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Comcast Outlines New Broadband Policy

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the knowledge-is-power dept.

The Internet 350

Slatterz writes "US cable provider Comcast has presented its long-term solution for managing broadband traffic. The new system is set at putting to bed a minor scandal that erupted around the company when it was found that Comcast deliberately limited traffic for certain applications. The company said that under its new system, traffic will be analyzed every fifteen minutes. Users who are found to be occupying large amounts of bandwidth will be placed at a lower priority for network access behind users with less bandwidth-intensive traffic. The new system will not replace or be related to the company's earlier installment of bandwidth caps, which limited a user's data intake to 250GB per month."

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Dang... (5, Insightful)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142471)

There are only two games in town: ATT's DSL (slow) and Comcast (Fast, but with strings).

What's the point of having the internet when you can't do anything on it?

Re:Dang... (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142621)

"...traffic will be analyzed every fifteen minutes."

Then use trial-and-error to find the sweet spot in Comcast's polling interval and automatically throttle your own traffic every 15 minutes for 1 or 2 minutes at a time ;)

Of course, that dosen't matter if comcast measures your traffic for 14 consecutive minutes out of the 15 minute polling interval :(

Re:Dang... (3, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142849)

the program might look at how much you downloaded in that 15 period and if that is the case that idea will be pointless

Re:Dang... (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143075)

I think what they're doing is averaging your traffic over 15 minute periods.

At least that was the impression that I got from reading about it (not from TFA, but from the article on Ars a few days ago).

Re:Dang... (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142637)

I don't know what you're talking about. Where I live, I have two options.

  1. ATT's DSL: Full rated 6Mbps speed
  2. Comcast: No matter what speed grade, almost never faster than 6Mbps, yet more expensive.

Beats my old options: Comcast, unreliable ISDN, or 12.6Kbps dial-up.

My take on this? It's a much better policy than just randomly killing connections that look like they might be doing something that may be using large amounts of bandwidth.

Re:Dang... (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143099)

right up until your skype or vonage sessions are interperted as too much bandwidth. Also video chat is the kind of thing that will probably set this off.

lots of high bandwidth low latency connections are required by many programs to provide features that dial up couldn't.

Re:Dang... (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143389)

The solution then is to rate-limit at the router or TCP stack, or for applications to start being more careful about how much bandwidth they use -- just because a user has 6.0Mbps available for peak speed, doesn't mean that applications should assume that they can or should use as much of it as possible, all the time.

P2P applications have had rate-limiting controls for a long time; it's probably about time for Skype and video-chat applications to have them too. Skype is particularly bad in this regard because it automatically defaults to the highest-quality codec that a connection supports. While this might make sense on fixed-bandwidth connections, it's not great for the majority of broadband connections, which have the capability of pushing a high peak speed, but shouldn't be expected to sustain that peak for very long. (And this isn't a bad thing or rare, either; lots of "real" internet connections are the same way. You can buy a 100Mb pipe because you occasionally need the full 100 megabits, even though you can't afford to saturate it 24/7. I'd wager most SLAed connections at .coms and .edus are like this.)

In general, it's a pretty fair policy, especially because it only goes into effect when a neighborhood node starts to become congested. (Unlike their 250GB/mo cap and their old policy, which didn't care whether you were actually competing for resources with anyone else.) If I'm using huge amounts of bandwidth for Skype or video-chat, to the point where my neighbors are being affected even though they're just trying to check their mail and log off, they're not going to care what application I'm using. It's fundamentally no different, to anyone else in my neighborhood, if I'm taking up all the bandwidth on the upstream node with VoIP calls, Linux ISOs, or midget porn. They all have the same effect on my network neighbors, and all should get me throttled.

What needs to happen, is applications need to get smarter about their bandwidth consumption. If a VoIP program finds itself getting throttled (increased latency), it should try dialing down its bandwidth usage -- by choosing a tighter codec, perhaps -- and seeing if the situation improves.

Re:Dang... (3, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143401)

It would be really unfortunate if VoIP was considered "too much", considering that VoIP is a low-bandwidth application that depends on latency more than throughput.

You can easily use more bandwidth casually surfing the web than you ever will talking on the phone using VoIP.

There is a three orders of magnitude difference between a high-quality VoIP call and a BitTorrent download. It should be easier than trivial for them to configure this so the former doesn't get throttled, but the latter does.

Re:Dang... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143367)

My take on this? It's a much better policy than just randomly killing connections that look like they might be doing something that may be using large amounts of bandwidth.

I'm not so sure. Am I going to time out from IRC now because I'm downloading a large ISO?

Re:Dang... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143397)

Yep same thing here. ATT DSL is 6 MBPS for me ALL the time and I have had no issues with it whatsoever.

Re:Dang... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143551)

>ATT's DSL: Full rated 6Mbps speed

Thats fine if you live next door from the CO. I live in Chicago, just 4 miles from downtown and Im lucky to get 1.5mbps. Initially they gave me 768 until I went out and bought the best DSL modem I could find and talked them into trying to up the speed. The line is mostly stable.

Hundreds of thousands of AT&T subscribers are getting 1.5 or less in this area. The cant be bothered to do anything about this situation, instead they keep rolling more out in the suburbs. Meanwhile, Comcasts 6mbps+ lines are available, but 20-30 dollars more per month.

I imagine whenever we get uverse this should change, but lots of AT&T subscribers get crap speeds.

What...? (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142683)

What's the point of having the internet when you can't do anything on it?

What legal activity are you doing from home that takes over 250GB of data and requires that you always have a blazing fast connection? Sheesh, give them a chance to balance this out so that a few miscreants can't ruin it for everyone else.

Re:What...? (5, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142801)

So suddenly any large use of BW is illegal? Way to distract from the point.

Re:What...? (5, Insightful)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143161)

I'm not sure why this was modded -1, Flamebait. The parent makes a good point - as I posted in a semi-related thread a couple of days ago, I rented a movie from the Playstation store as an HD rental. The filesize was 6275 MB (around 6 GB). This download definitely saturated my connection, as I had the whole thing in around 2 hours. I realize that Comcast has a way of telling (or maybe they don't, who knows) P2P traffic from a straight download, but ultimately the question is the same - if I'm blasting a 6 GB file download in an hour or two, does that piss them off? Because I'm going to be mad if it does, since it was a perfectly legitimate use of the service that I'm paying for (vs. some "gray area" activities).

Re:What...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143503)

I wish I even had that option...my internet is set that after 1Gig of bandwidth a day I get knocked down to 48k. I supposedly get ~7Mbps but I have never tested > 1Mbps. But they are the ONLY option other than dialup that I have.

Re:What...? (3, Insightful)

ajparr (1366929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142987)

If you must know, I'm jerking off to time-delayed video of myself jerking off sent to my server on the other side of the world and back. I do this for 8-12 hours each day. ...then again... What business is it of ANYONE's what I'm doing with my bandwidth? What ever happend to innocent until proven guilty? Sheesh!

Re:What...? (4, Insightful)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143003)

Offsite backups.

My disk array syncs to a disk array about 2000 miles away, and that one syncs to mine.

I used about 230G last month, and that was the largest part.

The next largest component was torrents of lectures (such as this [stanford.edu] machine learning class offered by Stanford).

Re:What...? (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143215)

You could always upgrade to a class of service that doesn't have the caps, or has caps in line with what you require.

A system in which people like you who use 100s or thousands of gigabytes per month pay more than people who use 10 or 15 a year seems entirely fair to me.

Re:What...? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143255)

To put it simply: You are an asshole.

You are the reason these policies have been put into place. By using consumer internet for business class tasks, you have screwed us all.

Thanks a bunch.

Re:What...? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143557)

Damn dude, your ePenis is HUGE. Look at that UID too. Can I make you breakfast?

Re:What...? (3, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143375)

I can't speak for everyone, but I do bioinformatics/computational biology and often telecommute when consulting or to continue the days work at home when deadlines are tight. Depending on the project or analysis task, having local copies of public scientific databases is very useful (eg. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Database/ [nih.gov] ). These databases are rather large and are growing rapidly. Since terabyte drives have become affordable, it's become feasible to maintain up-to-date personal copies at home rather than accessing them via NFS at work or working with representative subsets.

Perfectly legal, legitimate and probably more useful to society than streaming HD content. This is the kind of stuff we used the internet for back before it hit the bigtime, so as legitimate a use of the internet as what people now consider "normal use" (web browsing, shopping, watching video, streaming music, and yes I do those too).

Re:What...? (1)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143479)

So, if you're working at home, making money for yourself and/or your employer, you have a business-class connection, right?

Re:What...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143391)

I remote desktop into my home machine. I leave my iTunes downloaded movies on my home NAS and stream them when I travel. I gather large datafiles of my personal projects. I torrent and share Linux Isos and Independant films. I run a home webserver. I have a VPN. I play games.

I can use up 250GB a month on any of these projects. Comcast's limiting of their service not only renders their years of "Unlimited" advertising misleading, but it is criminally negligent in their duty to permit free communication, trade, and speech as they were chartered to do when granted the infrastructure right-of-way by the government.

Re:What...? (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143437)

Uh, let's see:

  - Downloading F/OSS software?
  - hulu.com?
  - Various TV networks?
  - Netflix?
  - VOIP?

Face it: (IMHO) Comcast is afraid of streaming video sites, and are using P2P as an excuse to curb competition. They do not want to happen to them what happened to land line telephone companies when cellular and VOIP took off.

Now THATS a winning business strategy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143007)

You mean I can get bandwidth caps AND high latency in one premium priced package requiring up-front install fees and a complex long-term commitment that can change at any time?

What a great deal! Where do I sign up?!?

Re:Dang... (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143037)

At&T's DSL gives me more performance than Comcast will allow you to sustain. Comcast offers a faster burst rate, but how useful is that really? If you're just dowloading a few K, 6M bps is fine.

But personally I'll never do business with a cable company no matter how bad the alternatives are. The only thing worse than a big telco is a cable company!

Re:Dang... (3, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143155)

I'm sorry, I didn't know limiting yourself to 250GB a month was "I can't do anything"

Seriously?

Re:Dang... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143201)

Yeah, I switched to ATT DSL last year and it's faster upstream and only slightly under 6Mbps down. Way cheaper, too. In short: screw comcast.

Not such a bad idea (4, Insightful)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142481)

I can deal with that, it's fair and doesn't really stomp on anyone's feet. So what if users eat up all the available bandwidth? Just make it fair who eats up more than others.

Re:Not such a bad idea (3, Insightful)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142761)

I agree. This way of load balancing seems incredibly fair. However, the first time I get close to the 250gb cap, I'm heading over to Qwest and finding out how much an FTTP install costs.

Re:Not such a bad idea (4, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143191)

I agree. This way of load balancing seems incredibly fair. However, the first time I get close to the 250gb cap, I'm heading over to Qwest and finding out how much an FTTP install costs.

Which is EXACTLY the way the free market is intended to work. Comcast gets the business they want, and Qwest gets to sell a service they offer.

Free markets, FTW.

Re:Not such a bad idea (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143319)

Free markets, you say? They get to use publicly funded infrastructure to rake us over the coals. They block competition. The broadband/telecom market is most decidedly not a free market.

If you want to see what free market broadband looks like, look at Asian countries. They have 20+ megabit un-metered connections, at a fraction of the price our duopolies grant us. And that's the low end.

Re:Not such a bad idea (4, Insightful)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143417)

I must not have read that properly. Did you just say that telcos and cable companies are free market?

Re:Not such a bad idea (4, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143519)

Yup. As someone who usually complain about these companies not doing things neutrally, I don't really have anything to stand on this time. This is basically how it should work. It is the network neutral way of doing things. Don't analyze the type or destination, but instead just look at the traffic you are causing. If you are using more than your fair share, you get put behind the one who has used less.

There only is so much bandwidth during primetime and to divide fairly among all users you have to do something. The system mentioned in the article is about as fair as you can get. It doesn't matter if it is video streaming or bittorrent, you shouldn't be able to use more than your fair share. Yes, high quality video streaming is probably hit, but that is because it is an incredibly wasteful type of technology, requiring high bandwidth during primetime when the user online.

Of course, you can still complain about comcast not providing enough last mile bandwidth, having a too high oversubscription ratio, but that is a different matter. As an actual packet prioritizing scheme, this is a good one.

its craptastic! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142489)

Comcast blows goats for nickles. I have proof.

Backwards? (4, Insightful)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142521)

Users who are found to be occupying large amounts of bandwidth will be placed at a lower priority for network access behind users with less bandwidth-intensive traffic

So they're saying that if I am doing something that requires more bandwidth, I will get less bandwidth; and when I don't need much bandwidth, they're going to give me more? I'm really confused by this. Can anyone make sense of this for me?

Re:Backwards? (4, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142589)

No, it means that bulk transfers are lower priority than someone checking email, since that's fairly low load and interactive.

Re:Backwards? (2, Interesting)

Count Fenring (669457) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142853)

But doesn't streaming video or audio fit the high-yield/bulk-transfer pattern as well?

I'm just wondering what method they're using to separate high and low priority.

Re:Backwards? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143077)

Yes, but the FCC says that Comcast must be neutral with respect to application type, so Comcast is complying. If that means that high-bandwidth streaming media gets hosed, well, take that up with the FCC.

Re:Backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142733)

Yes, it works like the Linux task scheduler. If you don't use all your cycles, you'll get bonus priority for using them when you actually do want them. If you make sustained full use of your allocated cycles, you're relegated to your standard allocation- which, for Comcast, could reasonably be 1/nth of your severely oversold line. Or it would be reasonable, if they'd disclosed the rate of overselling.

Re:Backwards? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142787)

You're confusing bandwidth with latency. These are two separate measures for any data transfer.

If I'm just copying a file from point A to point B, I might require a huge amount of bandwidth (it's a big file), but I won't be too concerned if it takes 10 seconds or if it takes 15 seconds.

On the other hand, if I'm using VOIP, my bandwidth isn't very big, but I want my packets getting through without unnecessary delays; it makes a huge difference if some packets are delayed a few seconds.

Of course, there's also things like streaming video, which may require large bandwidth and consistent latency (doesn't have to be super low latency). These strain both measures.

Re:Backwards? (4, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142879)

when I don't need much bandwidth, they're going to give me more?

Prioritization is not the same as giving you more bandwidth. You packets are just dispatched through their servers faster than the lower priority ones. The net effect is that you get less bandwidth when the routers are overloaded (which is VERY sensible), but when the routers are not overloaded then you will get the quicker speeds (at least, that would be a fair understanding of how it *should* work).

The theory is that casual users are more deserving of the higher speeds and more appreciative of getting content quicker, whereas somebody who is spending 15+ minutes downloading a single thing is going to be more forgiving that it takes 4 hours instead of 2 hours to arrive.

Personally, I think Comcast's goal is to degrade internet streaming video to the point where it matches their cable services with the "Occasional 5 Second Pause" (TM) where the service goes apeshit and becomes unusable.

Full disclosure: I won't give Comcast a dime, and am waiting patiently for more capable internet to come to my neighborhood. Value = price + quality... and IMHO Comcast is simply a bad value.

Re:Backwards? (1)

uncqual (836337) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143147)

Personally, I think Comcast's goal is to degrade internet streaming video to the point where it matches their cable services with the "Occasional 5 Second Pause" (TM) where the service goes apeshit and becomes unusable.

Ah, you sound like you may be another satisfied Comcast customer with a Motorola DVR - you should be happy that your pauses are only 5 seconds, you lucky SOB. Around the hour and half-past the hour, I'd welcome 5 second apeshit periods. It's beyond me why the stupid Motorola DVR decides at those points that the most important thing is to perform some sort of O(n^4) algorithm figuring out what programs to record and which ones not rather than, oh, maybe processing my realtime remote clicks.

Re:Backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143249)

Shouldn't that be more like:

Value = quality / price

Re:Backwards? (2, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143461)

Shouldn't that be more like:: Value = quality / price

Value is quite obviously maximized when quality is high and price is low, and minimized when quality is low and price is high... so the ratio formula seems to be quite logical.

However, normalization between quality and price is necessary to make complex decisions that are not mathematical in nature easier to solve. Quality can be measured in lifetime, image quality, speed, or ease-of-use. Price can be measured in fixed or variable costs, cost to repair, and cost to replace. All these factors evaluate together so individual consumers can decide value for themselves (and it varies widely from person to person).

Thus, "price" and "quality" are reduced to numbers between 0.0 and 1.0 so that summing them together can produce a "value" measurement where a value > 1.0 would indicate a product which should be considered for purchase.

For me, I don't think Comcast will ever get a 1.0 for value (on my arbitrary rating system).

OK, but can we help? (4, Insightful)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142525)

Low priority for large transfers is fine with me, but can we mark which data should be high priority? So we can download a movie from Comcast-Buy-A-Movie-Service in the background while online with Halo 3?

Re:OK, but can we help? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142655)

Technically that is your responsiblity by having a router that has QoS support and you set your gaming console to higher priority over everything else so that you don't lag out when your little brother decides to watch the latest music videos on youtube.

Re:OK, but can we help? (4, Informative)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142693)

RFC 1349 [faqs.org] describes how you can specify priority for IP packets:

The types defined in the RFC are:
  • minimize delay
  • maximize throughput
  • maximize reliability
  • minimize monetary cost
  • normal service

I believe an extension also had a "maximize security" option as well.

Alas, almost nothing supports these flags, and I believe a later RFC has proposed reusing the QOS bits in the IP header for an incompatible use.

Re:OK, but can we help? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142753)

Don't worry, your comcast movie download will get the absolute highest priority. That netflix crap though, that will go into the shit bucket.

Re:OK, but can we help? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142971)

Unfortunately, I believe they are more interested in forcing you to buy movies from their OnDemand cable TV system or watch TV over their digital TV, rather than using the internet to get movies and TV which may, or more likely may not be from their service.

This, I believe, is why they are limiting downloads to 250G a month. So you don't go online to watch your TV shows and movies and not need their 65+ a month digital TV. They want to charge you lots for cable TV.

Why increase capacity when you can charge more money instead?! That's what they think.

Anyone else agree? Disagree?

250GB (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142533)

  I'm not afraid of hitting their monthly limit, but they've deliberately hid any sort of metering concept from their public services, probably in fear of users gaming the system to use 249.9GB a month.

  I'd be very interested in such a service, since I run our modem to several systems and I'm simply curious about where we rank in monthly usage.

  The bandwidth changes sound like someone finally came to their senses about the purpose of an internet. Prior to this, it was an awful mess of dpi and false drops. yuck

 

Re:250GB (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142795)

Why not just use a router that can meter your bandwidth? A cheap WRT54GL with DD-WRT or Tomato Firmware would do the trick.

Pretty sure this was in place for a while now (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142555)

...As my cable modem service slows to a CRAWL if I have a torrent open for more than 20-25 minutes. Once you terminate the d/l, it stays that way for 20-25 minutes or so... The throttling is so severe that DNS requests time-out... Not really that awesome of a solution, IMO.

Re:Pretty sure this was in place for a while now (5, Informative)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143043)

...As my cable modem service slows to a CRAWL if I have a torrent open for more than 20-25 minutes. Once you terminate the d/l, it stays that way for 20-25 minutes or so... The throttling is so severe that DNS requests time-out... Not really that awesome of a solution, IMO.

That's probably not throttling. Same thing happens to my cousin, and the same thing happens to me (though not as bad.) Every seed and leech in that torrent is still hammering your connection and timing out, requesting what parts you're advertising. At least that's what my firewall logs seem to suggest.

Power cycle your cable modem and get a new IP address. Your former cloud will no longer be DDoSing your connection.

Re:Pretty sure this was in place for a while now (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143189)

I had a very odd problem with AT&T for a while: if I ran a particular P2P client *and* I was using network bandwidth on another computer behind the DSL router, they'd actualy hang up on me - not slow performance, but actuall loss of the DSL connection. Even stranger, that stopped after a couple of weeks.

I wonder if running that P2P client didn't get me on their "bad user" list, until I installed WoW (and patched using their P2P client) and some deep packet inspection software moved me to the "false alarm" list. Of course, I'd probably have heard by now if AT&T were playing Comcast-style games, so it's just as likely that the loss of DSL signal was a coincidence.

Re:Pretty sure this was in place for a while now (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143349)

Interesting...

I use AT&T DSL (3Mbit rated) in Wisconsin, and I don't have problems with torrenting. I usually do it late at night, if that makes any difference. WoW patches have always been fast.

I had a problem with my line hanging up at random, too. So, I went back into my modem's config page and changed the IP refresh (or whatever it was called) back to something sane. (I changed it to 99999, and the modem stored it as some negative -63229 signed integer overflow aberration).

My cousin's line would also hang up - at the same time, every other day. (Not sure what DSL provider he uses, though.)

At least with my experiences, it doesn't sound like AT&T does anything creative to manage bandwidth. But, it is odd that your line kept hanging up. Did your DSL modem crash? I know that my router couldn't handle some torrents (too many seeds/leeches) until I patched the firmware.

Re:Pretty sure this was in place for a while now (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143599)

He's probably just exceeding his modem's connection count, which is pretty easy to do with BT. I ended up having to bump my router's connection count from 256 to 1024, which resolved all of my BT-related issues with stalls, slow page loads, etc.

One more step backwards for USA Broadband. (1)

mhx (772916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142661)

This seems like a bandaid to solve network congestion.

Legal use of big bandwidth paying the price... (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142715)

1) User pays for their own broadband access (cost of bandwidth). $$
2) User pay for Netflix a service contract (which includes more bandwidth costs). $$
3) User uses the bandwidth for which he paid by watching streaming movies and suddenly the movies don't load anymore... because it takes a bit of bandwidth to download movies.
4) User buys digital movies from Amazon et al? $$
5) User gets kicked from ISP because he paid enough to use what bandwidth he used.

Sounds like a scam to me!

Why offer high speed internet if you're not going to provide high speed internet?

Re:Legal use of big bandwidth paying the price... (3, Insightful)

hurfy (735314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142997)

Silly user...

Comcast users are supposed to have cable TV and use pay-per-view from them...

If they cripple your speed as a heavy user does it go back up after 15 minutes of being a crippled light user? Rinse and Repeat?

So a 6MB Comcast tier provides 12MB for 1 min, 6MB for 14 min, and then 1MB(or whatever it is) for 15 min ???

Re:Legal use of big bandwidth paying the price... (1)

Rod76 (705840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143079)

Comcast's cable network was never designed to handle Video on Demand services, much less BitTorrent. Couple that with the fact that they over subscribed their network, and you get what you are seeing now. Until fiber starts to replace more of the existing copper, you're going to see this type of QoS activity from most providers (that or more sinister types of throttling). This is the kind of crap that happens when marketing is divorced from the IT.

LIMITED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142739)

I am already looking for a new provider due to the 250 gig limit. I run a game server for my online group so I hit that in about 2 weeks. Not to mention that if I'm using my line for a lot of people then they are going to cut me back. Wow I don't remember seeing that one in the agreement I took, two years ago....hhmm change contract after the deal is done I think I'm gonna have my lawyer look into this.

Re:LIMITED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142799)

Might want to let your lawyer know that your running a game server too since I'm pretty sure that is against the policy you agreed to two years ago.

You're not going to get far by violating the contract yourself.

Re:LIMITED (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143265)

I'm pretty sure that is against the policy you agreed to two years ago.

From the acceptable use agreement [comcast.net] :

use or run programs from the Premises that provide network content or any other services to anyone outside of your Premises LAN, except for personal and non-commercial residential use;

So yeah, if he's not charging for it or running it as/for a company, then he's more than welcome to tell his lawyer he's running a game server.

Cool! (5, Funny)

BigBlueOx (1201587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142789)

So when NBC or ABC/ESPN/Disney or CBS/Viacom or Sony Pictures or Time Warner comes to me and says "Look at our really great new streaming movie/TV/video service! Pay only $29.95/mo and you can watch anything anyTIME ALL THE TIME!!!", I'll say "Sorry. Can't do streaming video. It puts me in the Comcast doghouse. I just play Nethack."?

Ok

Aimed at streaming video (1)

javakah (932230) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143175)

You may have been aiming for humor, but I actually pretty much see it like this. Part of this is to destroy decent quality streaming video. The reason for this is that you don't need to pay for their expensive cable TV if you can get the shows you are interested in over the internet in good quality.

This is really an anti-competitive measure.

They already have a mechanism in place to handle those who are doing a ridiculous amount of file sharing/mass uploading/downloading (kicking them off after they hit 250 GB in a month).

So then once you ask yourself why they really need this additional step, stopping streaming video from competing with their services seems to be the most likely reason.

Sold Vs Delivered (4, Insightful)

WTSane (1371365) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142809)

I am upset by the fact that they have now told their users that if they try and use the bandwidth that they were sold for too long a period of time, thier service will be degraded until they fall in to the 50% bracket as compared to all other users. If they can not support speeds that they are advertizing, they should not be selling them. If you have a 250GB a month limit, you should be able to use the speeds you are paying for until you reach that limit.

Re:Sold Vs Delivered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143435)

Pretty much my thoughts. Why are they allowed to sell what they can't offer?
What is the point of a 50mbps connection (which Comcast offers) if you're only allowed to use 250GB in a month? Even if you only average 2.5MB a second (about 50%) you still do 216GB in 24 hours! Now, if you move enough data to justify the obscene price tag on that connection, I'm thinking your data is a bit more important than the latest episode of Heroes.

However, even if you are just Joe Blow doing web hosting and hosting linux torrents, why aren't you entitled to tap out your connection 24/7? If the network is strained, that sounds more like Comcast needs to upgrade their infrastructure.

I'm just waiting for FIOS. =(

Running low already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25142821)

Whew, I spent all day downloading and I think I'm getting pretty close to the 250gb bandwid

Reminds me of Dialup (1, Troll)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142823)

Many many moons ago (And I'm not talking about when I drop my pants) my dialup ISP did this.

I was on the un-metered plan. I could surf all I wanted, no limits. However, the more I used the lower my traffic was prioritized until I was at the bottom of the list.

I think this is a fair way of doing it to be honest. Regular end users just want their net to work... period... So why should they be bogged down by guys like me who download 100Gb a month? If my torrents slow down overtime, Im not concerned since its something I shouldn't really be doing anyway

Re:Reminds me of Dialup (1)

meatplow (184288) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143081)

If my torrents slow down overtime, Im not concerned since its something I shouldn't really be doing anyway


What do you mean by you should be doing it anyway ? That's how I download my linux distros. Are you saying I shouldn't do that? or are you downloading "illegal" material - and that's why you don't care.
IMO - Your point is ridiculous.

Re:Reminds me of Dialup (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143473)

So why should they be bogged down by guys like me who download 100Gb a month?

Apparently, because your ISP is too cheap to bother upgrading their network to support people using ~300kbit of their 6mbit connection. ( 8*100*10^9/(60*60*24*30) )

God we need more competition in broadband (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142869)

I'm studying the AT&T U-verse postcard with more interest, now.  Although I hate AT&T, and seriously doubt they're much better.  In fact, the postcard has a tone of fine print on it.  And that's just the postcard!

Just got Netflix.. (2, Interesting)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142965)

..and I guess I won't make any plans to watch streaming movies through them, even if I have the bandwidth to do so in high quality BECAUSE 15 minutes into the movie they'll cut the speed back (to WHAT, by the way?) and there goes my movie. Not acceptable. I'd recommend everyone with Comcast get a Netflix subscription, and watch movies online. Then if and when it gets screwed up, complain to Netflix AND Comcast about it. Hopefully they'll eventually get tired of the complaints from customers AND from Netflix, and cut this nonsense out, too.

You mean proper QoS? (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25142973)

Wow, what a crazy idea. If only they could have deployed this sooner! Pity the technology has only been available for far longer than bittorrent has been a problem...

So they are saying... (2, Informative)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143017)

That all the World of Warcraft players, when installing the new patch for the Lich King, will now be subject to slower download rates cuz they need a 1GB patch?

Woo hoo!?!

Re:So they are saying... (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143237)

That all the World of Warcraft players, when installing the new patch for the Lich King, will now be subject to slower download rates cuz they need a 1GB patch?

Comcast is bad, but no.

They're not talking about changing anybody's bandwidth (this time), but which packets are given priority. A router will dispatch a packet from your grandmother checking her e-mail before a packet from your WoW torrent... but you'll get the same download speeds.

It's latency, not bandwidth, as other wise people have said. As long as 6 MBits of your patch are getting through every second, you don't care how long each bit actually spent in transit. (10ms to your house? 100ms?)

Grandma surfing the web cares if it takes 10 seconds for a website comes up, as does the guy playing CounterStrike.

Let me see if I get this right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143153)

1) People who need the speed will be pushed to lower priority.

2) People who don't need the speed will be pushed to higher priority.

Great... I've got a simple solution for you: P2P users should encourage other people to use P2P. That way, everyone will share the same priority :)

This Statement Is False (2, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143217)

"Comcast deliberately limited traffic for certain applications."

That's wrong. It shouldn't be in past tense. Some IPs on Comcast space still drop p2p connection after 30 seconds. Dropping is common. Dropping consistently at 30 +/- 5 seconds from those IP blocks is too much coincidence to bear.

"The new system will not replace or be related to the company's earlier installment of bandwidth caps, which limited a user's data intake to 250GB per month."

Of course it won't replace their previous 'solution'. It will apply to uploading, as does their connection dropping, not to downloads.

If they can get their quotas to fly, they'll next offer to keep users off their slowdown list for a fee. That way they can charge users more without having to up their bandwidth.

Look. (3, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143223)

If you seriously think you are going to exceed 250GB a month, spend the extra money and get a business account. If you are that heavy of an internet user, moving to 70 bucks a month or so shouldn't be that big of a deal.

bandwidth caps are old news in the uk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25143263)

they have been around for ages, and you are lucky to find a provider without one unless you want to pay over the odds.. bar one, virgin media use and advertise traffic management, during peak times, if you get through a set amount of data (specifics depend on if you are with 2Mb, 10Mb or 20Mb) then your bandwidth is reduces by a percentage for a period, then all resumes, which i think is much better and fairer way of doing it than caps.
more details on their site http://www.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.php

Cable companies = Evil (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143311)

They overprice their internet service too.

Love seeing you people get screwed.

I refer the old system (1)

koan (80826) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143317)

I could simply not use torrents before, Giganews (with encryption) was a better way to go any ways, this new system seems like they will dump on me every 15 minutes regardless of what I am doing (gaming, downloading, streaming) and doesn't have a easy dodge for me to avoid it...at least not yet.
Knowing what a crap company Comcast is you can't expect anything ethical or fair from these people.

Why do we not have an internet where bandwidth is not an issue? We are so far behind some others it's embarrassing...bandwidth shouldn't be an issue now a days.

Isn't that real question? Why is bandwidth still an issue? What exactly do they do with their money?

Canceling service (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143341)

Don't see much of a reason to stay with them. Too bad cable is a monopoly ( that needs to be broken up with their treatment of the customers )

Now they have to explain the "unlimited" word (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143347)

.... they include in their plans. if you are hampered because you use higher bandwidth in 15 minute intervals, that means that the plan is not unlimited. its a goddamn LIE.

hell. i live in turkey. we used to suck tit in regard to internet connectivity. now i have a 800 kbit connection adsl that delivers both download and games unhampered, and a cable that does 400 kbit with even better latency.

SO that im not torrenting or dling anything anymore. you know, when you have something readily available at any given time, the urge to make use of it lessens. but then again maybe i have done my fair share of p2ping in my time. but then again im 15 min walk to a blue flag beach, but i go swimming 1-2 times a year. is it me or is it shadows that are dancing on the wall ? hey ! teacher !! leave the kids alone !!! im going to give 5 bucks to the person who successfully establishes the hidden connections (a total of 2) in between the last 2 sentences and the preceding paragraph. paypal only.

Interestingly enough... (1)

ohxten (1248800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143351)

Comcast's internet has been causing me trouble the past two days, from around 12pm to 5pm.

Why (1)

Jerry Beasters (783525) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143369)

Why the fuck should those who use [em]less[/em] bandwidth get higher priority than those who use more. How is that a fair management of the network in any way? It is the ones who need the bandwidth who should get it.

thats the end of iso images on Comcast, Hi DSL! (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143439)

I guess the next time I install an OpenBSD or FreeBSD release, I will just buy the CD's. Anyway, it helps fund the projects- and don't forget about the great Blowfish T-shirts.

If I start downloading an iso image (and I used to get 500kb/s with my old Comcast installation, depending upon the ftp site) and suddenly the transfer speed drops to 25kb/s, I am really going to be pissed, and pull the plug on Comcast. But I think thats a moot point now that I got a letter from property management.

The property management here told me that I am responsible for any damage Comcast causes to the building. (turns out my cable line is dead/damaged) There is no way in hell that I am going to be held responsible for their incompetence after they start drilling holes all over the place.

The first place I ever lived where we planned to get Comcast, a couple of vans (independent contractors, not Comcast) showed up with looked like a load of teenagers. Plus we seriously believed they were on dope at the time, as when they left, wires were dangling from several places, and they left their ladder and some tools. What a mess.

Finally, real Comcast employees had to come mop up the damage and finish the install. I guess now I'm going for DSL.

Comcast needs better routers (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143475)

I've been doing this kind of throttling on a per-connection basis for a long time. I needed to set up the packet scheduler on my Linux-based router correctly, but now it's configured to watch connections and any connection that eats a lot of sustained bandwidth gets bumped down to bulk-transfer priority. Packets for those connections go to the back of the queue and get to share the bandwidth left over after everything at a higher priority's gotten what it needs, subject to a hard cap of 80% (20% of total bandwidth is reserved for non-bulk-transfer connections at all times). That lets me start a large file download and quickly have it shunted off to soaking up only otherwise-unused bandwidth, letting games and other low-bandwidth applications continue pretty much unaffected. If I can do it on a cheap Linux box I'm pretty sure a high-end Cisco router can handle it too, it's just a matter of configuring it.

Upgrade so they can throttle? (1)

beowulfy (897757) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143533)

The entire reason for paying for a higher Mbit connection is so that I can download and use applications which require *more* bandwidth! So what would be the incentive to upgrade my services if they'll just throttle it anyways?

One thing to consider (2, Insightful)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143537)

Cable Internet, as configured by Comcast (bombast) has a fixed ceiling for how much traffic can flow through it's network without interfering with TV/phone. More people can watch a pseudo HD TV show, on the cable than can fairly share the bandwidth. So in the case of Comcast they are pulling an airline trick. In order to ensure max revenue they also "over book" the line. Problem is as time goes on more an more people are using their internet connection for more than e-mail.

Now on a airplane you can "bump" passengers. However in the case of bandwidth there is no bump available. The only options they have are to either put in more lines/equipment (quite often impossible due to community regulations and available space in underground cable easements) or drop customers. Both a and b won't sit well with the board. The only remaining options are to not renew customers who leave. (difficult since it also cuts into TV/phone revenues) or they can do what they are doing and refuse to service properly existing customers.

Problem for many is that it comes down to a choice between Darth and Adolf. Chose your darkside. But at least on ADSL you know that the bandwidth you use has little affect on anyone but people in your household.

Comcast doesn't know how... (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143561)

Comcast doesn't know how to build nor design a network. All they've done is thoroughly oversell their backbone. They shouldn't be offering 6Mbps downloads to customers if their backbone isn't big enough to aggregate customers that big.

I guess this begs the question. (1)

jskline (301574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25143563)

I guess this begs the question then; and that is, is your $59 per month for that broadband Comcast connection worth it anymore?? I dropped them a couple years ago and glad I did. Nothing but poor service. Never again.

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