×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Georgia Tech's ShaperProbe Detects ISP Traffic Manipulation

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the shaping-is-such-a-euphemism dept.

The Internet 113

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Two researchers at Georgia Tech can tell you exactly how American ISPs shape Internet traffic, and which ones do so. Bottom line: of the five largest Internet providers in the country, the three cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox) employ shaping while the telephone companies (AT&T, Verizon) do not — though that fact is less significant for the user experience than it might first sound."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

113 comments

Lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224426)

Lol

Re:Lol (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224498)

what was so funny?

Re:Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225004)

what was so funny?

Well let's see. B. Hussein Obama is the first black president of the USA and he really seems determined to be the last. Best Republican campaign slogan ever will be "at least he's not Obama". That's pretty funny. He's not Hillary too because there actually is mercy in the universe.

Re:Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225118)

not sure if this is a non sequitur or ignoratio elenchi

Re: Just because "I'm not Bush" worked does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225334)

...not mean "I'm not Obama" will!

Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224450)

When you own the network, you can do what you want.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224456)

When I pay for the service and it's not in the EULA, 3..2...1...STFU

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (5, Insightful)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224468)

Their network runs on public land. They are also granted exclusivity by local governments. I think that regulation is in order.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224666)

Regulation is rarely the answer. Are you some type of socialist? We need more free market-based solutions, not trying to regulate everything.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (2)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224720)

I guess we should also deregulate food and drugs. You can take care of yourself, right?

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224826)

I guess we should also deregulate food and drugs. You can take care of yourself, right?

Of course we can't take care of ourselves. We need the government to look after us, just like an older male sibling.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (3, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224828)

Since when is exclusivity a free market solution?

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224922)

Are you some kind of retard? Deregulation doesn't lead to any sort of fair balance, it leads to excessive and unnecessary price increases across the board as monopoly situations are reached. Check out the New Zealand power market if you don't believe this happens.

Re: Unless you want millions of signals... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225342)

...and wires interfering with your private life yes, regulation is the answer.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225414)

There already is regulation (granted exclusivity) favouring the provider. Either that regulation is to be removed, or there has to be another regulation favouring the customer to counter it.

You need regulation whenever you have monopolies, or the danger of monopolies. That regulation has to either prevent forming of monolies, or if that is not possible, regulate those monopolies so that they cannot do too much harm. Remember, as soon as there's a monopoly (either granted or enforced through market power), there's no free market any more to regulate things. And the free market cannot prevent monopolies when network effects are in play.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226010)

Want free market? Stop taking subsidies. Stop filing suits against all the small local governments that try to install any system in areas that don't have service. Free market? Just stop being giant fucking douches, determined to milk every dime possible out of the system. Stop abusing the legal system, stop abusing the legislative system, stop ripping the people off. We don't HAVE free trade, you big dummy - not as long as a telco of cable company is permitted to file suit against a community that is trying to provide a service where none exists.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36226134)

Regulation is rarely the answer. Are you some type of socialist? We need more free market-based solutions, not trying to regulate everything.

I love the way lawless-market advocates try to confuse people by using the word FREE. If by free-market you mean market without regulation and laws, why the hell do we have laws in the first place.
If you don't want laws on market,, why should there be laws on anything else. I know, the market will regulate itself becouse people won't use/buy services with no quality.
How about going a step little further and make a lawless society overall. By your way of thinking this is a free-socity. You probably think that a socitey like that will regulate itself. Example: a person is murdered, and on this "Free-society" the mob restates justice.
Seem like the same to me.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (3, Insightful)

muridae (966931) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226220)

If the cable company wants to operate without oversight, then they can buy back the copper that the government paid them to install, and pay me and other land owners for the right to run their service across my property line. Until such time that they do so, and as long as they continue taking advantage of government assistance, they can and should answer to government regulation.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224848)

no, we just need to allow them to have competition and consumers more options the ISp's will have less room for BS if they were not 1 of maybe only 2 options for high speed internet.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226044)

And how exactly do you think that is going to happen? Magic?

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224538)

Or maybe it was done for legitimate reasons and you need to get off your high horse?

Downloading a torrent of a movie is certainly not as critical as me getting my pr0n served via HTTP. Or SSHing in to my MUD.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224668)

ISPs that indulge in such practices (some even go in DPI, Bell Canada I'm talking about you) want to have their cake and eat it too.

They want to retain common carrier although engaging in practices that go against common carrier status.

Even worse, those same ISPs have really unrealistic transfer quotas. In Canada, they even want to force resellers to enforce those quotas (see UBB) in order to discourage competition (That would be Bell). As far as quotas and speeds go, a good example would be Videotron (Cable). 8Mbit/1Mb and only 50GB. Meaning Netflix is useless (hampering competition). We're in 2011, perhaps we could get speeds and transfer quotas not dating from the '00s

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225690)

No they don't. The difference between AT&T/Verizon and just about any other ISP is that AT&T/Verizon are "tier 0" isps.

They have a worldwide backbone, with enormous capacity, and peer with major isp's everywhere in the world (even China). This not only has huge bandwidth, but these companies are capable of upgrading said backbone without needing anyone's permission. Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, basically hook up to AT&T/Verizon/Cogent/Level3/... Which is not the same thing. Every network engineer worth his salt knows that there's just no comparing an AT&T uplink to a Cogent one. Every manager worth his salt knows the price difference means you'll go with Cogent anyway, as it's probably cheaper to build your own backbone (esp. these days).

Note that ALL isps did shape in the test, it's just that AT&T/Verizon have a lot less need to slow down connections than the cable companies. Without shaping, TCP networks such as the internet are vulnerable to trivial exploits allowing one client to hog bandwidth.

This probably means it's a good bet that all isp's throttle bittorrent (as they should) and other p2p application, and the theory is right : allowing unfettered bittorrent/p2p means unacceptable network performance.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224954)

Well, of course, there will be cable bashing. I use comcast at home, and I KNOW that they hit netflix HARD. I run a router at home and have studied the data coming through. When it comes from a work site, I can download 4 GB no problem. However, when I grab netflix movies that are about 2 gb streams, then I get issues. Interestingly, Crackle and Hulu do not have the same issues, though crackle uses more bandwidth.

Personally, I agree that they own the network and should be allowed to do what they want. HOWEVER, I also think that we should pass laws FORBIDDING a monopoly into the home. At the least, we should change the monopoly to be from the home to the greenbox and any company can then sign up for a deal with providing service to the greenboxes, AT THE SAME RATES. IOW, if comcast wants to own the greenbox-home monopoly, not a problem. However, they charge other providers the same price that they charge the rest of comcast.

Basically, it is time to limit the monopoly's size.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225578)

Time to nationalize the infrastructure we already payed for through surcharges and fees added to our utility bills, but never got the benefits of. It is unrealistic to have 20 runs of fiber down every street, we need one VERY robust fiber network not owned by any provider, and available to all competition on equal terms. Remove the rent-seeking monopoly bottleneck and the free market can work its magic.

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (3, Informative)

cheeseandham (1799020) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225610)

HOWEVER, I also think that we should pass laws FORBIDDING a monopoly into the home. At the least, we should change the monopoly to be from the home to the greenbox and any company can then sign up for a deal with providing service to the greenboxes, AT THE SAME RATES. IOW, if comcast wants to own the greenbox-home monopoly, not a problem. However, they charge other providers the same price that they charge the rest of comcast.

That is kind of how it works in the UK (See how British Telecom has been split up [wikipedia.org] ).

BT Openreach was created to "Ensure that all rival operators have equality of access to BT's own local network" and it works pretty well, I have a BT line and BT Wholesale broadband, but provided by a different company with their own service levels, prices etc. And there are a lot of ISP's like this.

If an ISP doesn't want to use BT's infrastructure in the exchange, they can even install their own [wikipedia.org] whilst still taking advantage of that piece of cable going from the exchange to the home, laid down by public money.

How is it not obvious to the US politicians that this is a sensible move? More to the point, how the hell did something sensible happen in a UK Parliament?

Re:Cue the cable company bashing in 3...2...1.... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225994)

The thing is, the American government and the American people "own" a significant part of all the networks. Being granted a monopoly, and accepting subsidies, means that you don't get to make all the rules.

Question (1)

bloobamator (939353) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224470)

Is shaping the same as throttling?

Re:Question (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224550)

Is shaping the same as throttling?

Sort of.

Online, shaping and throttling are something network companies do to customers. In meatspace, throttling is what customers want to to to network company executives.

HTH.

Re:Question (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224772)

Surely we could think of some creative shaping of said executives as well - preferably applying shaping before throttling.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224918)

Would that not lead to queens or transexuals?

Re:Question (-1, Offtopic)

timothymoore (2194096) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225922)

"Pass-Guaranteed.com is the Best Certification Training Resource for the HP HP0-081 exam. You will have Instant Access to your HP0-081 download right after purchase! There is no need to wait. You can start right now by downloading the Free HP0-081 Demo, which is an actual sample from the Full Version of our HP0-081 Practice Exam. Looking for the latest HP0-081 exams and training materials? Then you found the Best! Rest assured that using our HP0-081 Questions and Answers you will be fully prepared to take on your HP HP0-081 Exam." 640-802 exam [pass-guaranteed.com]

Re: Is shaping the same as throttling? (1)

obiwan2u (600477) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224610)

Looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_shaping [wikipedia.org] it sounds like "shaping" is throttling based on packet type that kicks in when bit rates get to high.

Re: Is shaping the same as throttling? (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224742)

I find that Wikipedia is good at giving a few people's opinions of terms, but not actually backing up the vernacular definition.

Shaping: controlling bandwidth among various protocols (whether DPI or QoS, port number, etc.). This can be enforced by throttling some traffic or by prioritization.

Throttling: capping or reducing the bandwidth available to some identifiable clump of traffic (I use clump because all the other appropriate terms I can think of have some technical definition more strict than what I want to say). It can be done solely in response to congestion, or in the absence of congestion. It can be done on some subset of a subscriber's traffic, or to the entirety of it. Throttling is a slowing or capping of traffic. Most shaping is a subset of throttling. Oversubscription could be considered a form of throttling. Throttling is much more general of a term than shaping.

Re: Is shaping the same as throttling? (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224904)

I find that Wikipedia is good at giving a few people's opinions of terms, but not actually backing up the vernacular definition.

As opposed to a single poster on slashdot? At least Wikipedia insist on citations.

So in what way are your definitions superior to those on the linked Wikipedia page? What did the wiki get wrong?

Re: Is shaping the same as throttling? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225384)

There wasn't a single cite to the definition. There was a definition asserted without citation, followed by the implications of that or any number of other definitions.

What was "wrong"? Nothing worth dealing with. They give a mostly useless definition that doesn't help differentiate it from anything else, then talk about the technical implications and implementations without regard to the vernaclar, which for the average person is much more important than the overly-cited long and dry article about a term that just needed a couple sentence definition then links to the manners in which it is implemented.

Why, are you going to assert that if I don't agree with it that I should fix it? I've tried (not on that one, but others) and someone reverts changes and so it's not worth my time to correct wrong things when they border on opinion and someone else's opinion conflicts.

So in what way are your definitions superior to those on the linked Wikipedia page? What did the wiki get wrong?

My definition is superior because it's a few thousand words shorter. And properly attributed to the source (me). Did I get anything wrong? If not, why do you accept some uncited definition on Wikipedia and not the one I give?

Re: Is shaping the same as throttling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225532)

As opposed to a single poster on slashdot? At least Wikipedia insist on citations.

Funny you should mention that, since the page linked to is tagged "Needs Citations" in multiple places.

Re:Question (5, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224642)

Is shaping the same as throttling?

Shaping is when they give you a rate and enforce it. (The faster burst at startup is because you had accumulated some credit by not using your bandwidth in the immediately preceeding time.) There may be separate shaping mechanisms for different protocol families and there may also be shaping on aggregates - like total bandwidth across multiple users of a common DSLAM.

Throttling is when, after they notice that you've used a lot of bandwidth lately, they turn down the rate on the shaper ("traffic manager").

Shaping is mainly about things like keeping protocols from interfering with each other (by giving different classes of them separate allowances) and avoiding congestion and queue-too-full latency (by limiting the traffic sent to a following box to the amount it can handle.)

Throttling is about keeping a user's resource consumption down by slowing him down after he's run fast for a while.

Re:Question (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226090)

Not quite right.

Throttling is where they simply slow down your entire internet connection. Typically when you download more than a certain amount of data the ISP punishes you with throttling. Kind of like going to McDonald's and ordering a Supersize Big Mac meal, then a member of staff comes over and punches you in the gut as punishment for overeating.

Shaping is where the ISP tries to slow down certain traffic to give priority to others. The typical use is to slow down P2P and large downloads so that web browsing and Skype get priority. There is a bit of an arms race between software developers who try to encrypt or obfuscate traffic and ISPs who look for ways to defeat them. Going back to the McDonald's analogy it is a bit like them giving you a 1mm diameter straw to drink your coke through, while allowing you to eat the Big Mac and fries as you like.

Of course in practice ISPs both punch you in the gut and give you the 1mm diameter straw, and then spit in your burger for daring to ask for the meal you paid for.

Gitmo: better than living in the Middle East (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224816)

I'd rather live in a cage in a tropical paradise, getting fed 3 squares a day on the American taxpayers dime, than spend 5 minutes living in some sandy 3rd-world shithole.

Re:Gitmo: better than living in the Middle East (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225124)

Go right ahead then, asshole.

Re:Gitmo: better than living in the Middle East (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225390)

You may find that some parts of the world are much nicer than the good old USofA. Why not get yourself a passport and go see for yourself eh?
Thought not. I guess you prefer the world accourding to Fox News.

Disclaimer. I've worked or travelled in 63 countries over the past 40+ years. There are many places in the world I'd rather live than most of the USA. I was raised in Tuscon but I'm currently dividing my time between Bath, Somerset, UK and a small village about 10km from Sienna in Italy. Sienna is visible from my Kitchen Window as I write this. It looks beautiful. Oh, and I don't have to carry a gun or lock my doors at night.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225098)

Is shaping the same as throttling?

is "asking stupid questions instead of googling two simple definitions" the same as trolling?

Re:Question (3, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226114)

It's car analogy time!

Shaping is like putting a bus lane / car pool lane on the motorway / freeway; Buses and car pool drivers can move through quicker, at the expense of car traffic having one less lane on the motorway, much like VOIP would be given priority over BitTorrent, or somesuch, but the cars and buses are all capable of going at maximum speed (should traffic allow).

Throttling is like variable speed limits. In the interest of keeping traffic moving freely across the whole motorway, the speed of heavily trafficked areas is slowed down so it doesn't cause congestion. 70MPH becomes 50MPH in the same way that 10Mbit becomes 2Mbit.

Data caps are like a bastard child of toll roads; You've driven a certain distance on this road which is covered by vehicle excise or fuel tax, now you have pay a toll. To travel further on this road, you pay more tolls. You can drive only so far each month on the toll roads for free.

HTH.

Re:Question (1)

ArisGT (1984622) | more than 2 years ago | (#36227040)

A better analogy is during rush hour they have those traffic lights on the on ramps controlling the rate of cars entering the interstate.

not all shaping / policing is bad. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224480)

I work for a college, and we shape / police traffic to / from the Internet.

This was a necessity on our 3Mb link of many years ago, but has still been useful on our 1Gb link of today.

This policy has greatly improved the user experience. Interactive protocols have low latency, bulk transfer protocols get sent to the end of the line. Where we do slow down things, it isn't really noticed by most folks. After first implementing this many years ago, we immediately got positive feedback. Now it is just "how things are."

Hell, I shape / police traffic at home to my cable modem. VOIP and interactive ssh are still usable even with huge downloads going on now, and users hammering the public wifi I provide to my neighborhood.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224520)

Exactly This. As a sysadmin for a small ISP we do the same. It's not about limiting traffic. It is about prioritizing to provide the best experience and utility.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224914)

Exactly This. As a sysadmin for a small ISP we do the same. It's not about limiting traffic. It is about prioritizing to provide the best experience and utility.

And that is fine -to a point. As long as shaping does not become an excuse to limit traffic. In the case of the larger ISPs at least, it has become a choice -limit traffic in order to maintain higher profit margins vs invest in increasing capacity.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224948)

Same AC here. No we don't limit traffic by destination but we do prioritize interactive traffic. It's a way to keep the gamers and browsers happy while not throttling the BT junkies.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224606)

It's great that it improves the quality of service...but here's the problem: My neighbor and I both pay for the same service. So why should he get better service because he's using a more interactive protocol? Why should my file download slow down because my neighbors are all on VoIP calls? Depending on how the traffic shaping is set up, isn't it possible that someone who's paying the exact same amount I am for internet service could be getting several times more real data throughput simply because of what protocols they're using? Granted, it's a bit unlikely, but it certainly seems possible.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224630)

Why should his voip call sound like Mr. Roboto because you're downloading the latest stuff off BitTorrent? Don't like sharing bandwidth with your neighbor? Plunk down $$$ for dedicated pipe.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224674)

why should he get better service because he's using a more interactive protocol?

"Better service" has multiple definitions here. I would say that interactive sessions get "worse service" when the latency increases, perhaps because you have some huge download that is eating away at bandwidth that an interactive session could be using. Do you want your VoIP calls to get choppy, or do you want your downloads to be a few minutes faster?

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224908)

I want my line to be 3mps always not up to 25 or 200mbps that my ISP promises. I have ADSL not cable for that reason. It is about honesty and a minimal level of service irregardless of the type of data I am sending over it. If cable companies were honest about providing service I might use them. They can't provide the level of service they suggest. Therefore I won't use cable for Internet. I avoid it for TV too.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Corse32 (682019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225078)

You have a dedicated 3Mb/s ADSL connection? That kind of thing costs hundreds a month here in Australia, usually the consumer grade plans are fine, cheap and very fast, but the guarantee to always supply you a certain sized pipe costs way way more. Having that bandwidth sitting there doing nothing when you're asleep, just in case you wake up and need your 3Mb/s out of nowhere costs the ISP constantly. Most business plans I see now just quote the "up to" speeds, I guess because in reality most people are fine if their connection drops down a smidgen once in a blue moon, and is blazing fast the rest of the time.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225128)

I have never had less than 8Mbits/sec on my consumer grade plan with Internode, makes at 15.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226024)

I don't think he's saying he actually has a guaranteed 3 Mbit DSL connection (i.e. a plan with an SLA). What he's saying is that ADSL is generally subject to a lot less contention than cable.

Which is true - with ADSL you have the bandwidth between you and the exchange/DSLAM, at whatever sync rate you have, all to yourself, whereas with cable you are competing with a dozen neighbours on the local loop. Once you hit the DSLAM and enter the ISP's network you are subject to the same contention as everyone else, of course, but generally the ISP-level contention (assuming a vaguely decent quality ISP) is a lot less significant than the immediate contention due to the last-mile cable being a shared medium when using DOCSIS (where you could have the best ISP in the world, but it would mean little if you are sharing the cable with a bunch of other leechers).

End result is that if you buy a plan from an ISP with 3 Mbps sync speed, you generally do get that speed. Similarly here in Australia - unless you are unfortunate enough to be on a RIM with poor backhaul (i.e. provided you actually do have a direct line to the exchange), you aren't sharing your line speed with anyone else. Cable OTOH is different in that there isn't really a 'sync speed' as such. The speed you get at any given time depends on various factors and will fluctuate quite a bit.

ADSL of course is still advertised as "up to X" in Australia, because you aren't usually sold plans based on their sync speed. You buy a plan with a certain download allowance and on most plans you'll get 'whatever sync speed your line can manage'. This could be as low as a megabit or two, or as high as 24 Mbps (for ADSL2+) or 8 Mbps (for ADSL1). The ISP does not guarantee you any particular speed. But in the US, DSL plans are sold based on the speed tier, rather than the download allowance. 1.5 Mbit, 3 Mbit and 6 Mbit are common speeds. If your line can support 20 Mbit but you only buy a 1.5 Mbit plan, that's all you'll get. Similarly, if your line can't manage a 6 Mbit speed, the ISP won't sell you that plan. So in all cases, you get the exact sync speed you bought - hence the perception that DSL is a 'guaranteed' speed. It's not that the actual throughput speed is 'guaranteed' - it just isn't contended at a local level like cable is.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225538)

Um, having a low latency doesn't necessarily affect download speeds for large files.

Internet Protocol has this thing with sliding windows, etc., to deal with that.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225594)

I want my line to be 3mps always not up to 25 or 200mbps that my ISP promises.

So purchase a dedicated circuit, that's what they are for. You purchased a variable rate plan and then bitched about not getting a fixed rate... doesn't make much sense now, does it?

I have ADSL not cable for that reason

Then you're confused. ADSL and Cable is the technology that carries your traffic from the local datacenter to your house. Most bandwidth/throttling/congestion issues happen on the provider's transit and core network, not on the "last mile".

Sounds to me like the cable company in your area is a piece of shit. Guess what- the DSL company in my area can't support the speeds they advertise. My point is that instead of blaming the technology, or making large-scale sweeping assumptions, you should realize that a properly maintained network is not going to have problems supporting advertised speeds, and that ANY company can run a piece of shit network which will not.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224682)

It's not always about throughput.

If I'm in WoW, I need my packets NOW. Not later, NOW. I also don't need as many as you do, by like, two orders of magnitude.

Generally, the "interactive" packets are pretty damned small compared to the bulk ones.

My biggest gripe is when "traffic shaping" means "bittorrent mysteriously coincides with your internet becoming ludicrously sluggish". That's a peeve for sure.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225624)

If I'm in WoW

If there's anything that is more of a waste of bandwidth, it's this.

I need my packets NOW

No you don't. I'd rather VOIP and similar communication protocols be highest priority. Not your amusing misuse of resources. Nevermind your entitlement on your entertainment that you so demand.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

PNutts (199112) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226184)

If I'm in WoW

If there's anything that is more of a waste of bandwidth, it's this.

Streaming Sophie's Choice on Netflix?

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224888)

I think it equates to the freeway, you have small cars that are tiny and capable of getting to their destinations quickly, then you have huge semi trucks that trundle along. Should it be fair to only have 1 lane and have the small cars get stuck behind the huge slow trucks, no. So you create lanes and ask that slow traffic keep right so the rest of the internet can move along.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224980)

Same AC here again. It's not a matter of throughput. It is a matter of latency and priority. On our system, over the course of 3 seconds (eons in the domain we are talking about) your neighbor will have packet priority for his VOIP session. However, your donkey porn will still max out your pipe throughput. It's just that his packets are delivered in a more timely fashion.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225272)

your neighbor isn't getting better service, your neighbors VOIP packets are getting more effort to delivering them without excess latency while your torrent packets show up where they can be fit in, but get a lot of bandwidth

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225402)

That's sort of like "why should that guy get to use the copier before me just because he's only got one page?"

Interactive protocols tend to suffer by latency, but have low actual bandwidth demands compared to bulk transfers like BitTorrent. Logic dictates you assign higher priority to the data that will take less time to handle.

The problem occurs when this priority system is abused by giving high priorities to non-interactive premium content like streaming TV, or actively throttling BitTorrent beyond what is needed because the content providers want it.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225498)

It doesn't hurt your download if there's half a second nothing, then half a second double speed. The average data rate is still the same. However it massively hurts the VoIP connection.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226668)

See, that's the problem. You're a selfish, self entitled idiot. That's the only problem here in this discussion.

You're argument boils down to, everyone else's experience must suffer and frequently become unusable so you can download something a second or two faster. That's stupid. That's selfish. That's idiotic. And the simple fact is, its non-discriminatory. When you require interactive services, you get the same quality of service.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (3, Interesting)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224620)

Hum... that's the issue. You're providing for a bunch of students that don't have a contractual agreement with you. Now imagine that the company you contracted the 1Gb link to, started shaping your traffic. That eventually comes to you, not receiving the 1Gb you paid for.

I understand you sometimes need to shape the traffic to prioritize services you want to perform better. But these companies are getting their money offering services they don't completely provide: First they charge you for access they can shape. And second, they put a cap just in case you get away with it.

Again, I understand your work case, because if you don't pay for it, normally you tend to abuse it. But if you pay for it, why would they need to mess with your traffic?

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (2)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225132)

But these companies are getting their money offering services they don't completely provide

I hesitate to use words like "every," but I can think of no ISPs who advertise their plans as anything other than "up to X Mbps." Why you believe that not getting that is somehow a service they don't provide eludes me, particularly when the reason you are not receiving it is legitimate shaping activity*.

And second, they put a cap just in case you get away with it.

I tend to agree with you on this one, for a lot of reasons. In particular I object to the limits being buried in the terms and conditions somewhere rather than being open about it. Stil, your conclusion is that you're paying for it and they're not delivering it which is false. You're paying for what your contract says you're paying for, and somewhere in that fine print--at least nowadays--is a limit.

There are a lot of things to object about the state of Internet service in the US. The limits are going to quickly become a burden on growing Internet-based industries. The monopoly status of most providers means they are uninterested in serving their customers or competing for their business. They oversell their services far more than they should and pocket dollars intended to improve their networks. That's off the top of my head. "I'm not getting what I pay for," meh. Not so much.

* Admitting that not all shaping activity is legitimate, especially based on source/destination.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36227482)

I hesitate to use words like "every," but I can think of no ISPs who advertise their plans as anything other than "up to X Mbps." Why you believe that not getting that is somehow a service they don't provide eludes me, particularly when the reason you are not receiving it is legitimate shaping activity*.

Okay. What if an ISP advertises their service as "up to X Mbps" and they only can consistently deliver 0.01*X Mbps? The statement is true, but it's still misleading the consumer. If I buy a service advertised as "up to X Mbps" I expect that I will be able to consistently and without limit get that rate.

Example: At home I bought a 16Mbps connection. The actual rate works out to something like 12 Mbps. And I'm okay with that, because I can use that 12 Mbps to my hearts content without all this antisocial behavior most ISPs dish out.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225364)

because if you don't pay for it, normally you tend to abuse it. But if you pay for it, why would they need to mess with your traffic?

Usually when I'm on public wifi (even if paid for), I tend to put downloads on a slow trickle, overnight if possible. Ye olde wget is awesome for that:
wget --limit-rate=20k http://www.example.com/bigfile [example.com]
will limit the download speed to 20KB/s. All platforms have wget available.

(By the way, why does Slashdot make text URLs into hyperlinks even in code sections?)

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226054)

ADSL ISPs in the UK are pretty much forced to shape and set ridiculously low caps because of the amount the owner of the telephone lines and other equipment, BT, charges them for access.

BT initially charged on a per-user basis, but then they switched to charging by the amount of bandwidth they supply to the ISP. So where as before an ISP paid £X per user regardless of how much data they consumed, under the new system they would pay for say a 144Mb "pipe" and choose how many users to put on it. Of course BT hiked prices too so ISPs had to fit more and more users onto each pipe and contention ratios got ridiculous.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#36227278)

Students pay, maybe even a "technology" fee. The difference is schools operate on a (mostly) non-profit basis and can be trusted to maintain the network for the benefit of the users, unlike ISPs that are more concerned with the shareholders. Contracts or regulation can't really keep them honest, since some shaping is probably always necessary. The answer is more competition, but that is hard to maintain in any market let alone a utility market.

So were you public about HOW? (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224654)

I work for a college, and we shape / police traffic to / from the Internet.

This was a necessity on our 3Mb link of many years ago, but has still been useful on our 1Gb link of today.

This policy has greatly improved the user experience. Interactive protocols have low latency, bulk transfer protocols get sent to the end of the line. Where we do slow down things, it isn't really noticed by most folks. After first implementing this many years ago, we immediately got positive feedback. Now it is just "how things are."

Hell, I shape / police traffic at home to my cable modem. VOIP and interactive ssh are still usable even with huge downloads going on now, and users hammering the public wifi I provide to my neighborhood.

You make a good case, and I agree. I'd like to know whether or not you told your customers how you were shaping their traffic.

I have no issue with enforcing (your idea of) quality of service on a network. What bothers me about Comcast is the general lack of transparency behind it all. Their policies should be public and open to scrutiny, minimally so I know what's going on with the service I'm paying for and ideally so they can be held directly accountable if they implement an absurd form of shaping.

Yup (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224664)

Shaping traffic based on the protocol is generally a good thing, assuming you get it right (i.e. give the protocols that need priority priority). Shaping is compatible with network neutrality, as long as you are not using the address packets originate from or the payload as part of the shaping rule.

Unfortunately, I simply cannot trust that an ISP like Comcast will stick to shaping rules that only use the protocol. This is one of those cases where regulation is needed (particular given how many hand-outs large ISPs have gotten).

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224676)

The only traffic shaping an ISP should be doing is a fair queuing of packets, so each customer gets same backbone bandwidth. Then how the customer chooses to prioritize that traffic should be up the them.

Of course I haven't found a customer-level ISP like that.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225036)

You understand very little of shaping. Prioritization and fair distribution are two mutually exclusive domains. Under proper prioritization (QOS), you can fill your pipe (FTP BT mail download et.al.), but still be at a lower priority than a truly interactive critical data stream(gaming VOIP SSH). Both can max their pipe but the high priority packets need to go when they need to go or problems will surface.

Get a clue first and you will be qualified to find a good ISP.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224796)

Does your college run the last mile through public land that was taken or "borrowed" from the home owners? Does your college charge a monthly fee to the same owners of that land that was taken? Does your college negotiate a monopoly with the local government to ensure they are the only ones that can use that last mile? Effectively making the residents pay for that last mile over and over again and still only have one choice of internet provider over those lines?

I'd rather pay the local government for the last mile and let the providers bid for my individual service over that last mile. The last mile would cost me the same exact amount and I would have a choice of providers.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224946)

Yeah thats great. You are a private school who did NOT sell all its customers an 'unlimited' connection which was a flat out lie.

100% completely different than the case here.

Where they DID claim it was unlimited.. And it's not. They're lying to their customers. And stealing what they paid for.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225440)

There's nothing wrong with QoS and putting some traffic at the front of the router queue. It just means light, latency important packets don't get drowned in a torrent of bulk traffic that doesn't really care what order the packets arrive in. But you still have the same amount of capacity for traffic at the start as the end, you're just determining which app gets to use it first, and which app you're prepared to throw away packets for first if necessary at heavy load.

The article is not about that, but bucket throttling. I.e. each user is throttled to a certain throughput, but have a small 'margin' where they can go faster. This makes the service feel snappier when browsing the 'net or other irregular small bursty traffic, but makes it much slower when doing bulk file transfers or streaming. And of course, the size of the bucket, and the rate at which it gets filled are adjustable based upon how congested the network is - and even based upon your usage pattern.

This isn't traffic shaping in the good sense. This is traffic shaping as in throttling individual users when they're using more bandwidth than you can afford them to shaping. Even the latter is acceptable on a small network with limited bandwidth so it's at least minimally usable - but needing it is a clear demonstration that you don't have enough throughput for all your users. When you're supposed to be in the business of selling bandwidth, that's bad.

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

wye43 (769759) | more than 2 years ago | (#36225554)

What you describe is indeed good, but it should not be done with shaping. It's a functionality implemented at another layer by the TOS flag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_of_Service). While there are some bad apples out there, any decent TCP/IP stack(Linux has it since the stone age) has implemented this at least in its most primitive form (interactive/bulk cases).

Re:not all shaping / policing is bad. (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226548)

Exactly. You can always tell when you've discovered a moron, and idiot, and a downright knuckle-dragger, because they immediately equate all traffic shaping as bad. In fact, traffic shaping is in wide use and is generally a good thing.

Traffic shaping frequently means your SSH session stays fast and responsive despite massive FTP downloads elsewhere. It means your games remain responsive and fun despite your neighbor stealing movies over the next several weeks. It means your HTML is delivered quickly, allowing you to start reading the article while the images, and worse, ads, are still downloaded. It means VOIP with your family in another country remains a high quality experience despite your douche bag neighbor stealing ten movies via bit torrent and complaining about you having the nerve to communicate with family while he's stealing shit.

shaping is better than policing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224536)

I encourage you to look up goodput. TCP is great and eventually reaches steady state. Shaping can help if applied correctly.

Of course, the telcos are probably doing application or flow level shaping. too lazy to RTFA.

PS, beware the bufferbloat beast!

P90X (-1, Flamebait)

sara678 (2193078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224648)

The p90x [p90x-p90x.org] and p90x workout [p90x-p90x.org] will help you to lose your weight and make you more ber.We trust you will interested in it.So if you want to get them,just visit our websit to choose it.This is a good chance.You must catch it

Come and watching here you will enjoy the goods we provide for you such as Insanity DVD [insanity-dvd.org] , Insanity Workout DVD [insanity-dvd.org] which help you do exercise at home and make relax.And now Cheap Insanity DVD is discount so catch this chance to visit

In our website, there are lots of insanity Workout [insanityworkout60.com] for your reference. You can see a lot of Insanity Workout 60 Days [insanityworkout60.com] and results with before and after pictures Insanity workout review [insanityworkout60.com] a complete workout that will get you ripped in 90 days. Please search our website if you have any questions or doubts.

jordan (-1, Offtopic)

sara678 (2193078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224708)

I am sure that it is a large good news for you,it is that Air Jordan supply a lot of Cheap Air Jordan [airjordan113.com] for you sale 50% off.Furthermore they are all nobby for customers as a Fashion Accessories,expecially Air Jordan Shoes [airjordan113.com] .I am waiting for you to come to our outlet store to buy some Air Jordan 1 [airjordan113.com] with reasonable price.

Traffic shaping in of itself is not a problem (1)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224732)

As long as its done in a neutral manner based on whats being sent as opposed to whos sending it.

 

DVD (-1, Offtopic)

sara678 (2193078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224736)

The p90x [p90x-p90x.org] and p90x workout [p90x-p90x.org] will help you to lose your weight and make you more ber.We trust you will interested in it.So if you want to get them,just visit our websit to choose it.This is a good chance.You must catch it

Come and watching here you will enjoy the goods we provide for you such as Insanity DVD [insanity-dvd.org] , Insanity Workout DVD [insanity-dvd.org] which help you do exercise at home and make relax.And now Cheap Insanity DVD is discount so catch this chance to visit

In our website, there are lots of insanity Workout [insanityworkout60.com] for your reference. You can see a lot of Insanity Workout 60 Days [insanityworkout60.com] and results with before and after pictures Insanity workout review [insanityworkout60.com] a complete workout that will get you ripped in 90 days. Please search our website if you have any questions or doubts.

Carrier Status (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36224738)

AT&T and Verizon can haz FCC wireless allocation. What about the others?

ADVERTISED FEATURE of Time Warner and Comcast (4, Informative)

drtsystems (775462) | more than 2 years ago | (#36224860)

This is said (although almost in passing) in the article. But I will repeat it because i know how few of us RTFA. Time Warner advertises its PowerBoost feature (and Comcast has something similar) where you get like double your usual bandwidth limit for "burst" downloads and then you get throttled back to your limit after the burst is complete. This is a FEATURE they advertise, not something bad. It allows you to (for example) get 15mbit when download a web page or small file on your 7mbit plan. Notice its a 7 mbit plan, they are not throttling you below your plan's rated speed. They are giving you faster downloads for a quick burst. There is plenty wrong with Time Warner, but this isn't one of the the problems.

Re:ADVERTISED FEATURE of Time Warner and Comcast (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225120)

My neighbors add a couple more tiers to PowerBoost. Weekends the cablemodem borders on useless for any low latency or sustained streaming service (for example hulu, netflix). Weeknights interactive games are tolerable with hit & miss reliability for sustained streaming. Weekday mornings flawless service.

Re:ADVERTISED FEATURE of Time Warner and Comcast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225382)

Trying to give messing with your bandwidth a positive spin, sounds like newspeak to me.

Re:ADVERTISED FEATURE of Time Warner and Comcast (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225880)

Not true, when I had Time Warner they throttled back my Netflix. I could tell because at first it came through at DVD quality and then dropped down to circa 1990 DIVX blocky crap quite quickly. But the speed was claimed to be 7 Mbit, which should be plenty fast enough for streaming DVD quality, let alone Netflix H.264 high compressed DVD stream. Dropped them for Grande, who was also 7 Mbit and the Netflix was crystal clear every time, all the time.
They may be fixed now, but I initially dropped them as they wanted to add $5 to my account because I didn't subscribe to their TV package. I had them for over 3 years and they claimed that all their advertising was wrong and I was paying too little, and haven't looked back. They are scum and I was a lucky one who has another cable provider, I pity everyone else who doesn't have options.

Back to your point though, with packet shaping it is hard to prove they are shaping your traffic and how much because they probably won't slow down your other traffic that you speed test with which this tool doesn't explore.

Re:ADVERTISED FEATURE of Time Warner and Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36225902)

That's not how Comcast does it in Houston. The "as-advertised" 15mbit plan has a theoretical "boost" of "up to" 15mbit, but there are no guarantees.
I don't know where you are, but I want my Time Warner back.

Re:ADVERTISED FEATURE of Time Warner and Comcast (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36226200)

It wasn't anywhere near "mentioned in passing" in the article. It was stated quite plainly and directly.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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

Submission Text Formatting Tips

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

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

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

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

Loading...