back to article Bittorrent declares war on VoIP, gamers

Gamers, VoIP and video conference users beware. The leading BitTorrent software authors have declared war on you - and any users wanting to wring high performance out of their networks. A key design change in the P2P application promises to make the headaches faced by ISPs so far look like a party game. So what's happened, and …


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  1. Billy
    Thumb Up

    At last......

    a voice of reason - who will undoubtedly be shouted down by a lot of net-neutrality, utopian, 'the world-owes-me-everything-i-can-get-my-hands-on-for-free' shit.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best way to ensure that uTP doesn’t kill the internet to make people pay for their usage of it, according to how much they use.

    It's how we manage resource use in capitalist societies.

    I assume that this new bit torrent variant uses randomised port numbers? Otherwise they could simply discard by port.

    BTW That's the weirdest perspective on TCP/IP I've ever read.

  3. Richard Gadsden

    UDP isn't small amounts of data; it's unreliable.

    UDP was not "intended for real-time data transfers such as VoIP that typically move small amounts of data with a low tolerance for delay".

    It's intended for applications that perform their own connection management and therefore a missing packet isn't problem. TCP ensures a reliable connection, where UDP exposes the underlying unreliablity of IP itself.

    Since Torrent does its own connection management, UDP is the correct protocol; the TCP overhead is not necessary.

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Both sides need to be gentlemen

    Clearly if ISPs where honest and clear in what (reasonable) fraction of total bandwidth was available for P2P, and such applications in turn used this wisely, we would have a manageable and managed solution.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Video streaming

    "the burden of reducing network load during periods of congestion will shift to the remaining TCP uses, the most important of which are web browsing and video streaming."

    Actually the RTP protocol used to implement video streaming is UDP based, TCP is used only to initiate the session, then the data arrives through UDP.

    This simply because if packets are lost there is no need to retransmit them.

    The alien because video streaming is still an alien technology.

  6. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    The internet may have evolved that way

    But when they let AOL on it the gentleman's internet was over.

    No, what's needed now is realistic pricing and capacity to match. I'd be happy to pay more than what I do now for a truly unlimited service, and some folks would be happy to restrict their use to get it cheaper.

    Do this, up the data charges and use the money to increase the capacity. Stop pretending we can all have as much internet as we want for a tenner (but by the way if you use it more than an hour a day you're out), stop packet shaping and whining about congestion.

    You charge us money for services we want to use, you can damn well provide them. ISPs and backbones seem to want things both ways. To advertise cheap and unlimited and then not provide it.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Free(bie Re)tards indeed

    You expect much else from the developers of applications that, whatever their protestations, are primarily used to give away something you don't have the right to?

  8. Andy

    Sounds like someone doesn't like Bittorrent

    The fact is, we wouldn't have this mess if ISPs weren't so persistent about selling users so much more bandwidth than they actually have. They're short-sellers; except they can refuse to cough up if the stock price (or rather, bandwidth usage) rises. Disgusting.

  9. Riscyrich

    VoIP ? ?


    POTS FTW !

    Mines the one with the BUTT phone in the pocket.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    I should think this falls within most definitions of fair use: if you are generating an unreasonably large amount of UDP packet, your ISP can start throttling it.

    Of course, for all the users running torrent clients and voip at the same time, the fault will lie with their ISP, rather than a bunch of bastard programmers from hell at BitTorrent.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I use a very low-bandwidth codec on my VoIP phone but I imagine this will still have a significant impact. Bastards.

  12. Gulfie

    Pay for what you use!

    Simple solution. Take the Zen Internet route:

    1. Provide sufficient capacity.

    2. Don't throttle.

    3. Give users a specific amount of bandwidth per month.

    4. Make them pay for every byte over their bandwidth allowance.

    I switched to Zen about six months ago. The network always responds well, even in the busy 4pm-8pm slot. I know exactly how much bandwith I can use for free. I am an occasional Bittorrent user (mainly TV I forgot to record and can't get on internet replay).

    Then, it won't matter what protocol is used for file sharing. Except of course that, since the main effects are allegedly in the backbone it will rely on the majority of file sharing traffic coming from ISPs that charge in this way.

    Its got to be the way forward, not least because the package is crystal clear to market.

  13. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    what a load of crap

    Just do what every other industry does... increase the cost until supply = demand... and the extra revenue should be ploughed into fibre optic cabling

  14. Chris Pasiuk

    Gadsden is right

    UDP is usually limited to applications that provide their own traffic control and for what it's worth, should be used for BT transfers as BT does it's own traffic management anyway. This being a way to circumvent any bandwidth control from ISPs just points the finger back to them for not implementing some method of control over what traffic flows in their systems.

    Perhaps this may be the catalyst for ISPs across the world to actually start shifting to IPv6 that has better traffic management than our current IPv4 use? After all we're talking about a protocol design that was developed over 30 years ago, it really is time to change now.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    War on ISP's not USers...

    I think this article is a lil biased..

    basically if you attempt to ristrict something popular it will find another way. the evolution of P2P has arrived. ISP's will cop the blame that they deserve.

    Pirate...well i don't need to tell yarr!

  16. Robert Hill

    Bandwidth will soon be an outdated term...

    I just had this conversation with the head of mobile for a large telco - and it is obvious that our ability to consume bandwidth is nearly insatiable. The only way to price resources with insatiable demand curves is on a metered basis, i.e., you will have to pay by Gigabyte. The format, protocol, and use will not matter (although I can see pricing systems based upon latency metrics layered on top of raw Gigabyte prices).

    This, alas, is the endgame of the P2P movement - yah gotta' pay the piper...or at least for the pipes.

  17. Parax

    @ JonB

    Jon Surely; The best way to ensure that *anything* doesn’t kill the internet is to make people pay for their usage of it,

    what are you saying? that we should pay a monthly fee for our connections? surely not..

    perhaps that we should pay less for a 2MBit than an 8MBit, I wonder why this isn't the case?

    Jon Just which ISP are you using? I need to know where I could get everything for free, with no limits like you infer?

  18. Max

    Highway Patrol

    We will learn from history. I think what is happening to the internet now is similar to what happened when cars were invented. All of a sudden it became necessary to have highway patrol to make sure people were not speeding or driving like lunatics. The same may happen to the way people use the internet and it will be the death of net neutrality, in the same way that morons who drive drunk at 150mph ruin it for the rest of us.

    I use a bit of torrent now and again, and I don't mind if my ISP realizes that and throttles me during torrent use...and if it deciphers my packets to see if I am using VoIP instead, and lets that through a little smoother, then hooray for them and everyone wins.

    Jerks that feel they have the right to suck up bandwidth by constantly downloading everything under the sun at full capacity need a speeding ticket, or maybe even a revoked license.

  19. Richard

    Standard Internet Protocol lifecycle

    1) Designed

    2) Works well for some time

    3) Subverted

    4) Other things are too reliant on it to change

    5) BOFH searches for cricket bat jerry rigged with cattle prod and 100F capacitor

    6) Fzzt, Bam, Fzzt, Bam

    7) BOFH profit.

  20. Mage Silver badge


    Video streaming uses UDP.

    Only error free transfer (HTTP, NTTP, SMTP, POP, IMAP, FTP) uses TCP

    Video is already creating headaches for VOIP.

    Integrated VOIP on a Cable Modem (SIP or Cable type) uses separate IP or VLAN and isn't Internet routed, going to the ISPs own gateway.

    Similarly the ISP's own VOD/IPTV won't be affected.

    This will make Skype, and 3rd party SIP VOIP fairly brain dead though. Real 3rd party IPTV/VOD at broadcast resolution in real time has pretty much never worked on Internet.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they...

    factored in the reduction in traffic caused by using UDP instead of TCP, since i was under the impression that overall UDP used less traffic because there was a lot les overhead.

    Also to everyone moaning thats it bad for the internet, what was bad for the internet was ISP advertising "unlimited" package's when they didn't even bother to look up the definiition of "unlimited", and make it more "unlimited" (for the first hundred or so meg, then we drop your speed down and not give you what you paid for)

    The ISP's only have themselves to blame by going into a price and speed war that the backend systems can't handle

  22. Mage Silver badge


    Really unlimited and 1:1 contention would cost users 50x to 500x more than they pay now. And 80% of users don't need it.

    It's 10% or so that are generating 75% traffic on un-managed networks. Lower the Caps and charge per cent per X megabytes only works if the system has the capacity. People won't pay for networks with x50 capacity.

  23. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Every few months

    we get someone telling us "The internet is doomed because of X/Y/Z". If you are sold network capacity by an ISP and stay within the limits, any problems lie by definition with the service provider. They have sold you something they cannot provide. It makes no difference what protocol you are using - all they are doing is ferrying 1s and 0s between your gateway and someone else's.

    The real problem is the fact that they have taken a gamble - they thought they could get away with selling what they don't have. The total bandwidth to the consumers far exceeds that which they can manage. The solution is for them to either upgrade the infrastructure to handle much greater bandwidth, or to stop mis-selling 'unlimited' packages. State a limit to the user and cut them off/charge them extra if they exceed it.

  24. N1AK

    Why should torrents get throttled

    Why should my neighbours torrents be throttled to give priority to my VoIP? We both payed for the line, surely what we choose to do with it is our own business.

    ISPs in the UK and evidently in America love to give them impression they are offering blistering fast unlimited internet connections when they are providing high contention very much limited. If Broadband providers want to limit internet use, they should be upfront about it.

  25. Steve
    Thumb Down

    I'll use what they sold me

    If they over sold bandwidth that's their problem and they need to increase capacity or not sell so much that they have to cap...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice bit of anti P2P propoganda...

    Richard Gadsden - spot on for not talking sh*t like a lot of the others, including the author of the piece. Geez.... So UDP is "intended for real-time data transfers such as VoIP that typically move small amounts of data with a low tolerance for delay" is it? I never realised..... I thought it was for, as Richard says, applications which are tolerant of missing packets (voice, video..) as it does not have the overhead of a guaranteed delivery mechanism, as does TCP.

  27. Duncan Hothersall

    FUD on El Reg

    Is Richard Bennett a pseudonym for our own favourite FUDmeister Orlowski? Another article demonstrating that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing (as others have noted, to say that UDP was designed for applications like VOIP is more or less utter bollocks and betrays a complete lack of understanding of the TCP/IP network stack), and another article whose conclusion was determined long before copy was written.

    What a load of shit, quite frankly. I expect, and usually get, far better from El Reg. Is Lester away or something?

  28. Edwin

    Realistic pricing

    ISPs selling a bandwidth on the assumption that not everyone will max out their line 100% of the time is a bad business model?

    Is this the new freetard argument?

    The ISPs need a pricing model, and I grant that their pricing model is probably somewhat out of date.

    Here's my proposal for a new ISP that uses fair pricing:

    we take the ISP's maximum available bandwidth and allocate the costs (plus a reasonable margin) as follows:

    For every 24h period:

    * Each user is billed proportionally for the bandwidth they actually use

    * For unused bandwidth: each user is billed proportionally according to the bandwidth they *did* use (since they *could* have wanted to use it).

    This is clearly much fairer than the current system (ISP selling bandwidth on the basis of a predictive model) and it only *appears* that you're paying for your bandwidth twice.

    Paytards FTW!!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I am an occasional Bittorrent user (mainly TV I forgot to record and can't get on internet replay)."

    Is that your way of saying that your freetardiness is ok but the rest are a bunch of baby killing thives?

  30. Anonymous Coward


    I find it amusing that you (and the author) consider someone using their unlimited ADSL connection to its full potential as having bad netiquette.

    It is like buying an all journey monthly bus pass and being told by some self-righteous OAP that you should only use it twice a day or you are taking seats from old people who need to do their shopping. And if you argue that you paid for it so should be able to use it as and when you want they reply with the irrelevant counter argument that you only want it so you can shoplift in town.

  31. Sean Blanchfield

    They may still implement their own congestion control

    It's naive to singularly attribute the move to UDP to an anti-social desire to eliminate congestion control.

    There are a bunch of reasons to move bittorrent from TCP to UDP, the most significant of which is that automatic NAT traversal can be more easily performed with UDP.

    When they move to UDP they will need to re-implement some of the things you get for free in TCP, such as reliability. There is no reason to assume that they will not also implement their own congestion control. It would be shortsighted of them not to - the most commonly congested link is the one between the home and the ISP, so the first person to suffer would be the bittorrent user.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    UDP used for DNS cache lookups, among other important services. I'd wager its NOT the tiny minority of traffic on the internet as presented in this article.

  33. Gav

    Party is over people

    It was fun while everyone played nice, but now people have an idea they're entitled to as much as they can personally stuff their cable with. ISPs have let them think that because, well, if they didn't they wouldn't get their business. Another ISP is happy to feed them that particular fairy tale, and everyone lives happily ever after in a fool's paradise.

    Well the party is over. People are no longer playing nice. Bandwidth is, and always will be, a limited resource, demand is practically limitless. Basic greed has reached the stage where it's everyone for themselves.

    The only solution is pricing by usage. Suddenly people will take notice of the unattended over-night traffic. Suddenly it will matter if you suck down the entire collection of pirated music, just on the off-chance you actually listen to a fraction of it. Suddenly it becomes an issue if your sloppily maintained system is trojan-central.

    No one likes to face up to it, but the time has come for everyone to pay their way. It's going to change *everything* and not necessarily for the better. But that's the way it tends to go with human behaviour. The greater good is rarely the primary concern.

  34. Lee Dowling Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Big Boo Hoo

    So a major protocol switches from using TCP to UDP (which, actually, has nothing to do with bulk transfers, but more to do with connection-oriented or not - ask GhostCast who use multicast UDP or TCP to splat gigabytes of disk-image data to PC's across networks, while there are TCP and UDP ways of doing everything from VPN to DNS).

    So, being UDP, the *amount* of traffic is actually technically slightly less (if this "BitTorrent does it's own connection management" thing is true) because you don't have as many layers of packet protocols involved. What's changed is that instead of having connections which *SHOULD* be reliable, they are now not needed to be reliable. In terms of the actual data going across the big networks, this makes no difference at all, because TCP is just *a* connection management style and Bittorrent happens to use a different one. If you drop or slow 50% of them (which you are perfectly able to do), all you do is create more problems for everything from retransmits etc... TCP = UDP with knobs on, basically, and most UDP users just recreate those knobs in different ways or don't need them at all.

    What's changed is that people's incorrect "expectation" that UDP means "quick, small, unreliable packets" now becomes "lots of quick, small, unreliable packets". The only things this interferes with are ISP's "magic boxes" which determine the contents of a packet but to be honest, if you're doing it that way, it was bound to come to an end eventually - hence the use of encrypted torrents, Tor tunnels, etc. You cannot *ever* rely on being able to detect the protocol in use within a given packet. It's a layer violation and it's just plain stupid, because anything "naughty" will evade you at the first opportunity and anything "not naughty" will attract derision if you affect it in any way.

    Yes, BitTorrent is an enormous pain in the backside because it takes a disproportionally large amount of traffic. But it's like saying that we won't let people use the radio waves for TV because TV takes up too much of our radio spectrum - it's so large because people are transferring larger files and there are more of them doing it, in the same way that TV takes more bandwidth and more people watch than listen to the radio. However, my ISP has been complaining more about iPlayer, which takes up MORE bandwidth than Bittorrent through their (major ISP, connected to BT) networks. I wonder what iPlayer uses, TCP or UDP? I don't know to be honest, but I don't care. All anyone cares about is that they can transfer X Megabytes of data from the BBC to themselves fast enough that the video doesn't jerk.

    It's up to the ISP's to do one of two things - ban use of certain protocols in their terms and conditions and enforce them by whatever means they see fit or leave things alone/increase prices across the board and stop looking for sympathy for their heavily over-subscribed pathetic data lines.

    They can threaten what they want but a price rise would actually mean they would have to stop over-subscribing and would lose customers. Banning/throttling certain protocols will only affect those people who don't use / don't know about them, who aren't you're primary concern anyway, you will lose lots of customers and it will cause technical support problems of enormous magnitude (Steam uses Bittorrent to download its games if I remember correctly - they even hired its main author).

    A blanket throttle on each user is the only real answer but technically it's just easier to count the bytes going through and charge for the excess than to try to limit each connection with some sort of QoS. So, who's going to be the first ISP to go down that route? Wanna lose a thousand customers today? No?

    And, as always, we are brought a step closer to using ISP's as just that - service providers - they give us the tube and we use it. If it means we have to encrypt, tunnel, obscure everything to stop them fiddling with it, that's what will happen. Eventually, the Internet will no longer be anything more than a base layer because everybody starts using P2P layers on top (like Tor, Freenet, etc.) and the ISP's and governments become locked out of every bit of access they had to what people were actually doing on the Internet. Then, given that everything's *completely* anonymous and encrypted, setting up small mesh networks becomes less legally liable and joining them together re-invents the Internet as what it started out - a collection of random people deciding to exchange any traffic they need to.

    You don't buy an Internet connection, you join the local neighbourhood mesh where one techie has been paid by the council to fire a microwave connection into the next town and somewhere along the way, your traffic is passing through your neighbours, a local techie, some bright spark who figured out a way to transmit wireless traffic to his friend over the Channel, to Europe, Asia, etc. Government regulation goes out of the window, everybody gets "free" Internet and the ISP's go out of business.

    No filtering, no monitoring, no control, totally anonymous, immune to censorship (Great Firewall of China etc.), saves people money, puts AOL out of business, gives blanket coverage, zero-cost entry (get an old USB wireless dongle second-hand), grows exponentially, takes advantage of new technology quicker (everybody who upgrades from 802.11g to 802.11n makes everyone else work that little bit faster), cuts BT etc. out of the market on data lines, and means that people start securing their damn protocols.

    I'm in Essex, who wants to start it?

  35. Anonymous Coward


    The original business model worked. Contention based business cases worked because people used to browse the internet to read and the data was bursty.

    The business model no longer works because Freetards kick the arse out of P2P, the BBC throw their crap at everyone without paying for distribution and people want to talk over it.

    The Web2.0 model is great, the Business Case is still 1.0 and it has screwed the ISPs.

    In much the same way as Free Dial Up was a race to the bottom and those with the biggest bank balance won, unlimited broadband is the same. Over the next few years ISPs will go down the tubes because the cost per MB of using BT Wholesale is killing them in conjunction with the new services available.

    You will be left with a couple of players Sky and BT probably, and then they will introduce usage based tariffs.

    When that happens you can blame the twunts who had a few years free videos and music because it will cost a hell of alot more than it does today with no competition.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Internet Wealth Club...

    The best way to ensure that *anything* doesn’t kill the internet is to make people pay for their usage of it.

    Oh how wonderful, Tie this in with 'dont charge what it costs charge what the punter will pay' and you end up with another status symbol, 'I can afford the internet'

    In reality the ISP's over subscribe, they sell unlimited max packages and then fail to deliver.

    Traffic Jams are a way of life, so Are New Roads! Prority users get blue(and green) lights. everyone else queues, until the new road is open. whether that road is paid for via taxes or tolls is irrelevant, what you can't do is filter users. Could you imagine a road with a no caravans sign? just because we dont like caravans doesn't mean we can ban them. The roads like the internet are for all Taxed/Paying users.

  37. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    @ JonB, plus extensions

    JonB has it about right.

    If the standard charge covers the bandwidth needed by most people, i.e. 3 GB/month peak and 3GB/month off-peak, then its reasonable to charge per additional GB.

    I'd suggest extending this principle to cover email. If, say, 100 e-mails sent a day per user was free and after that it became 1p per mail sent then normal users would be unaffected, but the cost is probably high enough to kill off spammers. Owners of infected PCs? Let them pay. Its their penalty for not keeping their firewall and AV package up to date.

    Dial-up can be left as is, since the bandwidth isn't enough for the worst hog to affect other traffic.

    Oh yeah, enforcement: boot non-compliant ISPs and e-mail providers off the net.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Blame the Pirates...

    For global warming while your at it. You bunch of fucking paytards!

    If you sell something it is gone, get over it, YOUR ISP SOLD YOUR CAPACITY!

    It was not stolen from you.



  39. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    There is NO bandwidth shortage.

    There is so much glass in the ground that the backbone can expand to absorb almost any load offered to it.

    What is lacking is honesty in ISP advertising, and the willingness to increase backbone connectivity when customers demand it.

    I started an ISP business in 1995, the dark ages of dialup modems, we never offered "unlimited" dialup connection at the cheap price. In any town where there were several ISP's, the people that wanted zero busy signals used our service, and the 24/7 downloaders used the competition.

    Yes, we DID have "unlimited" customers, they paid $99.95 a month (for dialup) and had a dedicated phone line and modem. Of couse a 56K modem is not gonna cause backbone congestion.

    Expect to see the same with total transfers. The marketplace will sort this out. ISP's that have true unlimited transfers will either add capacity or lose customers to the competition. Heavy users (they are not abusers) will move to providers that offer true connectivity at higher, possibly metered, prices. More modest users will likewise move to metered ISPs when the congestion makes their connection intolerable.

    The commercial Internet is 15 years old, when the automobile was that old, we were barely at electric starters.

    Internet-3 wireless true mesh (tm), which is still in the lab, provides essentially unlimited bandwidth within a community, replacing the last mile barrier. This will force ISP's to greate a meaningful pricing structure for access to their backbone. In the long run, mesh networking could possibly connect entire countries.

    Paris cause i still want to marry her.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, you think so do you!?

    What a right load of bullshit.

    Most broadband packages nowadays have capped download limits, that is how usage is contained, not by limiting specific protocols. It's my bandwidth, I paid for it and I'll use it for whatever protocols I like. It's up to the ISPs to manage it WHILST PROVIDING THE FULL SERVICE YOU PAY THEM FOR.

    Don't accept anything less.

  41. Reg Sim

    Can we melt it? - no probley not.

    I have indeed read all the other posts above, and interesting they are.

    Which reminded me. You ISP pays for a set amount of there traffic to be unleashed apon the 'web'. Now there is talk in the article that this change will melt down the poor wee links between ISP's (which of course make the web work).

    However, as ISP's pay for there bandwidth, you will find that the net will only melt down (proper melt down) if the people who do the connections between ISP's have over sold the ISP's bandwidth.

    It also would make local hosting (i.e. on there own network) of services like iPlayer cost effective, rather than every user needing to connect and DL hundreds of megs of data across from another network.

    I do believe this is (like most people here seem to agree) a problem with over subscription. However I lay the blame on the useless Ofcom (also known as, if I sell out to industry I can get a job £££ with them after I leave here).

    Ofcom's form of useless regulation, often not in the public interest (like not splitting BT) has caused most of the posters here irritation.

    We are a capitalist society, as such we regulate what our ISP's (think class of 5 year olds) can and can not do. Blaming an ISP for selling what they are not delivering is like blaming a 5 year old for eating so many sweets they puke.

    It is for Ofcom to stop the wee brat from guzzling lots of sweets, because any sensible person knows that if you leave a pile of sweets in front of your average sticky fingered 5 year old, your sweets will soon be replaced by a pile of wrappers and the smell of puke will never come out of your new carpet.

    To summarise my points (and add new ones I have just though of)...

    1. The article is very bias. I am also not convinced the person knew enough to write it in the first place. It sounds more like a 'rant rant the world will end' than a well considered article.

    2. The net will not 'melt', however some ISP's will end up with reduced services in the worst case IMO.

    3. VOIP... what you mean like people using the phone for free and cheating there ISP out of there due revenue? Until I pay for VOIP as part of my package I am not all that concerned.

    4. I blame Ofcom for all of our UK internet woes, including over selling of broadband products, and murky deals.

    5. I would like to see a package with a minimum bandwidth with no limits on what you use that bandwidth for.

    6. Give me telewest back, virgin sux. (not really relevant, but they stole my bandwith and added mad speed curbs, and started charging for support and were in talks with phorm...)

    7-10 = see point 4.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unlimited Usage = Unspecified Usage

    I guess what people are complaining about is just terminology; by calling it "unlimited usage" people have an expectation that they've paid for 24x7 multiplied by their theoretical connection speed, and anything less is a rip-off. What they don't seem to accept is that ADSL is a shared connection (your contention ratio) and was originally designed as a burst-mode communications method that would allow a web-page to load quickly, but then the connection would be idle(ish) whilst the slow human read it (the bandwidth would then be available for your neighbours). Once applications became available that could consume the bandwidth for significant periods of time, we ran into problems for users as a minority were now able to consume a large percentage of the available capacity and degrade the experience for the majority. Expecting ISPs to just pay for this without any way of covering the costs is just infantile; they've built an infrastructure (costing many millions of pounds) to support the shared-bandwidth model, and by not specifying any download limits have left themselves open to accusations of ripping off those whose expectations are just a bit unrealistic. The UK used to have the unlimited bandwidth model for water supply, but as more and more people abused this they moved to metered usage so that the contract would be clearer; I guess that this is where ISPs will be moving to over the next few years, after all it's going to be easier and cheaper to rewrite the terms and conditions than to provide the infinite bandwidth that some people think they're entitled to.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @ Martin Gregorie

    Your Arbitary Figures are nonsense...

    It shoukld be £30 per Kilobyte, across all protocols.

    no perhaps that should be £90 that'll stop em! oh and while were at it lets put mobile calls up to £12 per minute so I dont have to have another mast outside my house! how dare they build more capacity!

    oh and as for enforcemtn you are forbiden from posting again.

    there fixed.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    If you're going to rant ...

    ... at least understand what you're talking about.

    Start with UDP. Work out from there.

    Because how you describe UDP and how every networking and TCP/IP guide I've ever read describe it don't really mesh.

    It deflates the argument when your tech-speak is wrong. As someone else posted, it appears the author had long ago determined the stance they wanted to take, then based the argument to support only their side. Unfortunately, if you use facts that aren't actually ... factual? ... it fails.

  45. Tom

    Once again the "experts" are clueless

    So we have an article written by one expert crying "The end in Nigh!" for the internet, and a couple of posters responding that he has completely misrepresented the protocols. I don't play at that level of the connection protocols so I can't claim expertise as to what will or won't happen to Internet congestion with the new bit torrent scheme. What I do know, is that when you promise unlimited usage for a low fixed price, you can't provide it. (We have the same problem with health care for the exact same reasons, although at least there the sentiment is more understandable.) At some point the system will need to be metered. You'll pay PP/month to get up to X bandwidth and Y Gigabyte of download, and after that you pay Z per meg, but it will be fair because it will be based on actual usage.

    I really don't feel sorry for the ISPs on this issue. First they oversold their product. Then having oversold their product, instead of revising the way they sold to prevent the behavior that caused the problem, they started simply blocking the problem. Then they lied about the fact that they were blocking the problem. Bit Torrent is simply responding in the only logical manner in a hostile environment: If you block me completely when I use a protocol that will support traffic management, I will move to a spot where you CAN'T block me because a critical application lives in the same space. In the end, it's all 1's and 0's so the only way you get management of the streams is by dealing fairly with everybody.

    Personally, I don't use bit torrent, mostly because right now it means spending time hunting down documents on the internet to circumvent the blocks that the ISPs have implemented. I really would have preferred using it to download some of the linux distros I have in the past, and I suspect it would be a better way of transferring those obnoxiously large LOTR updates, but well, since you block me on that, I'll just use http instead.

  46. Andrew Norton

    say wha?

    I don't have my notes to hand from the FCC/Comcast hearing at Harvard, but if I remember correctly, Mr Bennet had both myself, and the editor of TorrentFreak, with whom I was listening, laugh our socks off.

    Something I don't think anyone else has mentioned though, is this claim about the 10% using 75% etc. I've been through these reports, for the last 3-4 years, every time they come out. They never match each other very well, and more importantly, they're almost always funded or worse, conducted by, some company that makes packet filtering, throttling, or tracking software/hardware. The point of these reports aren't to be accurate, they're to scare ISPs into buying their goods, and give the ISPs something to point at to justify raising prices, for the same service.

    Course, Mr Bennet could probably have had a better education, if he'd tried #bittorrent on Freenode, where he could meet my TWELVE year old IRC nick (harder than paying for a webhost for 11 years) and discussed the protocol with people who know (and there's no filesharing or anything in that channel, so don't ask - it's for protocol discussion) and then he might have learnt something.

    End of the day, this article does prove one thing - the person that knows the least, is the one that think's they're the expert.

    Pirate cos... well former chairman of Pirate Party US, and current Coordinator for Pirate Party international - need I say more?

  47. RRRoamer

    Some things will have to be done eventually

    You know, the bus and phone model actually does apply: If every single person with a phone tried to place a call at the same time, it would collapse under it's own weight. If every single person had an unlimited bus pass and decided to get on a bus and stay there for a few days, the buses wouldn't be able to move.

    I love having lot's of bandwidth, but the few hogs out there ARE going to have suck it up and either pay for all the "excess" capacity they are using (relative to everyone else) or get limited to how much they can eat.

    Heck, you could also apply the "all you can eat" restaurant model to it as well: It works the vast majority of people go in for a meal, eat until they are full (or even a bit beyond), then leave. What would happen if everyone went there, then camped out until they were hungry again??? For several days???

  48. Richard Johnson

    RE Bittorrent declares war on VoIP, gamers

    I disagree with throttling, we pay our Internet subscriptions every month so why should we be limited 11pm - 6am to get the service we are paying for. I will take the meltdown on the chin and then harass my ISP for failing to provide the service as described as I am sick to death of poor quality most of the time.Bit torrent wouldnt have had to go this route if the ISPs were a little more reasonable IMAO.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >what are you saying? that we should pay a monthly fee for our connections? surely not..

    I'm saying that the more you use it the more you pay.

    >perhaps that we should pay less for a 2MBit than an 8MBit, I wonder why this isn't the case?

    You're mistaking speed for data.

    >Jon Just which ISP are you using?

    Firefly, they used to be good, the pricing is sensible, 20/month for up to 5GB and then £1.50/GB for each GB over.

    We've fallen out, so I can't recommend them. Whilst they insist they don't throttle I find the gaming performance has recently become mostly unusable. I'll be switching to one of the gaming ISP's unless fibre's available when my contract expires.

    >I need to know where I could get everything for free, with no limits like you infer?

    I don't infer that at all, you must have misunderstood me. I'm advocating paying by usage, if you pay for it then there need be no limit.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Martin Gregorie

    Wondering why you consider emails to be excluded from bandwidth in general?

    Im wondering if you know how these interweb tubes work?

    And in particular what is this standard charge of which you speak? My ISP offerers several different packages tailored to different needs, how does yours work? is it the same as JonB's where everything is free? and you wonder why theres 'too many pigs at the trough'?


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