x
Packet inspection/traffic management

Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) denies that it throttles certain types of peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic on its networks. The cable company offered its rebuttal when asked about a popular Web report by TorrentFreak that claims Comcast users have been unable to upload files using the BitTorrent Inc. file-sharing application.

The TorrentFreak report states that Comcast used the Sandvine Inc. traffic management platform to throttle traffic. According to the report, "Sandvine breaks every (seed) connection with new peers after a few seconds if it's not a Comcast user."

"We're not blocking access to any application, and we don't throttle any traffic," says Charlie Douglas, a Comcast spokesman.

Douglas didn't explicitly deny the use of deep packet inspection or traffic shaping products. "[Comcast] has a responsibility to manage our network to ensure our customers have the best service, and we use available technologies to do so."

TorrentFreak founder and writer "Ernesto" (who won't divulge his real name) says he has heard from at least 20 Comcast subscribers that claim to have a problem seeding BitTorrent files outside the Comcast network after they are finished downloading. Seeding refers to the practice of immediately sharing a newly downloaded torrent or file as soon as you've finished downloading it.

Ernesto says Comcast is not the only ISP throttling P2P traffic and he claims there are "at least a dozen [ISPs] in North America throttling or limiting bandwidth" for P2P applications.

Tom Donnelly, executive VP of sales and marketing at Sandvine, wouldn't comment specifically on the Comcast reports but says he "wasn't aware of any service provider blocking BitTorrent traffic or seeding."

Donnelly says it's common for service providers "to have policies in place that treat different types of traffic differently." He adds that certain service providers "may differentiate between on-net and off-net traffic," and that some policies may choose to "address unidirectional traffic flows rather than bidirectional flows."

While not explicitly blocking P2P traffic, these types of policies fall in line with the behavior described in the TorrentFreak post, where unidirectional traffic is only available to "on-net" Comcast subscribers.

Donnelly didn't single out Comcast, but he does defend such service provider policies in general by saying they "maximize the aggregate usage" of service provider networks, providing all users with a good experience.

"Doing nothing is not going to result in the satisfaction of the largest number of users," he says.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

fiber_r_us 12/5/2012 | 3:02:13 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak It is only a matter of time until your choices for Internet service plans look like this:

http://i7.tinypic.com/5z6vt4n....
chip_mate 12/5/2012 | 3:02:13 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak Early in 2007 TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) quietly floated the idea of buying back all the Federal Highways in Texas, making them TxDOT property and putting Toll Booths on all the entrance/exit ramps.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (TX) is outraged with her own State DOT and has introduced legistlation to ban this not only in Texas but the other 49 States as well.

So, the earlier post, meant to be humorous, wasn't that far off the mark of what's really happening.
BigBrother 12/5/2012 | 3:03:32 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak It is stated in the Contract that the ISP deliver the service in the best effort that is why the ISP does not want to let you know that they throttled your service as it is a violation of the contract since it is no longer a best effort.

Also most of the protocol that is currently being use for P2P have their own behavior, so even with encryption, the behavior is still there and this behavior is used to detect the type of protocols you are using. In general the DPI only needs to look at the first few packets and can tell what protocol you are using. A lot of time, you are blindly thorttle even though you may be using some legal content using Torrent.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:03:33 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak I don't run an ISP and I'm not a crypto expert but I would think that encryption would make the theft of intellectual property harder to detect. Also, I don't think a corporate VPN is required for one to hide from accountability as the Bit Torrent drug dealers will help out there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:03:33 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak The internet will change the value of books, music, entertainment, communication...copyrights even?

I sorta agree, though I don't think the value will change but rather the price that can be extracted from unprotected works. We're seeing the superimposition of the free rider problem that the new digital networks have so far enabled.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

It's not really new. Broadcast radio (and later TV) already went through the same lifecycle. The free stuff ends up as little more than ads as the thieves and free riders make it such that a direct market can't function. A modern day tragedy of the commons.
tailpin 12/5/2012 | 3:03:33 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak Interesting post rjmcmahon - a valid but discussable post.

The MSO's walled gardens are not the first or last of the breed. The internet, as a whole, probably reduces the value of information. It has the power to make books...free. Same with music or any other e file. Try to think of the publishing industry -in any media- as anything BUT a walled garden. It was simplex, with a long time constant, and little or no, feedback. Started by the printing press.

People, in their burst of inspired laziness, tried to make it easier to communicate. They came up with the Net. (We should probably start capitalising it - like God). Now it is so easy to communicate, that the value of the previous methods is changed, or changing. It won't fully change until we find some way to filter the noise something akin to the old recording signing agents and book editors in order to make what is out there interesting. We'l lose the financial ability to keep that process in place and the old medias will disappear.

So, what am I saying? The internet will change the value of books, music, entertainment, communication...copyrights even?

Enloy the music and books now, they will not be the same in a decade.
tailpin 12/5/2012 | 3:03:34 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak Does p2p work okay (as in not throttled) thru a corporate VPN?

It seems to me that encryption should not allow the id'ing of p2p traffic.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:03:34 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak Gilmore formulated: "The Internet treats censorship as a fault, and routes around it."

MSOs probably won't be acting as agents for Gilmore's internet. They have a tendency towards walled gardens. If you're in the content business, even as a reseller, P2P really isn't a viable product as it erodes the value of content since most who use this method of distribution aren't respecting copyrights and nobody gets paid.
tailpin 12/5/2012 | 3:03:35 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak It appears to me that something should be happening soon because -

Gilmore formulated: "The Internet treats censorship as a fault, and
routes around it."

Seems to me some smart young person will come up something simple and elegant, will go off and become a legend, and the world will carry on.
melao 12/5/2012 | 3:03:36 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak In my opinion.
There should be state in the contract that certain applications could be throttled.
Meaning, different prices for different services.
If you want to have an "open pipe", pay more.
If you are an average user, pay less.

But what happens right now is that you pay for a service that you dont have it.

The point is, if they want to limit P2P users, it should be stated in the contract when the service is bought. In my opinion it is illegal to limit a service without any agreement.
BigBrother 12/5/2012 | 3:03:38 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak I can tell you it is intended. If I own the network, I would definitely give better servcie to my own customers and careless about others as long as I can give them something the bare minimal. I don't use Bittorrent anymore as it was almost throttle to death in my area. There is no sense in complaining, they are not going to tell you the truth. Did Sandvine ever announce that Comcast is one of their customer? No, of course, Comcast does not want you guys to find out too soon. They will squeeze as much out of their network as possible and add as many users as possible without major network build out. Think about getting rid of all the high runners and they can put a lot more slow running people on it.
BigBrother 12/5/2012 | 3:03:38 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak There are many different policies the ISP can set, for example, if you are a very heavy user, they may throttle you down for other people. They want you to complaint about it so that eventually you will be off the network. There are many ISP that do throttle and Comcast is just one of them. They can also setup policy to give higher priority to their own network users. The only way to bypass this is to create another protocol that will make traffic look like HTTP traffic and they can't throttle you. May be then they will do some more behaviours digging and start throttle again. But the big one is if you are heavy users, they would gladly remove you from the network. They have policy for the top 100 users and can throttle you automatically when you reach a critical point and down to almost nothing except HTTP traffic.
rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:03:39 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak RJS;

One problem in my opinion is a misguided "faith" in competition. It's the promise of facilities based competition that the FCC has used to rid common carriage requirements imposed on telco by previous generations. 700Mhz is more of the same. Don't put your faith in any of that.

Most have one monopoly water supplier and it works. Same for regional electricity. I think internet access will ultimately end up the same way.

Boeing could build the airline industry on the back of exclusive contracts with the US government to carry mail, later to be called airmail. US roads were also constructed to carry physical mail (Rural Free Delivery of mail is very interesting.) So government and exclusivity played a major role in building out those for our society, more than any so-called competition.

The founding fathers of this country new a thing or two about absolute power and what it does.

They also knew about mob rule and what that does and tried to prevent that as well. Today, much of the internet is run by it and it's extremely dysfunctional. In my opinion, that's equally to blame for the lack of progress towards investment in infrastructure.
rjs 12/5/2012 | 3:03:39 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak RJM, the two issues are not exclusive. One can
have municipal networks (as competitors to
the big FOUR). The two issues are independent.
Common carriage has to be enforced for the better
good of the economy. There is no two ways about this.

The last chance to have access without the ILECs in the way as toll-keepers is the wireless spectrum of 700MHZ and guess what, FCC in their "ultimate" wisdom decided to grant the right to open access for devices but no wholesaling. It is a red-herring. Only an idiot or a novice in this space would think otherwise. I would any day prefer to have a wholesale common carriage access to the bandwidth. This would ensure the open access for devices (due to competition) and not the other way around.

Rest assured that once all the "leaks" in the last mile access are fixed, the big four will squeeze and -- I mean really squeeze -- the fiber and wired access to the internet as a monopoly.

The founding fathers of this country new a thing or two about absolute power and what it does. Checks and balances are mandatory and can not be replace by self-policing monopolies.


-RJS



rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:03:40 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak The policy makers just don't get the point about common carriage and why it should be kept separate. Wholesaling should be mandatory to prevent these monopolies from getting out of control.

While I like the idea of structural separation I'm not sure it is the cure all for our industry's problems. The primary challenge we face is one of a lack investment towards infrastructure, an infrastructure with large sunk costs.

Also, a historical example of forced separation which occurred during the days when William Boeing was building the US airline industry actually hurt that industry.

On the roads analogy, we pay a lot more than $20 per month towards those infrastructure costs. We pay gas taxes, vehicle fees, issue infrastructure bonds, etc. and that doesn't include externalities like a DoD that protects international shipping lanes, protects pipelines on foreign lands, tries to build "democracies" in foreign societies, etc.

So I'll suggest the problem isn't that monopolies are out of control per se, but society hasn't stepped up to the plate to solve the problem.
jwmarc 12/5/2012 | 3:03:40 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak yeah I know I messed up on "neutrality"
jwmarc 12/5/2012 | 3:03:41 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak And there have been enough RFPs and deals to substantiate the market....remember "net nutrality"??.. the thought was to have product in place if the battle was won and immediately proceed with throttling the likes of Google,Yahoo and all the other big portals that were getting the "free ride" as a major telco executive said publically....
jwmarc 12/5/2012 | 3:03:41 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak And carlos Slim...is he the benefactor??
ozip 12/5/2012 | 3:03:42 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak As the article states, many operators attempt to control the distribution of traffic to ensure fair usage. Put mores simply, this is no different than the old days of enterprises prioritizing telnet over FTP. It seems reasonable because they want their customers to have a good interactive experience using http.

However, there is a more complex problem. Most DPI boxes claim that they can look at the complete contents of every packet that goes through them, however in practice, this is usually not the case either due to the way the product was deployed, such as the long suffering in-line or out-of-line debate; or the processing power/cost of the device trade-off.

Therefore DPI vendors end-up building "black box" applications that run on their platforms using the minimum amount of hardware resource while attempting to address the problems when out-of-line is used. The solutions show promise when tested on a smaller scale but other problems such as this appear at scale.

I would bet that this is an unintended consequence of the mechanism that Sandvine is using to manage p2p traffic. The big question is whether its a bug, or a fundamental design problem.

Unfortunately, the structure of the routing business (and CMTS) is such that DPI technology isn't in the routers where it should be, and operators are forced to attempt to solve legitimate problems with these add-on devices.

OZIP
OldPOTS 12/5/2012 | 3:03:43 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak RJS said " am waiting for the govt to sell the Interstate
highway system to some big corporation (most likely one of the oil companies or the above four).
Then we can all be very content paying 19.99 a month for the right to use it."
----------------

Well a Mexican company is about to build the Trans-Texas Corridor. The TTC is a tollroad from Mexico to Oklahoma and later on to Kansas. Any guesses what the toll will be a month?

But don't mess with Texans!

OP

I just couldn't resist!
rjs 12/5/2012 | 3:03:43 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak ATT, VERIZON, TIME WARNER and COMCAST. The new
Ma Bells of telecom. Get used to the monopoly
and tacit understanding of maintaining it.

Comcast has already more customers for the VoIP than
Vonage and the P2P on Comcast sucks.

I am waiting for the govt to sell the Interstate
highway system to some big corporation (most likely one of the oil companies or the above four).
Then we can all be very content paying 19.99 a month for the right to use it.

The policy makers just don't get the point about common carriage and why it should be kept separate. Wholesaling should be mandatory to prevent these monopolies from getting out of control.


-RJS
Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 3:03:44 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak http://www.born-today.com/Toda...
DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:03:45 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak who is this ernesto character anyway?
skillsss 12/5/2012 | 4:08:33 PM
re: Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak


-Šone thing...but an ISP using its platform for social engineering purposes is quite another.




The American Public and the FCC need to keep an eye on ISPs. Comcast has been censoring conservative message board posters in my opinion. Because dominant ISP Comcast is a gateway to the internet, they control many eyeballs. Comcast's systematic censoring of conservative opinions on their News & Current Events message boards needs to cease and desist. If Comcast gets tax breaks from local government, then they have a civic, ethical, moral and perhaps legal obligation to provide fair and balanced moderation of their message boards. This type of social engineering is an outrage. Please get involved. Silence is consent. Post a conservative response to a News or Current Events thread here and see for yourself.



http://community.comcast.net/c...



This is America...Not CHINA


axcdvrev 3/30/2018 | 8:19:42 AM
EDU I visit this page for the first time but I really like this page and there are so many reasons to liking this page e.g. attractive color scheme, easy language and organized information. I also write about this page on https://www.wizessay.com/editing/ site in detail.
Debra.Hammons3 7/2/2019 | 7:36:15 AM
Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak Great job! We are happy to offer writing support for you to ensure that you have strong arguments to put forward, developed ideas and opinions, and references to back-up the information on your paper, https://essaybox.com/essay-help/
HOME
Sign In
SEARCH
CLOSE
MORE
CLOSE