffic:

1) You have to be one of their heavy heavy users. By heavy, I mean torrenting 24/7.
2) The network has to be congested at that moment.

If granny next door can't check her email because you're downloading/uploading pron all day every day, they reserve the right to throttle back your connection until the congestion clears. Seems fairly reasonable.

Also, it's far, FAR better than than the capped, $1 per GB plan that Time Warner Cable is piloting.

Re:Comcast: Not that bad (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881277)

I have Comcast, and I've never experienced any traffic shaping or throttling.
A question : Do you have other options for your broadband?

I have yet to hear of comcast throttling anywhere that the users have other viable options for their internet service.

What the user expects (1)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880807)

If Comcast advertises 6Mbps I expect 6Mbps or an equal share of the remaining available bandwidth I can receive at any moment.

They have the pipe and customers are bidding on that share of pipe. Inevitably that pipe is going to get clogged just like our California freeways during rush hour. If I'm paying $60 a month I expect my own freaking lane.

I believe communication companies need incentive to upgrade their bandwidth. If they want people to pay for more bandwidth they should have to expand their network infrastructure and not limit the amount other users can download.

Just make it equal share for everyone up to the bandwidth cap they advertise. If a user who is paying $40 a month is getting the same bandwidth as the person paying $60 a month then there is no incentive for the customer to pay the $60. If the ISP wants people to pay $60 a month then they could go ahead and upgrade their networks to support more bandwidth. Just deliver what you advertise. Is that so much to ask?

The Fraud of the Cable Companies (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880831)

The fraud of the cable companies -- and I'm talking about you, Comcast -- is that you say these people are clogging up our cables so that no one else can use them as we've promised everyone can. Yet money completely solves this problem. Pay for a more expensive business account and suddenly, with no other changes at all to your local cable loop, you get higher bandwidth and caps and somehow are no longer killing their system.

Tell me Comcast: Just how did your cable suddenly get better once you start charging me 2X to 5X as much as before?

They're just a bunch of fsking liars!

Re:The Fraud of the Cable Companies (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880955)

Well, they obviously hire an Adeptus Mechanicus to bless the cables and appease the machine god, duh.

And if you think that's silly, offer a better explanation.

Re:The Fraud of the Cable Companies (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881187)

Of course it doesn't get better. The problem they are having isn't with expensive bandwidth, because face it bandwidth isn't that expensive compared to what they are charging for it.

What they are having trouble with is clogged up last mile bandwidth because of an aging infrastructure where people share the last mile. As they can only support so much usage on each shared part, and the average usage by ordinary average users is rising, their only option is to either create a real last mile network (yeah right) or create barriers by introducing caps and extreme prices if you want to go over that barrier.

Or in market terms. last mile cable have a very limited supply which is beginning to be really noticable as usage increases. Compare this with dsl/fiber where supply can be more easily increased when demand increases and you can see why the cable companies should be very afraid.

Ad Supported Bittorrent (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23880947)

This just gave me an idea. Why not have the next generation of P2P protocol have ad space in the client. The catch is, the ads are pushed from other P2P clients. The receiver would then display ads from the top 3 seeders (measured by bitrate or bytes sent, or whatever makes sense). Then all of a sudden, we have incentive for these ISPs to seed.

Re:Ad Supported Bittorrent (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881829)

Incentive?

Today I sold something on eBay without scamming the buyer.

Where is my reward whats my incentive to NOT commit fraud?

If I don't get anything more than the fair and agreed price I'm going to take the buyers money and not bother delivering the product. That'll show them.

~Dan

Unlimited should mean unlimited (3, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23880979)

If my ISP promises me 4mbps download and unlimited traffic that should mean that I can download up to about 1TB per month (450KB/s 24hours a day for 30 days). If they want to limit me to, say, 100GB/month then this amount should be indicated somewhere in the agreement and should not be advertised as "unlimited".

If the network is congested I expect an equal share of the available bandwidth. Actually, I should get a share of the available bandwidth that is proportionate to my max bandwidth. For example, in a congested network I should get four times as much bandwidth as the person paying for 1mbps connection.

ISPs can do whatever they want (for example throttle P2P) just say so in the advertisement or at least when someone asks about it.

I am happy because my ISP appears not to limit my traffic (although I usually download only 100-200GB/month peaking at about 500GB/month)

P.S. why do I have to insert br tags to make a new line?

Re:Unlimited should mean unlimited (1)

Kaell Meynn (1209080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881743)

I mostly agree, except for the part about proportional bandwidth during congestion. This only need be provided if it is promised. It is perfectly acceptable to provide everyone the same level during congestion, and only offer increased bandwidth as it is available so long as this is made clear to the customer.

P.S. If you change the comment post mode you won't have to use HTML formatting. It is just the default option. Click 'Options' during a post, change it, click 'Save'.

Comca$t..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881267)

"While speakers rejected that Comcast method, some said it was time to follow the lead of Comcast and begin implementing caps for individual users who are consuming disproportionately high amounts of bandwidth."

-GOD FUCKING FORBID we use the bandwidth we purchased.

Good - another cache application. (1)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881423)

Sounds like a good idea. Cache is a very good concept, that has proved itself across and in different systems.

Basically in an environment where size matters less than speed, cache brings benefits.

i.e. IMO, cache servers would do Internet good as a whole, provided they are:

1. Enviromentally competitive - draw little power, so they do not contribute to a whole lot of watts Internet contributes to already. I am talking about inexpensive systems with lots of cheap hard drive space. A lot of cache server systems to 'speed up' Internet means a lot of power draw, so obviously a factor.

2. Legal P2P content? Oh, lets play police again shall we? 90% of p2p traffic is illegal, so how caching 10% of the part that is legal is a solution? Besides, is encrypted traffic illegal? Speaking in Apache terms, is it an 'allow-deny' or a 'deny-allow' rule?

Perhaps use routers with a hard drive. That way it is a polymorph system, that acts as a good old TCP/IP router, but may retrieve content from cache, if the connection allows it. Replacing old routers with such upgraded systems can be done over time.

A cheap harddrive is what, a 5W? It only needs to be faster than cache-miss data retrieval equivalent, right?

Re:Good - another cache application. (1)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881577)

Sounds like a good idea. Cache is a very good concept, that has proved itself across and in different systems.

Cache rules everything around me.

Van Jacobson's "New Way To Look At Networking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881541)

The summary makes it sound like these guys are implementing the ideas covered in Van Jacobson's 2006 Google Tech Talk called "A New Way To Look At Networking" (Google Video [google.com] ).

I think this was covered somewhere on Slashdot previously, but I can't immediately find the article after a bit of searching.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881551)

Downloading music for free is destroying the music industry, yet downloading child pornography for free is helping the child pornography industry...?

What? Doublethink? Naw....

Some content doesn't WANT to be cached! (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881835)

If I'm serving up ad-supported content I don't want my content cached unless I can count the viewers so I can bill my advertisers.

If I'm serving up restricted-access content I definitely don't want it cached unless it can be done in a secure way.

If I'm serving up content subject to change I don't want it cached unless I can guarentee some level of up-to-dateness.

Having said that...

It's in the interest of "big content" to cooperate with "big pipe" to improve the customer experience. Happy customers are more likely to come back for additional products, which means more ca-ching! for everyone.

Poor wording (1)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881855)

The first line of this article could easily be reworded "alphadogg points us to a NetworkWorld story about the search by ISPs for new ways to stop rendering the service for which their customers pay."

dumbest fucking idea ever. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#23881857)

caching so called "legal p2p content" regionally is supposed to alleviate the web traffic crunch?

How about not throttling my HTTP streams you douchebag comcast?

I'm downloading my revision3 shows and some porn at the same time and all of a sudden, I can't load google?

try caching web content regionally. Oh wait, that's a stupid idea also.

their plan here is to say, ok you can legally download all of this content from local p2p servers. Anyone not using our servers is downloading illegally.
At that point, it's no longer p2p. And, when you start altering p2p streams, who is then liable for downloading anything? I didn't download anything, they changed the stream in route.

The plan to avoid it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23881955)

The truth is, content blocking (which is what this really is, none of that 'filtering' crap) is yet another hurdle to overcome. Things like encrypted BitTorrent and Distributed Hash Tables (DHT, or decentralized bittorrent) are only the first step.

Without a legal or free-market solution (since most ISPs are geographical monopolies or duopolies), a technological solution must be developed. The truth is, these content blocking appliances are pervasive in the ISPs network, and can pretty much masquerade as the intended endpoints for most traffic. The most effective solution, it seems, is to blind these appliances.

It makes the most sense for these boxes to take a multi-pronged approach:

1. Protocol Recognition (combatted by encrypted bittorrent)
2. Tracker snooping (a hole AFAIK)
3. Traffic/connection heuristics

If a P2P application is moved to a 'plane' above the usual network protocols and conventions, with encryption every step of the way, P2P communications will appear as noise or an unrecognized protocol, or not even as a single application at all.

Imagine this: A .torrent file that contains a URL to an authentication server. The authentication server is an https server, with the certificate published right along with the .torrent on thepiratebay.org or a similar site. After verifying the certificate, the BitTorrent client (Azureus, uTorrent whatever) contacts the authentication server, which presents a Turing Test (CAPTCHA). After the user selects all the kittens in the picture, the authentication server returns the tracker URL and the public key used for communication. The tracker then behaves like a normal BitTorrent tracker.

This way of joining the swarm completely prevents packet sniffing by using encryption every step of the way, and also stops the content blocking appliance from masquerading as a BitTorrent client by using a CAPTCHA. Without knowing the members of the P2P swarm, the appliance cannot block the connections made to and from those hosts.

As soon as the client becomes a part of the swarm, it must also take steps to avoid heuristics-based detection. It must not listen for connections on a single port. In fact, every server (I'm talking about TCP clients and servers now), must only accept a small number of connections, and new server ports must be opened to accept new clients. After a short time, those connections must be severed, and new ones opened, effectively migrating the data streams to completely new client and server ports, giving the appearance of multiple different TCP/IP applications being used at different times. The traffic might even be hidden in a known protocol, such as HTTP, to avoid the appliances that throttle all unrecognized protocols. (BitTorrent over HTTP, now that's funny).

So far, with this kind of detection avoidance, the only flaw is a spike in the user's bandwidth usage, which may not really be a big deal.

The beauty of this plan is that it requires little modification to current BitTorrent clients and trackers, as opposed to what's involved in a completely new protocol.

Why don't they just put valve on your pipe? (4, Funny)

dj42 (765300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23882033)

I recommend they add a valve to everyone's internet pipe. If they become troublesome, you simply close their valve down a little bit to stop the flow of the internet through the pipes.
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