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Bittorrent declares war on VoIP, gamers

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Bronze 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. :-)

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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.

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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/

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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.

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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.

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Outraged of South West

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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

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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."

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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/

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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.

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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.

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@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.

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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 /.

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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!!)

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@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.

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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 ... ;-)

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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.

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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.

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@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.

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@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?

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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.

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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.

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@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?

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@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.

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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!

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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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