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 …

COMMENTS

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@AC Piddle

"the BBC throw their crap at everyone without paying for distribution "

So you are saying BBC haven't paid for an internet connection, and are instead distrobuting there content over someone elses unprotected wifi? Or are you stupid enough to think that BT should have to pay to upload the material, and pay the people I am already paying for internet access to allow me to download it?

I want my £0.001 pence for reading your crap, if the BBC should have to pay for both ends so should idiots like you.

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Boffin

To all the AC's who are rubbishing the author...

... have a click on the link to the authors blog, read some of the articles, and then click on his resume. When you've got to the end of the 5 pages of technical jobs and stuff he's been involved in since the late 70's, consider who most readers opinion is going to go with, him, or someone who can't even be arsed to put their name down or run spell check :)

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Black Helicopters

Pay per usage in a Web 2.0 world

Does this mean we can put a cap on the Web 2.0 world of fat bloat in web pages? I personally have no interest in any streamed video/flash/shockwave/sticks-rubbed-together advertising interrupting my reading of internet articles, and pay per usage means this 2 MB file which is forced upon us will cost me a little more. Will there be a way to stop websites doing this so it becomes mandatory to load only the bare bones of the page and to have the user click on and OK which parts to download?

And yes, I realise this is like NoScript on ultimate paranoia mode... but I'm talking about the web server not even pushing the files out rather than the end user allowing the browser to run the file which has been pushed out.

Paranoid? Not me! I know they're watching me right now... (whup whup whup)

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Thumb Up

Concideration for others?

I use uTorrent as a P2P client. It has a feature called Scheduling that enables bandwidth throttling in hourly chunks with a separate schedule for each day.

As I am on a 50:1 contention connection. I throttle uTorrent to 25% bandwidth between 08:00 and 24:00 then run at 100% during the night. Sure it takes longer to get a file but my neighbours do not suffer and I do not get hustled by my ISP.

All it takes is a little consideration and a LOT less greed.

Maybe uTorrents next release/update should have a default configuration with this schedule rather than 100%. Would that make the problem go away?

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Paris Hilton

@Duncan Hothersall

"and another article whose conclusion was determined long before copy was written."

Umm, I don't know about you, but I prefer to read articles by people who actually have a clear conclusion and message they'd like to convey before they start writing the article!!

Paris, because she knows a thing or two about conclusions. Or is that happy endings?

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Thumb Down

I welcome this

I have this fancy little black gadget in my pocket. It has several buttons on it, ten of them are marked with the numbers from zero to nine. If I push these numbered buttons in certain sequences ranging from three numbers up to a lot I can reach people all over the world and talk to them. To do this I have to pay a monthly fee to a company that gives my gadget this power. I also have to pay a certain amount for each second I talk with people on it. The company also offers so called unlimited subscriptions to their services. That way I only pay a monthly fee and nothing for the time I spend talking with people on my gadget. This unlimited subscription costs a whole lot more.

I fail to see why the same model can't be applied to internet subscriptions. If 5% use 75% of the capacity then charge them more and charge the rest of us less. ISPs should have no problem selling such products. They can't use the word unlimited, but they can use the word cheaper.

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@Martin Gregorie

Firstly JonB was indeed right, it would be great if someone could create specs for different qualities of broadband, and providers then make consumers aware of this rather than dumping 20 mostly unintelligible metrics on users.

However the email idea is dumb as hell, at 1p per email a spammer could bankrupt someone in a matter of a few minutes. Besides which it does nothing about spam email sent by an internet service which is a very large proportion of spam, and the other 90% of spam will be sent from outside of the UK and immune to the cost anyway.

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Coat

Flame Suit On

I have to add my own voice here - anonymously of course - i do use BitTorrent and although i'm not in the top 5% of users (I haven't had a letter), I assume I'm somewhere up there.

I pay for a 20MB package and sometimes I use 20MB - I'm having difficulty understanding why the ISPs over-selling is my responsibility - I picked the most expensive, fastest package I can get in my area and I use it. I could perhaps understand the argument slightly more on middle-range packages but even then - if they can't support it, don't sell it. If you're banking on yuor customers only using 5MB instead of 20 - Sell them 5 with a "bonus" that it will burst faster for short periods. If the ISPs were foolish enough to sell more than they had, it's their responsibility to rectify the issue - ie improve the infrastructure.

Through recent net failures / talking to tech support, I found out that my local exchange was running at 97% capacity and is apparently quite old - left over from ntl/telewest - It 's had a few upgrades but isn't up to the job - and yet they keep knocking on doors in our road trying to sell more subscriptions. I'm curious why it's torrent users who get flamed and not the ISPs.

I feel zero remorse about my internet usage as I have paid for (and for the record, would be willing to pay more to retain fast, reliable internet).

For the record, I haven't read anything this biased in a while - if you want to dig at high bandwidth users, feel free but at least try and balance the article a bit. more like this will put me off reading the reg - at least it will save some bandwidth eh?

Mine' the one on fire.

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Go

Disabling rather than enabling

If ISPs were smarter, they could quite easily remove the BitTorrent 'problem' altogether. If each ISP invested in their own all-encompassing server that proxied ANY bittorrent request, it would VASTLY reduce the amount of data going out over their internet trunk and keep the traffic within their own network. This improves the efficiency of their own network no-end, and would be considerably cheaper than the investment they make in all this traffic-shaping nonsense.

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Walk the walk?

Ok, so lots of comments here are "talking the talk" (about metered packages), but how many are actually on one ("walking the walk")? I switched both my company DSL connections to metered last time they were migrated from one ISP to another - we saved money (compared to the previous ISPs), and still get as much data as we need. We have come close to using our allowance a few times, and exceeded it once (by not paying attention). Since we can log in to the ISP and see how much we've used each month, it's easy enough to manage.

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Anonymous Coward

War is it? so who fired first

Perhaps the reason the they are trying to duck TCP based throttling being imposed by ISPs is they feel that ISPs fire the first shots by forging TCP packets and claiming they were coming from their clients.

UDP has never been restricted to small transfers. Early NFS implementations were UDP based, they added the option for NFS over TCP much later on.

As to importance, I'm not sure why you would consider video streaming (AKA watching porn) to be more important that doctors sharing medical records? The phone companies might look at you using VoIP as you being a freetard.

Not all P2P traffic is people steal other peoples IP. There are plenty of legitimate uses of P2P software.

I agree that there does need to be a way of controlling congestion. Whether that is by charging people for what they use, in the same way we do for food, heating, travel etc... or whether it is by using routers capable of only forwarding a subscribers their fair share of traffic. That surely is for the market to decide.

As many others have pointed out, ISP shouldn't be mis-selling Internet accesses. They should be forced to show the limitations of the service with equal prominence to the headline grabbing but impossible to achieve peak bandwidth.

Can't see their marketing departments being too happy with having to run ads like

"Join XYZ ISP for a superfast 8Gb internet, except you are only like to get 3Gb if you are lucky and you can only use 3GB of traffic per month MAX"

But surely it is better that we have happy consumers and pissed of marketing zeebs than the current situation which is the exact opposite.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC : is it the same as JonB's where everything is free?

How have two people misinterpreted this; "..is to make people pay for their usage of it, according to how much they use." as "everything is free"?

Did you see the "pay" word there? What do you think I meant?

What I'd like is an open market, with short contracts to allow switching and fees based on usage more you use it the more you pay. This would very quickly fix the bit torrent problem, lots of music would become cheaper to buy rather than download depending on the data price.

To implement it is simple, ban the misleading "unlimited" adverts, unless the product is truly unlimited, and yes, unlimited does mean 24/7.

It'd fix the infrastructure problem as well, if the internet became congested again, that would also mean that the ISP's would have to invest to improve the cash flow.

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Anonymous Coward

"unlimited"

Technically, your local petrol station will supply you with unlimited petrol. However, if everyone in your town went to buy petrol at the same time, there'd be queues off the forecourt and they'd soon run out.

It's a bad choice of phrase by the ISP and should have been dropped a long time ago, because it's not really possible to promise everyone can have the use of the full connection all the time.

It seems to me people would almost be happier if everyone paid by the measure (gb, whatever), and I'd probably agree, except for the fact I live in a shared house with loads of other people, and some of them seem to spend all day torrenting.

I'm with VM and on my package, I'd have to download more than 1200mb between 4pm and 9pm to get a slowdown. Even then, download speed drops by 75% (probably enough for me anyway really), but only for 5 hours.

It just doesn't seem a big deal to me.

Unless you're torrenting games/dvds, when do you (regularly) download more than 1200mb in one go? The average show from iPlayer is a lot less than that, plus you'll then be watching it presumably, so you won't be downloading much.

Assuming most people probably don't get home from work til 6pm, most users won't even notice the traffic management.

What I'd really like is a well-priced home router with decent QOS. It can inspect anything it likes - I have nothing to hide. Something to restrict bit torrent to say 50% when other people are browsing or on msn. I've tried a Billion and a separate server, and neither seemed very good.

And back to the article...I know people who download a lot more than our house do illegally, and they all do it via newsgroups anyway as torrents are apparently unreliable and often broken/incomplete. Some schedule things overnight (out of peak hours to avoid traffic management).

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Pirate

go to hell comcast shill

You don't know what you're talking about.

less than 1% of Internet users uses bittorrent. How about focusing on a problem which affects every internet user? how about spam or botnets? Stop those then we'll talk about congestion.

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Silver badge

Provide what is intended

Since broadband ISPs do admit, at least in the fine print, that while they provide a high-bandwidth connection, it is not intended for use at full bandwidth on a continuous duty cycle, it seems to me they could throttle individual users, based on use, in a manner which corresponds to that: allowing short peak bursts at full bandwidth, and longer-term high-bandwidth use would be a candidate for throttling down to an equal share of used capacity.

Note, too, that net neutrality laws were primarily intended to prevent throttling of VoIP by cable operators who have their own Internet phone products; protecting P2P services, and particularly their use for piracy, was not really a priority with legislators. So ISPs would be very happy to forego packet inspection and throttle BitTorrent in a way that just happens to throttle VoIP too.

So 'net neutrality, but pirates don't count' probably will be coming soon from the politicians, don't worry.

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If you build it (sell it?), they will come

Bittorrent is the current demon the ISPs blame for congestion and the area where most of their traffic management schemes are directed towards. It's an easy target because it is mostly used for illegal file sharing and users can't complain too much about having restrictions on that. However, it won't be the prime target for long. What will happen once other media channels start launching bigger and better iPlayers? Or when Youtube starts to offer HDTV-quality video? When high-quality video conferencing becomes more popular than VoIP? When more games companies start to offer Steam-style game downloads?

All of these legal services (and more) will spring up in the future because people have been conditioned into believing that their flat-rate 8Mbit unlimited broadband is an unlimited 8Mbit broadband connection that they pay a monthly flat-rate fee for. The bandwidth 'abuse' by heavy freetards at present is soon going to become the normal usage for everyday folks as more and more legal services adapt to the bandwidth that ISPs are selling to their customers.

Services such as iPlayer have evolved precisely because of the widespread sale of unlimited high-speed packages. If ISPs sell unlimited bandwidth, applications (legal or otherwise) will evolve to make use of it. The fact that ISPs didn't realise this (or, more likely, ignored it for short-term profits and customer sign-in) is entirely their fault.

I don't know what the solution will be. Capping with additional charges for each MB/GB over the limit might work, but for several years people have been conditioned by ISPs into accepting the flat-rate model as the norm. How customers react to such changes will be interesting, especially in a future where everyone is making use of the high-bandwidth applications that have evolved to make use of the 'unlimited' bandwidth ISPs have been selling for years.

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Thumb Down

"...oversold..."

I see that word a lot here; "oversold", "oversubscribed", etc., etc.

The implication seems to be that the ISPs are at fault for not asking, when they signed up the user, "So, how much capacity are you planning to use...", then apologizing with utter embarrassment when they couldn't sign the customer up that month because they wouldn't have the capacity to feed them everything that they wanted to use.

...Because we all know, of course, that people would all be blissfully honest about what they were planning to do with their bandwidth. ("...Hosting a torrent of every season of 'Dr. Who'...? Of COURSE not!! Why, the very THOUGHT...!")

Feh.

The plain fact is that, for 90% of users, the unmetered plans offered ARE effectively, unlimited. Do you take a duffel bag to an "all you can eat" buffet? After all -- it doesn't say "as much as you can eat while you're sitting in this chair," it says "all you can eat". That's "unlimited", isn't it? If you try to sit there for five hours until you feel hungry again they'll kick you out for "exceeding normal usage." (Yes, it's an inane analogy -- but it's about as rational as the analogies used by the 10% to defend their monopolizing of the system.)

Here's a simple question for all of those who carp "I'd be willing to pay for truly unlimited service!" Suppose the standard user paid the current price but you could opt for a plan that charged you the standard fare every month times the multiple of "average" usage that you consumed? That is, if you used five times the average, you would pay five times the basic tariff... Would you go for that? If you can't say "yes", then you're really just trying to convince others (or yourself!) that you're not really a bad person; you're just tragically misunderstood.

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Silver badge
Flame

Please stop speading lies and FUD

P2P is NOT going to kill the intarwubs. P2P through UDP is actually much better than through TCP. For everyone. Less traffic for the same amount of data.

ISPs doesn't wish to throttle UDP? Well, why do they throttle TCP in the first place? Right, it's because they oversold the resource they bought. And lied to the customers while doing so. I do not see how my neighbour watching lolcat videos (or _illegally shared_ music clips and movie extracts) on youtube all day long is more important than my Linux .iso downloads. Or my Jamendo album downloads for that matter.

Online video watching (NOT streaming! Please stop using that term for watch-as-you-download stuff!) will kill the internet and the artists. It's an awful lot of data, and the material is mostly "illegally" shared. Video watchers, YOU are the nasty internet-killing, artist-starving pirates. Same for YOU, myspace people who broadcast music. And you guys who send 10 MB powerpoint "jokes" or "insightful" presentation (through a webmail interface) to all of you 786 contacts? Shame on you! You're killing the internet. You, the guys who send two 5MB attachments (a pdf and a MSWord version, barf) by e-mail to hundreds of people, to pass 5 text lines worth of information (seminar announcement, departmental christmas party, the boss' PA delivered her baby, whatever): SHAME.

That's what is plugging the intertubes, if you ask me. And it's mostly YOU, the hollier-than-thou P2P-bashers, who are responsible.

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Flame

@ Ruli Manurung

I prefer to read articles from people who approach a subject with an open mind and use the evidence they find to inform their conclusions.

In this article the conclusion that, to paraphrase, freetards are ruining everything, was quite clearly in place before any of the "evidence" was found to fit it. The canard of VOIP under threat is a good example - a little research could have told the author that both his statement and his inference from it were incorrect, but because it suited where he knew he was heading anyway he threw it in there.

However, I take back my accusation that Bennett is a psuedonym of Orlowski's, since had it been so, we wouldn't have been given the right to post our puny comments on it.

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Gold badge

Bandwidth use not insatiable.

"They're short-sellers; except they can refuse to cough up if the stock price (or rather, bandwidth usage) rises."

Funny you should use this comparison, but this is one of the things that got the US investment firms where they are now. These stock guys were *naked* short selling, meaning instead of delaying the stock purchase a day or two (in the hopes that the price had dropped, and they could buy it cheaper than they sold it) they just skipped the part where they ever got the stock, and just sent over a note saying "stock on demand, honest". Then recently when people started calling those in -- whoosh! Some stocks were like 50% oversold, no stock to go around.

"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."

Mobiles are not the same as landlines. With good-quality copper or fiber you can push quite a lot over it, compared to mobile tech where there's a fixed amount of spectrum, expected to serve everyone within range of that cell site.

Secondly, the demand curve is NOT insatiable -- the companies in Japan that provide 100mbit/sec service have found usage plateaus at a certain point (with the rare exception -- they have put up a 30GB..per DAY.. upload cap to handle a few users. If you hit that, you are throttled.) There's a few torrenters who are just apparently trying to get everything ever (900GB/month UP? wow) but most what in the US or Britain would be "heavy users" get every torrent they want, get sick of HD youtube or whatever, and they're done -- they don't just keep using more bandwidth. The rough part for you Brits is the BT backbone -- I'm quite surprised someone hasn't laid out their own backbone in Britain, to avoid being charged per-MB at the ISP level.

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Gold badge

Bandwidth use not insatiable.

"They're short-sellers; except they can refuse to cough up if the stock price (or rather, bandwidth usage) rises."

Funny you should use this comparison, but this is one of the things that got the US investment firms where they are now. These stock guys were *naked* short selling, meaning instead of delaying the stock purchase a day or two (in the hopes that the price had dropped, and they could buy it cheaper than they sold it) they just skipped the part where they ever got the stock, and just sent over a note saying "stock on demand, honest". Then recently when people started calling those in -- whoosh! Some stocks were like 50% oversold, no stock to go around.

"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."

Mobiles are not the same as landlines. With good-quality copper or fiber you can push quite a lot over it, compared to mobile tech where there's a fixed amount of spectrum, expected to serve everyone within range of that cell site.

Secondly, the demand curve is NOT insatiable -- the companies in Japan that provide 100mbit/sec service have found usage plateaus at a certain point (with the rare exception -- they have put up a 30GB..per DAY.. upload cap to handle a few users. If you hit that, you are throttled.) There's a few torrenters who are just apparently trying to get everything ever (900GB/month UP? wow) but most what in the US or Britain would be "heavy users" get every torrent they want, get sick of HD youtube or whatever, and they're done -- they don't just keep using more bandwidth. I wish I could get Verizon FIOS, it's also 100mbit with no cap -- they also found the heavy users don't just keep getting heavier as they get more bandwidth. The rough part for you Brits is the BT backbone -- I'm quite surprised someone hasn't laid out their own backbone in Britain, to avoid being charged per-MB at the ISP level.

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Unhappy

The lazy ISP's are worthless

The only reason ISP's throttle traffic is to conserve the limited bandwidth that the old connections that are in place can provide. What is needed is a major overhaul of the ISP' core connections. I live in America and I'm paying about 40 American dollars a month for an connection that never tops 4Mb download, where in Japan, you can get a 100Mb download and upload fiber optic connection for about 45 American dollars a month. This is BULL****! Our ISP's have become lazy and don't want to invest the money in upgrading the networks, the Japanese government provided subsidies to the ISP's of Japan in order to promote the renovation and expansion of the networks. Why can't the British and American governments do the same?

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Silver badge

@AC - Unlimited Usage = Unspecified Usage

No. Unlimited=Unlimited. If they don't mean it, they shouldn't say it.

The ISPs that you're defending mis-sell their services with enticements to use the connection to do the very things that break the shared resource model you talk of. How exactly is the consumer to blame for this situation? In what way is it infantile to expect a company to invest in the infrastructure to provide the service they're charging you for?

Virgin Media are rolling out a 50Mb service which will probably be mis-sold in the same Dutch auction style as every other broadband package. If they had any sense, they could offer a truly unlimited 1Mb service on the same infrastructure that would exceed customer expectation because of the shared resource model. Then they could pressure OFCOM to clamp down on the mis-sold ADSL, forcing BT and others to invest to keep up. Ok, I'm being hopelessly optimistic. But I can dream, can't I?

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Stop

i hate people spout ing off when they don't know

User Datagram Protocol was orginally designed to be a connectionless protocol period it wasn't designed to work with any service really as there was sod all services for it to work with.

if become clear as network applications where advanced that connectionless protocols didn't work without error checking.

Transmission Control Protocol was created to be a universal connection based protocol with error checking and if used with IPv4 or IPV6 Tcp if little different remembering that IP is it's own protocal and not part of tcp.

it just so happens that UDP being connectionless lends itself to Voice and Video and Real time data as if you lose a packet it doesn't matter.

while tcp lends if self to file transfer etc as you don't want to miss half your web page of file cause the packets got lost.

people can correct me if i'm wrong but thats what i was taught at university so include evidence to back it up

now personally i hate bit torrent etc as used to use them and after tring to download anime of a show not shown in the uk and actually getting me something that would get me done for extreme porn on a few occasions i gave it up

but i really hate people spouting off on things when they don't know

if we move to a pay as you go internet rate i want a pay raise as i do on call as part of the network and infrastucture team so put in alot of internet usage with rdp and telnet sessions

that can't be avoided so what am i meant to do ?

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Tom
Silver badge

what about stupid content

My VOIP phone doesnt use anywhere near as much bandwidth as pointless data-expansion techniques like flash, mpg, videos, word documents and pdf where simple clear text in html would have done.

This is not about people missusing technology - this is about companies trying to make money out of nothing. I paid for my bandwidth - why shouldnt I use it for VOIP? Oh sorry it means you cant rip me off for other using other voice ommunication mediums.

When will these prats realise that they are replaceable. If my ISP tries breaching its terms of contract I will go elswhere. If everyone shuts down on me I will still go elsewhere.

I used to Pringles packets to communicate.

I may have to again. http://www.open80211s.org/

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The Daily Register?

I haven't read a more biased article in quite a while.

Thank you El Reg.

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Unhappy

Sorry - but this is completely wrong...

Robert - I run Product Management at BitTorrent - unfortunately your post is utterly wrong. The whole point of UTP is to offer BETTER congestion control than TCP at the same speed. Its NOT designed to offer faster speed with worse congestion control as you suggest. I'd be happy to discuss in person - I emailed you separately.

We are trying to help people on the internet (and ISPs too!) - the idea we'd "declare war" is unfortunately sensationalist nonsense.

Simon Morris (VP Product Management, BitTorrent, Inc.)

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E

pay for use / capitalism

You cannot reasonably claim that (in CA at least) wiht average price of $35/month, several million subscribers, the ISPs are being overwhelmed by demand and cannot make a buck.

They are being overwhelmed by the result of their collective decision to not build out national backbone capacity but rather collect higher profits.

With ADSL and cable wiring plants already in place before the 'net came along, it is not even the case the capitalism has proven it's use in the creation of an infrastructure - we are still waiting for a solution the local loop problem. Meanwhile Bell/Telus/Rogers/etc pull in several tens of millions of dollars monthly dual-purposing an infrastructure originally build for phone and TV, and on then-legislated monopoly profits.

The only reason I can see for class of service strategies by ISPs and carriers is that it can reduce the chances that profits will have to be spent on infrastructure upgrades.

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RW
IT Angle

Are torrent users butterfly collectors?

A gazillion years ago I glommed onto a huge number of fonts via usenet. The last few months, I've been gradually organizing these. There are thousands of them. I can say I have Old Style Horrible, and Sans Imperfect, and Minos' Penis, lucky, lucky me!

But aha! guess what? The vast majority of them I've never used for anything at all, and never will. They are cyber-clutter, essentially like all the crap I've bought at junk shops over the years and am now trying to dispose of. (Adobe, Linotype, et all can go back to sleep: my possession of these fonts affects their bottom lines not at all.)

Which leads me to the question: do the die-hard, insatiable torrent users actually watch, listen to, or use in any other way the stuff they download? Or do they merely use it as an ego-boosting mechanism: "yah, yah, yah, I have more tracks than you do!"

IOW, are they butterfly collectors whose passion is possession, not utility?

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Dead Vulture

matters of right and wrong

- Nice to see that network is not quite a commodity yet...

- Am I the only one to be sick and tired of moral approach to EVERYTHING???? What I eat, what I buy, what I smoke, how and what I drive, how I use Internet... Amazing to see how much emotional and creative energy is dissipated in moral control and compliance these days.... Well, at least it keeps us busy

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Alien

The internet is a series of Rollercoasters

I think all this talk of Protocols and stuff serves to confuse the issue at hand.

I picture the analogy of the ISPs as a Rollercoaster owner.

He's advertising:

"Come right up!! You can ride THE WHOLE DAY for only $5!"

In the beginning, the service runs wonderfully and everyone's happy.

Then, as more people come through the gates for unlimited rides, the rollercoaster begins to creak and groan under the weight of all the people.

Instead of reinforcing the support beams and expanding the rollercoaster to cope with the increased business, the owner waves his hands around shouting "Hey! Hey! They're abusing the system.. we've got to slow the whole ride down or the whole rollercoaster's gonna collapse under all this strain!! "

All this while he's happily taking people's money as they come in through the gates.

So basically, my message to the ISPs: If you want all those extra customers, you're gonna need extra bandwidth. End of story.

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Seems evident

If the ISPs are going to not only throttle but choke bittorrent traffic to death (as mine has done - I can't even get an O/S distribution via torrent here, have to use ftp), then you can expect the developers to react accordingly.

If ISPs stopped lying to one and all about "unlimited" bandwidth, and implemented reasonable policies, we probably wouldn't have a problem. But, like the music industry, it's easier to blame their customers for problems than to own up to an utter lack of ethical backbone on their part.

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Linux

OK's....

Premiss:

People buy a 'no limit connection'

So who are you to decide what is relevant or permissible?

Game over....

Stop aligning yourselves with corporate mismanagement or failed directives.

Can --> Label --> Tough!

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Flame

You get what you pay for

Which is why I specifically hunted down an ISP aimed at people that want high bandwidth and unlimited transfer. I then expect to be able to use it as much as I like.

I'm sorry if this offends other people in some way, and maybe you folks that just read your email over a vt100 should find yourselves a different ISP, or buy a modem.

And here's the thing - freetard or not, with all the tv channels now having on-demand over-the-internet viewing, this is only going to get bigger. Far bigger.

(And the damn fool that thinks the bbc should pay ISPs for iPlayer is a damn fool. I pay for my connection to the internet. It's corrupt and criminal to hold MY pipe hostage until the party I'm trying to retrieve data from OVER MY PIPE pays up.)

One of the other posters was right. There's a new internet coming sooner or later, it'll be layered on top of the old one, encrypted and peer driven.

I'm writing the software now.

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Silver badge

@ N1AK, AC

N1AK:

E-mail. The idea is to charge a very small amount for SENDING each e-mail. That won't affect a normal home user or business, especially with a free daily allowance per user. Incoming spam isn't relevant since I'm not suggesting a charge for receiving mail.

However, it will sure as hell bankrupt a spammer. Thats the whole idea. If it also hurts a fuckwit who doesn't keep his AV stuff up to date and doesn't know he's hoisting a bot, then tough: it might just teach him to get a clue.

AC:

I think I'm a fairly typical user - extensive e-mail, fair web traffic, USENET, d/l around 150 MB of OS upgrades a week and 3GB for a new distro every 6 months. I'm on a 3GB peak/30GB offpeak package. I average under 2GB /month and have only exceeded 3GB twice in the last 12 months (6.5 and 4.25 GB respectively). These numbers come from my account usage page.

That's why I guessed 3GB + 3GB for an average user.

Anybody who thinks my numbers are unrepresentative is welcome to prove it by quoting their own usage figures. Arm-wavers without hard numbers need not reply.

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Dead Vulture

No

UDP is a Do-it-Yourself version of packet management. If the BitTorrent clients are tuned very well, UDP could actually improve efficiency. BitTorrent doesn't need to concern itself with latency/efficiency tradeoffs and tricks that TCP has. It can go for full efficiency and maintain a smooth, orderly stream.

If BitTorrent is not tuned correctly for UDP, it will flood connections in a way that makes the BitTorrent clients themselves the first to stop working. Bandwidth junkies would switch from a broken UDP implementation back to TCP in a hurry. This is probably exactly what will happen. Getting maximum UDP throughput on all types of networks is no small project.

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Bell Canada

"Upset about Bell Canada’s system for allocating bandwidth fairly among internet users"

This is what's started it all. Bell Canada is throttling all users irregardless of congestion. I am not a high bandwidth user. However, on the rare occasions that I do require bandwidth I'm throttled to 30 kB/s for 20 hours out of the day. THAT is what's unacceptable. And our governing bodies have just voted that this sort of behaviour is OK. While I don't agree with Bit Torrent seriously damaging the net at large, something has to be done so that users can actually get the bandwidth that they pay for!

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A flaw in the logic

"When five per cent of users consume half the network’s resources and block access to 75 per cent of its total capacity, it makes sense to target them for throttling. But such throttling will utterly destroy VoIP."

No. It will destroy *their* VoIP if their ISP filters by source address or that ISP's customers' VoIP if they don't but pass an unmanageably large volume of traffic downstream to someone else's router that can't cope. ISP's therefore have an incentive to police their own customers usage, and they can do so without violating network neutrality if they filter by source address.

I really don't see the problem here.

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@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."

The thing is, it seems to be effectively the same people moaning over and over about ISPs being misleading, as if they aren't capable of modifying their expectations in the light of experience.

What are they, bleeding goldfish?

ISPs maybe *shouldn't* sell unlimited packages unless they are completely unlimited

Regulators *may* be useless, when it really should be them changing the allowed terminology.

However, the one thing that hardly any Reg readers can honestly complain about is being surprised that 'unlimited' != 'really unlimited'.

Even if someone has paid for 'unlimited', once they've realised that's not what they're going to get, if they keep paying for it, they can't really keep complaining, since they *know* it's not what they're going to get.

If something says "Great new taste!!" on the packet, and I buy it and think it tastes like shit, I don't keep buying it *and* keep complaining the labelling is misleading me.

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Flame

NIce hit piece.

Congratulations on your inflammatory headline. Hope you got paid well.

Okay, let's try some facts since they're so scarce in the original article:

1) BitTorrent wouldn't exist if we had useful upload speeds

Everybody seems to forget this one. BitTorrent wouldn't exist if we actually had a way of getting decent upload bandwidth. Unfortunately, I can't really buy this *at any feasible price* in the USA.

2) UDP for BitTorrent should have been the default to start

Arguably, BitTorrent should have been using UDP *in the first place*. Files are hashed/checksummed and packetized. Using TCP is a huge waste of retransmission and sequencing that BitTorrent completely discards. BitTorrent doesn't care if a packet gets tossed; it will just request a retransmit later anyway.

3) UDP is perfectly capable of being TCP-congestion friendly

It's called Datagram Congestion Control Protocol, it exists *today*.

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

If they have a brain, BitTorrent will eventually implement this simply because it's actually more efficient than almost any adhoc solution they'll come up with. Otherwise, they'll stumble around in the dark for a while until the come up with something equivalent.

4) TCP flow control is *already* broken with P2P

The main problem is that traffic isn't throttled by bandwidth but by TCP/IP flows. Consequently, BitTorrent users who open 14 gazillion TCP/IP connection are getting disproportionate bandwidth already. Properly, packets should be tossed out based upon total bandwidth usage by an aggregated endpoint, not by connection.

See: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=1078

5) The ISP's brought this on themselves by *forging packets*.

Remember that little "bandwidth throttling" fiasco caused by sending RST packets? Yeah, that's called "forging packets" and the only way to stop it is to take over the entire connection process so that it becomes too computationally expensive to attempt. Generally, you even lay encryption over top of this so that you can really be sure that nobody can forge your packets. As a bonus, deep packet inspection becomes infeasible.

Did the ISP's really expect that this *wouldn't* happen? I'm surprised it took as long as it did.

6) The ISP's are hated because of their monopoly

Everybody hates the ISP's in the USA. It's a monopoly. They're in the pocket of big media. They want to monitor all their users to market the data. They're trying to interpose themselves between users and the internet to charge money. They fight anything that would actually result in useful speeds here in the USA. They sue local communities who try to lay in fiber. They only grudgingly increase traffic speeds when a competitor actually rolls into an area.

Pardon me if I don't weep while people extract every ounce of traffic from an ISP.

See how much better that was?

Of course, I've learned not to expect clear thinking from hack, faux-technogical, pseudo-journalists.

I don't know why I bother anymore.

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Flame

Investors and Profits vs. Product Usefulness

If it wasn't for investors in ISP's not knowing anything about what the networks need to do to work (as in: advance with the rest of tech and world) and maybe look at it more as an infrastructure than a business model, maybe all those unused fiber in the backbone (which is the current bottleneck today) could be turned ON. But prices continue to go up, while investment in infrastructure has stopped, and investors pockets get heavier. This is very similar to the rest of the IT field. The management and investors (most of which don't know anything about IT at all) cut out what needs to be around to keep the system running efficiently, like people to support the infrastructure's growth, because doing so allows them to take a larger share of the profits every year.

To be blunt, instead of having a hideously huge OS on each of our personal supercomputers that just does the same useful things as the more efficient version previous (vista vs. xp, GAG! sorry, had a bit of vomit in my throat), maybe more TCP should be converted to use UDP, and have the applications handle the traffic control, since computers are so fast it won't be a problem for most people. Doing this would free up a lot of bandwidth universally for things that everyone actually wants to have transferred over the networks, DATA.

This stupid war of idiots over who's using too much bandwidth is an issue at the backbone level, since the users are only making the most of the connection they have been sold. Even if everyone had only 2Mbits max, instead of the 10 that is constantly advertised over here in the US, the backbones would still have trouble if everyone was streaming at the same time, even if it isn't torrent, because the data goes over the same infrastructure regardless of protocol. And since the port used by TCP or UDP are generally randomized after the initial connection by the OS, there is no reason the people who throttle the connections cannot do the same, it's just "harder" to program traffic control on the UDP level in the infrastructure side, and the TCP one has already been developed, WAAAAH! I cry for them.

I almost wish I didn't know anything about network application programming, or server/client programming, because then maybe this article would carry more weight with me, but it just sounds like more user vs. user bitching, when the fingers need to point at the controllers and implementers of the infrastructure. Where the hell is the investment going? Into marketing trying to prove no investment is needed, period. Unfortunately, this bubble is too important to burst like the others, so there will be no going back to reality any time soon, much like the media industries war on the user becuase they don't want to lower their prices to reflect the average income drop of their customers, and why? Because investors NEED to make more money next year than the last or they will stop investing, even though doing so destroys the industries they are supposedly the masters of (in their shortsighted minds).

But what the hell do I know!? I'm just a consumer-peasant that's as dumb as a box of rocks because I'm not rich enough to invest in my own misinformation campaign to pit people against each other and make sure they stay ignorant of what I'm doing behind my curtain.

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Thumb Up

Utorrent authors killing 911 voip calls

This is the latest in the lamebrained efforts of programmers. It's easy to see the PR boon this will be for the throttling efforts...imagine the 1st time someone tries to dial 911 on the VOIP line and someone's pirating efforts stifles the call for help.

Also, it's this type of thing that leads to juries slapping $200,000 judgments on file sharers. The public is far more tolerant of gentleman thieves.

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Silver badge

Simple solution

Stop treating Bittorrent differently when you are an ISP and nobody needs to turn to UDP.

If you experience traffic bottlenecks you cannot ease by upgrading, prioritize small packets over large ones. And do what I pay you for doing, upgrade! And please peer with other ISPs if you complain about high upstream costs. If all ISPs would peer directly, those upstream providers would be out of business.

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Re: Sorry - but this is completely wrong...

Agreed. Kontiki, the system used by iPlayer and 4oD etc., uses UDP. As Sean Blanchfield pointed out, NAT traversal is one very good reason. There doesn’t need to be a section on the BBC iPlayer website that tries to explain the intricacies of UPnP settings and port forwarding to the general public. It’s ridiculous to single out one P2P company and tell them a legitimate and fundamental design choice is off limits.

What’s next? Declaring GRE packets to be the work of the devil?

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Absoloute FUD

Terrible article, although raises a valid point about some users taking more bandwidth than others.

As i see things at the moment the ISPs are playing a balancing act between the end-users and 'others'.

To keep the ISPs and their revenue streams flowing while maintaining a reasonable interest in the good feelings of their users then they should drop the flat rate charges and go with a price per MB downloaded/uploaded. As long as they keep it reasonable this would provide very cheap broadband for granny smith who checks her emails to reasonable for the average user, to prohibitivly expensive for those who keep torrent files going 24/7.

Still, arguments in the article are full of crap...

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My bits are freezing

No matter how big your bedroom is, it's probably full of crap. Like the Internet's plumbing.

BBC iPlayer seems to be for people who can't work a TV recorder; the whole raison d'etre (look it up) of BitTorrent is to download stuff faster than anyone else (so what's happening - doh?); and oh gee I'm getting bored and lonely in my bedroom with my CD / DVD / XBox / PS[123] / MP3 / BlueRay mega-collection so rather than talk to someone real why don't I meet up with other sadsacks in virtual gameworld by using all my Dad's bandwidth on some unnecessary P2P packet explosion software? My porn movie was really jumpy last night because of all you barstewards.

Bah.

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Take this garbage article down.

Please remove this clearly anti-P2P article from your website. It's full of fallacies and clear bias. It doesn't present any clear technical detail and it's obviously written by someone who hates P2P.

"Declares war on VOIP and Gamers"? Come on, a little sensational don't ya think? I would have expected better from the Register.

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Dead Vulture

BS! Misleading article - Worst TheReg article in the last few years

This is the worst article I've seen The Reg in last couple of years.

Totally irrational arguments without any connection to reality, this is the typical gibberish you can expect from a company-paid 'journalist', in this case I would say very cheaply paid as well.

I'm sad to be reading this in The Reg. I guess I will be looking for a better source of news and analysis.

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I find ISP pricing strange

I pay my ISP a monthly fee.

My ISP pays their upstream supplier a per-GB fee.

The owner of the physical backbone paid an installation fee for the infrastructure, plus ongoing maintenance, unrelated to the amount of traffic that actually passes through said infrastructure.

- Thus effectively a monthly fee.

None of this makes sense...

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Thumb Up

Good

Good to read some well-documented reporting on the P2P non-issue! I'm talking about the comments, not the article, obviously.

(except for a couple of clueless comments. D Midi and friends, I'm looking at you)

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