Damning Proof Comcast Contracted To Sandvine

Comcast told its employees to not comment when customers ask about recent reports in an AP article that it contracted BitTorrent sabotaging to a company called Sandvine, or to even discuss that a relationship exists between the two companies. Too bad that Barron’s financial magazine reported back in April that the two are in bed together:

“Sandvine already counts top U.S. cable provider Comcast Corp (CMCSA) among its customers, Barron’s said.” – Easing network debate may aid Allot/Sandvine-paper, Reuters, Sun Apr 8, 2007

Here’s the orginal Barron’s article (subscription required): Here’s How the Drama Over ‘Net Neutrality End

Sandvine also posted the article in the press archives section on their very own website.

Oops. Hard to play the no comment game when the facts are already in print.

PREVIOUSLY:
LEAKS: Insider Tells Us There’s Proof Comcast Contracts BitTorrent Sabotaging To Sandvine
Comcast’s “We Don’t Throttle BitTorrent” Internal Talking Points Memo

Comments

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  1. Mojosan says:

    Umm…use another internet provider?

  2. louisb3 says:

    @Mojosan: Umm… there are none?

  3. jerkius says:

    then youre shit out of luck. stop using bittorrent for illegal purposes and maybe comcast wont have to bitchslap you back ito line.

    their network, their rules. dont like it? switch to dialup, pirate.

  4. scoobydoo says:

    Their only defense is probably that Sandvine does more than just P2P blocking. They also have network security products. But I agree that knowing Comcast they probably are just lying to us.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    @jerkius: Um. How about those of us using bittorrent for LEGAL purposes? I regularly rely on bittorrent for downloading ISO images of various linux distos. Some newer games now utilize peer file transfers similar to bittorrent for distributing patches. Hell, just go to http://www.bittorrent.com and check out what’s available there LEGALLY from content providers like MTV, Comedy Central, etc.

    Also, the technology that Comcast is using is also apparently throttling legit applications like Lotus Notes.

  6. f0nd004u says:

    Uhm, I think we’re all forgetting that violation of net neutrality is still *illegal*. It doesn’t matter what you’re shipping over BT; Comcast’s pipes are protected by law to not give preference to any particular data type. They are not just being assholes; they’re violating the law.

  7. BugMeNot2 says:

    @f0nd004u:
    Actually, it isn’t illegal, there isn’t a law either way about traffic shaping. It’s amoral and despicable but not illegal. If it’s illegal, please cite the law. Well, there might be laws on the books in some states about faking someone else’s identity, which is what they’re doing by sending out forged RST packets.

    This wouldn’t be so bad if their ToS mentioned their right to cut you off or restrict certain types of data. Cause nobody reads ToS agreements anyway and it would have covered their asses.

  8. flyover says:

    So happy to see this kind of fact exploration! I feel so proud – nice job!

  9. dlayphoto says:

    It should be noted that some ISPs will actually limit bandwidth for accounts they deems as high traffic:

    [www.azureuswiki.com]

  10. Charles Duffy says:

    @jerkius: Some of my friends run a startup doing online distribution (mostly) of extreme sports videos. Their underlying technology is based on BitTorrent technology, though it’s heavily extended and wrapped. Certainly, Sandvine’s technology would interrupt connections to, from and between their clients — but there’s certainly nothing illegal about it.

    BitTorrent has commercially significant noninfringing uses, and this kind of action makes the ‘net less of the level-ground venue it has been where anyone with a good idea and minimal capital can launch a business (or a noncommercial venture). This kind of action may not be illegal at present, but even so it’s certainly anything but kosher.

  11. @jerkius: And when did downloading an iso of Fedore Core 7 become illegal? Exactly….

  12. Xkeeper says:

    @jerkius: Thank you for helping me get to know the “flag comment” button.

    In other news, haha. Comcast 0, everyone else 1.

    By the way, what if Comcast is blocking web connections to a certain server? There are two I know of that are blocked specficially on Comcast and no others…

  13. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @jerkius:
    You’ve made this same point on several posts. Anything substantial to contribute?

  14. uricmu says:

    @scoobydoo: They’re technically not lying, they’re taking the Fifth. They didn’t say they didn’t contract Sandvine, just that they “won’t comment on it”.

  15. ShadowFalls says:

    The problem with the traffic shaping is also the limitation of software design. It isn’t just protocol-oriented, it is behavior-oriented as well.

    Comcast isn’t doing this to play pirate police or anything of the sort, they are trying to save money. They don’t have the network to handle so many people, so they start throttling. They don’t want to upgrade their networks because it will cost money they don’t want to spend.

    The issue? When doing throttling, Comasst is also more than likely doing false advertising at the same time. I am sure they advertise their internet as High-Speed or something of that nature. If it isn’t High-Speed when you need it to be, than it isn’t High-Speed.

    Comcast can try and twist this all they want, but nothing will change the real reason they are doing it, and that is because they are cheap. Many companies take profits and use them to improve their products and services. Comcast is content to sit on what they got till it stops rolling in profits.

  16. sykl0ps says:

    another legal use of bit torrent that people don’t even know they’re using it are games like World of Warcraft that use bit torrent type file sharing for their updates. I’m sure others are doing this as well.

  17. f0nd004u says:

    @bugmenot2:

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    Thats the article on net neutrality law in the US. The FCC stipulates that an ISP cannot discriminate against or for any certain type of internet traffic. Telcos have been lobbying against this legislation for years.

  18. mantari says:

    OH HAI! I did some free Consumerist research. Here is what I found:
    ———————————————————————————————-

    Sandvine provides deep packet inspection systems to a “Tier 1 US Service Provider” (5+ million residential high speed customers, which could only be either Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, or Verizon. [sandvine.com press release copy from Broadband Today]

    Deep Packet Inspection and Net Neutrality [sandvine.com press release / Reuters] – Yes. Indentifies Comcast as one of Sandvine’s customers.

    This Sandvine PDF Document describes Deep Packet Inspection as “A form of computer network packet filtering that exmaines the data part of a through-passing packet, searching for illegal statements to decide if the packet can pass. A classified packet can be redirected, marked/tagged (i.e., for enhanced Quality of Service), BLOCKED, rate limited and reported to a reporting agent in the network.

    This Sandvine Prospectus [PDF Document] defines Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) as “A form of computer network packet filtering that examines the data part of a through-passing packet, searcing for pattern or behaviors in order to enable classification of the packet. A classified packet can be redirected, marked/tagged (i.e., for enhanced Quality of Service), BLOCKED, rate limited and reported to a reporting agent in the network.

    The PDFs docuemnts (above) DO NOT list Time Warner Cable, AT&T, or Verizon as a customer. It DOES list Comcast as a customer.

    Read this quote from Comcast once again, and you tell me how it compares with the reality of Deep Packet Inspection: “We also respect our customers’ privacy and don’t monitor specific customer activities on the Internet or track individual online behavior.


    COMCAST: YOU NEED TO PULL YOUR PANTS BACK UP. BUSTED!

  19. mantari says:

    Sorry.
    PDF #1 and PDF #2

  20. mantari says:

    Sandvine’s document [2004] on P2P traffic issues for ISPs. – Lots of great gems in here. Lots of background on why an ISP would hate P2P traffic.

    More explanation of Deep Packet Inspection, which is used in “stateful policy management”. It clearly says that it listens in on P2P conversations. (Although it lists one nice benefit of potentially redirecting traffic between members on the same ISP, to reduce overall traffic.)

    “As P2P continues to thrive, service providers block P2P traffic at their own peril.” (Not subscriber friendly, and does not improve Brand Integrity.)

  21. mconfoy says:

    I think jerkoff, I mean jerkius, is a troll, or Comcast employee, or works for the RIAA, given this is his only comments and he never responds when his nonsense is shown to be garbage.

  22. mantari says:

    Sorry. Even more stuff. Session Management: BitTorrent Protocol “Managing the Impact on Subscriber Experience – Some good quotes:

    “The primary goal … is to decrease upstream bandwidth without impacting the subscriber’s experience.”

    “Session management provides the flexibility to set the number of connections that are allowed between network regions (internal vs external for example). Setting this value to zero blocks all connections of the specified type, either unidirectional or bi-directional.”

    “In general, to achieve any savings, the limit must be selected such that there is on average less than one unidirectional upload per seed.”

    What all of this seems to tell me is that they’ve got a limiter in place that limits the number of outbound (upload) CONNECTIONS going outside of the Comcast network. Once they’ve reached the limit, new connections are prevented, until the overall number on their network dips below a certain threshold.

    As mentioned in one of my posts above, they seem to also be using software to encourage BitTorrent transfers to happen inside of their network without touching the public Internet.

    So, this looks like a very aggressive traffic management policy that invidivually looks at your packets, sees where the upload (seed) is going to, and if it is going off-network, it’ll be compared against a global limit. If all subscribers combined exceed that limit, the upload is blocked.

    So, yes, net neutrality issue. “If you’re not uploading a file to a user on our network, we reserve the right to limit the number of our customers who can be uploading at any one time.”

  23. BigNutty says:

    Another failed attempt of a company trying to implement damage control and what their employees are allowed to say.

    If you tell one lie, you need to tell another to cover up the first lie, and so on and so on.

  24. mantari says:

    Summary of findings:

    * – Sandvine produces a high speed traffic switch (PTS 14000).
    * – Sandvine says they contracted with a Tier 1 US ISP for the PTS 14000.
    * – Broadband Today limits the list to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon
    * – Sandvine lists none of the above as customers, except for Comcast
    * – The traffic switch uses Deep Packet Inspections
    * – The “Deep Packet Inspection” devices listen into customers’ traffic
    * – It can limit the number of BitTorrent uploads that go to the Internet
    * – It can enforce this limit by blocking uploads after a certain global threshold

  25. jerrygoldsmith says:

    Gee wiz, not everyone who uses bittorrent uses it for ‘evil pirating’. What about developers, or other open source moguls who for some reason only release certain things on BT.

    Everyone I know uses BT, and only a small handful do it for illegal purposes (that I know of!).

    Thing is, this can be used to ‘listen’ to your personal information as well. Encrypt traffic? Comcast doesn’t like that, you might be doing Bitorrent or P2P! I wouldn’t be suprised if in the future our encrypted bank sessions, private emails, and more are logged and catagorized, if they aren’t already. Most ISP’s are keeping records of our internet usage as it is…..

  26. Buran says:

    @jerkius: I looked at your comment history and all you’ve ever posted is this same damn rant. It’s getting tiring, and apparently you either are a paid shill, incredibly ignorant (whether willfully or not) of what the word “assume” breaks down into, of the fact that you have absolutely no proof of your ridiculous accusation, of the fact that by your logic anyone who uses any protocol that can transfer files is a crook, and I could go on and on and on and on.

    I’m flagging this stupidity, even though I know others already have, because I don’t think we need to be enlightened by your “opinion” any longer. Once was okay. Twice, maybe. This many times? Enough already.

  27. Buran says:

    @ShadowFalls: They sold the capacity. People want to get what they paid for. They can either stop overselling their capacity or upgrade their network, not lie to their paying customers.

  28. ukthom says:

    This isn’t just a problem in the states…BritishTelecom does the same damn thing on their lines, as well. Paying for Top-tier speeds, and getting near dial-up capability is a constant issue for me. They’ve oversold the pipe, and now limit my speeds to maintain a service to all of the customers on my line. This includes a high school, a hospital, and a few major businesses.

    It’s a crappy setup, IMHO.

  29. twiddling_my_thumbs says:

    There is one thing that must be held in account. The internet we know and use today is something that taxpayers mostly paid for.

    Since it was heavily subsidized by DARPA and also ARPANET. Much of the backbone structure is in place due to funding by the people of the US. Them same citizens continue to pay for it.

    How soon they forget the hand that fed them. They worry more about what they think will bring about the greatest return and not what the driver of the wide area network really is. The consumer!

    The FCC needs to uphold the (ISP’s) to the contract they offered to the American people when they were handed the keys. Fine caretakers they turned out to be.

  30. HeHateMe says:

    Uhmmm… since sandvine is used, could it be possible that they began to use it for the digital voice product first? You know, to use during those times that the network is congested so they can give packets from their digital voice product a higher priority? So they don’t get caught up in the congestion and all, you know… Just a thought.

  31. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Industry shilliness (if that’s actually a word) has been dealt with. Thanks to all who brought it to my attention.

  32. JustAGuy2 says:

    @f0nd004u:

    Um, I think you’re forgetting that this just isn’t true. Comcast is NOT a common carrier, they provide, legally, an information service, so they don’t have to provide open access. So long as they don’t try to inspect the individual content (i.e. blocking porn torrents while allowing others), they’re in the clear as far as safe harbor provisions go.

  33. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Buran:

    They sold a service. You want 12Mbps CBR. That’s 8 T-1s, or about $3200/month.

  34. howie_in_az says:

    @mantari: “The primary goal … is to decrease upstream bandwidth without impacting the subscriber’s experience.”

    I wonder why only upstream and not downstream as well. Bandwidth is bandwidth, yesno?

  35. JustAGuy2 says:

    @howie_in_az:

    The way the cable network is built, there’s a lot more downstream capacity available than upstream (overall, it’s about 20:1). Remember, it was originally built as a 1-way distribution network for television programming.

  36. Logan26 says:

    @justaguy2

    1. They advertise “UNLIMITED INTERNET ACCESS”, just what the hell does that imply to you?
    2. Comcast is a common carrier, They are like the 3rd or 4th largest ISP in the US.
    3. 12Mbps does not require 8 T1s or 3200 a month. Hell my FIOS connection is faster than that and is only $45/month

    @jerkius
    Stop being a tool and learn something before you post.

  37. Logan26 says:

    @howie_in_az

    Thats why TimeWarner has the best up stream bandwidth of any cable ISP, close to 2Mbit, been that way for a very long time although they are starting to throttle that back in some areas. Comcrapstic offers upto 12Mbit down but only 768kbps max up.

  38. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Logan26:

    1. It means Unlimited, within the realm of the TOS. I agree, they should include some hard bandwidth caps in the TOS.

    2. Just because they’re an ISP doesn’t mean they’re a common carrier given the legal definition of common carrier. Cable modem is an information service legally, not a communications service.

    3. 12Mbps _CBR_ – that’s Constant Bit Rate. Your FiOS service is, like Comcast’s, a “best efforts” service. They say up to 20Mbps, but they don’t actually promise anything – if you only get 56kbps, your only recourse is to cancel. If you want a Service Level Agreement that actually guarantees you a given bitrate, you need to get a T-1/3/whatever, which will set you back about $400 for each 1.5Mbps of capacity.

  39. mantari says:

    @howie_in_az: Why only upstream being throttled? From reading all of Sandvine’s documents, they point out that customers are extremely sensitive to their download speeds being throttled. Yes, you can use Sandvine services to restrict user download bandwidth and such, but you end up with screaming users.

    Sandvine thought that, although it would have a lesser impact on traffic, it would be much less consumer unfriendly to put a limit on the _number_ of BitTorrent uploads on their network. Or… users probably wouldn’t notice a thing.

    Further, they only interfere with the upstream connections of torrents that aren’t currently being downloaded. So if you’re seeding (because you’re providing a new file, or because you’ve finished download a file), you’re upstream _connections_ are a target.

  40. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    So doesnt this only prove they have a relationship, but not what the tasks/goals of Sandvine are. Obama is related to Cheney. Does that make him responsible for the evil Bush master plan?

  41. Logan26 says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    1. The make no mention of their TOS when the Unlimited Internet flashes on the screen, matter of fact, the onl time anything about anything legal or TIS related comes in the last 4 seconds of the commercials in very small print and UIA is no longer talked about or on the screen. So yes, they are very misleading with their advertising.

    2. the cable itself is the communications service and that cable along with all equipment needed for the interenet is apart of that service. Specially now that they are offering telephone service of THEZIR own, not from one of the big telecoms.

    3. My FIOS is a constant 15/2 line no matter the number of people on the same line. Thats the nice thing about FIOS over cable, its constant, not reliant on the number of other on my same connection line. Another thing to mention, is TW compared to Comcrapstic, has much better lines for internet service. I live in the boonie of NC, the nearest TW hook up was 50 miles from me, but my speeds were the as the guy living 1 miles from the same hook up point I was on. In Comcrapstic land, your lucky if you get 50% of what they advertise that far away from the junctions.

  42. Eilonwynn says:

    The *very last* bit of this article is FASCINATING – [news.therecord.com]

    Quote: “As usual, most of Sandvine’s revenue came from a single customer which Sandvine refers to as “Customer A.”

    I would love to know if that is Comcast (the article suggests it does) – There are comments about most of the money coming from the US.

    I’m mostly curious not that comcast IS doing it, but what other companies are (We think Rogers in Canada is, but no proof) – And if there *are* other companies doing this, how is it that Sandvine was so easily caught, but not others?

    Also, how is it that Sandvine, which before their IPO in 2006 hadn’t made a profit, is now *apparently* the toast of the town? If all their money is coming from the states, their investors have to be sweating the conversion rate.

    (Full disclosure: I live maybe 10 minutes from Sandvine’s HQ, and have to fight the urge daily to paper the parking lot with notes on how evil packet-shaping is. Especially considering that at the school they graduated from, pirated movies are shown in the student centre. (unless they truly are “for our consideration”. I’m just sayin’. – They’re showing the simpsons movie on Nov 10, when the film won’t be released on DVD until mid-december)

  43. ShadowFalls says:

    @Buran:

    That is exactly what I am mentioning. Comcast wants to sit on what they have and meanwhile still increase their number of customers at the same time.

    Comcast has been doing it for awhile, they keep selling the same product even when they can’t supply what they have sold.

    Now, what if I was selling nothing but foot long hot dogs and I ran out. I then find some regular-sized hot dogs and still proceed to sell the regular-sized hot dogs in a foot long hot dog bun, meanwhile charging the same price. Would that be ok with you? Would that be ok with anyone who has no other choice? This is what Comcast is doing.

    Many would see this as fraud, even the law sees this as such. Definitely when you knowingly do it such as Comcast has been doing.

  44. Logan26 says:

    Another thing, if they dont outline their limits in their TOS, which they dont, they should be hit with a class action suit by those they are affecting with their actions. Shame more people dont groupup when they get pissed off.

  45. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Logan26:

    You don’t seem to understand, Common Carrier, telecommunications service, and information service are legal terms, with specific meanings. Comcast’s internet service is an information service, which means that they’re not actually required to allow access to any internet sites – they could actaully block google. They don’t, because (a) it would be stupid, and piss customers off, and (b) they would lose the ability to avoid responsibility for the sites their customers DO access. This responsibility doesn’t extend to particular applications – they can choose to block BitTorrent, or Gopher, or web browsing, or IM, if they really wanted to. Again, most of those would be stupid, but they could legally.

  46. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    Really, what they’ve sold, to use your analogy, is cards for membership in a hot dog club. Come into the store, get a hot dog. They buy hot dogs based on a reasonable expectation of how many people will come in on a given day to eat hot dogs. Then, the South Beach diet is launched, and a few people start rushing in to get hot dogs ten times a day(while throwing away the bun). At that point, the hot dog seller decides to sell only hot dogs that are blended in with the bun, so you can’t get the dog without the bun, thereby keeping the South Beachers away.

    Again, Comcast oversubscribes. So does every cable operator and telco on the planet. Even on the regular, hyper-regulated phone network – if 1/6 of Americans picked up the phone at the same time, the entire network would collapse.

  47. ninjatales says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: Don’t be so naive.

    Far as I am concerned, this is the USA and we do not need no stinkin Communist style control over our lives.

    MyCoke and Jerkhoff. You guys can pack your bags and move out to China. They monitor your phone lines and internet usage all the time in the name of national security! I’m sure you’ll feel at home there just fine.

  48. ShadowFalls says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    Don’t twist my analogy into something other than what it is. What you are mentioning isn’t fact, just random superstitions.

    Sure Comcast is not the only one who does it, but does that still make it ok? If a person shoots another person, do you think it is ok because others do it too?

    Perhaps I am spoiled because I get the speed I pay for, and that my cable company doesn’t do what Comcast does, not everyone has that luxury, but should it be a luxury?

    Your whole thing is that everyone should just take what Comcast does to them and enjoy it. It is is like you are just saying, “Be thankful they don’t screw you over more.”

  49. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    Actually, it is fact. Every cable company, everywhere on the planet, and every telco, everywhere on the planet, oversubscribes service. Do you really think that there’s a 6Mbps pipe between your house and the internet sitting idle whenever you’re asleep? Of course not. If they did, cable infrastructure that designed to serve an area with 500 homes could only serve about 6 homes. The business simply wouldn’t work.

  50. jawacg says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    My DSL isn’t the fastest connection in the world, but I can tell you I get what I pay for without any bullshit. They even warn me of system outages when they are UPGRADING the pipe. Does that support your statement that every telco oversubscribes? Quit with the rationalizations and splitting hairs over the terminology and meanings of said. If they are going to use loaded words about their usage then they need to put the conditions in as large print as the sales pitch. As far as them snooping and throttling traffic, they need to grow a set and just tell people that’s what they are doing and why they are doing it instead of looking like corporate schmucks and refusing to confirm or deny. After all, it’s not like they aren’t rolling in it anyway.

  51. ShadowFalls says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    Sorry, my connection is not that slow, and yes I get full use of my speed whenever I need or choose to use it. So do I get what I pay for? Yes I do. You are incorrect saying that every provider oversubscribes.

    Also, only an ignorant fool thinks you can get a direct pipe to the internet. The internet is not a location, it is a collection of computers and other network devices connected to each other.

  52. ThePopoversAreDone says:

    I wish I had found this site sooner!
    Unfortunately I am soon to be terminated
    from Cox Communications Internet Service
    ostensibly because I have complained about
    some of my emails taking 4-18 hours to reach me. I have been waiting to get this
    fixed since the first week in September.
    I’ve called, I’ve written letters and even
    called the FCC (always a thrill). However, the letter I received said
    they(Cox) could not meet my expectations,which is silly because all they need to do to meet my expectations is fix the problem. It’s been interesting on some level, but sad too
    and now as I’m nearing the end of my tenure, I feel a certain remorse and a certain sadness. Actually, it has been a
    very interesting story and I would be happy to provide details and now that I
    think of it, it would make a great story
    for the Consumerist!

  53. FLConsumer says:

    I call bullshit on Comcast. They also claim that they don’t block ports, but they definitely block port 445 (which is where some of my business routers have their consoles located). Port 444, no problem, Port 446, no problem. 445, packets never reach the routers from Comcast.

  54. bendsley says:

    I live in TX. I’ve seen the NOC here at Suddenlink cable in the city where I live, and they too have a Sandvine box in their arsenal. I can’t say that I’ve really noticed bit-torrent throttling, but never can be too sure.

  55. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    Clearly, you just don’t understand oversubscription. When done right (i.e. actual traffic matches or is below what’s modeled), it means that customers DO get the service level promised. The fact that you don’t use your full bandwidth 24/7 means that the service provider CAN oversubscribe, and you still “get what you pay for.”

    They tell you it’s a best efforts offering. If you want an SLA, where they actually commit to a particular service level, you can get that, but at about $400/month per 1.5Mbps of capacity, more outside major urban areas.

  56. Logan26 says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    And you dont have to do that with the advent of FIOS as it is a constant connection of the speed you pay for. It does not matter how many other subscribers are on your same line as each subscriber has their own dedicated FIOS line to the connection site. Its is why Verizon is spending millions to get it spread out here in Maryland and other places. A few cable companies are moving their enitre backbone to fiber optics because it offers far supior bandwidth. MCI, which is the backbone of the whole US as far as internet subscriber line(they provide to all ISPs) has already done this so that the companies they provide to can start upgrading their backbones to fiber optic lines. The fact that Comcraapstic has to resort to such tactics is because they refuse to upgrade anything to newer hardware that would be able to support the needs of their customers.

    I pay $45 a month for my 15Mbit down and 2Mbit up connection.
    [URL=http://www.speedtest.net][img][www.speedtest.net]][/URL]

  57. Logan26 says:

    And incase you think I’m full of it, I just downloaded the 1.77GB demo of Crysis in under 30 minutes with an average DL speed of 1.4MB/s

  58. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Logan26:

    Logan, I hate to break it to you, but:

    1. FiOS and cable are essentially identical except for the last 3000 or so feet to your house. For that portion, Verizon is fiber, and Comcast is coax.

    2. Your connection is oversubscribed too. The fact that your line back to the central office isn’t shared doesn’t mean that the links from the central office to the backbone aren’t. If all the customers in your area tried to use their 15Mbps service at the same time, you wouldn’t see 15Mbps.

  59. Logan26 says:

    Now I have you. I happen to work on one of the crews installing this stuff, IT IS 100% FIBER OPTIC from the connection to all neighborhoods. Sorry pal, go peddle your lies elsewhere. As I said before, Verizon is sinking Millions into this venture.

  60. Logan26 says:

    Incase you are wondering, verizon started laying Fiber Optic Cabling from their connection offices to neighborhoods across Maryland 2 years ago and it is currently in about 1/3 of the state and still growing.

  61. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Logan26:

    What do you mean you “have me?” I said, in my post, that “FiOS and cable are essentially identical except for the last 3000 or so feet to your house.” This is true. Both networks are 100% fiber up to that point. From that point on, FiOS is fiber to the home, cable is coax.

    Actually, Verizon is sinking billions into the venture, not millions. About $18 billion through 2010.

    This is an upgrade Verizon needed to make to be competitive with Comcast (and other cable operators) who put $80-90 billion into their networks between about 1998 and 2004.

  62. bravo says:

    Logan26 and Justaguy2: your argument adds nothing to this conversation. take it elsewhere.

  63. JustAGuy2 says:

    @bravo:

    Thank you for your esteemed comment, which added to much to this discussion of oversubscription and bandwidth management policies at Comcast. As soon as you buy Gawker, please do come back, and I’ll be happy to take my comments elsewhere.

  64. cerbie says:

    I hope Comcast gets nailed good over this.

    If you don’t have the bandwidth, and actually throttle bandwidth, all is OK. Not well, not great, but OK. Your new *dora or *buntu may only come in at 250KB/s, instead of 600KB/s of us folks with a network that can reach advertised performance :).

    But, er…blocking a user by blocking packets and inserting reset packets that didn’t really come from where your software thought they were coming from…I don’t know, there. I might go as far as to say I might call it a denial of service attack, sprinkling in terms like man-in-the-middle, spoofing, etc. for good measure.

  65. Trackback says:

    We still can’t figure out why Comcast doesn’t just come right out and admit what it’s doing in jamming certain kinds of traffic. It’s not like it’s a secret any more — and the longer Comcast tries to play dumb on this, the worse it looks for the company.

  66. ShadowFalls says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    Wrong again. I get 15mbps, Paying $65 a month.

    I make use of my bandwidth 24/7. If I am not personally using it, someone else is. For my cable company to provide me such bandwidth? All they had to do was tell my cable modem to provide said bandwidth and it was provided.

    There was nothing else needed to be done as my cable company does not oversubscribe for their network. When they get close to capacity, they compensate for it by installing additional equipment.

    At no time has there been issues with anyone in my cable provider’s subscription area not getting the bandwidth they paid for. Sorry dude, your arguments don’t hold up to actual fact. Makes me wonder where you get your supposed “facts” from.

    I could think of one place you are pulling it from, but usually it is just a waste exit…

  67. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    You just don’t get it. You don’t make use of your bandwidth 24/7. Well, maybe you do, but not everybody does. Are you saying you’re actually _transferring_ 15Mbps 24/7? Saturating your pipe? I don’t think so.
    Oversubscription is (when done right) entirely transparent to the customer. It’s like a gym – they sell more memberships than they could possible handle all at one time, because not every customer comes all day, every day. Or does your gym only sell memberships to 10 people, because that’s how many treadmills they have?

    If you do oversubscription right, everybody DOES get the bandwidth they pay for, that’s the whole point.

    All oversubscription means is that the operator, through a statistical model, sells more bandwidth than they actually have. Everybody does it, and it works fine, until that model breaks down.

    BTW, I assume you’re a Cablevision customer, based on the service offering you mentioned. Just so you know, about 60-100 people in your area share 38Mbps of actual bandwidth for internet service, and you all get your 15Mbps when you actually use it.

  68. Trai_Dep says:

    @Charles Duffy: BitTorrent has commercially significant noninfringing uses, and this kind of action makes the ‘net less of the level-ground venue it has been where anyone with a good idea and minimal capital can launch a business (or a noncommercial venture). This kind of action may not be illegal at present, but even so it’s certainly anything but kosher.

    Thank you! This is exactly the concern that anyone interested in a strong, vibrant US economy should be up in arms about. Calcified quasi-monopolies shouldn’t be able to pick winners and losers in such a fashion.

    While the tech sector moves so fast that laws are often outstripped by which laws are on the books, this is clearly bad policy. Why give other countries the edge to create the Next Big Thing that will rule the web?

    Net Neutrality. Now.

  69. Benstein says:

    I have to agree with the other posters here. FIOS is unbelievable. I get exactly what I pay for, when I first got it I used 3 or 4 of the speed test sites at different times of the day for a couple of days. In that small sampling, it was the exact bandwidth I purchased. The other benefit is that it is NEVER down. When I had Comcast cable it went down every time it warmed up after a long period of cold. For someone who basically can’t function without the internet (as I am sure many of the people in this community would be), this is invaluable. FIOS is highly recommended by me if you can get it.

  70. ShadowFalls says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    Well, you do know what assuming does right? It is an old saying.
    But you are wrong, I am not a Cablevision customer.

    Also, whether you think or not, I do make heavy use of my connection at all times. Sure 24/7 might be exaggerating abit, it is more around 20/7. But, still no issues with bandwidth.

    The gym analogy doesn’t really work. You are talking about physical equipment and mass compared to physical equipment and data transfer speeds. Obviously two people can’t occupy the same space at any given time, that has nothing to do with this whole situation.

    Are you seriously telling me it is impossible for a company to sell a specified bandwidth and provide said bandwidth to all its customers at any given time in a properly maintained network? If you are telling me that, then something might not be triggering up there properly…

    I am not saying it is common, I am saying it does happen. The fact that it is not common is a problem within itself.

    If a movie theater oversold tickets to a showing, do you think it would be ok that when you went in there, that there were no seats for you because they did that? And they say, we didn’t expect all those people to show up at that time. Sorry, please take a seat on the floor. Would that be fine and dandy for you? Or would you be upset?

  71. Trai_Dep says:

    Sigh. Sorry, all. Paying too much attention to the pretty formatting and not enough to the text.

    “…While the tech sector moves so fast that applicable laws are often outstripped by events on the ground, this is clearly bad policy.”

  72. Logan26 says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    Apparently you were not reading or have no comprehension skills. I AM WORKING ON ONE OF THE CREWS WHO ARE LAYING THIS STUFF OUT AND IT IS 100% FIBER FROM THE CONNECTION JUNCTIONS(Verizons main offices to the remote sights to neighborhoods to the house, its all Fiber Optics now) TO THE HOUSE.

  73. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Logan26:

    That’s what I said! Verizon is fiber all the way from the backbone to the house. Cable is fiber to about 3k feet from the house, and coax from there. What’s the misunderstanding?

  74. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    OK, I give up. Bottom line, every operator oversubscribes. Period. If they do it right, then the customers never notice, because not all customers are using the connection every minute, and not all are using it at full speed (if you’re accessing a webserver that will only stream content to you at 1Mbps, it doesn’t matter how fast your connection is, the bottleneck is elsewhere). As a result, you can have less bandwidth in your network than the sum of the bandwidth offered to each customer (i.e. have 50Mbps of total bandwidth but have 10 customers each with a 25Mbps connection).

    The more the operator oversubscribes, however, the greater the risk that too many of your customers WILL want to use the connection at the same time, and hence people start not getting the bandwidth you advertised.

    I don’t know which cable operator you have, but every cable operator in the country (Cox, Comcast, Mediacom, TW Cable, Insight, Advance Newhouse/Brighthouse, Cablevision, Charter, etc., etc.) dedicates one downstream channel to data (a few are considering going to 2-4 once DOCSIS 3.0 launches next year and they can bond those channels to offer 75-150Mbps service), which is a max of 38Mbps total. This is shared among, at minimum (and this is a real minimum) 10 customers. Usually, it’s more like 150 customers.

  75. ThePopoversAreDone says:

    Do you think email should take 18 hours
    to get where it’s going?

  76. Captaffy says:

    Rogers in Canada started “shaping” BitTorrent traffic when they introduced their VOIP service. Seems to be the same with Comcast. These companies oversell their networks, and therefore can’t guarantee good QoS for their VOIP calls, and instead of upgrading their network, they take the easy way out. It will eventually bite them in the ass though… BitTorrent is here to stay and it’s usage will only become more and more common.

  77. ShadowFalls says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    Repeating yourself over and over doesn’t make you right, it just means you are repeating yourself.

    You somehow are under the impression that people can not do more than one thing at once and that there are not more than one person that uses an internet connection in a single household.

    By the way, if you gave up, your response would have been 4 words, not 3 paragraphs.

  78. JustAGuy2 says:

    @ShadowFalls:

    Being consistently wrong doesn’t make you any less wrong, it just makes you consistent.

    I was trying to actually give you some insight into what happens behind that “magic box” attached to your computer. My mistake. I apologize for attempting to reduce your hard-won ignorance.

  79. ShadowFalls says:

    @JustAGuy2:

    It seems like you are under the impression that you know everything. Try and keep your ignorance to yourself, stop trying to think it is contagious.

    I know exactly what happens thank you, I don’t need to explained to me by some half-wit. And what is with the magic box comment, you should feel more stupid just for typing it, or maybe that is what everyone else tells you it is called as to not confuse you.

    Besides, you never once proved me wrong, you just threw out a smattering of statements that could not be proved with any certainty.

  80. JoeMomma says:

    I feel your pain, JustAGuy2. But there is no point trying to explain concepts like traffic shaping and oversubscription to people who can’t even grasp the difference between committed and best effort transmission rates. BTW, to the T1 guy …your 1.5 Mb CIR is guaranteed only to and through your ISP’s network. As JustAGuy2 points out, the bottleneck can occur anywhere along the path to your final destination on the WWW and that is where traffic shaping is required so everybody gets their fair share of the bandwidth at any particular hop.

    I guess the point (to get back on topic) is that traffic shaping is happening. Maybe not on your local network area, but if you have ever sent or received a packet via the WWW you traffic has been shaped. The real topic of debate is whether traffic should be discriminated against based on the application (bittorrent for instance) to assist shaping for available bandwidth (which is already happening).

    Local networks do this all the time. If your corporate office network uses VoIP phones then your network admin has rules in place that when you pick up the phone, its packets get a higher preference on the network than your web browser. Your webpage’s packets can be downloaded at any speed and in any order and your browser will figure it out. Your call’s packets need to come quickly and in order or the call is nothing but noise. A LAN with limited bandwidth has to decide which traffic has a higher priority.

    The question now is whether that type of discrimination is appropriate on the WWW even if your ISP happens to own the tiny portion of it to which you connect.