Feeds

The real reason Skype isn't as good as it was

Service providers play favourites

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

NetEvents Have you been a Skype user for ages? Noticed that it isn't as good as it was? Silent moments, repeated sounds, buzzes? Here's the good news: it's almost certainly fixable. The bad news? You have to lobby your cable company to fix it.

It turns out that a company called Sandvine is now boasting of its ability to "manage" peer to peer traffic over the internet. What this means, simply, is that if your ISP doesn't like what you're doing with your internet connection, it can slow you down.

Sandvine told delegates to this week's NetEvents Summit here in Garmisch, Germany, that peer to peer services like BitTorrent and eDonkey - and Skype - were now forcing internet service providers to increase capacity.

"From our survey, we can tell that out of all the traffic coming into the network, 60 per cent is peer to peer; and 70 per cent of the upstream traffic is also peer to peer," said the company today.

The number of file sharers has risen dramatically, says Sandvine. "Users are moving from sharing three meg songs to uploading and downloading 600 gig movies. That means that service providers have had to apply a lot of traffic assistance for this increased traffic."

Traffic assistance? "Reducing the number of sessions that are allowed. Nobody wants to control customers and say what they can and cannot do... but ISPs want some control to reduce the cost."

This "control" and "traffic assistance" started in the cable sector: cable companies are designed to transmit data out, not receive it in. It was set up to send TV signals from a central broadcast station, out to all subscribers.

But today's broadband users want to upload as much as they download. BitTorrent sends data, not from a central supplier, but from one user to another. And when the second user has the data, they become a supplier: they start uploading to the next downloader - doubling the capacity; and soon after, there will be six uploaders.

Peer to peer file sharing is categorised by many ISPs and copyright owners as "wicked" but in fact, it will be used for software distribution - Microsoft itself is trying to set up a peer to peer technology, to take the heavy download work off its expensive servers when releasing new versions. And Linux releases like Slackware have been freely available since BitTorrent, when they were almost totally unreachable from private servers.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.