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ISPs Fight Against Encrypted BitTorrent Downloads 588

Posted by Zonk
from the stopping-the-flow dept.
oglsmm writes to mention an Ars Technica article about a new product intended to detect and throttle encrypted BitTorrent traffic. When torrents first saw common use ISPs would throttle the bandwidth available to them, in order to ensure connectivity for everyone. Some clients began encrypting their data to get around this, and the company Allot Communications is now claiming their NetEnforcer product will return the advantage to the ISPs. From the article: "Certainly, increasing BitTorrent traffic is a concern for ISPs. In early 2004, torrents accounted for 35 percent of all traffic on the Internet. By the end of that year, this figure had almost doubled, and some estimate that in certain markets, such as Asia, torrent traffic uses as much as 80 percent of all bandwidth. However, BitTorrent is an extremely important tool that has many uses other than what everyone assumes it is good for, namely movie piracy."
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ISPs Fight Against Encrypted BitTorrent Downloads

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  • by (fagging beta) (983460) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:06PM (#16025021)
    If you build a better mousetrap someone will fling a couger at you.
    • by letxa2000 (215841) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:28PM (#16026190)
      You know it's time to sell stock in a company when you see the company in a technical arms raise against the customer to deny the customer service. Great thinking, ISPs!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rawg (23000)
        You don't know how much bandwidth costs do you. $500 a month for 1.5Mbps. Normally, that can work find for about 100 customers. But when you have someone using P2P, connecting to 100's of other clients, using every bit of bandwidth there is, then there is a problem. Now if 80 of your 100 customers are doing it, expecting that they should all get 1.5Mbps... You would have to buy 80 T1's at $500 each, per month. Then your customers are only paying $20 per month. So do the math.
        • by bky1701 (979071) on Friday September 01, 2006 @07:11PM (#16027569) Homepage
          I don't really care, yanno? If they say "3 MB/s!!!!" then as far as I care, blocking anything form having that is nothing other then false advertising. If they don't want you to use your full advertised speed, then they need to stop saying they are providing it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shmlco (594907)
      "However, BitTorrent is an extremely important tool that has many uses other than what everyone assumes it is good for, namely movie piracy."

      Yeah. Too bad those "important" uses only account for 5% of the total traffic.

      Okay, now a while back when ISPs first started throttling traffic the big workaround was encryption. Now it seems that encryption isn't a silver bullet either. Other sources have indicated that pattern analysis would catch attempts to emulate other protocols, such as secure VPN connections.

      So
  • by bunions (970377) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:06PM (#16025026)
    You don't want your customers actually using the stuff they're paying you for, after all.
    • by iPodUser (879598) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:14PM (#16025105) Journal
      I agree. We pay up to $60 per month to have this great thing called broadband, and what do we get? Carriers wanting to restrict VOIP use, throttling Bittorrent traffic, refusing to guarantee any particular level of service, etc. A question for the service providers: Why do you think users sign up for the service? To check email? to browse a few websites? We could do that with cheap or free dial-up. These applications you are so quick to restrict are the reason that people signup in the first place! Instead of putting the effort and expense into creating hurdles for the users, spend the time and money on upgrading the infrastructure to support the increased demand.
      • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:39PM (#16025274)
        Well, actually, yes.

        In the eyes of the ISP, they're selling you a 3Mb pipe for burst traffic, so your email or web page loads really fast, not so that you can saturate your pipe 24/7. I'm not saying I agree with that, but that's what the ISP has priced things at. The average person uses nowhere near the bandwidth of his connection, and that allows them to charge cheaper rates by overselling.

        To put this another way, if everyone saturated their pipe, they would have to charge upwards of 10x for your cable or DSL connection as they currently do.
        • by evilviper (135110) on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:13PM (#16025569) Journal
          In the eyes of the ISP, they're selling you a 3Mb pipe for burst traffic,

          It's a shame their ads and the terms in the contract THEY wrote-up doesn't have any mention of this inconvenient little fact...

          The average person uses nowhere near the bandwidth of his connection, and that allows them to charge cheaper rates by overselling.

          It also allows them to charge MORE EXPENSIVE rates, as the people using almost no bandwidth are being charged far in excess of what they need. If ISPs would just offer cheaper, lower-speed packages (perhaps with high-speed burst), there would be NO PROBLEM.

          When your business model is a problem, you don't start violating your contracts to maintain that model.
        • by computational super (740265) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:13PM (#16026062)
          if everyone saturated their pipe, they would have to charge upwards of 10x

          I've heard this before, and I'm not sure I buy it. Let's say 3 Mb/s costs $60/month. I see that Cisco's 12000 series router [cisco.com] go from 2.5 Gbps to 10 Gbps. Assuming that Cisco is being honest about their bandwidth capabilities (e.g. not lying through their teeth like a broadband service provider), that means that a single low-end Cisco 12000 series router can service about 800 customers (assuming that each one actually saturates the pipe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), each paying $60/month, which equates to $50,000/month in revenue. Now, Cisco doesn't tell you how much these things cost (or even hint at how much), but lets say one router costs a (ridiculous) million dollars. In well under two years, the provider will have recouped the cost of the router itself. Even if the router lasts only a measly year after that, the provider clears an additional $800,000 on their initial investment to cover paying the admin staff (over three years, probably $600,000), power bills, rent, etc. That's pretty close to break even, if the router cost $1,000,000 and only lasted three years (somebody around here has to know what they cost and how long they last - I'll bet it's a rosier picture than I've painted). So I figure $60/month must cover the actual costs they'd incur if we all used the bandwidth we pay for (which would be almost impossible, even for a die-hard torrent user) - I find it impossible to beleive that they'd need to charge $600/month to turn a profit.

          • by jmilne (121521) on Friday September 01, 2006 @04:35PM (#16026686)
            > lets say one router costs a (ridiculous) million dollars

            It's not that ridiculous. In fact, I'd say you're low-balling the cost by quite a bit. And if you want to have redundancy (no one likes having their service disrupted for days while you're waiting for a replacement card), you can start doubling that automatically. Not only that, but you're not accounting for the cost of doing anything with those connections. A local ISP has to buy service from one or more of the Tier 1/2s. Oddly enough, purchasing an OC-192 (that's that 10 Gbps pipe) isn't exactly cheap. Considering most of the world's backbones consist of OC-48s and OC-192s, and considering that the backbone providers don't want to oversaturate their own lines, they charge the local guys a heck of a lot for that OC-192. No local ISP could ever afford to purchase an OC-192 just for 800 users, and no backbone provider could ever support it as well.

            The pricing worked rather well when people were only downloading relatively small files periodically. As long as traffic is bursty, that is. It's when people start downloading large files (like movies) constantly where everything goes awry. If you honestly expect to use that cable providers 5 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up service at $60/mo, when they in turn have to purchase 4 T1 circuits at ~$500/mo to support you, you deserve the crappy service you get. If you want to push that much traffic constantly, buy the T1s yourself.
          • I think you're looking in the wrong place for the cost.

            The cost of you saturating your pipe would really not be in the upgrades necessary to the local infrastructure (at the subnet level), it would be in the additional cost to their ISP (assumedly one of the Tier-1 providers).

            The switches at the head-ends of the local cable "exchanges" (whatever they call exchanges in cable parlance) are probably more than capable of pushing 5-6 Mb/s per customer, continuously. Where it gets problematic is as you start aggr
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Randseed (132501)
              1. The ISP goes to torrentLeech, the Pirate Bay, etc., and downloads all the torrents, caching them.
              2. the ISP provides them on their local network.
              3. The ISP doesn't have to pay their tier-1 provider for the bandwidth, because it's all on their local net.
              4. PROFIT!
    • by secolactico (519805) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:15PM (#16025107) Journal
      You don't want your customers actually using the stuff they're paying you for, after all.

      Of course not! How else am I going to re-sell it to some other sap.

      What we need is more truth in ads. Make sure your customers know that you are not guaranteeing a given bandwith unless they pay for a clear channel or some such.
      • by arivanov (12034) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:35PM (#16025246) Homepage
        Exactly.

        The price is formulated on the basis that you do not use it.

        I agree with you - this is fraud and there is only one way to fix this.

        The problem will go away immediately if ISPs turn off flat pricing and users start to pay for bandwidth used. Even better - if they start charging a differential/tiered pricing depending on the type of traffic. There is no rocket science here. The gear currently on the market is supposed to be able to do it (does it do it is a different matter).

        The business models is well known and this is the way the Internet used to operate all the way up to the end of the 1990-es (especially in the slower peripheral parts). This was abandoned when the incumbent telcos entered the access market in the end of the 1990-es. They went after scale and port densities which resulted in bandwidth accounting features being abandoned across most of the equipment. Cisco broke all of its accounting by introducing CEF, other vendors were not any different.

        Over the last 5-6 years most of the features crept back due to demand by business users so technologically the gear is in the same (or better) shape as before the telcos entered the market as far as accounting is concerned. In addition to that new gear from Ellacoya, P-cube and such can do things the old systems were not capable of.

        All it will take to get this working now will be people who know how to formulate a viable product and tie this up all the way into billing, CRM and relevant backend systems. Unfortunately there are not that many people left capable of doing it in most ISPs so they prefer the BIG STICK(tm) or the "magic vendor silver bullet". It is easier. It does not require investment. It does not require thinking. It does not require competence. Sad, but true - this reflects the state of the industry.

        It is rotten, it sucks and it hates its customers.
        • by J. T. MacLeod (111094) on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:21PM (#16025641)
          Bandwidth accounting isn't necessary.

          I work for an ISP. Yes, we oversubscribe. It's the way the business works. We only see problems when many people use their bandwidth *at the same time*.

          Moving more data total does not cost any more many than for the electricity to move it. What costs more money is having more available bandwidth so that more can be moved at one time.

          We get our bandwith from first-tier providers. They do not charge us by the amount we transfer, but they charge us for the speed of the port. They don't care how much we transfer in total, they only care how much they use at once. We do likewise for our customers, with the exception that we oversubscribe.

          Oversubscribing doesn't cause problems as long as there's enough available bandwidth out and the hardware to handle it. Some people expect dedicated bandwidth, and for them there are the options of lower speeds or more money.

          I want to see oversubscription come to an end, but I don't see it happening. The dropping price of bandwidth and network equipment is primarily driven by increasing customer demand for higher speeds rather than by an increased number of customers. Unless prices drop as customer demand for higher speed remains static (or at least grows slower than the prices drop), dedicated bandwidth at today's consumer-appropriate speeds and prices isn't going to happen.
          • by Solandri (704621) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:21PM (#16026118)
            If an ISP wants to sell a 3 Mbps service but wants to oversubscribe it by 10x, that's fine. But then they should advertise it as 3 Mbps at 10% saturation. Instead they advertise and sell it as 3 Mbps, then use secret criteria to determine who they try to kick off their service for "overusing" it. Lately they've started adding (very, very) fine print stating you're not supposed to use all that bandwidth 24/7. But the whole thing would sit better with the public if they were just up-front about it.
          • by suitepotato (863945) on Friday September 01, 2006 @03:34PM (#16026227)
            I want to see oversubscription come to an end, but I don't see it happening. The dropping price of bandwidth and network equipment is primarily driven by increasing customer demand for higher speeds rather than by an increased number of customers. Unless prices drop as customer demand for higher speed remains static (or at least grows slower than the prices drop), dedicated bandwidth at today's consumer-appropriate speeds and prices isn't going to happen.

            Oversubscription is a fact of life. Buy a plane ticket and you have a chance of being bumped because the flight was oversold. Buy a movie ticket and you have a chance of being barred because they hit capacity. Many businesses oversell because they cannot guarantee every sale will actually be used. If they didn't oversell, planes might fly much less than full, movie theaters might play to almost emoty houses, and while that isn't the rule, it happens more often without overselling and that is seen as a loss.

            DSL is oversold as well. Most providers have far less than a single OC3 backhaul (usually a single DS3) feeding their DSLAM farm and aggregate bandwidth usage potential far in excess of that. They gamble that not everyone will be on at all hours. I've seen extra DS3 circuits laid in when some customers insisted like schmucks that they should have the right to utilize their pipes to maximum around the clock but it is rare. More often, the company has to obey the laws of economics and cannot lay in another $10K a month connection just because one or two people are hogs. More over, the contract fine print doesn't allow for that kind of usage.

            There is such a thing as being a good neighbor and not being a pr*ck. THROTTLE YOURSELF. Set the limits on your P2P clients well below your max, ESPECIALLY UPSTREAM. Don't be a fool and bring your downstream to 98% utilization and then complain to your ISP that mail is timing out. Don't be a childish tool and insist that you are supposed to get unlimited bandwidth. You aren't and the fine print says so. It IS supposed to be burstable. Furthermore, they CANNOT guarantee EVER reaching that maximum speed beyond the first IP hop after you and in the case of DSL there may be a dozen Frame Relay or ATM links underlying it.

            Me, I throttle my P2P, I don't run it 24/7/365 but only when I need to get something, and by being good my ISP doesn't whack me for overutilization. I'm paying for a 15Mbpsx2Mbps line and with multipart downloads have many times kicked my aggregate downstream usage to 16.5Mbps and average 14.6Mbps. But I don't do it every waking second. Looking at my firewall graph, my usage is just the bursty sort the average target user's should be.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by walt-sjc (145127)
          I'm not convinced that the only way to handle it is tiered pricing.

          Classification of traffic with QoS allows bandwidth utilization to be maximized without degrading interactive / non-bulk traffic. The number of ISP's that actually IMPLEMENT QoS (especially on peering links) is near zero at the moment which would need to change. Now that torrent and other bulk traffic is as high as it is, they need to make these changes. Hell - savvy users have been asking for QoS for YEARS already!
      • Reality check (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:06PM (#16025503)

        What we need is more truth in ads.

        OK, here you go:

        Dear customer/potential customer,

        At present, you pay a flat rate for your broadband, but the costs we incur in supplying your service increase with usage. If you are up/downloading 10x as much as most customers because of your heavy broadband use, then you are costing us more than those others. With a flat pricing model, that cost is being passed on to all of our customers equally. We don't believe this is fair to the vast majority of our customers, most of whom don't make such heavy use and simply want an always-on connection with a reasonable download speed.

        In recognition of this, we are giving our customers the option to decide between two alternative pricing schemes. One of these will be introduced within the next six months, at which point we will stop offering our existing flat-rate service.

        For option (a), we have a tiered approach. Light users can have a max 512Kb/s connection and a monthly bandwidth cap of 1GB, for $5/month. This package is suitable for most people who use the Internet primarily for e-mail, web browsing/e-shopping, and Usenet newsgroups. Medium users can have a max 2MB/s connection and a monthly bandwidth cap of 4GB, for $15/month. This package is suitable for most people who make somewhat heavier use, such as on-line gamers or those who download occasional multimedia content. Heavy users can have a max 8MB/s connection and no monthly bandwidth cap, for $200/month. This is the only appropriate standard home user package suitable for those who run continuous, high-traffic services such as peer-to-peer file sharing or web servers linked from Slashdot articles.

        For option (b), we will simply charge a fixed fee per megabyte up/downloaded, keeping the total income we receive across our entire customer base constant. We expect this to result in a cost reduction for light users of up to 90%, little change for medium users, and a tenfold increase in charges to heavy users.

        Please select the option you prefer and we will go with the majority vote. For those who require guaranteed download speeds and no bandwidth cap, the same leased line services we offer to businesses are also available to private customers, with prices starting at only $1,000/month (installation charges apply).

        Kind regards,
        Your ISP

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by giorgiofr (887762)
        I don't know about your case, but my contract has "NO guarantees whatsoever" written all over it. They insist that no minimum speed is guaranteed, heck they even claim that they could be down 90% of the time and you still would have no case against them.
        In other words, I know full well my provider could start throttling and it would be OK because that's what I agreed with. I also know that my provider is not throttle happy.
    • by Travoltus (110240) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:52PM (#16025384) Journal
      Customers getting what they paid for? Are you nuts?! That's communism! You pay for 6mbps per second, you should be happy with 768kbps. People having the freedom to use bit torrent and the privacy of encryption, what kind of collectivi-er, confiscationli-er, what are you, one of those SWARTHY PEOPLE?!!!
  • by Wind_Walker (83965) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:06PM (#16025027) Homepage Journal
    However, BitTorrent is an extremely important tool that has many uses other than what everyone assumes it is good for, namely movie piracy.
    I agree wholeheartedly. There's pornography, music piracy, video game piracy, and pornography.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You forgot pornography.
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:07PM (#16025033)
    many uses other than what everyone assumes it is good for, namely movie piracy.

    - Game Demos
    - Software updates / upgrades
    - Free / Legal Videos
    • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:10PM (#16025067)
      WOW patches... god damn sucks that my ISP tries to hamstring torrent traffic. I get 10-15 kB/s on a 3 megabit cable modem when patching. I usually wait until someone hosts the patch, then download it via HTTP.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:33PM (#16025226)
      I remember when Knoppix 5 came out. The official mirrors weren't carrying it yet, it was offloaded to other sites to try and get the feeding frenzy over with. So I downloaded it at the request of my boss and then left my computer to seed for the weekend. I served out 1.2TB in 48 hours. Would have been higher too, but I was capping my upstream. And I was only one of hundreds of seeders (though in fairness I was the top seeder).

      I just don't see how else a not-for-profit group is going to get fast distribution of something that big for cheap. If you look at web hosting you find that bandwidth of that order is not at all cheap. However, BT let us all share the load a little.

      I'm sure people do sue it for illegal purposes but I tell ya what, it has made getting free legal software so much easier. Gone are the days of waiting around on a slow ass FTP that seems like it's being run out of some guy's broom closet (which is probably where it is being run). I find on most Linux torrents I can get 30+mbits/sec no problem.
  • Connections (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:08PM (#16025037) Homepage Journal
    "in order to ensure connectivity for everyone"

    No, that's in order to continue selling people bandwidth they couldn't deliver, known to ISPs as "statistical oversubscription". Then when we want to get what we paid for, they take it away entirely. Unless you're watching the telco's own IPTV, which somehow has as much bandwidth as they need to sell it to you, for an additional charge.

    Blocking competitive services to support ripoff monopoly business models is the reason telcos and other big ISPs hate Net Neutrality [eff.org].
    • Not quite... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Poromenos1 (830658) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:15PM (#16025113) Homepage
      Well, to their defense, if they didn't oversell their prices would be quite higher.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, to their defense, if they didn't oversell their prices would be quite higher.

        Obviously true, but would you actually accept that for any other commodity?

        "Hey, this 'pint' of milk only has half a pint in it"

        "Yeah, well you get the theoretical pint capacity but if you actually got the milk, our prices would be quite higher!"

        Seems like a straightforwards case of fraud.
      • Re:Not quite... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by interiot (50685) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:37PM (#16025258) Homepage
        Or they can just be nicer about their bandwidth caps... don't advertise "unlimited bandwidth", and if a customer gets near their monthly cap, then slow them down to 64kbps down or something like that. If a customer only uses BitTorrent twice a month, why does the ISP have to go to the trouble of trying to detect an encrypted connection and slowing it down?
    • Here's a hint: If you buy a business package, you actually GET the bandwidth sold to you. Supposedly it's because businesses NEED their bandwidth to, you know, run their business. But my personal theory is that it's because businesses have experience with using lawyers so ISPs don't wanna f*** around with them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dr Caleb (121505)
        "If you buy a business package, you actually GET the bandwidth sold to you. "

        Not from Shaw Cable in Western Canada. I had their 'Business' package and still had unencrypted torrent traffic throttled, negating the speed increase. Although they denied throtteling it, my speed went from 80k/s max on *every* stream, to 500k/s one some streams (encrypted)

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:39PM (#16025278)
      You also have to consider that consumers want things real cheap, often cheaper than is affordable. Big lines (like OC lines) cost a lot of money. So you need to have a good number of subscribers per line to make it work, if you are to charge those people a low amount. That means that bandwidth can be scarce.

      One option people have is to just get better service. I personally went with Speakeasy. They don't block or throttle your connection in any way (they claim they don't, and I haven't detected any). You can host servers, whatever you like. However, it's more pricey than lower grade service. I drop about $130/month to get 6m/768k DSL with 8 static IPs. But, I've never had it fail to work at the highest speeds, and they are true to their word, I do a TON of upstream with those servers and I've never heard a peep out of them or seen my connection throttled at all.

      Net access is just another area where you get what you pay for. Sure, I could offer people 100mbit net access for $20/month and just lay ethernet to their houses (we are assuming I had the permits here). However at that price, I couldn't guarantee 100mbits of upstream for each subscriber. Hell I'd be lucky to get 10mbits of upstream for all subscribers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:08PM (#16025046)

    with teh Telephone System, returning the advantage to the communication providers
    by filtering the words Cocaine , Heroin, Ganja, LSD, Skunk, PCP, Speed, Crystal Meth
    as they are used by people using the telephone system to conduct illegal conversations

    filter my torrents and i will sue you for NOT filtering childporn
    if you want to give up common carrier thats fine, but be aware YOU WILL be held to account for anything illegal i find on YOUR network
    • they're filtering a service. There's still no distinction in what you send, just how you send it. This is like saying ISPs can't filter spam without giving up common carrier. You want to send one or two unsolicited emails, ok then. Send 1 million? Then we've got a problem.
  • Use steganography [wikipedia.org]. Basically you could send images with extra encrypted data tacked on the end; can the product detect that??? And if some unlucky admin type looks at the image, they get to see goatse in all his glory, but don't see the encrypted data hidden in the image.
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:10PM (#16025066) Journal
    Spam + Torrent = %160, plus whatever "real" traffic the net has...

    Wow, stunning efficiency, or bad statistics.

    • by bunions (970377) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:11PM (#16025075)
      I think spam goes in either a different pipe or a truck, I'm not 100% sure of how it works though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No No, its not a pipe you see it a series of tubes...and if someone sends you an internet it might get stuck in a tube behind a different internet....

      Or at least thats how I have heard it works, not positive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Watson Ladd (955755)
      80% of email traffic. I hate newspaper reporters who drop crucial adjectives. Of course, email is the internet according to Ted Stevens. And since he's the commite head, he knows what he is talking about.
  • by Rearden82 (923468) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:16PM (#16025124)
    They shouldn't be allowed to advertise (and charge a premium for) 3-5+ mbps service if they're going to actively prevent their customers from using it.

    If car manufacturers operated like ISPs, they would sell 300 horsepower cars with shoddy transmissions, then limit them to 150hp so they wouldn't have to deal with the warranty repairs.
  • "war"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NineNine (235196)
    "However, those who feel this all amounts to an imminent war between the users and the ISPs over BitTorrent... "

    A war? You gotta be crazy. If my ISP doesn't provide me what I'm paying for then I'm either dumping them or suing. It's that simple. There's not going to be an "war" over my ISP usage at my home or my business. I'm going to get what I pay for, or they can speak with my attorney (and yes, I do use my attorney for little stuff like this).

    To the people who just have a home ISP and may not have
    • Re:"war"? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bassman59 (519820) <andyNO@SPAMlatke.net> on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:02PM (#16025471) Homepage
      To the people who just have a home ISP and may not have much choice, I say: don't worry about it. Somebody will come in to provide the service eventually. Competition ensures that it'll happen. With wireless getting a little bit more useful every day, I think that we'll soon have some competition amongst ISP's again, soon.

      Competition? Surely, you jest. Unless, of course, you mean "Competition between two subsidized monopolies," namely the local cable company and the local telco. Some choice.

      As Lily Tomlin's telephone operator character liked to say, "We're the telephone company. We don't care. We don't have to."

  • by Skynet (37427) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:17PM (#16025130) Homepage
    I suppose the only way they can really do this is by analyzing the high level protocol transactions and by keeping tabs on particular IPs and their behaviors. Pretty flimsy.

    All of this could probably be pretty easily foiled by having Bittorrent mask what it's doing by sending noise once in a while to throw these tools off.
    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:43PM (#16025308)
      All of this could probably be pretty easily foiled by having Bittorrent mask what it's doing by sending noise once in a while to throw these tools off.

      This is actually a common feature in many cryptosystems which serves to prevent a successful cryptanalysis via "cribs" or short passages of known plaintext within the cipher text, especially at known location such as the start of the message (the Germans made this mistake with their Enigma traffic during WWII for example with standard message headers on their daily weather reports to the U-Boat flotillas). If the protocol were modified to introduce random segments of padding (i.e. junk) into the packets then cryptanalysis via cribbing would most probably be rendered impractical.
  • A group of hackers are Coming up with a work around.

    In the mean time i wonder if Allot Communication's "traffic management device" can withstand DDoSing.

    They sure as hell are going to piss alot of people off with their scumware.
  • Illegal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BloodyIron (939359) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:22PM (#16025163)
    Isnt it illegal to read any part of encrypted data accross the internet? (with certain exceptions, ie: NSA actions/warrants, etc)
    • Re:Illegal? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:29PM (#16025199)

      Isnt it illegal to read any part of encrypted data accross the internet?

      Probably not, but they aren't "reading" data in any case. They're just looking at the encrypted streams and figuring out, based upon the way the traffic flows, the ports, etc. that it is bittorrent traffic. Of course engineers can just make bittorrent traffic mimic other, legitimate traffic more closely to make it impossible to distinguish between them.

      Ever notice that whole lot of crap runs on port 80 these days? The reason is that ISPs and maintainers of firewalls have turned off the rest of the internet under the assumption that it will stop the traffic they don't like. Really it just squished everything into one place and made it harder to properly administer.

  • Um, mirror? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:22PM (#16025165) Homepage
    Why don't ISPs that worry about their net usage outside their network just mirror shit?

    Would it be really hard to throw together a 1TB file store with the latest patches, demos, ISOs and the like?

    That way the customers can get stuff inside the network and the ISP doesn't have to worry about upstream net usage.

    OMG it's like I'm smart and all.

    Tom
  • Stunned...but not (Score:4, Interesting)

    by svunt (916464) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:24PM (#16025173) Homepage Journal
    This is funny...last month, I downloaded one linux distro via torrent, it was a dvd iso, can't remember the file size, let's say 4.5GB for argument. The other squillion terabytes I grabbed all came from my ISP's own news server, about a zillion hours of not-so-legal content, all provided at full speed by the guys who'd like to throttle my legal torrent traffic? If ISPs were that concerned about traffic, they'd close some of the zombie hosts on their own networks sending out billions of spam emails a day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      The other squillion terabytes I grabbed all came from my ISP's own news server, about a zillion hours of not-so-legal content, all provided at full speed by the guys who'd like to throttle my legal torrent traffic?

      Waitaminute, you're saying this like it's a bad thing or ironic or something. This is the way it should be. If the ISPs would store things on their own network (whether it's a Squid cache or a Usenet spool doesn't matter) that would be fucking awesome. Then they only pay once to move it over

  • 1. Linux ISOs
    2. Maiet's "Gunz" which INSTALLS or UPDATES as it downloads data via Bittorrent
    3. Bittorrent is used to transfer many of the game demos found on legitimate sites
    4. I use it personally to share things I make and OWN.

    In short, the ISPs are about to shoot themselves in the foot, again. Except this time, I think if I sue, I'm going to ask them in court "Whatever happened to that infrastructure upgrade that was supposed to come from 200 billion of our tax dollars?"
  • Has to be done (Score:5, Informative)

    by realmolo (574068) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:26PM (#16025182)
    Look, I use Bittorrent and it's great. But I also run an ISP.

    The thing is, bandwidth isn't cheap. People bitch that ISPs "oversubscribe", and that we can't really deliver our advertised bandwidth to everyone all of the time. This is true, but how do you think we manage to sell people 5Mb connections for $40/month? Do you know how much 5Mb of bandwidth costs and ISP? It's a lot more than $40. In the market I'm in, we pay THOUSANDS of dollars for that much bandwidth.

    The real problem is that bandwidth is too expensive in this country, thanks to the likes of AT&T and MCI and all the other big players. They've got tons of unused fiber lying around, and it costs them next-to-nothing to use it, but it still costs the end-user (in this case, the ISP) a hell of a lot of cash.

     
    • Re:Has to be done (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pantero Blanco (792776) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:37PM (#16025264)
      The thing is, bandwidth isn't cheap. People bitch that ISPs "oversubscribe", and that we can't really deliver our advertised bandwidth to everyone all of the time. This is true, but how do you think we manage to sell people 5Mb connections for $40/month? Do you know how much 5Mb of bandwidth costs and ISP? It's a lot more than $40. In the market I'm in, we pay THOUSANDS of dollars for that much bandwidth."


      No, it doesn't "have to be done". You could just advertise what you can actually deliver, and anything a customer happens to get above that is gravy. Right now, you "manage to sell" people 5Mb connections for $40 a month in the same way that the guy at the corner "manages to sell" Rolex watches for ten dollars a shot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)


      Do you know how much 5Mb of bandwidth costs and ISP? It's a lot more than $40. In the market I'm in, we pay THOUSANDS of dollars for that much bandwidth.

      I suggest you shop around then, 'cause I can buy 100Mbps of transit for just under $3000 a month.

      Look at the complaints here on Slashdot.
      Most of them are complaining about ISPs lying about the service they sell.
      If you can't accommodate bit torrent that's OK, just sell an honest service plan that doesn't appeal to people using bit torrent, but does appeal

    • Re:Has to be done (Score:5, Informative)

      by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas&dsminc-corp,com> on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:54PM (#16025401) Homepage
      Funny I install big networks for a living, 3 megs a sec is 90 bucks a month from cogent (yea I know they have issues and yes thats ISP rate not end user ($30)) now granted you have to be looking for at least 100bt if not a gigabit ethernet over fiber handoff. At the low end a DS3 can be hand with bandwith for 5k thats a little over $110 per megabit and froma major carrier (I have done those with MCI and AT&T) Bandwith gets cheaper and cheaper as you buy more and more, getting into overly long contracts and buying incrementaly rather than with a strategic plan gets ISP's into bad agreements and pricing plans. Realy bittorrent should be a boon to larger ISP's as it will allow the ratio's needed to get into statement free peering relationships.

      The levels of oversubscription on some ISP's are just insane my previous cable company had a 512kbs cap per user (90 homes per channel not over subscribed) and had problem providing that to there head end at peak times. ISP's are going to 100x ratios and investing mroe in help desk and fixes than just getting more bandwith.
       
    • Re:Has to be done (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110) on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:05PM (#16025500) Journal
      People bitch that ISPs "oversubscribe", and that we can't really deliver our advertised bandwidth to everyone all of the time. This is true, but how do you think we manage to sell people 5Mb connections for $40/month? Do you know how much 5Mb of bandwidth costs and ISP?

      I know it sounds insenitive, but it really needs to be said: "It's not my job to make sure your business model turns a profit."

      Your the one in control. You write-up the contract any way you wish, and the customers' only choice is to accept or refuse. If you aren't able to provide 5Mbit connections, then clearly make it a point in your contract that you're limiting them to a maximum ammount of throughput, or something similar.

      Honor your contracts, don't complain that you can't. Making contracts "on the margin," so to speak, gets lots of people thrown in prison all the time, when things don't go their way.

      What's more... singling out bittorrent, or P2P in general, is insane. The same things can be done with http, ftp, etc. If you're going to restrict traffic, at least do it in a sane way, which applies to ALL the bits, and doesn't unfairly penalize one protocol/technology over another.
  • by shawn443 (882648) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:30PM (#16025209) Homepage
    I have noticed that once the upload stats get to about 10 gig or so my dynamic ip expires about every 2 hours. Before I started using btdownloadcurses my ip would change about once every two weeks. Remote access in terms of my dynamic ip address was rarely a problem. Granted this is only an observation, yet I still assume categories of customers are made by upload stats. This caused me to script ipshow. ATT, go screw yourself and your "sticky ips", I am not running ebay here, I just want access to my computers.
  • Two Choices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday September 01, 2006 @01:36PM (#16025252)
    1: Shift to new encryption method.

    2: Sue them under the DMCA for reverse-engineering and breaking the technological protection method used to protect your content.

    Use either, or both, as appropriate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr. Protocol (73424)
      Sadly, I doubt that changing to a new encryption method will work: it is highly unlikely that this product is decrypting encrypted BitTorrent packets. It is almost certain that it detects BitTorrent packets by size, number and frequency. If you have 600 open TCP connections, which are constantly shifting, and all of your inbound packets are the same size, then these are BitTorrent packets.

      And, in the end, the ISP doesn't care if they're BitTorrent packets or not. If you're filling your inbound pipe for d
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wildclaw (15718)
        "And, in the end, the ISP doesn't care if they're BitTorrent packets or not. If you're filling your inbound pipe for days on end, then throttling whatever it is that you're doing is a good thing, from their perspective."

        And that is the right kind of throttling. ISPs should not care what is in the packets. If I have been using more than my share of bandwidth, throttle me. However, don't peek at my packets and decide that some of my traffic is worth less than the other. The ISP may give me x bandwidth for bul
  • Token Bucket (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 01, 2006 @02:03PM (#16025479)
    Back in my networking class we learned about the Token Bucket algorithm [wikipedia.org] for traffic shaping.
    I don't get why ISP don't apply this to their customers, it would be perfect, or am I missing something?

    ISPs oversell bandwidth to consumers: If they sell you 1 MB/s then they might have 1 MB/s for every 50 customers they serve. Now with a token bucket that fills at a rate of 10 to 30 KB/s, depending on demand, and has a capacity of perhaps 1 GB normal users would generally have full speed almost all the time, while heavy users would be limited to the bucket fill rate, unless they save up some tokens.

    Furthermore it's a standaard traffic shaping algorithm, so I would guess the ISP's equipment could easily handle this.

    What am I missing?

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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