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back to article Virgin Media introduces P2P throttling

Virgin Media will for the first time target peer-to-peer traffic for throttling on its cable network, joining most DSL broadband providers. In a phased introduction due to be completed by next summer it will cut the bandwidth available to peer-to-peer protocols and Usenet at peak times, for all customers. Until now the firm had …

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Coat

Well.....

....that'll be me off to another provider. How can you charge so much and then have the bare faced cheek to throttle. At least with BT Infinity you get a 10meg upload and only have to pay 27.99 a month. With Virgin they pretty much force you to have three services to get the 50MBit down to a near tolerable price but still much more than the competition.

Only problem with BT infinity is the cap on how much you can download, ~500GB a month.

Mine is the one with the two BT Lines and a bonded line in the pocket.....

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You're right...

It's ridiculous they can assume all p2p traffic is sharing copyrighted material and even if it's true they have no right to throttle your connection.

Why pay for internet if the isp can control what you download, how, and where you download from?!

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If all the bandwith hogs are off to another provider

Then their profits should go up, expenses down and performance to their customers will improve. So what is the downwside for them?

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Anonymous Coward

Except

"At least with BT Infinity you get a 10meg upload and only have to pay 27.99 a month."

Which is all well and good if you don't consider the fact that BT throttle the arse out of P2P traffic, which is what this story is about in the first place. What, exactly, would be the point of moving from an ISP because they have started throttling P2P traffic only to move to another ISP who's been throttling P2P traffic for ages?

On the subject of BT Inifinity I can't believe BT are making a big marketing deal of their fibre services when you consider hardly anybody can actually get them.

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look before you leap

Before changing look into it carefully, the cap is for restricted speed at peak times for 30 days not the hours as on Virgin.

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jai
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free?

how do you mean, why pay for internet?

how do you gets yours for free then?

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FAIL

Not all P2P traffic is illegal!

Just 99.999%

This tired old argument about the 'legitmate' uses of P2P is just FUD. Two examples are usually trotted out - World of Warcraft upgrades and Linux ISOs which account for an infinitesimally small proportion of P2P traffic. Besides, anyone with sense grabs the latter from an FTP/HTTP mirror where they experience 10-100x the speed.

Only the most desperate of freetards (when did we stop calling them thieves?) describe 'bittorrent' as a means to download anything but stolen content. Stop pretending that you're an innocent bystander who is being caught in the crossfire, it's just embarrassing.

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ftp access

Virgin still provide mirrors of all the major linux distros on the old blueyonder address. Making the downloading of iso's and updates a fast business.

And anyone who tells you they download several GB of iso's every week is either a lunatic with OCD issues, or a liar.

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

And you're just a moron. See - we can all namecall can't we?

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Stop

Oh Come on now

OK, apart from you downloading your linux distributions and maybe iPlayer, 4OD etc pretty much everything else using torrent is copyrighted material and as for them having the right, of course they have as long as it's in the contract and you have signed that contract then they have the right.

Now then, it ISN'T right of course but given that Virgin (and pretty much every ISP) sells "Unlimited" broadband that they have no hope of supplying they have to find some way to make sure that most users get a useable broadband connection most of the time

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fsck all to do with piracy

@Tigra 07:"It's ridiculous they can assume all p2p traffic is sharing copyrighted material"

P2P hammers networks whatever you're sharing, doubles the traffic (if you aim for a 1.0 ratio) and avoids any attempt to cache that traffic. P2P is almost a DDOS on network infrastructure.

Copyright infringement is a totally different issue.

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WTF?

@ AC

The last AC comment here reminds me of the Life of Brian - What have the Romans ever done for us.

Bittorrent makes a great distribution platform for legitamate content, as well as illegitamate content. Because some people use it for doing the wrong thing, does that mean noone should have hit?

Congratulations, You've successully argued against the sale of Kitchen Knives to anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC: Not all P2P traffic is illegal

Maybe you should consider what life will be like when every song ever created as an mp3 can be stored in a memory device that anyone can afford. Add to that, internet speeds of 10s or 100s of Gb/s. How do you possibly think that today's rules on what can and can't be shared between individuals can be controlled to the level the media industries want? It will be like trying to monitor the thoughts of everyone on the planet.

Suggest you wake up and face reality.

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FAIL

@jimc: So what is the downwside for them?

That would be reputation. From this side of the fence, who in their right mind would want to sign up to an ISP that has no problem shafting its customers whose only crime is using the service they paid for. (I presume you're aware that downloading 1 hour of HD content per day uses around 45 GB).

Oh and there's that thorny issue known as PHORM - you'd have thought that the prospect of the UK taxpayer having to pay Virgin's unwritten fines might just cheese off a few people. But hey, as current Virgin customers obviously care nothing for privacy (or reduction in public services just to pay government fines), they're unlikely to change ISP, so your original premise is probably correct.

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speeds

quite sure BT hidden Monthly cap is around 100GB (if you do it over 2-3 months) very sure on BT option 3 as my friend was getting billed for going over 100GB an month on an 2-3mb connection lol

do consider you can do around 50-100GB an Day on virgin and not get shafted as much (not that i am asking you lot to do that thought as i like my 50MB fast as it is) yes you do have day limits but not that bad all they are doing is lowering the speeds for users that send to much (50MB) and slowing speeds down for 10mb and 20mb depending on download amount

bout time they uped the upload speed for 10mb users (256KB upload before cut back) as when that was nocked back 75% it was like 96kb {8-9KB/s} to slow for torrent's to work correctly and other services at the same time (like using the internet) as they need 128kb (or 10-15KB/s} to work (not an issue if your on 20mb as upload cut back was to around 200kb {20-25KB/s} so most users do not notice it)

if you are an VM user do note

they have Set the limits so they are download cap trigger takes aprox 15-20 mins to happen if your downloading at Full speed (not 50mb),

if your Uploading data at Full speed for aprox 30mins (it may be 1hr or longer now as they put the upload cap not far off the download cap limits guess they did this for legit P2P TV apps) that will also set the second trigger off unless the first one has all ready happened, if upload or download cap has been hit it affects Both upload and download speed for 5hrs from when it happened and can only ever be triggered once as it lasts for 5hrs (it can be twice if you did the morning trigger as well but that takes 2x longer to hit them caps aprox 30mins down @ Full rate)

(50mb not sure what happens to download speed, they better make sure it only affects the upload speed)

still there is no monthly cap on virgin services just daily limits that lower the speed (still think 75% is a lot thought on 10mb it is any way still you can still keep on downloading about 50gb an day even with that limit in place)

-----

bt be funny if they do an 100gb cap on an 24-100mb service (when they say its unlimited again when its not)

BT Inifinity will be usable for Most of the UK as its FTTC (cab) not FTTD (Door or House) once its rolled out in your area's (1-5 years) if your Exchange is enabled for 21CN more likely to get it sooner then later (as the cables and fibre has been upgraded at that Exchange to support FTTC later on, as 21cn makes bugger all dif for ADSL1 or 2 users, FTTC is what its used for)

fibre to the cabs (or DP) in this case that's norm Only between 100yards (40-100mb users VDSL) or less then 500 yards away (up to 24mb ADSL2 tech avg most likely 15-20mb) from you all them poles goto an Point that norm Close to the streets they all merge up to that then goto the main Exchange the Fiber box going to be fitted next to the DP box where your ADSL or VDSL will be servied form if you take BT inifinity

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FAIL

@ Not all P2P traffic is illegal! → # ↑

WTF !!!

No it is not. How many games are now based on P2P technology

Off the top of my head

L4d uses it

Borderlands

TDU1 + 2

I AM AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER

i download all my shit off rapishare :D

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Existing traffic management

leexgx, Not quite sure about the point you were making with your post. It seemed to be that you supported the current traffic management system at Virgin, where your speed is capped temporarily if you download a certain amount at peaks times. I completely agree the system was fair and did not discriminate against anyone. You download a certain amount of data during peak times your speed is cut for 5 hours. Great, nice and transparent.

They then extend the peak time to be during the day as well, which I did not support. But this is one step too far. Now Virgin instead of offering a dumb pipe now discriminates against certain traffic. And most people on the forum are falling for the spin of, well this traffics is used for illegal reason's, or it uses a lot of our networks capacity. That's bull.

What is really happening is that Virgin's network is not fit for purpose and they don't want to upgrade it, so instead they put in even more restrictions (these new restrictions now last till midnight instead of 9pm).

Not that these restrictions will have much effect as freetards now get movies, etc from file sharing sites like rapidshare etc. So the network will still be slow.

Do I use P2P or newsgroups, not really, so it does not affect me. So why am I angry, because if it is P2P and Usenet now what will it be next? Virgin have already stated they want to give priority to people watching streaming TV. So Virgin and other ISP's get to decide what you are going to do with internet connection. This is different to the current system that cuts your speed no matter what data you used to hit the limit, P2P or TV or Skype.

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nobody said anything about copyright

Peer 2 peer capping has nothing to do with materials you are downloading. It is a matter of data and overheads.

If you go on the sole assumption that it is whether Warner or Miramax are upset you are watching poor dvd rips you're quite mistaken.

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FAIL

Madness

A GB is a GB, and network congestion is network congestion, whether it's ftp, P2P, http, smtp, or crap.

If some freeloader is downloading 10 TB of this week's US TV output by http or nntp or ftp it causes just as much congestion as if they had been downloading it by some P2P protocol.

OK there are some time sensitive protocols that you might want prioritised but you do that by prioritising those specific protocols not by throttling P2P.

Bring back pay per GB.

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Anonymous Coward

The idea of P2P?

Isn't one of the tenets of P2P sharing that you'll get bits of data from potentially anywhere, multiple sources, and will also be sharing those back out yourself whilst doing it? It's not meant to speed downloads up, but to spread loads around in a distributed manner.

So since you're expecting to wait a period of time for it to complete anyway (and reliant on others having completed files to seed in order to get it all eventually anyway!), it seems to me if something's gotta give it's the obvious candidate for throttling.

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Ummm... what?

If you read the article you might notice that this seems to be a shift of focus onto the upstream.

They're increasing the upload speeds available to everyone so you can get your home videos on YouTube that little bit quicker. However, and this is the important bit, they've not said anything about illegal filesharing over P2P - merely that they're restricting the bandwidth it can consume. Could this possibly be to do with the nature of P2P, in that it uses the upstream to seed YOUR torrents?

So ye-es, pulling down 10TB over HTTP is the same as pulling down 10TB over P2P ... except with HTTP it's a web server sending the data down (via a professional backbone connection you'd hope), with P2P it's some other twonk(s) chewing through their upstream bandwidth (on their home connection) to seed the damned thing.

At least, that's how I read it - it doesn't appear to be about copyright infringement (which is what everyone assumes as soon as the phrase P2P appears) it's about freeing up the upstream (good for gamers).

The question is - when do we expect they'll announce Virgin VOIP? They've got to be targeting that upstream bandwidth for something.

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Bronze badge

The point of net non-neutrality...

The academic justification behind a non-neutral net is that certain applications require extremely low lag (eg streaming media, VoIP) and certain applications don't (eg bulk file downloads). The ISPs are only doing what the universities have been proposing since the 90s.

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I agree it's madness

When the network starts getting congested, share the bandwidth between the users, independant of what they are doing. If I have paid the same as someone else, why can't I download Suse 11.3, but the kid next door can spend the whole evening streaming (illegal) TV programs, or surfing YouTube.

It can't be hard to do; the network already knows how much congestion there is, and there are already systems in place to limit user's bandwidth (normally just dependant on tariff). I can see that this idea will fail; p2p will change their packet type to avoid the restrictions, the restrictions will change, it will just become a race.

Just imagine the uproar if the local council said that instead of sharing out the council bills among everyone, they said that Conservative voters can pay all the bills, and Labour voters don't have to.

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Latency != bandwidth

See title. Throttling the bandwidth available to something is very different from reducing its priority so its latency may get worse.

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Grenade

So will they now, FINALLY, . . . .

. . . . stop seliing the service as 'Unlimited'?

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Re: So will they now, FINALLY, . . . .

No. Next question?

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WTF?

why should they ?

Why should they as long as mobile can advertise 1 Gb limit as unlimited

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Awesome

From 1.5 Mbit/s to 5 - gratis!! Cap is 6Gigs, so no real worries there.

Thanks again, Virgin - I loves my 50Mbit pipe. =]

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Oh joy

Well as a VM customer on an XXL package, I'm glad that I've been notified by them before finding out about this change through El Reg.

Oh, wait...

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Coat

@AC "Oh joy"

Lucky you. I'm stuck on the M package (what ever happened to S?) because of the expense, so I get clobbered with the brunt of the price rises, after Vermin Media inherited NTL's policy of screwing their bottom rate customers.

I'm just glad to get something from them for free.

Mine's the one with the modem in the pocket, just in case I'm priced out of M.

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Rum buggery

Actually you'll find that NTL ate Skanky Media, rather than the other way round. All the good customer service from Virgin has been booted out for the existing "skills" of NTL. But as everyone knows that NTL was rubbish they have pulled a rabbit made of shit out of a hat and said 'tada' by masquerading as VM. So that's the same burly man getting you to pick up the soap, just he's wearing lipstick.

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Megaphone

As someone called Hudon once said...

That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over, what the fuck are we supposed to now, huh, what are we gonna do?

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Happy

HUDSON!

Why don't we put her in charge?

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I'm happy

Of course, you'll get the usual army of whingers but I'm quite happy about this. Not all of us are torrent junkies. I have the occasional one going but that's stuff I can wait for. I'd rather have glitch-free VoIP calls, thank you very much. The greater upload speeds are most welcome.

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WTF?

I'm confused

"army of whingers" Does this mean people who are paying for a service only to be told after the fact that they can only use the service in the way the ISP decides, which can change at a whim (although you're locked in to a contract)?

And is it just torrent junkies? Or does it include iPlayaholics? And VOIPtards using video? And those pesky buggers playing online games? And those jackasses hogging bandwidth commenting on articles. And..........

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Contract?

If Virgin change the terms of your contract in detriment to you, you have every right to cancel the contract.

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Unhappy

IANAL but...

I'm pretty certain they have it hidden away in their T&Cs that that isn't the case unfortunately (TalkTalk are raising their charges again tomorrow and people are still locked in there thanks to small print), similar to most EULAs (Sonys PS3 "Other OS" debacle come to mind there).

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Anonymous Coward

Small Print

Your supplier can include a clause in your contract that says they are allowed to make any changes to the contract that they choose. However that doesn't mean that the clause is valid. The law *always* overrides what it says in your contract.

What we really need is a change in the law that says that any contract is automatically invalidated if it includes a single clause that is illegal.

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Unhappy

Not just Talk Talk

3 did that to me, apparently they announced the price rise on an obscure page of their site 6 months before making the effort to tell their customer base.

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Captive audience

With a phone line and BT you can at least switch to another ADSL provider. With cable you're stuffed, you can't get your service from anyone else.

This is a pretty fundamental flaw with cable and one which needs to be sorted out.

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Anonymous Coward

Infinity

Of course this could be why BT are rolling out their "Infinity" fibre service. Then they'll be able to tie you in too.

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WTF?

WTF

But you can give up your cable and witch to snail paced ADSL from BT.

So how can you say your stuck ?

You could even go mobile broadband etc.

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@Captive audience

"This is a pretty fundamental flaw with cable and one which needs to be sorted out."

That's OFCOMs responsibility so you can guarantee that it WON'T get sorted out.

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FAIL

Moving

You can port your number from Cable to any other Telco..

You can also port numbers from any mobile operator to another.

Not sure why you think this isnt the case?...

Moving from BT to Tiscal = Install charges, possibly new modem, and transfer of phone number

Moving from Virgin to BT = Install charges, def new modem, and transfer of phone number

Your argument is that VM isnt having to share their network with other operators.

If you would even try to paritally understand the differences between HFCN's and DSL configurations you would see that for "Cable" to share would mean that any operator on the line would change the performance of everyone else on that line. So if O2 had users that were pegging the line 100% of the time 24-7 then other users could suffer.. Then the only isp's that would be "picked" would be the ones who had no traffic limits, thus screwing over everyone else.

Do a little bit of research and thinking before you just jump in and start crying fowl..

If they are refusing to port your number then you have an argument, otherwise.. FAIL.

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The OP is right

You ARE stuffed if you're on cable AND want to stay on cable... although that is changing (very) slowly as BT roll out the fibre.

I've been on cable since it was Telewest; it's a better technology than ADSL so I'd be loathe to switch to another provider because doing so would mean that I lose cable, so yes, I am forced to use VM IF I WANT A CABLE SERVICE - which is what, I think, the OP was trying to say.

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Grenade

@Well....

I'm staying but I'll be more than happy if these changes cause bandwidth hogs to move elsewhere!

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Pirate

Soo?

As long as most of the throttling is only done during peek times Im ok with this, I would much rather be able to have a good xbox live connection during peek hours and then p2p over night. I live down in the South West so to be fair any kind of throttling will just bring it in line with that of other providers in the area, another point would be that the true bottle neck is that of the peers in the swarm, I have only seen close to 10mb in the past and that was off a fast server no doubt... Still though for us farmers down in Devon it's a miles better than broadband over phone lines, a friend down the road was getting 0.25kb?!?!?!

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Virgin define PEAK as 10 AM to 9 PM

with a 1 hour gap at 3PM (for some reason).

With p2p they could have a different definition...

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Boffin

Peek? Peak?

Maybe you should give your dictionary a peek.

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