Torrents under siege

Firstly, thanks to Anakha56 of PCF for bringing this to my attention. He posted links to these two articles, on how one service provider in the States is interfering with P2P traffic.

For those of you too lazy to click the links, here’s some excerpts:

Comcast has been “caught” blocking BitTorrent traffic in some areas, according to tests performed by the Associated Press. The news organization claims to have confirmed that Comcast is blocking—or at least seriously slowing down—BitTorrent transfers, regardless of whether the content is legal or not. If true, Comcast’s actions have serious implications for sharing information online, and by proxy, Net Neutrality.

In two out of its three tests, the downloads were blocked altogether, while in the remaining test, the download started after a 10-minute delay.

AP believes that the reason for the block and delay was due to reset packets being sent back from what claimed to be other torrent users—including the AP’s second computer. “However, the traffic analyzer software running on each computer showed that neither computer actually sent the packets,” wrote the AP, indicating that the packets were sent by a mysterious middle party. Further, the AP says that when it performed traffic analysis on another computer torrenting files over Time Warner Cable, over half of the reset packets came from the addresses of Comcast subscribers. This is curious, since Comcast’s 12.4 million subscribers only make up about 20 percent of US broadband subscribers.

Comcast’s actions also have implications for net neutrality. But that’s no secret, as Comcast has been among the plethora of ISPs that regularly oppose net neutrality legislation. The ISPs like to argue that, by allowing all Internet traffic to pass through the pipes equally, they could lose money because of overall network slowdowns. But customers pay for broadband service for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is so that they can get full, high-speed access to the content of their choice.”Initial investigations suggest that Comcast is interfering with some subset of protocols, rather than interfering equally with TCP/IP traffic generally,” the EFF’s study says. “We have seen definite interference by injection of RST packets into certain classes of BitTorrent and Gnutella TCP sessions.”

“Initial investigations suggest that Comcast is interfering with some subset of protocols, rather than interfering equally with TCP/IP traffic generally,” the EFF’s study says. “We have seen definite interference by injection of RST packets into certain classes of BitTorrent and Gnutella TCP sessions.”

Comcast has been extremely secretive about the scope and extent of its traffic management activity. The company provided instructions to its employees specifying how they should respond to consumer questions about P2P interference. Employees were informed that discussing the specifics of Comcast’s P2P blocking with anyone outside of the company would lead to termination.

You get the idea.

Now, what I’m interested in is whether Telkom does the same thing. Here’s the tool with which to find out, and here’s the guide on how to go about using said tool. I’ll run some tests over the weekend, but they probably won’t turn up much as I have an unshaped SAIX line. Then again, if unshaped SAIX is being affected as well, can I ask for my money back? 😛

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