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

    ..is 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
    Boffin

    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
    Alien

    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
    Stop

    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
    Coat

    VoIP ? ?

    Pah...

    POTS FTW !

    Mines the one with the BUTT phone in the pocket.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Wow...

    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
    Unhappy

    Grrr

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

  12. Gulfie
    Go

    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
    Pirate

    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
    Pirate

    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
    Alert

    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
    Alert

    @ 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
    Unhappy

    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
    Pirate

    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

    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

    Unlimited

    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
    Flame

    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
    Pirate

    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

    @Gulfie

    "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
    Pirate

    @Billy

    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
    Stop

    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
    Boffin

    UDP

    ...is 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
    Alert

    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
    Flame

    Piddle

    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
    Alert

    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
    Alert

    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.

    Fuckwits!

    FSM.

  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
    Pirate

    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
    Flame

    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
    Alert

    @ 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
    Stop

    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
    Pirate

    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
    Pirate

    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

    @Parax

    >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'?

  51. N1AK

    @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.

  52. Alex Walsh
    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 :)

  53. Big Bear
    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)

  54. Paul
    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?

  55. Ruli Manurung
    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?

  56. mr.K
    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.

  57. N1AK

    @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.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  59. Richard Green
    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.

  60. Steve Foster

    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.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    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).

  64. James
    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.

  65. John Savard 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.

  66. Mark McC

    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.

  67. Mike Moyle Silver badge
    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.

  68. Pierre 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.

  69. Duncan Hothersall
    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.

  70. Henry Wertz 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.

  71. Henry Wertz 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.

  72. Devildog
    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?

  73. Red Bren

    @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?

  74. Mike Groombridge
    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 ?

  75. 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/

  76. James

    The Daily Register?

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

    Thank you El Reg.

  77. Simon Morris
    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.)

  78. 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.

  79. 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?

  80. Anonymous Coward
    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

  81. rob frost
    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.

  82. yeah, right.

    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.

  83. Slackness
    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!

  84. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  85. Martin Gregorie 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.

  86. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    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.

  87. Klaus

    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!

  88. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    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.

  89. david wilson

    @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.

  90. bsder
    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.

  91. Stephen Sherry
    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.

  92. D Midi
    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.

  93. Christian Berger 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.

  94. Someone

    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?

  95. Loki

    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...

  96. robbie
    Thumb Down

    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.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    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.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  99. Richard Silver badge

    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...

  100. Pierre Silver badge
    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)

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    grey area's

    BBC have iplayer content available to any UK IP on the basis they are providing a service to licence payers as I understand it.

    So been away from the UK for an extended period and my wife wanting to keep up to date with some UK programmes if I then keep paying my licence fee and download via torrent BBC programmes for her to watch what exactly am I stealing and from whom? Would it be less legal (?) if I used it for ITV programmes and cut out the adverts (though I could do that on sky+ anyway). What if I moved permanently and kept paying a licence fee?

    The question then is really the delivery method as owning a slingbox in the UK and viewing freeview streams abroad is legal, apparently even adding a PVR and timeshifting it is also apparently legal.

    There's even a company that will house the slingbox and PVR for you that have taken legal advice on this and built a business model on it.

    The problem with all the rights management and the region restrictions is it's become a nightmare in the face of global delivery systems and is only going to get worse. Somehow I suspect it's no easier for anyone anywhere in the chain.

  102. Pierre Silver badge

    Pay per Use

    As much as I think this would be the way to go, it's not gonna happen. Why? Because it's less profitable for the ISPs. When ~95 % of the customers barely use any bandwidth at all, you make much more profit with a flat rate. Especially as you sell them something you think they won't use, so you can sell it several times. Now they try to use what you sold them and mayhem ensues, but it's someone else's fault surely. Let's blame P2P.

  103. This post has been deleted by its author

  104. James Butler
    Thumb Down

    What did I tell you?

    Bittorrent is a selfish little program used by selfish little people.

    "Some of the people who use this system are spoiled children with no more concern for the greater good than junkies looking for their next fix."

    Too damn true. Make that, "All of the people.." Anyone who uses torrents is a selfish pig, because they know what it does to their loop when they use it.

    @JonB

    You are being too naive. It's child's play to use falseified or stolen credentials for purchasing bandwidth. If you think simply installing a pay-as-you-go system will keep the kiddies from getting more than their share of bandwidth, you haven't been paying attention for the past two decades.

    @AC 19:21GMT

    You're a fool. BitTorrent has always been a pig because its programmers are pigs. They can't understand why other people on the network would complain when their little program takes over the loop, and now they are working to pervert the only other protocol they could use with their selfish ways. If they had the honor to program with respect for other network users, they might be given a pass on this, but they do not. They want to grab as much bandwidth as is available at the expense of every other network use, simply to make their software look good to its piggy little users.

    Now that Bittorrent will be perverting UDP, they are proving themselves to be rogues that deserve to get punched in the head. They ARE declaring war on every service that currently uses UDP, just like they did with TCP, because they know full well, as does this article's author, that once Bittorrent starts operating under UDP, all of those other applications will suffer and even become so damaged by Bittorrent's network abuse that they no longer function.

    I say those of us who still give a damn about keeping the Internet functional should work to develop "torrent-killing" programs whose sole purpose is to disrupt and destroy torrent traffic, regardless of which protocol it uses. In the eyes of the law, there is nothing to stop us from doing that, since that is exactly what Bittorrent products do to other programs. Since Bittorrent is declaring war on us, we can defend ourselves.

  105. Mike Silver badge

    Reailty checks

    1) According to Vint Cerf, UDP was in fact created in response to Danny Cohen's proposal, that it would be good for carrying voice traffic. In fact it is good for any such latency-sensitive stuff characterised by "better never than late".

    2) A true full-bandwidth connection is not "50x to 500x" as expensive as a massively oversubscribed one. One can get a _real_ T1 from a competent ISP for about 5x what Comcast charges for my "6 to 16Mbps" connection that rarely tops 1.

    3) UDP does not have all that much _wire_ overhead, so not much less bandwith. It has less "state" in the stack, but that is balanced by more in the app.

    4)TOS field is not very "deep" in the packet. If an ISP wanted to profile traffic based on it, and total byte-count of a particular TOS per endpoint, a torrenting VOIP user would have only himself to blame. No black helicopters required. But it would require some state in, e.g. the cable-modem, so they'd cost maybe two percent of the rental fee instead of one. :-)

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fail & el reg

    I cannot believe how an author at el reg can be so naive! And talk about propaganda! How much of a backhander were you paid by people like the riaa, bpi and others to ejaculate out such utter b.s brainspunk? You should be ashamed of yourself, do some research as to the ACTUAL effect this will have on t'intarwebs (read none) rather than speculating wildly and come back and try again. Fail.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Wow

    Good god, learn what you're talking about before you write an article.

    For anyone wanting accurate information, read the comments at http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/7gn7r/bittorrent_declares_war_on_voip_gamers/

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Is this article a troll?

    The absence of objectivity in this article is astonishing, even smells like a troll.

    I pay for bits and bytes, not for protocols, and it's nobody business but mine what kind of information is encoded in them. Also, I can't possibly understand how can some use of the bandwidth be more legitimate than other. I can argue that gamers are junkies, escaping from reality and living in imaginary worlds. selfishly wasting resources that could be used by the swarm for faster file transfers.

    I only agree that greed is the root of the problem. Only, not the greed of the users who want to use what they were sold, but the greed of the ISPs who have sold what they don't have.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    This is propoganda, not journalism

    I'm disappointed to see such a rabid view expressed on the register. While I have some sympathy for his arguments, the clear bias completely turned me off.

  110. Alex

    Outraged of South West

    what on earth are these freetards downloading? I'm buggered if I can find anything worth the electricity!!

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    DSCP anyone

    "(Note: in principle, VoIP can be distinguished from P2P over UDP, but only by non-politically correct means such as Deep Packet Inspection. Nor is it consistent with the net neutrality laws proposed in the US and the EU forbidding discrimination based on protocol type, source, or destination.)"

    Please go look up the definition of Diff Services and then refrain from writing about things you seem to have little knowledge about. One sided is one thing, but this article is one sided AND misinformed.

    BTW, you have just had your ass handed to you by a CCIE.

    -vividvew

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Pay more for connections?? + bittorrent shooting itself

    Um... well I way $80/ month for 40gb, at "full speed" which is actually about 1mb/750kb in my area (Wellington city, New Zealand) and we still get throttled. the problem is that their just isn't enough bandwidth, so even paying through the nose isn't enough to stop people obviously.

    Its just stupid to think that increasing the price will fix the problem. What needs to happen is significant investment into new tech, that will actually cope somewhat with the increase in bandwidth.

    Also, the other problem with caps is that it will make people seed less and less, to conserve bandwidth which will mean that the number of seeders will drop, causing the whole model to fall down.

  113. Watashi

    VoIP freetards

    Yeah, bloody spongers! I don't pay my ISP all that money just to let freeloading chatterboxes suck up my bandwidth. Hey, Skypers - you see that telephone shaped thing sitting on the table next to the sofa? It's a phone. Pick it up, use it, pay your own way and get off my interweb, you communication freetards!

    And whilst I'm on the subject... will people learn to programme their cable / sattelite / VHS video recorders instead of hogging the internet by watching UK TV channels on their computers! Look, if you find it that difficult, give me your phone number and I'll talk you through it. Think of it this way - every programme you forget to record and watch over the internet instead costs society 50p in wasted bandwidth (or something like that, I'm just gessing really).

    Gamers? That's fine - at least its using the technology to do something you can't do any other way.

  114. Neoc
    Dead Vulture

    Author's got his head up...

    "But this insight isn’t shared by downloaders in general, most of whom have a sense of entitlement where their etiquette gene should be."

    Really? Interesting argument. Yes, for the record, I use torrents. And I disagree with you completely based on one simple premise: I pay for my bandwidth!

    It's that simple: I have a contract with my ISP that states I can use X amount of bandwidth in return for Y amount of money. So *why* shouldn't I be allowed to use my X amount of bandwidth any way I want to, simply because *you* dislike the use I put it to? Put the blame for the current situation where it squarely lies: the greedy ISPs who, in the early 90s, grossly under-estimated the public's use of their pipes, and subsequently oversold their bandwidth to the point where they no longer can even provide the bandwidth they contracted for.

    Stop harping on "the evil of P2P bandwidth-hogging" and start talking about "the evil of ISP bandwidth-overselling".

    Oh, and before you pull the old "freetard" chestnut: yeah, I suppose by your limited definition I am - I refuse to pay for a show/movie I haven't seen, or (in some cases) wait 36+ months to see something I want to see because some idiot in Management decided not to release it locally yet. On the other hand, I am the perfect Capitalist Voter: if I like something, I will hunt down the DVD/CD/book (even if it means ordering it from overseas) and I will buy it. Why? Because we live in a capitalist society and if (for example) I like a particular show, I want the company to produce more like it. And the best way to "vote" for more shows like the one I like is to *purchase* the show I like and support the company that made it.

    @D Midi: "imagine the 1st time someone tries to dial 911 on the VOIP line"

    Ahhh, I see. So people who want to use the internet to get cheap/free calls (VoIP) so they don't have to pay the Phone Companies are more worthy than those who want to use torrents. Of course, why didn't I see that? Oh, could it be that it's because VoIP started off for the same reason as torrents: to bypass paying big companies? And now that they're trying to tie it in to the local loop, they're starting to realise it is *not* fit for purpose? (square peg, round hole, yet another attempt at legislating stupidity)

  115. Brian
    Alert

    We have to fight bandwidth control, fight the NWO

    We should never make a system where we pay per gigabyte or whatever, I believe ISPs should upgrade their networks for more users as cheaply and reliably as possible. If we all start charging per bandwidth usages this is the end of prisonplanet, this is the end of secondlife, this is the end of vonage, this is the end of future virtual reality cause money is controlling our future, they are preconditioning us for the shackled and controlled non-innovative internet.

    Unrestricted access is why we can defy the RIAA by selling our own music or giving it out for free like independent, if we start limiting and controlling bandwidth we are gonna hurt free artists and free singers. I made a song and shared it on bittorrent for free.

    We shouldn't try to shackle the internet, having it unlimited is what is revolutionizing the internet and paving the way for online TV, online DVR (That means we get free shows, free movies and free music without breaking the law because it's legal under the home recording act), and we have Secondlife, online radio, and infowars.

    Don't accept anybody who says that we need to charge based on bandwidth usage or else the poor and handycapped will lose the only unmetered entertainment left, the internet. This means poor people can't have fun, because they can't afford it.

    You must tell people what Alex Jones is saying about preconditioning, they are preconditioning us to accept internet control, to accept Satan/Antichrist worshipping, and worship the wooden idol just to go on Secondlife.

    We must resist and fight back against comcast, roadrunner, cox, qwest, and any ISP that is wanting to implement any type of bandwidth metering or filters, that is control. I can understand that they must limit speed but limiting extra bandwidth is unreasonable and goes against the whole beliefs of the internet, of having a place of free innovation, not having to sell your body (like a pornstar) to major corporations, that you don't have to be rich to produce your own content, limiting bandwidth makes it more costly to non-profit groups and makes us prostitutes and sex slaves to the corporations, let us not forget that bandwidth limits will enslave us.

  116. Wokstation
    Thumb Down

    PAYG interwebs

    Tell you what, shall we pay to receive post too? You know, a quid for each spam leaflet Royal Mail decide to stick through the door?

    No, I don't torrent. Yes, I do schedule any large downloads I need to do overnight (eg, XBOX Live game demos at a gig a pop - how much bandwidth does THAT suck up compared to these P2Pers?).

    Do I blame torrenters for the evening glut of linespeed? No - I blame the ISP for overselling their product.

    If I pay for my road-tax, is there a limit to how many times I can drive up the motorway?

    For shame, ElReg. I normally expect better balanced articles from you guys.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please understand networking protocols before publishing an "Internet is doomed" article

    TCP congestion control works at the END POINTS of a connection. So how does it affect me when I go to amazon to buy a book or anyone else if two people downloading or seeding saturate they're connection with UDP or TCP traffic

    hint not at all

    Stupid article should go ininto the list of stupid articles right next to OMG were out of IPv$ addresses

  118. Stef

    UDP and uTorrent

    http://www.utorrent.com/faq.php#Does_.C2.B5Torrent_support_HTTPS_.28SSL.29_or_UDP_trackers.3F

    "µTorrent 1.6 supports SSL (for trackers and RSS), but not UDP trackers. UDP tracker support is not likely, due to many flaws with the UDP tracker spec."

  119. P. Lee Silver badge
    Pirate

    No-one has mentioned why they would shift to UDP

    UDP is eminently spoofable. TCP is much harder to fake.

    Which do you think will stand-up in court better?

    If there is a bad side-effect, you can thank Davenport Lyons for this one.

  120. Steve Roper
    Pirate

    If you've ever wondered what "agitprop" is...

    ...this article is a perfect example of the art. It's very evidently, and cleverly, designed and worded to inflame anti-P2P sentiment amongst gamers and VoIP users. I see this because as both a gamer and torrent user I found myself feeling some angst towards filesharers as I read it - from the perspective of it affecting my WoW latency of course. Very nice little piece of mind control there, Mr. Bennett; but it's not bittorrent declaring war on gamers, it's you declaring war on bittorrent and making it look like bittorrent is the aggressor; much like Bush with his allegations of WMDs in Iraq. Obviously you don't like bittorrent or P2P. Paytard, much?

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks

    I pay for 150 gigs per month, 40 peak, 110 off peak, after which I get capped to dialup speed. Does it really matter what protocol utorrent is using? The only thing im concerned about is just what will be blocked by the Australian web censor, and how much THAT will slow down the internet for everyone, by 87% ive heard! Why shouldnt I use the bandwidth I pay for?

  122. J

    A torrent protocol should come as no surprise

    Honestly, TCP is a TERRIBLE fit for BitTorrent. Slow-start takes time to get to the send rates which are achieved on the internet today, and by the time they do the connection is over since BitTorrent exchanges fairly small sized blocks. As long as the people over at BitTorrent are responsible about creating their protocol I really think this will be good for everyone as opposed to bad.

    I wrote a post about why this is a GOOD thing here on my blog

    http://jmkupferman.blogspot.com/

  123. Michael Hitchins
    Happy

    unlimited internet vs contention vs download caps

    in Australia telstra pioneered tiered bandwidth and traffic plans, which are now the norm here. Why this doesnt exist elsewhere has me a little baffled, if the ISP is being charged by the gigabyte why arent the customers?

    Ok I dont get why backbone providers are charging volume based tarrifs but if you charge customers that you will get a reduced load on the network, and you wont be overselling yourself so easily, surely win-win?

    That way you get people who want high speed, high volume plans paying for it, and everyone inbetween can pick a plan that suits them. The only catch is some unscrupulous ISP's have high speed low volume plans with a nice $15/Gigabyte over and above charge that can easily catch out the unaware.

    My ISP shapes the line speed to 128kbits/64kbits per sec down and up once we reach our qutoa, but, when we have had a reason to use more than our quota, or just need full line speed even when we have accidently smashed the quota we have happily paid $6/GB for this 'overuse'.

    So we pay some $90 a month for 24/6mbit speeds with 20GB peak, 40GB off peak, with shaping as standard when we hit quota. This seems plenty for us and we rarely have any latency problems - none if you count traffic only within the state - telstra seem like a much bigger problem than how our ISP has set up their DSLAM's, and have never had any issue pulling all of our allocated bandwidth.

    So why isnt this the norm elsewhere? are all the freetards too used to paying for a high contention 'unlimited' service for half what I pay over here? Anyone marketing an 'unlimited' plan over here is assumed by the technical masses to have a contention ratio well and above usable and steer clear. Why this cant be done in the US and UK seems to be an attitude problem with users, offset with greedy business practices that ensure a bad time for the paying customer. My ISP would never throttle types of traffic because the outcry would cost them far too much, users know what they pay for.

    of course it would be nice if the plans in general were cheaper, but when the government of the day sells the national phone system asset to the free market and loses control of regulation, giving the new monopoly telco the ability to charge what they want for local loop and backhaul link access - services that were largely government subsidised to set them up, all under the guise of this is what they need to do (to make money for shareholders). Of course we cant have cheap internet. backhaul from DSLAMs to the ISP make free traffic agreements between ISPs (in WA at least) impossible, all from the billing over the price of backhaul.

    still, better that than thottled, high latency crap like others get stuck with.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @James Butler

    I don't think you can say it's a naive viewpoint because of crime. Crime exists now, some torrentards will pinch a neighbours wireless so they don't get throttled or so they can do something else at the same time. Markets generally have to operate on a pay for what you use basis, and crime is reduced by law enforcement.

    With pricing however there will be an incentive to enforce the law in that respect and the funding to make it worthwhile. The police work much better when you can say "this little git has stolen £50 quid of bandwidth from me", rather than some abstract network waffle.

    I like the idea of torrent killing, but if everyone paid for their usage then there'd be no need for it.

  125. david wilson

    @Wokstation

    >>"If I pay for my road-tax, is there a limit to how many times I can drive up the motorway?"

    I think if you'll find that if you spent all your time driving, road tax would be a small fraction of the tax you actually ended up paying in order to drive, so it's probably not a great analogy.

    If you had to buy electricity at excess cost from your ISP to run your modem/router on, and even for an average user, that excess cost was much more per month than their connection charge, you'd have a better analogy.

    In that situation, I don't think the ISP would care how much time you spent online.

  126. james hedley
    Thumb Down

    Not a great article!

    Wow, this website is really turning into the internet's Daily Mail. Certainly no points to the register for printing this blogodreck! Reading on a bit, it looks like bittorrent are writing a new protocol BASED ON UDP, rather than just dumping connectionless packets onto the net willy-nilly. Is it more likely that they're intent on melting the net because they're evil, or because they'd like to remove some of the inefficiencies you get using TCP to support an application it was never designed for? What the author doesn't seem to realise is that P2P torrent protocols are quite complicated and that the people who more or less invented them are somewhat better placed to decide how they work than some nobody blogger. Still, at least it generated a couple of interesting pages on /.

  127. Parax
    Alert

    @JonB

    >>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, No mistake Im afraid, where speed is volume over time, The Speed over a charging period (a month) defines a Volume of Data.

    Anyway I think that charging for data is actually a silly idea as everybody wants there data at the same time say 5pm-10pm, which means the network gets swamped! unless you have a time based rate which makes things impossibly complex for the customer.

    My point can be defined thus: When was the last time you bought a router based on the volume of data and not the speed of the network? my guess is you never did! as its a silly metric with an infinite resouce such as data. With limited resources such as water, gas or electricity yes charge by the unit, but where the resource is unlimited it can only be defined by the capacity (speed) of the network not the amount of resource available. hence an ISP needs to have simultaneous capacity(speed) avaiable to provide however much data to all of its customers when they want it.

    Optic fibres like most networks have a capacity(speed) rating on them so dividing this amongst customers should be an easy task, unfortunatly the cut throat pricing tactics means ISP's pass on the cut throats to their customers. Basically Most ISP's are overselling the capacity available. Meaning the customer is unable to get what the ISP is selling them.

    In simple terms this is the Contention Ratio most ISP's run residential services at 50:1 meaning that they sold your allocation 50 times. in reality the only reliable service is a 1:1 contention ratio, and that is the ilusion that ISP's are trading on.

    To prove Data is an unlimited resource you can send me a hard disk and I'll fill it for you for free... However you pay postage, because that is the capacity of the network. (1HD disk per postal delivery - a defined speed)

    >>Jon Just which ISP are you using?

    >Firefly, ....We've fallen out, so I can't recommend them..... I'll be switching to one of the gaming ISP's ... when my contract expires.

    Can I recomend Be* if they have there own server in your exchange, they use thier own fibre backhaul and it is aportioned appropriatly, with a low Contention. If there allocation is already aportioned you can join the waiting list, they will not over subscribe! Oh and if you want fast pings, and your line can handle it, they will enable fastpath for you. (they'll do that for free!!)

  128. david wilson

    @Parax

    >>"When was the last time you bought a router based on the volume of data and not the speed of the network?

    Strange argument there - when you buy a router, you're buying hardware, and once you've bought it, it doesn't cost the manufacturer any more if you use it all day, or for an hour a month.

    >>"my guess is you never did! as its a silly metric with an infinite resouce such as data. With limited resources such as water, gas or electricity yes charge by the unit, but where the resource is unlimited it can only be defined by the capacity (speed) of the network not the amount of resource available"

    The 'resource' you're paying for is use of [clearly physically limited] bandwidth. You're not paying anything for 'data', but for the transportation of data from one place to another.

    >>"hence an ISP needs to have simultaneous capacity(speed) avaiable to provide however much data to all of its customers when they want it."

    Most ISPs quite evidently *don't* need to have anything like that capacity, and it's pretty obvious that most home broadband users aren't interested in and/or prepared to pay for unlimited uncontended access.

    For a start, there are all the people already on bandwidth-limited plans.

    Then there are the people who have 'unlimited' plans, but aren't anywhere near making full use of them.

    Then there are the people on unlimited plans who appreciate they aren't really unlimited, but try to get as much as they can without getting throttled, and who wouldn't likely pay more in order to get a truly unlimited service.

    Then there are people on services that don't have a download cap, but which *still* rely on not everyone trying to use all their theoretical bandwidth all day, or all at the same time.

  129. Zoltan Kelemen
    Happy

    @vividvew, Re: DSCP

    If you're tossing DiffServ and your CCIEness around, I'd suppose you're aware of the expression of "trust boundary". And also, that this usually does not encompass host computers (much less end-users).

    Why would anyone in their right minds choose to trust DSCP(or TOS) markings placed there by either a VoIP or a bittorrent user/software? Markings that can be recorded/changed arbitrarily, and markings that are quite often cleared on various network devices anyway.

    Soo... we're back on the starting line, aka deep packet inspection, to figure out what tarffic we're dealing with. Most traffic CAN be placed on arbitrary ports, transport protocols etc. So non-deep doesn't tells you anything, really, unless you trust your users.

    BTW, you have just had your ass handed to you by a CCNA.

    Having passed a QoS exam helped, though ... ;-)

  130. James Butler

    One More Brief Note

    My current plan is for 1.5Mb/sec

    1,500,000 x 60 = 90Mb/minute

    9,000,000 x 60 = 5,400Mb/hour

    5,400,000,000 x 24 = 129,600Mb/day

    129,600,000,000 x 30 = 3.8Tb/month

    Those of you who say "I pay for xMb and that's what I want" are up a tree. You do NOT pay for "xMb", you pay for "UP TO xMb per second", which is a measure of speed, not volume.

    True that ISPs who imply that you have "unlimited" bandwidth (and I'll bet they do not, rather they likely guarantee "unlimited" access to the network at UP TO burst speeds) would be in the wrong for selling such a product, however let's not confuse what you think you get with what you actually signed up for. NOBODY gets "unlimited bandwidth", because that defies the laws of physics.

  131. Charles Mason
    Flame

    Once Again a Reg Hack Completly Misses the Point

    Firstly UDP is not just used for VOIP and gaming. UDP is much simpler than TCP. In theory you could implement all of what TCP gives you on top of UDP but there would be little point. Its not that UDP is reserved for important speed sensitive traffic. Its that most developers who want an easy life and can tolerate the odd delay caused by TCP retransmitting the odd packet use it. If you are writing a socket application its the default choice. Developers only use UDP when TCP causes them problems, often latency sensitive applications like gaming and voip.

    Secondly the problem is not a lack of bandwidth on the backbone links. These big transit provides simply build more links if the capacity is needed. They certainly don't offer unlimited bandwidth deals to their customers.

    The problem lies in two places and both are firmly at the ISP's. The first problem is that the "last mile" link from ISPs to the customers site is shared between lots of other users in that area. Quite simply you can saturate the local last mile connection and affect lots of your neighbours. This is the same for DSL and Cable.

    The second problem for the ISPs is the price of bandwidth, the more a user of an unlimited connection uses the more they have to pay their transit providers. To the ISPs in an ideal world all users would buy an expensive unlimited connection then only check there email once a week and leave it ideal the rest of the time.

    When I was at uni we had a talk from a senior BT tech guy who was part of the BT team planning next gen Broadband role out. He said fully seriously, "we thought we were building an information service, for people to read the web and check their email not providing a cable tv service." He went on to complain about the cheek of the BBC wanting to provide what became the iPlayer. What really annoyed BT was the idea that they would use P2P to make BT foot the bill for the bandwidth. That was before the iPlayer launched and I am sure he is now happy virtually everyone uses the Flash streaming version rather than the P2P version.

    The an attitude like that its no wonder BT is lagging so fair behind the unbundled ISPs technically. The unbundled ISPs have been using ADSL 2+ for several years now. BT says its going to take at least another year before most people can get it via BT.

    Quite honestly if its not economical to provide the service you are selling customers put the price up. Fair enough put speed or total transfer limits on your packages and price them accordingly if that's what you want. What's not acceptable is for ISPs to advertise a service then use traffic shaping to arbitraryly restrict certain usage of it or worse still pass a copy on to Phorm. I think legislating for Net Neutrality is a very good idea, at least in the consumer broadband market. The basic principle of what traffic a user sends down their connection should be delivered to the ISPs transit provider is a sound one. Obviosuly their will be the odd droped packet and saturated router buffer but it should not be done based on the content of the packet.

    In the UK we have just about enough competition to let the market deicide. If an ISP over contends its infrastructure and the service is poor then users can go elsewhere. Its ofcom's job to make sure that unbundled ISPs are not restiricted by BT.

    Personally I use Be There a brilliant ISP owned by O2. There not the cheapest but there level of service is absolutely outstanding and a breath of fresh air compared to the problems I had with Pipex. I certainly feel I am getting the connection I paid for.

    What really annoys me about this article and the general tone of this side of the debate, is the idea that you the consumer should be standing up to these people because they dare to use what they have paid for and are therefore effecting the service you receive. The whole idea of blaming another customer rather than the ISP who didn't spend enough on infrastructure is just plane wrong. Its like a restaurant selling an all you can eat lunch, running out of food half way through and pointing to the fat guy in the corner.

    Realistically we all know we are buying a contended service, its up to the ISP to make sure that it doesn't become too contented. If the usage goes up they have to reduce the contention by building more infrastructure. The problem is that costs money, its much cheaper just to moan to the press and let El Reg tell the public who's "really" to blame, Pesky Pirates that's who.

    Wow this has turned in to quite a long rant! Oh well not to worry.

  132. Parax

    @David Wilson

    >Strange argument there - when you buy a router, you're buying hardware, and once you've bought it, it doesn't cost the manufacturer any more if you use it all day, or for an hour a month.

    as opposed to - When you install a fibre, your installing hardware, and once its running, it doesn't cost the service provider any more if the laser blinks once or twice.

    Does it still sound strange?

    >The 'resource' you're paying for is use of [clearly physically limited] bandwidth. You're not paying anything for 'data', but for the transportation of data from one place to another.

    Would you not say that the '[physically limited] bandwidth' was the 'capacity' or 'speed' of the network? as defined by the capability of the [phyisically limited] fibre connections?

    What we need to do is understand that the internet is a network. lets treat them the same, with common metrics... whether that be 10Mbit Coaxial ,100Mbit twisted pairs or 1.5Mbit ADSL or 24Mbit ADSL2+

    >Most ISPs quite evidently *don't* need to have anything like that capacity

    So why is it the users fault? inparticular say Bittorrnet users?

    >most home broadband users aren't interested in and/or prepared to pay for unlimited uncontended access.

    Not Interested in? then why this article? They are interested when it doesn't work.

    >For a start, there are all the people already on bandwidth-limited plans.

    Yes you are correct, the limited plans are desigend for restricted use, although they all use at the peak time! somehow the capacity increases at peak? if not then the restriciton method is flawed/daft.

    >Then there are the people who have 'unlimited' plans, but aren't anywhere near making full use of them.

    That is the nub of the issue ISP's sell unlimited and somehow, as the tilte says, its say Bittorrents fault that Voip and Gamers suffer...

    In the good old days did anyone ever hear of an 'unlimited' party line? No it was clear 'Party' meant Shared.

    50:1 contention should never be sold unlimited! it is a diservice to the ISP's customers when someone does 'make full use' of what they've paid for. but you cant blame them.

    IF you want cheap and shared then it should be sold that way.

    As for ME... I pay for the top package available, I expect to be able to use what I pay for, and when I do I dont expect my neighbours to suffer. I expect that MY ISP is treating us all fairly and providing what they claim to be selling us. AND if at peak periods the capacity is insufficent I expect us all to get an even share, (perhaps a token bucket filter?), it should not be possible for one customer to use everyone elses share as this article suggests.

  133. david wilson

    @Parax

    >>"as opposed to - When you install a fibre, your installing hardware, and once its running, it doesn't cost the service provider any more if the laser blinks once or twice."

    >>"Does it still sound strange?"

    It still sounds like a bad comparison, because if I buy a router or a network cable for my own use, it doesn't impinge on anyone else if I use it 24/7 or not at all.

    Where resources are being shared between multiple customers, it's a different situation.

    >>"So why is it the users fault? inparticular say Bittorrnet users?"

    I don't blame users for trying to maximise what they get from their ISP service, just as I don't blame ISPs for invoking fair usage clauses and restricting the access of the heaviest users.

    I just wish people wouldn't go on about being misled long after the point when they're clearly not being misled any more, or saying "I have an unlimited deal [with fair usage small print] from ISP X, so that means I should be able to download continually at my full line speed" when they know perfectly well it doesn't mean that.

    >> >>"most home broadband users aren't interested in and/or prepared to pay for unlimited uncontended access."

    >>"Not Interested in? then why this article? They are interested when it doesn't work."

    I respectfully draw your attention to the word 'most'.

    >>"Yes you are correct, the limited plans are desigend for restricted use, although they all use at the peak time! somehow the capacity increases at peak? if not then the restriciton method is flawed/daft."

    It's not *at all* daft if it costs the ISP less to have users who transfer less data.

    Whether the ISP is itself charged per amount of data, or whether they have paid for a pipe of fixed bandwidth which they can use as much or as little of as they want, they can clearly support more small users than big ones for the same outlay on bandwidth.

    >>"50:1 contention should never be sold unlimited! "

    Maybe it should never *have* been sold unlimited.

    The problem at the moment is that given enough people around who'd choose an "unlimited" package over a competing fixed-limit one, even if they end up using way less than the limit on the fixed plan, lots of companies might be reluctant to stop selling "unlimited" packages.

    It rather needs a concerted push from Ofcom to get everyone to change at the same time, but that doesn't seem likely to happen - didn't they decide years ago that 'they thought unlimited' was OK to use as a description?

  134. david wilson

    Last Mile

    >>"The problem lies in two places and both are firmly at the ISP's. The first problem is that the "last mile" link from ISPs to the customers site is shared between lots of other users in that area. Quite simply you can saturate the local last mile connection and affect lots of your neighbours. This is the same for DSL and Cable."

    Is that really the 'Last Mile'?

    I assumed the last mile was between the exchange and customer, where there's *no* contention.

    I think you mean 'backhaul'.

    >>"The whole idea of blaming another customer rather than the ISP who didn't spend enough on infrastructure is just plane wrong. Its like a restaurant selling an all you can eat lunch, running out of food half way through and pointing to the fat guy in the corner."

    I think most of the noise comes from the equivalent of the fat guys complaining if the management quietly asks them not to eat many times what everyone else eats, or complaining when the restaurant doesn't want their custom anymore.

    I think a better analogy would be going to a an all-you-can-eat restaurant and finding that everything *would* be fine, but there were a few fat guys hovering around the buffet troughing most of the food before anyone else could get to it.

    I'm not sure anyone would *need* to point in that situation.

    Eventually, either the fat guys have to go somewhere where they're paying the real cost of what they eat, or the restaurant stops doing all-you-can-eat, or puts a 'Don't take the piss' restriction on the deal.

    I doubt even Be could manage to charge anything like their prices if all their customers were trying to use as much bandwidth as they could.

    Which is probably why even *they* have an 'excessive use' clause in their fair and acceptable use conditions. After all, they'd be stupid not to have one.

  135. styrofoam
    Thumb Up

    @ Zoltan Kelemen, re DSCP, QoS would be an 'easy' fix

    Trust boundaries are indeed the issue, and I wouldn't trust a user much further than I could throw them. But ISPs could offer a QoS / VOIP service, by establishing inbound policers.

    Run it through a per-flow policer, and say that your customer can get 128kb of EF traffic (VOIP) grade. Give them a larger amount of regular service, which would be any other traffic- and you'd remark that down to DSCP 0. Put a cap on this traffic at various levels depending on pay scale- and then above that, mark traffic down to DSCP1 (scavenger class), which guarantees that if there's any congestion, this overflow traffic is what's going to get binned first.

    This would theoretically allow users to have their 8Mb pipes, and use them to the fullest- as long as there's no congestion. If there is congestion, the heavy users are the ones that are going to drop some packets, and it's going to be up to TCP (or the application using UDP, in this case) to retransmit as necessary.

    The big problem with UDP flows is going to be with WRED- this is a discard algorithm that starts to sense when a pipe is getting full. It'll look at TCP flows and start picking one flow at random, and discarding some traffic. This causes just one flow to have to throttle back, rather than ending up in a situation where a bunch of flows get simultaneously dropped, and then a pattern of synchronized congestion starts up.

    Getting the internets to be QoS aware across ISPs is a pretty impossible task though. Now you've got inter-company trust boundaries, and that's going to be a pretty major sticking point.

  136. Parax

    @David Wilson

    >I don't blame users for trying to maximise what they get from their ISP service, just as I don't blame ISPs for invoking fair usage clauses and restricting the access of the heaviest users.

    >I just wish people wouldn't go on about being misled long after the point when they're clearly not being misled any more,

    So your not posting regarding this article then? which seems to be suggesting that one type of customer is screwing others. (Which if an ISP is using simple QoS say a token bucket filter means all customers are treated equally anyway. which adversly affects the speed freaks of Voip & gamers who, to analogise, are trying to drive on a congested motorway at 70mph..)

    >It's not *at all* daft if it costs the ISP less to have users who transfer less data.

    Did we not establish that it costs the same for the hardware whether it was used or not.

    >Whether the ISP is itself charged per amount of data, or whether they have paid for a pipe of fixed bandwidth which they can use as much or as little of as they want, they can clearly support more small users than big ones for the same outlay on bandwidth.

    So if ALL the 'small use' customers all logged on at the same time say each evening at say around 7pm the network would 'clearly support' all of them? NO it wont!

    'Limited Customers' are still customers they still use bandwidth, just because they are not 24/7 users doesn't mean there will be sufficent capacity at 7pm every evening...

    The problem with Limited accounts is that they can still be used in peak times, they are not off peak accounts. infact because they are lower use they are more likely to be used in peak times. as they are normal users following normal patterns.

    So if we used a model where you only paid when the network useage was highest, the peak users would pay for every minute, 24/7 users would not pay off-peak as usage is lowest, so a small peak user pays the same as a heavy 24/7 user.

    It doesn't matter how much you use the problem is when you use it. if all 50 users on a 50:1 contention want to use at the same time the system fails irrespective of the total monthly amount, or what type of account they have.

    As I see it our networks suffer from peak congestion, Like our roads, In London I can drive in and out of the city 10 times a night and not pay, In fact I pay less than a Light user who drives in only once in the daytime. in this case the amount or volume is irrelevant the time is crucial. because there is a finite amount of road capacity. I see the internet in the same way, a finite capacity, which is freely available off peak and is clogged up at peak times.

    Basically if you use the internet at peak time expect it to be slow, its not because 'Bittorrent declared war on VoIP, Gamers'... its because there isn't enough internet for everyone, and who is responsible for building capacity?

  137. david wilson

    @Parax

    >>"So your not posting regarding this article then?"

    No, not if you think

    "...just as I don't blame ISPs for invoking fair usage clauses and restricting the access of the heaviest users..."

    has nothing to do with ISPs potentially throttling traffic of heavy users.

    >>"Did we not establish that it costs the same for the hardware whether it was used or not."

    You tried to use a seemingly inappropriate analogy, though it wasn't entirely clear precisely which part of the connection you were trying to apply it to.

    It's clear that anywhere where there is contention, then less usage per user means more users can be accommodated for a given amount of bandwidth.

    >>"'Limited Customers' are still customers they still use bandwidth, just because they are not 24/7 users doesn't mean there will be sufficent capacity at 7pm every evening."

    Maybe not sufficient capacity for everyone to get maximum bandwidth, but then not everyone needs huge bandwidth if they're just doing a bit of browsing and email. For many people, somewhat slower *is* perfectly sufficient.

    >>"It doesn't matter how much you use the problem is when you use it. if all 50 users on a 50:1 contention want to use at the same time the system fails irrespective of the total monthly amount, or what type of account they have."

    Generally speaking, someone on a small limited plan is not only going to transfer less data than someone who needs an unlimited plan, but is also less likely to be trying to use their connection flat-out at any time of day. You can probably accommodate rather more of such people on a contended link before they see slowdown that affects them.

    If the ISPs with 'unlimited' plans do have their own backhaul from the exchange, that seems to be a good thing all round, if it ends up with similar kinds of users sharing a given contended connection.

  138. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    udp IS more suited to the task

    This article is the biggest load of FUD ive seen the register. Most torrent clients, including uTorrent already can throttle their own speed when they detect congestion, they also already have their own data corruption checking, and organize their own re-transmissions of lost data. So, thats double handling with tcp, and with udp they will be able to do the same thing more efficiently, without screwing up anything for anyone. Its a good move. Well done uTorrent!

    The Reg, please make sure the author if this article does better and more accurate research next time!

  139. pctechxp

    Ban the application, put the company out of business

    These di[sticks need to be stopped.

    Net performance can be bad enough but allowing them to bleed over other more important traffic?

    Time to stop it.

    I'm beginning to see why ISPs have had to implement traffic management.

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