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Comcast Admits Delaying, Not Blocking, P2P Traffic 287

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-yeah-thats-fine-then-nevermind dept.
haibijon writes "The executive declined to talk in detail about the technology, citing spammers or other miscreants who might exploit that knowledge. But he insisted the company was not stopping file transfers from happening, only postponing them in certain cases. He compared it to making a phone call and getting a busy signal, then trying again and getting through."
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Comcast Admits Delaying, Not Blocking, P2P Traffic

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  • by EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @08:58AM (#21083659)
    On that note, I'm not "cancelling" my service with you. I'm merely "delaying" signing back up with your company (indefinitely).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mille Mots (865955)
      I think a more apt analogy would be something like, "I'm not refusing to pay my bill. Think of it as having the check returned for NSF and then having to resubmit it and it goes through." I'm sure that they wouldn't have a problem with that, considering all the Nigerian scammers out there trying to get your routing information.
      • You could always write a future date on the cheque so the teller refuses to cash it until then. It'll be like trying to call someone and the operator telling you the line is busy and trying again later and getting through.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I wonder if they would accept their customers delaying their payments. "Don't worry Comcast. We're not STOPPING our payments. We're just DELAYING them."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mindmaster064 (690036)
      The major problem is this is a classic man in the middle attack right out of the textbook. If I did this to a bank I would be going to jail. Who cares if it's traffic shaping or whatever? There are legitmate ways to shape traffic without manipulating the data path. This is a recipe for disaster when one of these transparent mediators decides to fail and inject garbage into the streams. Comcast is playing with fire here and they're gonna get burnt up with it. First it will be this, then it will be your World
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Merk (25521)

      Speaking of canceling your service, it sounds like a good time to talk alternatives. I, like many people here I'm sure, want a service that gives me the following:

      • A static IP (or multiple static IPs)
      • Honest usage caps, if it's unlimited, it's unlimited and maybe I pay a bit more. If it's limited, I want to know the limits
      • High bandwidth, low latency
      • No packet filtering or port blocking
      • The option to run servers (web, mail, game, etc.)
      • Something not too expensive (i.e. I don't want to pay for "business
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @08:59AM (#21083673)
    So they're not actually stopping the transfers, they're postponing them indefinitely.

    *Sigh of relief*
  • by mandark1967 (630856) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:00AM (#21083681) Homepage Journal
    I'm just delaying it...I tried to put my payment in the mailbox and there were other letters there so I waited until it was less congested....
  • Cool (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717)
    That'll please everyone trying to download the latest version of Ubuntu. Just to make sure this doesn't happen in the future I'll hammer the server directly.

    But enough of my whining, Prison Break was on last night...
    • But enough of my whining, Prison Break was on last night...
      And apparently now its on your computer. I guess someone isn't with Comcast.
  • by OctoberSky (888619) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:01AM (#21083705)
    I compare it to paying a gym membership, heading towards the treadmill only to be stopped by a trainer and told there is someone on it already. You look, see no one is on it, ask again and are allowed to use it. Sometimes the trainer comes over and tells you that you have to get off for someone else. Everytime you get off, no one else gets on. So you have to restart your workout whenever the trainer asks.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:11AM (#21083787)
      what is this "gym" you speak of?
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        I hear you have to go OUTSIDE to get there. Don't do it, it's too risky!

        Oh, and tell mom to buy another case of Mountain Dew, I'm running out.
    • by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:27AM (#21084751) Homepage
      I see it more like a courier. You call a courier, put you package in the van and away it goes travelling down a Comcast owned toll way. Along they way a bunch of Comcast hijackers jump out from behind a bush, pull the van over, grab your package and throw it into a ditch. The van driver informs you your package has been dumped, doesn't tell you exactly why, and you have to call another courier a hope this time the package makes it.

      By the way, you get charged each and every time the courier drives on the Comcast toll way, even when the additional traffic is as a result of their, fraudulent actions. The actions are fraudulent because, it is costing you in additional computer time, in additional energy usage, in your lost time and of course additional traffic charges (all traffic counts especially when unlimited, ain't really unlimited).

  • Makes me wonder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The-Ixian (168184) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:02AM (#21083707)
    if they are simply port blocking or doing deep packet inspection. If it is the former I would think it would be pretty easy to circumnavigate...if it is the latter....then I suppose SSL would be the solution.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      SSL isn't going to protect against a man-in-the-middle attack unless you're verifying certificates. That means web pages are likely safe from manipulation by some intelligent equipment in the middle, but it seems unlikely that bittorrent nodes have certificates signed by a CA (otherwise, the device in the middle can just make its own self-signed cert as needed and you'll never know).

      I'm pretty sure that equipment already exists which can do that for encrypted bittorrent traffic.
      • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

        by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:37AM (#21084081)
        Technically that is certainly true. You could make the legal argument that presenting a certificate as belonging to another organization if fraud.

        Not that it matters for the moment. Comcast can't currently afford to intercept all SSL connections, inspect the certificate to see if they can forge it, and proxy the connection just to do packet inspection.

        Furthermore, I think you can prevent that. Essentially, create a new "CA" key whenever you create a .torrent file, and include the public key in the .torrent. Then, on-the-fly build a chain of authority stemming from that key. Then, whenever you get directed to a new peer, the message includes a public key for that peer, signed by your current peer, and so forth. Even if comcast tries to join the network to disrupt it, they can't disrupt communication between nodes when the chain-of-authority does not use their keys, and if tampering is detected, their keys can be revoked, un-authenticating any bogus keys they have generated and signed.

        Sounds like a fun project, actually, assuming it doesn't already exist.
        • by ari_j (90255)
          That sounds like a lot of work. I think I'll just use another ISP. :P
          • by norton_I (64015)
            Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it would also potentially stop a lot of other attacks. For instance, if I can propogate a signed message declaring that client X gave me Y chunks, you might be able to do a better job allocating bandwidth to clients that upload a lot. A node could keep a "relative trust index" used to prioritize who gets data. Basically, anyone who gives me data (that passed checksum!) gets their trust index increased, and anyone they vouch for, and so on. Bogus clie
          • by shark72 (702619)

            "That sounds like a lot of work. I think I'll just use another ISP. :P"

            I believe that is what Comcast wants. With fewer folks like you on their network, their average bandwidth consumption per customer goes down, and they have to process fewer DMCA letters.

            I know, I know -- we all only use it for Linux distros -- but you see my point.

        • by Jay L (74152)
          You could make the legal argument that presenting a certificate as belonging to another organization if fraud

          I think you could make the legal argument that presenting a message as coming from a certain IP address is fraud, but I've been shouted down on that one before. Not by lawyers, mind you, just by a fellow IANAL.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by evilviper (135110)

          Comcast can't currently afford to intercept all SSL connections, inspect the certificate to see if they can forge it, and proxy the connection just to do packet inspection.

          No need for that:

          Require all users to add and authorize Comcast's cert.
          Proxy all SSL/TLS connections.
          Block all other encrypted traffic.

          Even if comcast tries to join the network to disrupt it, they can't disrupt communication between nodes when the chain-of-authority does not use their keys,

          What? Why would they need to "join" bittorrent i

    • No they just (start) to throttle all encrypted communication. Didn't we hear about an ISP who did/does this?
      And/or they buy a device like the netenforcer http://www.allot.com/ [allot.com] which the manufacturer claims can throttle torrent traffic.

    • by muffen (321442)
      They are probably just using some type of QoS that throttles P2P traffic so it doesn't exceed X% bandwidth usage.
      • I think this would be preferable to what they are doing. Comcast is telling each side "The other side hung up". Limiting P2P to a certain % would still allow some P2P to happen. Then, night time would be a productive time to download a Ubuntu 7.1 DVD iso, for example -- no one is awake, no other internet traffic is happening, go for it.

        If all ISPs did this, and advertised the percent cap...ok, my pie in the sky just fell on my head.
    • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

      by walt-sjc (145127) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:28AM (#21083979)
      From what I understand, they are forging packets that make your BT client think that peers have hung up on you. Since they (comcast) are the man-in-the-middle, they can easily perform these types of attacks.

      And that's what this is. An attack. QOS would just slow things down, this kills. I don't mind QOS. I do mind active damage.

      It's time to take p2p to the next level - implementing some of the concepts of the old freenet (the encryption part) and make the traffic unidentifiable. Maybe move it to UDP and make it look like DNS. Or Skype.
      • by rucs_hack (784150)
        what if they then just start denying any encrypted traffic outside of certain types? Oh sorry, 'dalaying' it? From what I understand its easy to tell if ssh is in use, what with the standard port 22 thing, just not easy to read it.

        I doubt people could easily use ssh for bittorrent, since lots of people are on networks that don't do what comcast does, so if your seed isn't using it, you're screwed. Needing to use ssh would probably kill bittorrent.

        I'm not an expert on encryption, but it seems to me they mig
      • I don't mind QOS.

        Why wouldn't you mind QOS? My traffic gets my speed damnit.

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)
          1. Look up the definitions of throughput and latency.
          2. Develop a basic comprehension of the goals of QoS.
          3. Re-evaluate your position.
          • Instead of a snide remark, if you want to explain why I am wrong, I will listen. However, my point is that I do not understand why my connection should suffer in any way. It seems to me that if you are prioritizing someone else's packets, than they are sent instead of mine which makes my connection slower, at least at those times.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Andy Dodd (701)
        I agree.

        What the Comcast rep is describing in the article sounds like QoS - Any time there's a queue in a router somewhere, BT traffic goes to the back of the line. The end result is that if the network is being heavily used for other more latency/bandwidth critical uses, BT slows down, but if you use BT at 4 AM when no one else is using the network it'll be nice and fast.

        What Comcast is actually doing is forcing connections to close if they have certain traffic patterns, regardless of whether or not the n
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Husgaard (858362)

        From what I understand, they are forging packets that make your BT client think that peers have hung up on you.

        Technically this means they are lying to the customers using BT. And the purpose of their lying is financial gain.

        But isn't this the definition of fraud? Why is nobody going to jail for this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BosstonesOwn (794949)
      To make a point in spite of killing my ability to mod, what happens when they just start wiping out encrypted packets next ? One cable started throttling encrypted traffic as well and basically killed vpn for every one.

      The idea f this being a cat and mouse game should be absurd , they should stop mangling any data and design capacity to handle this issue. Move on to docsis 3.0 and then keep the uploads where they are , maybe see if bonding upstream channels are possible to loosen the network up a little.

      The
      • by Hatta (162192)
        That's when you walk into your ISPs office with a hammer [suntimes.com]. Seriously though, if an ISP thinks they can get away with ruining interactive SSH, necessary VPNs, SSL for secure web transactions, etc., etc., they're not going to have many customers left.
    • by AxemRed (755470)
      I have been told that they are using Sandvine.

      http://www.sandvine.com/products/p2p_element.asp [sandvine.com]
  • by GuyverDH (232921) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:07AM (#21083745)
    Sorry about that - oh, did your precious cargo expire?

    What, you were transporting critical medical records via Torrent? and someone died? Too bad - we were preventing you from pirating movies / music / software.

    See, the problem here is that they cannot know what is being transported. The protocol by itself is not bad. If that were the case, they'd have to block TCP/IP - as all bad things over the net come through via TCP/IP - of course - all good things come that way too....
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BlowHole666 (1152399)

      TCP/IP - of course - all good things come that way too....


      Yes like my porn, and that order for my new wife.
    • What, you were transporting critical medical records via Torrent? and someone died?

      If an hospital wants mission-critical business-grade broadband, then I doubt it would get a consumer broadband subscription to Comcast. In any case we don't need to make examples up, Comcast disrupts Lotus Notes traffic, encrypted VPNs, and Skype phone calls. So if you're an employee whose workplace heavily depends on those technologies, you should probably switch out of Comcast and get DSL if you want to be able to work fr

      • by GuyverDH (232921)
        And what about other customers of other ISPs who's data happens to be carried over a segment owned by Comcast? (I don't know if there are any, however, if any carrier is allowed to fuck with the data flow, who knows what data will be impacted).
        If a carrier doesn't have enough bandwidth to give each of their customers what they've paid for, they need to increase their capacity, not short their customers.

        Don't spew contractual garbage either. If they sell someone 7Mbit down, 1Mbit up, they'd best have the c
        • by dwlovell (815091)
          Comcast does not guarantee any up or down as a sustained rate, it is merely a "burst" speed. This has been the way DSL and Cable connections have worked from the beginning. Remember all the people who told you that T1 was "dedicated" bandwidth, while DSL was shared and burst speed? This is why a T1 is $1000/month and your 1.5mbit DSL or cable connection is $50/month.

          If a business needs sustained bandwidth, they get a T1 or a bundle of T1's, they dont get residential grade broadband that is a shared pipe wit
          • by GuyverDH (232921)
            Exactly what I meant about contractual garbage.

            Burst spped? how often? once every 72 hours? the rest of the time at 1Kb/sec? what does that mean?

            Cable is shared all the way to the house. DSL is shared to the switch, then dedicated to the house.
          • by GuyverDH (232921)
            Yet, if they have 100 subscribers at 1.5Mbit, that's a total of 150Mbit bandwidth, so let's say that the average usage is 50%, so 75Mbit. Now, if we actually had that, then a handfull of people using 1.5Mbit, will not saturate that pipe.

            If one or two people using their full bandwidth capacity are saturating the pipe, then the provider is probably overselling their bandwidth quite a bit over that 100% mark. Probably closer to 200 or 300% oversell. Again, there's the profit maximization, while they say "fu
    • by GuyverDH (232921)
      Yes - the medical data was intended as a joke. Although it's intent was to say that there are definitely more payloads than just pirated content that traverse torrent-like transports.

      Many games that people pay hard cash for high-bandwidth connections use these for updates. Restricting this flow for a particular transport means that there will be something new for the *gasp* piraters to use that is better, faster, harder to isolate than torrent streams, while the legal uses of these streams are choked out
  • So I should be able to delay, but not block, my payment check to them?
  • by hyades1 (1149581)

    This sounds a lot like getting the camel's nose into the tent. Once it's established that there are two or more "classes" of information, and those classes can be treated differently, there's endless opportunities to make some customers "a little more equal" than others. And charge them a premium, of course.

    I'm thinking of an airline that's planning to ensure that if you fly coach, your bags will be the last ones off the plane.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CRCulver (715279)

      I'm thinking of an airline that's planning to ensure that if you fly coach, your bags will be the last ones off the plane.

      You must be thinking of them all, then, since it was established in the discussion to that story that most airlines have offered these services for years already.

  • I like to leave my Slackware downloads seeding just for the hell of it, and I've noticed that Comcast doesn't exactly block the traffic but does something similar to what this article describes. During certain hours (typically mid-morning and evening, roughly), all torrent activity will cease for a minute or two and then resume normally. This only happens at certain "peak" times and usually rather infrequently. Torrent speeds are generally quite good later on at night and on the weekends.

    Not that I agree
  • False advertising? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:15AM (#21083851)
    Does Comcast advertise very high transfer speeds? Because if they advertise that, knowing that they intentionally force lower speeds for some kinds of traffic, that sounds like fraud.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Because if they advertise that, knowing that they intentionally force lower speeds for some kinds of traffic, that sounds like fraud.

      You share the service with others. If BT degrades the experience for others it will be throttled back. If you want max speed schedule your gigabyte downloads for off-peak hours. This is not rocket science.

      • by Zenaku (821866)
        If you want max speed schedule your gigabyte downloads for off-peak hours. This is not rocket science.

        I don't get what you're driving at. What's the point of getting maximum speed for your download if you have to schedule that download to happen several hours later? If I start a download now and it takes an hour to complete, am I worse off than if I start it 4 hours from now and it takes a few minutes?

        To use our much abused and beloved car analogies: I could drive to work in 10 minutes instead of 30 if I
    • So how do you measure 3 Mbits per seconds, it it 180 Mb for a minute, 3Mb for one second or it it 30 Kb for a tenth of a second? It's not fraud it's marketingdroid speak, it's Snidely Whiplash telling Nell, "But Darling you should have read the contract, there is no level of service in it, you got what was advertised once".
  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:16AM (#21083861)


    As has been noted in numerous places, Comcast isn't just forging RST packets to disrupt P2P traffic -- they're also doing it to disrupt Lotus Notes traffic...which makes the "we're doing it to stop the bad guys" excuse a transparent lie.


    Moreover, disrupting P2P traffic will have no effect on "spammers and other miscreants", as they have far more sophisticated, self-organizing C&C methods already deployed. (No doubt having anticipated that use of traditional P2P would leave them vulnerable to such countermeaures.)


    But the truly galling part is that Comcast continues to repeat the same big lie they trotted out years ago: "We take the spam problem seriously". This is utter nonsense, of course; spam emission levels from their network continue to steadily increase, as they have for half a decade, to the point where their only serious rival for the #1 spot on the world's list of top spam-sending network is Verizon.


    So what this episode tells us is that Comcast has the capability to monitor and modify traffic, but only chooses to do so when it might affect their profits -- not when it might could the unceasing flow of abuse outbound from their network.

    • Last friday they had a large layoff in their Ad sales division. I know of several people that lost their job there and many said they did this country wide, gutting lots of jobs.

      Funny though, they did not trim the fat. Lots of middle management still there that really are not needed.

      Me thinks Comcast is circling the toilet bowl. still on the outer edge but we all know the spiral is a logarithmic one.

      I'm waiting for the next round on the CableTV side (oh yea it's coming!). I have a bunch of friends there
      • Me thinks Comcast is circling the toilet bowl. still on the outer edge but we all know the spiral is a logarithmic one.
        Nice pun, bad imagery. Very, very bad imagery.

        Excuse me while I go find a goatse link to get that image un-etched from my brain.
  • You don't like it leave. Its that simple. Maybe if Comcast customers started leaving in drones, Comcast would re-think their insane policy. Anything else is akin to whining like a child because you can't have the toy you wanted. If your phone company DID decide to pretend they were you and pick up and hang up your call what would you do. 1) Sue 2) Find new phone company. For those in a place where you're trapped in with solely one provider, I feel your pain. Maybe people need to start calling their local po
    • I've had high speed cable since it came into be. Across half a dozen physical locations, two countries and three states. I've tolerated the high price and stomached the constant price increases. But this may be it for me. If I can't use one of the finest protocols ever invented to download a large file in a completely legal and incredibly fair fashion then I think I need a new ISP.
    • by westlake (615356)
      You don't like it leave. Its that simple. Maybe if Comcast customers started leaving in drones, Comcast would re-think their insane policy.

      Do let us be realistic.

      The cable companies have tens of millions of customers who would be out there cheering if the Geek's gigabyte traffic in ISOs were put on the back burner, the graveyard shift.

  • by glindsey (73730) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:20AM (#21083913)

    He compared it to making a phone call and getting a busy signal, then trying again and getting through
    Hey, good phone analogy, but you're not quite right, Mr. Comcast Executive. Let me try to lend you a hand: it's like already being on a phone call and having it dropped in the middle of your conversation. Over and over and over. And it makes you so angry you vow you're going to cancel your service and switch to a competitor, except you can't, because they're the Phone Company, the only game in town.

    At least, that's the way it works for a huge portion of Comcast's service area, including large swaths of Chicagoland.
    • And it makes you so angry you vow you're going to cancel your service and switch to a competitor, except you can't, because they're the Phone Company, the only game in town.

      Or, whenever you try to use your phone to find a competitor, they disconnect the call. Over and over and over.

      Is this the future of of ISP competition? Active interception and disruption of competitive traffic? No effort policing your own traffic?

  • If they terminate a connection from happening they are blocking it. It may be OK to them to call it 'delaying' but technically the connection is blocked initially.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:21AM (#21083927) Homepage
    Comparing with a phone service is correct, if they did this to a commercial customer and deliberately stopped a certain percentage of calls that had to then be re-dialled they would be accused of blocking calls.

    He should have said "its like a set of tubes its just that P2P traffic is heavier so it sinks to the bottom, and as everyone knows with rivers they flow slower at the bottom so we aren't delaying them its just that P2P traffic is like a Pike, its a heavier fish that swims at the bottom while the normal internet stuff is like a salmon at the surface. Pike also eat cute little ducklings so P2P is evil"
  • Rogers does that in Canada on a regular basis. When I called them up, they admitted they block bit torrent. I asked them why don't they do this AFTER i use all my "unlimited" 60GB/month ($50)? No answer. Go figure.
    • by compro01 (777531)
      Shaw does similar capping (stated as 100GB/month), though they're pretty variable about it. in some areas, they jump on you for money as soon as you go even a single bit above that, other places, you can pull 500GB of traffic for months on end and never hear a peep from them and without a single extra charge on the bill.

      and if you don't like them, you can easily switch to someone else (Access, Sasktel, and i believe a couple other small guys in Regina and Saskatoon) for DSL without caps, though possibly a
  • Sounds like a low tech form of load balancing... Dont these guys have the money to buy a good traffic shaping device? :-)

    I do understand that many people might have bad experiences with the Comcast broadban, but I really like Comcast where I am. I have several VPN tunnels setup across multiple offices which is very nice and stable. Also, most of the time there speed is outstanding as long as my traffic shaping is good on the outbound side.
  • I have an OpenVPN endpoint on my home system, so I can get access to my IMAP server wherever I am.

    From my desk at work, it continues to work flawlessly.

    From my mother's house it has worked flawlessly in the past, but on the last visit it didn't. It seemed to have MTU problems, in that I could do simple DNS lookups, and I could SSH into one of my home systems over the VPN. But the moment I go to move any quantity of data, it freezes up. I tried the suggested OpenVPN MTU fixes and they didn't work, though
    • by finkployd (12902)
      I'll throw this out there as well. I have a Comcast workplace account at home (business internet, 6 static ips) which I would have thought would be exempt from this silliness. I generally VPN into my company's VPN server and any clients I am working with at the time. I have noticed this morning I am pretty much unable to transfer large files or even send emails with a few megs of attachments over VPN. No problem without the VPN. I'm also running into the same problem with Lotus Notes which seems to be wides
  • Was trying to grab the Gobuntu alternate--and the sad thing that the straight download was going faster than the torrent, at least for a while (mirror servers are hit hard.)

    Either way I've never had this much trouble with the service. Comcast is really putting the squeeze on.

  • Bad analogy.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @09:53AM (#21084283)
    I disagree with comcasts analogy. Its not like getting a busy signal, its like an operator coming on the line mid conversation and tell both partys please try again later and disconnecting them. The busy signal occurs when you initiate the call and the receiving end is busy an unable to answer. What they are doing is at a certain threshold (that no one knows of course), getting into the middle of the connection, pretending to be each other, and disconnecting the connection.

    A better analogy for comcast to use would be something along the lines of we are promoting identify theft by pretending to be the recipient and closing your connection so we can redirect the traffic and steal whatever you are downloading :) (okay the last paragraph is sorta absurd.. but still it amused me when I read that back to myself so it stays)
  • The busy signal is a bad analogy. It implies that theres nothing that can be done because the other party is not avaliable. A better analogy is that you get a message that says "All circuits are busy" or "your call cannot be connected." If you get this from your phone company once in a blue moon, you might not consider it a big deal. It's happened to me maybe twice in my lifetime. However if you find that on a regular basis you can't make a damn call because of your phone company then the only conclu
  • what possibly could anything do to harm that they tell each people what the bandwidth is? how can they not be held liable for people exceeding the limit but have no idea what the limit is because for some reason, it's a government secret.
  • In line with your new network policies, I'm going to send all future payments in packets of $5 USD. You are hereby notified that some of these packets may be delayed. Since you control the network they are transmitted on, perhaps you can ensure that they arrive. I'm sending the authorization for payment of each of these packets via a p2p protocol. You may be familiar with it: bittorrent.

    If you would, please help ensure the prompt delivery of these packets to ensure prompt payment.

    Thank you

    J.Q. Public
    member:
  • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:51AM (#21085185) Journal
    Well obviously if this is affecting you should drop Comcast and chose from the 3 or 4 other major broadband providers that can provide megabit service to your home.

    Oh..that's right...there aren't any other major providers in your area....
  • by Agripa (139780) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @10:54AM (#21085235)
    I am not blocking forged RST packets from Comcast IP addresses. I am just placing them into a very long delay queue in my traffic shaper.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikeee (137160)
      That's clever. What you really want is a router/NAT in front of your home net that held incoming RST packets for, say, 250ms, and then dropped rather than forwarding them if they were followed by data packets. (Any of the current traffic-shaping modules easily capable of this?)

      Comcast could still *block* the connection, but then they'd have to be using some kind of statefull firewall, which is much more expensive and doubtful to be worth the bother.
      • by Agripa (139780)
        My post was inspired by my recent investigations (last night while suffering from a sugar and caffeine high while attempting to diagnose a balky router at 3am) into Comcast's interference with TCP connections.

        Both the m0n0wall and pfsense FreeBSD based routing projects support enough packet classification in their traffic shaping rules to do exactly what I described. The firewall rules themselves however do not so one of the first things I tried was creating a very long delay queue in dummynet (m0n0wall fo
  • Could Comcast be found guilty of fraud law or violating some computer usage law because of this?

    On one hand, they're deliberately pretending to be the person you're communicating with (fraud?). On the other they're deliberately degrading performance of a person's internet connection (vaguely DOS-ish) - a person one who isn't necessarily their customer and isn't necessarily doing anything illegal. (WoW patches, Linux distros etc)
  • ...He just let it sit in a drawer in his desk for 10 days.

    This is just utter bullshit. If you postpone traffic for a long enough time, it's going to time out. Just like not signing a bill within 10 days kills the bill, but without the official veto. A pocket veto is a pocket veto, regardless of who is doing it.
  • Hey, Comcast. If you take a few simple steps to prevent the propagation of worms and viruses on your network, you will reduce your total traffic volume by at least 50%. Do something clever (like hire a COMPETENT STAFF) and reduce traffic volume by 80% through elimination of all but the zero-day worms.

    Then you will be able to provide your customers with enough bandwidth to satisfy the market demand, including bandwidth optimizing file sharing technologies like Bitorrent.

    What's that you say? You can't comp
  • So for each failed attempt it's more traffic that you generate that goes against the mystery cap before getting your service cut off for the month for over usage of failed attempts due to their software.
  • Bad Analogy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday October 23, 2007 @05:31PM (#21091701)

    He compared it to making a phone call and getting a busy signal, then trying again and getting through.


    In the case of getting a busy signal, the party you are trying to reach is already on the phone, thereby denying you the ability to reach them.* This is more like you try to call someone and get the "all circuits are busy" message, then try again and get through. The point is in the example he used, the reason you can't connect is because of the answering party, not your phone company. Which closer to what is happening. And getting the "all circuits is busy" message is a sign of too little capacity, and considered poor service. Which is really what's going on at Comcast, too.

    ------
    * We'll ignore CallWaiting, and the fact most phone companies let you have two calls running at the same time, alternating between them. Heck on some can combine them into a conference call on the fly.

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