Net watchdog goes pig-sticking on Comcast
BitTorrent lovers unite
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has amped up the crusade against P2P-throttling ISPs.
This morning, the plucky internet "watchdog" published a new report on the BitTorrent bagging exploits of American ISP Comcast, but it's also released a detailed account of the tests it ran on Comcast traffic, so net users across the world can help keep an eye on their own service providers.
This is all part of a project called "Test Your ISP".
"We see all the reports that we're writing and the software we're producing as part of a project to find out what ISPs are doing, what sort of interference they may be injecting into customer traffic," EFF staff technologist Peter Eckersley told us.
"We want to make sure that the internet community has the tools that it needs to know when this stuff starts happening with ISPs here in America or in other countries."
In scrutinising Comcast traffic, the watchdog developed a new testing tool known as pcapdiff, and an alpha release is now available from the EFF website.
"We realised that there were limitations to what we could do by hand using standard system administration tools," Eckersley explains. "Pcapdiff is designed to notice subtle changes in traffic. You can see any packets that have been modified or injected or simply haven't arrived."
Want better? Want to pay for it, too?
Last month I priced T1 to my house, since its in a commercial district. Well, for basic T1 service I would pay $300-$400 per month, and that's 1.5 megabits per second. After that I would pay for my service usage.
How many out there would like unlimited bandwidth but pay per Mb of data?
I bet the majority of you would scream like stuck pigs at the thought of $200+ monthly bill for the data traffic.
"All the BitTorrent users I know really take the piss out of the amount of data they download (mostly US TV shows and pirated films). I have to admit that I actually support ISPs that throttle these guys. Maybe not a popular opinion here but I do think its only fair if other peoples' internet experience is suffering because of it"
Sorry Nick, can't agree with you on this one... if I pay for 512Kbs of bandwidth (which I do, I see no reason to pay for more) then by rights the ISP *must give me* what they set out in their contract to provide. You can't charge someone for 512Kbps (in my case) and then turn around and say "but you're not allowed to use all of it".
It's like licensing a car, then being told there are restrictions as to when you can drive it. Or renting a phone line for a flat monthly fee and being told you can't use it between hours X and Y. Or that you talk too much on the phone. It's stupid.
Bottom line, if the ISP want to limit the amount of downloads, or shape them, or restrict the protocols that can be used on their network (it *is* theirs, I do not deny it) then they should do it *before* the contract is signed, in *simple* terms (ie "P2P filesharing is limited to..."). This ridiculous attempt to enforce it *afterwards* using mealy-worded loopholes tells me that they they over-rented their capacity and are now having to back-pedal on the amount of bandwidth they gave away to they paying public. (in other words, the bean counters probably did not listen to the techs when they were told about the maximum capacity of the network).
To lease a line rated at speed X and then complain when people actually *use* that speed is stupid - they should have done their research first. To throttle the usage so that people *can't* use that speed is, IMHO, criminal. But then again IMNAL, just someone who believes he should get what he paid for, regardless of what it is.
Why offer unlimited volume at all?
It worries me to see so many people argue against BitTorrent because its users download so much more than everyone else.
This is the wrong argument. We should instead argue for internet users paying for what they actually use. There is no god-given right to "unlimited" plans, and, indeed, such plans do not actually exist.
In Australia, every plan is explicitly limited, and you simply buy the bandwidth and volume you want. Some plans charge for excess volume; some throttle to 64kbps. Some charge for uploads; some don't.
It's entirely rational, and most people know what they are buying.
BitTorrent costs money: let the users pay.