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P2P Bandwidth Hogging the Net 539

zymano writes "zdnet has this article about bandwidth hogging p2p." I'm sure we'll see more rate limiting in the future and per-gig charges. The article says 60% of ISPs bandwidth is P2P, and that seems high to me, but not unrealistic. Besides, since most broadband is pretty seriously hamstringed in the upstream department, I'm not sure where they can go with this.
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P2P Bandwidth Hogging the Net

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  • let me break down the other 40 percent of the bandwidth for you:

    18% Porn
    12% Spam
    6% RIAA "Cease and Desist" Emails
    4% KaZaa Client Software

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to downloading the complete works of Engelbert Humperdinck []

    • by sould ( 301844 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:10AM (#6046884) Homepage

      According to RIAA, the other 40% is used by students using all other available protocols to download copyrighted material.
    • When all this broad band stuff came out all the chit chatwas about this great new mulitmedia experience. We were told the internet would be for everyone. So, sounds to me like the whole sales pitch was dishonest if P2P file sharing is unacceptable. And really, BroadBand has really never become BroadBand here in Georgia, USA anyways. With the pathetic upload capacity, it is like a phone system where I can listen all I want, but can only speak back 2 seconds every minute.
    • C'mon, everyone know by now that net traffic is about:
      • 60% spam
      • 60% P2P
      • 45% pr0n
      • 20% http
      • and 35% email
    • Lots of dark fiber (Score:4, Informative)

      by charnov ( 183495 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @12:01PM (#6048568) Homepage Journal
      Two comments:

      1.) Thanks to WorldCom inflating growth figures (that's what got them into trouble) for nearly 10 years, there is a tremendous amount of fiber lines just sitting there doing nothing. Don't believe the hype, there is enough base infrastructure in the US to give every body a T1 or better (but then we wouldn't need phones, cable/satellite TV, radios, etc...heh). Wireless meshes are popping up all over the place (in cities anyways) that also can allow joe average to distribute broadband content (within the mesh). The next 10 years, eveything will shift to some form of wireless (just wait til the RIAA and pals start going after spectrum the fur is gonna fly)

      2.)If they (Broadband ISPs) want to control traffic, just sell service with a QoS agreement. I would rather have a business line (at the same price I have a consumer line) with 24x7 guarantied bandwidth at a lower rate than I have now for download (say 768/768).

      Whoops, on the subject of spam. The last company I worked for spam cost the company over $2 million dollars a year in bandwidth (hard to filter BEFORE it hits your gateway).
  • spam? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by technoCon ( 18339 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:02AM (#6046809) Homepage Journal
    this sounds like a FUD attack against P2P. I think of the amount of spam that my ISP has to filter and then the spam that slips through. How much ISP bandwidth goes to spam?
    • Re:spam? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:05AM (#6046839) Homepage Journal

      Assume each spam eats 5K of bandwidth. Now think about how much bandwidth is used by searching other p2p nodes, the returning results and finally receiving a 5MB song (or ~700 MB DIVX movie/ISO/etc). Their figure of 60% may be inflated a bit but I don't doubt that the number is close.
      • Re:spam? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:18AM (#6046952)
        A single spam sent to 1 million addresses clogs 5 GB of outbound b/w. My roommate's KaZaA client clogs that in about 1 day. The stupid client runs 24x7. So it's 35 GB/week or 150 GB/month. Since that client reports over 10 thousand peers, I think it's resoanble to say this POS is using 1.5 PB/month. On this particular faction of the P2P network. On this particular P2P network.
    • Re:spam? (Score:5, Interesting)

      The difference is that pronounced. I've seen it with my own eyes. I've seen the abrupt improvement in performance gained by suddenly removing P2P traffic.

      One afternoon the network was crawling. Our remote site was complaining the VPN was atrociously slow. The connection to the web was slow, and our firewall was blinking like mad.

      I reprogrammed iptables to block a few key ports and a few subnets where the P2P master nodes live and it was like a shadow was lifted from the network.

    • Re:spam? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Organic_Info ( 208739 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:15AM (#6046928)
      Your missing the point. While SPAM is drowning out legit mail at an unacceptable rate you have to remember they are for the most part a paltry text file. Yes I know the quantity of SPAM can make this into a large amount of bandwidth but the 40-50 SPAM most people get a day don't compare to the 600MB latest game copy being downloaded by P2P users or the 3GB copy of the Matrix Reloaded " 0270.stm"

      I'm all for P2P being used for legitimate distribution of files but I cetainly don't agree with use of bandwidth being used for illegal file sharing of copyrighted materials and willing to bet a vast proportion of P2P files sharing is illegal files.

      If P2P continues to be used for this purpose on this scale there is going to be a serious backlash and the minority of legit P2P users are going to get burned.
    • Re:spam? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EvilAlien ( 133134 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:21AM (#6046973) Journal
      I don't know how much goes to spam, but I can tell you for a fact that broadband services will count themselves lucky with only 60% P2P traffic. That sounds pretty average from what I've seen.

      The sad thing is that this isn't FUD, but the IP Fascists like the RIAA and SOCAN in Canada will use it as leverage in their battle.

      BTW, a whole lot of the non-P2P traffic is used up by protocols like IRC, FTP and NNTP... for filesharing purposes. Fileservs on IRC, the classic FTP warez/pr0n server, and the plethora of "free" software, porn and music on USENET still have those other sources chipping in significantly. P2P is the easiest to use, and therefore more accessible to the majority, hence its dominance over traffic consumption.

  • by GuNgA-DiN ( 17556 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:02AM (#6046810)
    As much as we all hate to admit it the "all-you-can-eat" days of the buffet are almost over. Metered bandwidth is coming and thos who use the most will pay the most.
    • God, how many hours has it been since I last heard that one? My response will always be the same: yeah, right. Customers who have had limitless bandwidth are too accustomed to that, and will go elsewhere to get it. If an ISP switched to metering, people would go elsewhere, and they know it.
      • If an ISP switched to metering, people would go elsewhere, and they know it.

        That isn't necessarily true, and it's intutive that the opposite would be true.

        The old statistic is that 2% of users make up 50% of network utilization. If true, that means metered access would result in 98% of users paying half as much, and only 2% of user going elsewhere. Personally, that sounds appealing to me, and I imagine the subscriptions would skyrocket if people heard they could get broadband (hence free their phone-lin

    • by Sherloqq ( 577391 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:23AM (#6046988)
      "all-you-can-eat" days of the buffet are almost over

      Eh, I wouldn't go that far... if anything, I'd expect the "all-you-can-eat" rates go up, but I don't see telcos and ISPs abandoning the idea any time soon.

      Additionally, if metered rates do in fact go into effect, we may be on an accelerated path to widespread deployment of wi-fi clusters in more populated areas as a means of circumnavigating the limitations.

      Personally, I'm optimistic. History shows humans to be fairly resistant to various roadblocks being thrown at us, so should your prognosis come true, I'm sure we the geeks will find a way around it somehow, wi-fi or otherwise.
      • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:50AM (#6047182) Homepage Journal
        IF ISPs go back to metered bandwith almost universally, they are going to be INNUNDATED with complaints that spam and getting hacked with viruses and worms are eating all the customers bandwith. I can see thousands of suits over this almost immediately. And the legit streaming providers will get slammed as well, people would be outraged that they couldn't use the internet along the lines of those flashy commercials with tunes and video. It will also affect what remaining internet advertising that exists, because people will turn off images before they give up surfing hours over using up their "allotment" of bandwith.

        It would also really embarrass a lot of people when they demand to see where they "used up their bandwith" and after the ISP logs are presented with the urls it turns out to be tons 0 porn, back to the "Well! I never! I must have been hacked, YOU fix it Mr. ISP or OS vendor, it's all your fault" and etc.

        It's not a can, it's a case of worms. It might happen though, given the RIAA and MPAA efforts in lobbying, and "we need CYBERSECURITY' and whatnot. Bandwith caps, severely restricted ports, etc.

        I think we are in the wild wild west days of the net, I expect something like these severe restrictions combined with increased costs. It's the nature of political reality and really big brand money now. And even if a few major ISPs hold out, they'll eventually go under if all the rest of the ISPs are back to making money with their restrictions and filtering efforts. Isn't the very large bandwith more or less a similar priced commodity now? Once you get far enough upstream it's roughly the same, or am I wrong on that? If it's similar, there's no way the unlimited flat rate providers could compete with the limited but significantly cheaper providers, if they are paying the same bulk rates.
        • by Sherloqq ( 577391 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @10:26AM (#6047608)
          even if a few major ISPs hold out, they'll eventually go under if all the rest of the ISPs are back to making money with their restrictions and filtering efforts

          I don't think those few ISPs will go under, because I don't think the other ISPs will be making much money with restrictions and filtering efforts. Then again, it all depends on skillful marketing.

          The way I see it, the fewer of those unlimited ISPs are around, the more popular they will become, even if they impose otherwise unimaginable restrictions such as p2p filtering. My current ISP limits me to 10GB combined in/out / month, and charges per every gig over limit. If I could for example opt for a plan that keeps my rate the same, removes the cap but blocks all p2p ports like kaaza (sp), gnutella etc., I'd switch. Even though I don't come close to using up the bandwidth I'm given right now (at least I don't think so). It's the principle of things. I don't need to have access to p2p networks. I'm willing to give up that freedom voluntarily (as opposed to a host of others, which would be OT here). You can bet your internet that the minute my ISP raises prices and/or imposes additional port blocks to those they have in place already (25, 443) without offering me an alternative, I'll start looking for alternatives. Very quickly. And if I don't find any, I'll suck it up and go back to dial-up. Let them drive away their customers. Let them issue earning report warnings to their stockholders. Let them burn a bit. I'll come back when they change their ways.
        • IF ISPs go back to metered bandwith almost universally, they are going to be INNUNDATED with complaints that spam and getting hacked with viruses and worms are eating all the customers bandwith.

          I moved my firewall to a new machine last night, and after maybe only 12 hours of letting it sit I saw that it had received 24mb of traffic on the external interface. On the internal interface, only about 4mb had been moved, which means there was 20mb's of crap hitting that machine. I suppose if I had a metered c
    • I sure hope not... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by haeger ( 85819 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:40AM (#6047115)
      When I got my broadband (DSL) I bought it for one specific reason. Flatrate. I want to be connected at all times. I don't live in America mind You, so the concept of telephone flatrate is a bit too hard to grasp for our ISPs.
      Anyway, the key selling point was that I knew what I would pay for my internet connection every month. The performance wasn't the issue. Now IF they decide to go back to the old ways of charging me per minute/MB/whatever I'll just cancel my subscription with them. I really don't mind if they cap my bandwith more, just make sure that the bill that comes every month is the same amount.
      Naturally I'll have to reconcider if they cap it too much and charge too much.

      And yes, I am a very modest user of bandwidth.

      This is what happens if economists get too much power. Bastards.
    • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:45AM (#6047147)
      I have no problem with metered bandwidth. But if you do meter my bandwidth, let me do what I damn well want to do with my metered bandwidth.

      I find it simply amazing that the Comcast disallows any type of server on their system, yet turn their head when it comes to P2P clients (I guess by calling it a "client" you're really not running a "server"). I am forced to operate under the radar so I can run a mailserver that gets maybe 10 e-mails a day, and a text-only webserver that gets a handful of hits when the sun is up, yet my next-door neighbor can run Kazaa all day long (presumably because it's a "form of entertainment" rather than something truly useful).

      • Amen, brother. I think the cable modem folks at least are concerned about allowing anyone to become a provider of content, which is what running a webserver allows you to do. Put up a server, publish something interesting or useful for the world to see.

        See the difference? Kazaa in essence allows you to do what the big media companies want you to do with your connection - suck down content of various kinds through the fast pipe they provide you with. Not all that different from cable tv. At the moment,
    • by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:55AM (#6047262) Homepage Journal
      I agree, but it won't come w/o a fight.

      I used to work on the helpdesk at a small ISP. We decided to get into ADSL, since we were losing a lot of dialup customers to high-speed (like, when I left we had half the customers we had when I started). It ended up being a lot of headaches -- dealing with the Big Telco, learning how to debug connections, figuring out how the network was set up (don't even get me started) -- but the biggest thing was dealing with people's preconceptions about bandwidth.

      We went through another company for our ADSL, rather than dealing w/Big Telco, and we got charged for bandwidth -- anything over a gig per customer per month. But you can't go around saying that your customers only get a gig per month, 'cos very few other companies even mention that. So we upped it to 1Gb up, 5Gb down. The idea was that most people wouldn't even get close, and those that would, would shoot right over and pay for the rest, at $20/Gb.

      For the most part, that was true: most people never did get close; the ones who went over tended to go 'way over, and we'd send 'em bills for a thousand dollars (no lie). But have you ever dealt with anyone handed a thousand-dollar bandwidth bill? My sympathies if you have.

      There were two things working against us and everyone else who wants to switch to metering bandwidth:

      • Like I said, no one else does it; most advertising just skirts around the issue.
      • Most people have no concept of bandwidth use, or have a sense of scale about it, or understand how much something like KaZaa can use, or how to keep bandwidth usage down to a dull roar.
      It's that last one that really gets people, I think, and I can understand it. You're using your computer, doing the computer thing and downloading mail, checking a website, grabbing some songs, and alla sudden BAM! you get a thousand-dollar bill for this...this invisible stuff that they say you used, even though you already paid your $34.95 plus tax for the month! No wonder we had angry people on the line.

      And another thing that just occurs to me: it's really hard to explain how much a gig is, or isn't. It's a fair question from someone checking out your service: You offer x bandwidth per month, so how much is x? But it's nearly impossible to offer a real answer ("It's as long as this here piece of string"), so we offered bland platitudes ("For most people it's never an issue.").

      I realize that not everyone was innocent, and we found it hard to believe that anyone could possibly use up 75Gb in a month and not know what the hell they were doing. But even if someone does understand what we were talking about, factor #1 kicks in: Shaw/Telus/Whoever doesn't charge me, so why are you?

      We cut deals, of course -- better to get some than none, better to keep a customer than lose one, and the $20/Gb charge had a lot of leeway built into it. And then we tried calling people up once we noticed they were above, say, 4Gb for the month. But eventually the boss told us that if these people left -- the ones using the really insane amounts of bandwidth -- that was fine. We weren't going to get the money (no matter that they signed the agreement), and it would cost too much to either keep 'em on or pursue the matter. They'd quit, and we'd let 'em go.

      • by Mr. McGibby ( 41471 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @12:14PM (#6048689) Homepage Journal
        For the most part, that was true: most people never did get close; the ones who went over tended to go 'way over, and we'd send 'em bills for a thousand dollars (no lie). But have you ever dealt with anyone handed a thousand-dollar bandwidth bill? My sympathies if you have.

        This is silly. There are ISPs who are dealing with this problem just fine. I use Xmission [] and I am an admitted P2P user.

        1. 12GB per month limit, and extra bandwidth costs $10 a pop.
        2. You're warned when you're about to go over the limit and then your connection is throttled after that to prevent extreme-overusage.
        3. They have easy to use tools for checking on your usage.
        4. UNMETERED usage from midnight to 7:00am. It certainly encourages me to do all my downloading at that time.

        Instead of treating their customers as enemies, they treat them AS CUSTOMERS. They don't send surprise $1000 bills and snicker in the background when the customer calls to complain. They NICELY inform the customer of the problem. Customers who are aware of their usage, are willing to pay extra and/or appreciate the "heads-up" about their over-usage. Customers who are not aware of their usage get the chance to find the problem.

        The result of this geek-friendly ISPs efforts is that it is one the most popular ISPs in Utah. Every "computer guy" in the state tells his friends that XMission the is coolest ISP out there.

        They're solving the bandwidth problem by nicely EDUCATING their customers, not berating them for their ignorance. People just don't know that internet usage is a mix between their electricity or water bill and their phone bill. Once they understand how the system works, they become much less of a problem.

        The internet is new, and just like phones, it is going to take 10 or 20 years before people really understand how it works. Give them time, and stop sending $1000 bills. The customer is not the enemy.
    • While I don't see metered bandwidth as being too big a deal (after all, other household utilities are metered, and I wish my phone was one of them since I make maybe 20 local calls a month), I have to question the responsibility of the ISP in this situation. Recalling the days of Nimda and the 10 hits per second it was sending my web server at one point... Over the course of a month, those little requests add up:

      50 bytes per request * 10 requests per second * 60 * 60 * 24 * 30 = over a Gb.

      Sure, the
  • People really got mad. But I was sick of the stuff interfering with business transactions.

    It doesn't take many stupid users to hog a pair of T1 lines. It also doesn't help that the p2p system are designed for maximum leach of available nodes.

    • by Sherloqq ( 577391 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:32AM (#6047058)
      It doesn't take many stupid users to hog a pair of T1 lines.

      It doesn't take p2p, either. All you need is someone trying to download the latest RH9 ISOs over the office T1 while another someone is streaming music from shoutcast/icecast/"insert other-streaming-service here". People need to learn that business and pleasure don't mix, and that they will be hunted down like animals when they abuse the privilege of using business resources, be it internet or otherwise. Especially if the admins know those people to have high-speed internet connectivity at their homes.
      • WTF? If you think it's unfair that one user grabbing the RH9 ISOs can hog the bandwidth and excessively slow down other users, it's up to you to throttle things so that every user gets a fair turn. 'Hunting down like animals' is not a scalable solution with a large number of users, nor a particularly intelligent one. If the network is busy then the CD-image downloader should get only his fair share of the bandwidth; late at night when nobody else is using the network the images could download at full wha
        • For starters, We have a file repository where useful items like RH9 is downloaded. I prefer to download them as a file system and perform network installs.

          Secondly, our id10t users have a tendency to store these megalithic file on their desktop. Windows tries to suck the whole thing down when the log off, and copy it back when they log on. In the process, they fill the drive where the roaming profiles are stored.

          Finally, there is a certain level of expectation administrators have about the manner in whi

    • I'm just curious what you used to block p2p.

      My experince has been that you can't simply block certain TCP ports because alot of the clients automatically reconfig themselves for port 80.

      Did you use a layer 4 analyzer/blocker thingy?
      • No, I googled around until I found the subnets of the main servers for the network. The system may be peer to peer, but they have to first call out to find out where everybody is.


        I also know that nobody on our internal network should be HOSTING information. I use a Linux box to do the firewalling via IPMasquerade, so all of the traffic has to pass through that box. I periodically sniff packets using etherdump, and look for outlying info.

        For added added safety, I also run nmap periodically to sniff out what workstations are running p2p software. When I find them I sic the helpdesk on them like wolves.

    • by aborchers ( 471342 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:58AM (#6047288) Homepage Journal
      What?! You're blocking my god-given right to download material owned by the record labels over the network paid for by the company to the computer you gave me to do my work during the time you pay me for doing it! You thought-police system administrator's are going to be second against the wall (after the RIAA lobbyists) when the revolution comes! Information wants to be free, man!

  • by reidbold ( 55120 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:04AM (#6046833)
    from the and-the-sky-is-blue dept.
    That's a very apt dept.

    As if gigantic movies and games along with lots of music files utilize more bandwidth than the 100kb of text and pictures per webpage.
  • 60% ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MadKeithV ( 102058 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:05AM (#6046845)
    I'm guessing there's some creative making-up-of-numbers going on. If 'they' (the anti-internet people) had their way, the breakdown would be as follows:

    60%: p2p traffic
    30%: Spam
    20%: Kiddie porn
    110% evil.
    • I'm guessing there's some creative making-up-of-numbers going on.

      Not necessarily. I work for one of the numerous Cambridge Colleges, and I know that several of them have 80%+ of P2P traffic. We have somewhat less than that, but thats because we're slightly more aggressive with our policing. It is a real problem, and it's certainly not decreasing.
  • by Sepherus ( 620707 ) <.sepherus1281. .at.> on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:06AM (#6046850)
    One ISP I saw was meeting its customers half-way. There was a flat rate to use the service, which came with a monthly bandwidth allowance. There was a charge for every additional GB of data, but once this reached a certain limit (approx. equal to rival ISP's subscription charges) then all additional data was free. Light users paid a flat rate, medium users paid a flat rate and a little more in those busy months and heavier users paid a maximum. The ISP would benefit as users would be less willing to download data they did not really want, if they could save money by not doing it. In short, everyone's a winner.
    • What about me, I work from home (mostly) listing on eBay and responding in forums such as these to promote my business through association and have a website that I frequesntly upload to. (Note: I do not use my broadband as a server) I also occasionally use P2P and I have to download software updates for my customers from Apple and VersionTracker [] often ...

      I'd prefer not to hear the ... it's a business expense that you must pay arguement. I have built my business on the model I am in right now at the price

  • by vrt3 ( 62368 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:07AM (#6046858) Homepage
    P2P uses 60% from the available bandwidth, Windows Update uses 45% []. That leaves ... uhm ... less than nothing for all the other stuff?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:07AM (#6046860)
    My company resells bandwidth to a few other companies and local governments. P2P apps were getting to be a real problem about 1.5 years ago, so I talked it over with the bosses and the clients and we all agreed it was best to lock down the common ports used. Easy enough of a decision as it was highly unlikely any user would come up with a valid business case requiring access to these services. We'd been looking to increase our link capacity and fee schedule to account for the bandwidth loads we'd been seeing...but we didn't have to once we shut the P2P stuff down. I saw an immediate drop of about 50% of daytime traffic and 80% after hours. If it weren't for music and radio streams (which we do not currently block), that daytime number would probably have been a little larger.
  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:07AM (#6046862)
    "In a follow-up, we've also uncovered that 60% of home electrical use can be attributed to television usage. Now, we go live to Jack McDuh..."

    "Thank you, Beavis...apparently, the majority of home electrical usage is going to things like watching television, playing video games, or playing music on a stereo. I have with me Mr. Mxlyplk, the general manager of ConEd for this region. Tell us, Mr. Mxlyplk, what can you tell us about this discovery?"

    "Well, Jack, it's rather shocking. All along we assumed that home users were using our electrical output to cure cancer or develop space travel or something like that. But apparently, people who dutifully pay their monthly fees for a utility think they can just use it any way they want to, for any old purpose!"
    • Your local electric providor just keeps charging away per Kw/h of electricity you use, and if you have a higher 'demand' for said electricity you get charged extra for daring to need more electricity than what they deem as a 'nominal' usage during that time period.

      So really, ISPs want to be the electric company of our data. The more you use above what they deem 'nominal' you pay a demand fee for and an increased fee over the guy down the street that lives off of one light bulb that is on only one hour a d
  • If so, then wouldn't junk email (and even the dorks who click "to enlarge") + all the jpgs that seem to be in the average SPAM now - be some of that bandwidth?

    My theory is that companies like inktomi and akaimai like to push big numbers around - and they QUITE enjoy PrOn emails that promote quicktime movie downloads etc.

    Personally, I think Yahoo and M$ (Hotmail) should be required to subsidize some bandwidth because of the aforementioned bandwidth hogging solicitations that generally propagate on their s

  • by greasypeso ( 316856 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:08AM (#6046868) Homepage
    1. Get consumers to pay lots of money for high-speed internet
    2. Complain that customers are using their high-speed internet
  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:08AM (#6046869) Homepage
    As an employee at a university, I can tell you that in fact, those numbers are realistic.

    Unfortunately, with the port-hopping ability of some of the newer p2p networks, restricting their usage, or giving them a lower class of service than other protocols is exceedingly difficult.

    The real problem in our case is not so much the people downloading, but as we have a rather fat pipe to the internet, we're seen as very favorable download farm for people to grab files from.
    • The real problem in our case is not so much the people downloading, but as we have a rather fat pipe to the internet, we're seen as very favorable download farm for people to grab files from.

      True! and there's no way to throttle the Dean's XP desktop, no matter how many times it's owned.

      "What?" He'll ask. "You let hackers break my computer? You are so fired!"

      Better not mention it.

  • by cruppel ( 603595 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:08AM (#6046872) Homepage

    It seems to me that these ISPs are Internet Service Providers. If people are using bandwidth why are they complaining? I'd also like to know why they think file sharing will triple next year.

    It says this in the article but if they want to stop people from using "all" of the bandwidth and pull them off the all-you-can-eat plan. There's a problem with this though. Who will accept having a limit on their internet access? I know it drives me nuts when the dumbasses on my floor download 10-15 movies a night between them all and I can't get a single SSH session to behave without some serious latency, but I'd rather deal with pulling their cables out of the wall than dealing with an ISP limiting my use of their services when they previously were not.

  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <> on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:09AM (#6046874) Homepage
    As a former Nortel Networks employee, I am glad to hear this type of news. Part of the whole reason for the telecom meltdown was predicted demand that never materialized. The growth of traffic was unfolding as expected, but in a quest for better profits, the telecom companies decided to curb demand instead of increasing supply. So instead of expanding backbones, they capped downloads.

    They can only do this for so long. With the rollout of large-scale gaming networks like Sony's and Microsoft's (for the X-Box), the demand will keep growing, one way or another. Sooner or later, the Qwests and MCIs are going to have to bite the bullet and buy some terabit optical switches. They're going to have to open up their wallets, and then we should start seeing a rebound in the high-tech market.

    So support your high-tech buddies! Saturate your network connection, make your ISP feel the bandwidth pain, nag them to upgrade! :)
    • Downloading movies over the net if fscking silly. I've tried it on several occasions, and all you end up with is a full hard drive and a jerky video.

      Now that's ok for stag films, but uploading high-quality divx dumps of stuff available at the video store is dumb. 8 hours is not worth it to me to wait to see a flick. The Blockbuster is around the corner, and the dingy shack with the plywood windows isn't that much further.

      Come one nerds, at least leave the house for something!

      • Downloading movies over the net if fscking silly. I've tried it on several occasions, and all you end up with is a full hard drive and a jerky video.
        Sounds like you're from the MPAA or something=]. It only takes about 45 minutes for me to download a high quality (admittedly lower than most dvd's) movie, then I stick it on a cd and the collection grows.

        I still leave the house for beer and work.
    • They're going to have to open up their wallets

      I thing your more likely to see them gunning for the bandwidth hogs than upgrading the network. I'm willing to bet the majority of P2P use is for sharing illegal materials. It only takes some sort of deal between the telecoms + RIAA + MPAA to start pursuing the distributers of the copyrighted materials and wham RIAA/MPAA happy, carries happy as the backbones and existing infrastructure doesn't need upgrading.

      It's gonna happen. There's no way thay are going to
  • by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:13AM (#6046904) Homepage Journal
    Why is it a bad thing? I mean, saying your access will be cut off if you go over a limit is one thing, but charging you in proportion to what you download/upload seems perfectly reasonable to me. What could be simpler to grasp than "you get what you pay for"? Do you pay for fuel for your automobile "per month" irrespective of how much you drive? Or pay the same amount when you step into a restaurant irrespective of what you consume? Why should bandwidth be any different? It costs the ISP money, and obviously they should recover those costs from the users, in proportion to the usage.
    • by secret_squirrel_99 ( 530958 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:39AM (#6047112) Homepage
      Why is it a bad thing? I mean, saying your access will be cut off if you go over a limit is one thing, but charging you in proportion to what you download/upload seems perfectly reasonable to me

      It would be a perfectly reasonable thing if that was what was advertised and that was what I purchased. But it isn't. The ISP's in particular the cable and DSL isps advertised unlimited hi speed internet, in order to lure customers away from their old dial up providers. Nothing wrong there except now they want to change the rules midstream. Now they have the users.. The users are using the system they advertised, as they advertised it, and they wish to up the rates.

      If they'd advertised a metered plan, and I CHOOSE to purchase that, then fine.. but thats not the case. Those who remember the old Hughes DirectPC program may remember that they did exaclty this. Advertised unlimited service and then started limiting bandwith for high volume users. A class action suit ensued (which Hughes lost) forcing them to buy back the system of any (that was all of them) dissattisfied customer

      In addition, do you think they will drop the rates for low volume users? Remember it doesn't cost them any more to operate, its just a question of who uses how much. No, this is simply a ploy to juice the rates, and as a result juice their profits.

    • First off, yes, there are other services that offer a flat rate. Buffets, cable and satellite TV, Netflix, MMORPGs, car leases, local land line phone service, Blockbuster's new rental service, and many other businesses have a flat rate business model and many of them survive and thrive.

      Second, the problems with metered bandwidth. First off is viruses. Many DDoS worms could actually force you to hit your maximum upload capacity for an entire month, which is a problem that is far too common on the internet b
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tweakt ( 325224 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:14AM (#6046916) Homepage
    If everyone is using P2P applications, I don't see how it's so shocking that a majority the bandwidth is being used for it.

    Would it be used if it weren't for P2P? Or would it just sit idle anyhow? There is gobs of bandwidth available on the backbones. Miles and miles of dark fiber. What's going on here is the broadband ISPs business models are collapsing. They count on selling everyone tons of bandwidth but then only a fraction of it being used or for very short periods of time. If everyone signed on and started transferring all they could, ISPs would become hopelessly bottlenecked.

    I say, pony up and add the bandwidth, too bad. As for everything besides ISPs (upstream providers) there is no shortage of bandwidth. If there is, it's a regional problem and all that is needed is to turn on a new strand of fiber and add a few gigabits, problem solved.

    Finally, it's not P2P... its CONTENT. It doesn't matter that its people transferring files to other people. The new variable here is there is GOBS of multimedia CONTENT available for people to download. It doesn't matter where it's coming from. P2P has just made it practical and realistic to download as much as we can now.

  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:15AM (#6046924) Homepage
    How people can live with services like Kazaa. Turning it on literally flatlines your net connection to the point where web sites take forever to load, especially if you are the one person in 52,000,000 with actual files to share. My experience with a shared NTL 1mb cable connection was that as soon as the guy upstairs fired up Kazaa anyone else trying to use it was shafted - even e-mail was only arriving at around 2-3K/sec.

    Considering how well freenet does for not infringing on your resources too much (try setting it to 10K down and 5K up on a DSL line and you won't even notice it's there) it boggles the mind why anone bothers with Kazaa at all.
  • by mbakaitis ( 675519 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:22AM (#6046976)
    This article annoys me for two reasons:

    1. I pay my ISP for bandwidth according to the contract they offered. How I use that bandwidth is up to me. The way this article makes p2p...or any other 'bandwidth hogging' protocol...sound 'bad' because it 'costs ISP's money' is silly! I paid for the bandwidth. Don't complain when I use it.

    2. A metered connection would be OK by me. But the ISP better give me more sophisticated mail blocking options than I get today.

    My opinion: I'm happy to pay for what I use, but don't ask me to pay to make up for the deficiencies of your business plan or try to send me on a guilt trip because, as a consumer, I actually exercize the terms of my contract!

  • by paRcat ( 50146 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:24AM (#6046998)
    um... why sell the customer bandwidth that you don't want them to use?

    I know, you could always say that the service isn't intended to run at high-bandwidth 24/7, but that doesn't really matter. If P2P traffic is going to annoy you, either filter it, cap their bandwidth, or upgrade your hardware.

    The thing is, P2P is just internet traffic. Why leave all that room unused? The internet isn't an emergency communications medium, so using 95% of the available bandwidth isn't really anything bad. It just means that more fat pipes need to be added. But just because P2P is P2P isn't a good enough reason.

  • true (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:26AM (#6047007) Homepage Journal
    It's a fact. I work for an ISP. 60% is a conservative figure, we've seen more than that at times.

    Thing is: P2P wastes tons of bandwidth. The continuous searches, all the broken or incomplete downloads, not even to speak of the overhead.
  • Statistics. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:26AM (#6047012)
    Frankly, this only proves that the "statistics" about the internet that are constantly being bandied about are pure SWAG (Some Wild Ass Guess) cooked up to support the agenda of the reporter. In recent articles, sorry I'm too lazy to get the links, we have heard that spam accounts for 60% of internet traffic. We have also heard that porn accounts for 60% of internet traffic. Now we hear that p2p accounts of 60% of internet traffic. At 180% one must wonder how there could possibly be any other type of traffic on the internet.

    The fact of the matter is that due to the distributed nature of the internet, no one knows what the actual usage breakdown is. Even if you were able to classify all of the traffic that passes through MAE East and West, it still would not be an accurate reprisentation of all internet traffic.
  • by IpsissimusMarr ( 672940 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:27AM (#6047017) Journal
    Wait a minutem, wait a minute.....

    Haven't ISPs like Earthlink, AOL, and the US Government been saying in this whole Spam(tm) battle that "Spam takes up over 50% of the Internet bandwidth?"!

    Lets see: 50% Spam + 60% P2P = What internet are they using?!

  • My own experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jokkey ( 555838 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:27AM (#6047020)
    60% isn't too high... When I first started looking into P2P usage on our campus, maybe a year and a half ago, it was using around 95% of our bandwidth during the day. I was amazed. We restricted some P2P just so we could have a usable Internet connection, but P2P still took up somewhere around 2/3 of our outgoing bandwidth. So finally we implemented bandwidth caps - 750MB per user per day, which I think is fairly generous, but it's enough to usually prevent one user from killing everyone else's network performance.
  • by Jetifi ( 188285 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:31AM (#6047050) Homepage

    This is a problem with the business models of the ISPs, not the way the bandwidth is being used.

    ISPs at some level buy bandwidth in Gigs/Teras transfer/month. Charging users a flat fee for access to a pipe that can use too much bandwidth only makes sense if you know most users wouldn't use the service intensively.

    When users only ran clients for http, smtp, and (just maybe) news, that was a valid assumption, and helped make AOL as big as it is. But that's not going to work if nodes start acting as servers as well as clients, like they were designed to.

    If you run a website or any other colo'd server, you get (say) 40Gig transfer into the bargain, and pay extra for anything over that.

    If ISPs throw in the first 5 gigs with their DSL subscriptions, and make customers pay extra for more transfer, 90% of surfers will never incur extra charges, and will probably pay costs similar to current rates. The rest should pay for what they use.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:32AM (#6047061) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, whatever he's smoking, I want some.

    The main theme of the article is a complaint about how much file sharing is costing the ISP.

    Sorry? You sell a service (internet connectivity). People want that service, or else they wouldn't be buying it. Then you turn around and complain that it costs you money to provide said service?
    Now that is an idea. Let's open a store and complain that shipping all those goods in from the warehouse is so expensive.
  • I Don't Get It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moehoward ( 668736 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:37AM (#6047098)
    What's SUPPOSED to be hogging the bandwidth? Spam and file sharing are now the bad boys. Is there some scale that we are supposed to use to place a value on data? Who decides?

    Trading stocks?

    I thought that the whole idea was that you take what you can in an unregulated medium. Lower your expectations accordingly, but benefit from the ubiquitous nature. In other words, no consistency of quality of service, but almost guaranteed ubiquity.

    I don't know. My ISP gives me a wide open connection and nice latency. The rest is out of my control.

    The thing I don't see from this finger waving is the following: Nobody says, "If we lower spam by X%, then we can guarantee a better Internet experience for everyone else by Y%. If we get rid of file sharing by A%, then we can guarantee B% better service/speed/latency for everyone else. Also, we'll be able to lower everyone's cost by Z%." Until I see some numbers, it's just all relative. Who's to say what I do on the Net is any more redeeming than anyone else? They paid. I paid.
  • Biased study? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jez_f ( 605776 ) <> on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:40AM (#6047121) Homepage
    If anyone actually read the article they would realise that the study was done by someone who makes P2P blocking devices. The figure may be right but given the source I would treat it with a whole barrel load of salt. The solution could be to block ports and types of traffic but that cuts down on the usefulness of broadband. If the ISPs were aloud to house p2p servers they could cut down on their upstream bandwidth but there is no way they would be aloud to, so the media pigopolists are the ones costing the ISPs money.
  • 60% Usage (Score:5, Informative)

    by mustangsal66 ( 580843 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:42AM (#6047132)
    We have a 45Mb DS3, we are a cable modem service provider. Watching the traffic I can confirm, that from about 3pm until 10pm 60+% of our traffic is from P2P clients. Thats only the traffic we can track. Kazaa 2 can use port 80, and only gets reported as web traffic.

    I see kazaa 2 traffic mostly. but also edonkey, kazaa 1, napster, and others.

    Less then 1% of our users use 85% of the bandwidth. They're alloted 1Mb/s download, and they use it constantly.
  • what's your point? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elluzion ( 537796 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @09:53AM (#6047226) Homepage

    It's not like p2p apps are actually "hogging" anything. Have you ever tried to load a webpage and gotten a "Sorry, the internet is too busy" error? P2p is simply using what is there. If there were no p2p applications, that bandwidth would just be sitting there unused.

    Of course, with things like college campuses, with limited bandwidth, then yeah, I can understand where the complaint comes from. But just the internet in general? Come on.

    It's so annoying that actually using the available resources is considered such a bad thing. Like complaining because there's so much traffic. Don't bitch because so many people are using your freeways, build bigger freeways! That's what they're there for.

  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @10:08AM (#6047386)
    When net congestion gets bad enough to annoy ordinary businesses and people, they will be chasing their ISP's to fix it.

    Most ISP subscribers don't kow what P2P is, much less spend their day tolling the net for mp3's and movies. But, if they decide that P2P is ruining their use of the Internet, metered bandwidth will be an easy sell. P2P users will be painted, with some credibility, as "a bunch of kids" downloading "stuff" no one else cares about.
  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @10:10AM (#6047422) Journal

    I've posted on this so many times I've written it up and placed it in my journal

    Here it is again briefly:

    A T1 has 24 x 64kb channels. Getting one from a top level provider like Sprint or UUNet will cost about $1000/mo or $40/channel/month.

    A 256kb DSL link is four channels and costs about $40/mo. Four channels times $40/mo = $160/mo cost for the ISP. I realize the average math skills of slashdot readers are about eighth grade level, so I'll finish it for you - $40/mo revenue minus $160/mo cost = -$120/mo. This is what happens to ISPs when people doing file sharing of any sort leave their retail connections running 24x7 and consume bandwidth in a wholesale fashion.

    Its not about the MPAA or RIAA, evil scumbags that they may be, its just simple cost that is going to do in file sharing. Stop being a whiny end user and pay for some quality bandwidth, or shut the *(&@$(%*&@#$% up about it already.

    • 10 years ago in 1993...

      ...33MHz 486 PCs were $1500. Now you get a 2GHz P4 for half that (or less even). (price/performance increase: around +12,000%)

      ...16MB of RAM cost $500. You get 2GB of much faster RAM these days. (price/perf: +12,800%) LANs were 10-base-T (or worse). Now you'll get gigabit-ethernet for the same prices. (price-perf: +10,000%)

      ...a 100MB hard drive was $200. Now you get a 200GB drive for that that transfers 10X as fast to boot. (price/perf: +200,000%) (!)

      ... T1 line

  • stupid complaints. (Score:3, Informative)

    by SuperQ ( 431 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @10:21AM (#6047549) Homepage
    Back in the day....

    I remember back in 94-95 era, people started to complain that "this web thing is eating all our bandwidth" People complained that it was slowing down email, usenet, and IRC. It was a hog, all those images.. yada yada yada...

    Now that the average connection is a factor of 10 faster than it was in 95, someone invented an application to utilize that bandwidth.. *SHOCK*

    One of our local campus admins talks about how we double our campus backbone connection every 2 years.. we had about 200mbit when i started 2 years ago, now the plan is to get a 3rd provider, and jump to 400mbit before the next school year starts. _IF_ we can afford it. (yay for state budjet problems)

    In another 5 years, people will forget all about P2P, because it will be background noise compared to the ********* protocol. Whatever they think up when 100mbit fiber starts to get rolled out.

    If you want to really see what is in the works, look at Internet 2 projects. Our campus has 655mbit to I2, and it's already too slow for some of the research. Plans are in the works for a few gbits.
  • Internet access... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cmburns69 ( 169686 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @10:36AM (#6047699) Homepage Journal
    Imagine the year 1995... I'm sure somebody said "60% of all ISP traffic is HTTP, with the remainder being FTP and GOPHER".

    The web is becoming more decentralized, and P2P is a the cause. Its not quite as general purpose as the rest of the web yet, but its extremely useful if you just want to find a file...

    Within 20 years, children won't know the concept of a "server". They will only know of the web as more of a neural network, with the connections shifting from here to there and back again!
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @11:29AM (#6048248) Homepage
    Here (being Norway) you do normally not get a news server, even if you know what it is. Why? Because after a company got fined for carrying kiddie porn groups, they took that a sign that they had to be editors of content. The only way they could avoid legal liability was to shut it down, and so every major ISP did, or they completely crippled the group list.

    I also know that the University prevents people from sharing stuff over network shares (there are some internal DC hubs if you know of them, but few do). So what do people do, even though it's probably on the local network ten dozen times already? They go on KaZaA or whatever and get it from somewhere else, making for a helluva inefficient bandwidth usage.

    And if they start really cracking down on normal P2P users, I imagine most will move to Freenet or something like that, sending it 10x around the world to anonymize where it came from and who's getting it.

    If you force people to go halfway around the globe to get what's next door, well surprise surprise. It takes bandwidth. Lots of it, too.

  • by 26199 ( 577806 ) * on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @11:30AM (#6048253) Homepage

    Nobody seems to have picked up on the most intelligent point in the article... if P2P software was biased towards same-ISP connections, it could dramatically bring down the cost. If it was further biased against international connections, that would help too...

    Are there any P2P clients doing this?... 'use our client and your ISP won't get upset' might be a good advertisment...

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @11:40AM (#6048345) Homepage
    In short, the "cheapo" alternative here is .. hmm I don't remember exact speed, think it's 1024k/256k but at a max of 1Gb/mo, if you pass that you are throttled to 64k (ISDN speed) or can buy more (at a premium). Personally I got the 1024/256k/unlimited use at $100/mo, and I don't feel any shame over running it at 100% 24/7 either.

    They're very up front about the metering, and it *is* much better than pay-per-minute over phone. Their calculation of how many pages you can view per month can't possibly include any lame flash sites, but other than that it's a straight offer. However, the other big competing company basicly said something like "we'll never offer metered connections, unlimited all the way" and they've earned a lot of customers on that, not sure how many *profitable* customers though...

  • by RollingThunder ( 88952 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @01:40PM (#6049548)
    Provided it's clearly stated before you sign on the dotted line, I'm 100% OK with being throttled if I use too much in a day.

    Throttled, mind you - not cut off.

    I've been hanging on to an email from the Vuln-dev list for ages that links to the UIUC bandwidth policy, because I think it kicks that much ass. A fair policy that keeps the heavy users from choking the others out, but still lets you get in the big DL's if you need them.

    Unrestricted Class (10Mb/s): By default, connections are in this class. The connection is not artificially throttled or limited.

    Restricted Class A (128kb/s per flow): When the Internet traffic of an IP address reaches 80% of the limit (600MB), the IP address (computer) will be rate-limited (throttled) to 128kb/s per flow.

    Restricted Class B (32kb/s per flow): When the Internet traffic of an IP address reaches 100% of the limit (750MB), the IP address (computer) will be rate-limited (throttled) to 32kb/s per flow.

    Restricted Class C (512kb/s aggregate): When the Internet traffic of an IP address reaches 150% of the limit (1125MB), the IP address (computer) will be rate-limited (throttled) to approximately the speed of a 33.6 modem (about .32% of the bandwidth in the unrestricted class).

    "Q: Will I ever get shut down for traffic?
    A: The current "rate-limiting" system does not turn off ports it just slows down your connection. However, rooms and computers may still be turned off for many other reasons (viruses, copyright, abuse of the network, and for very large amounts of traffic as determined by the CIO's office)."

    That progressive degradation sounds great to me. Just alter the breakpoints and you can have different plans for business/residential too.

    Anyone rolled something like this out? Any pointers?
  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @04:01PM (#6050896) Journal
    Some whiny end user type responded to my post about the economics of being an internet provider with a brief rant on how technology should have brought the cost of a T1 down a long time ago.

    Lets investigate the reality behind a typical Sprint T1 install at $1,000/month.

    A T1 is composed of several components, the first being the local loop to the CO. You've got two or four copper wires buried in the ground, an NIU on the customer end and some sort of gear in the central office. This costs $285/month for on net to off net termination in my city and that is a pretty typical number.

    Once you get to that termination gear you've got to negotiate the LEC's metro optical network to reach the point where they interconnect with the ISP's equipment. Despite being #53 in terms of population nationally my city doesn't have enough Sprint T1s on my ILEC to qualify for its own DS3 mux so my Sprint T1 gets drug forty miles south west to our provincial state capitol. This is non trivial, but its priced as part of that $285/month.

    Once you get to the ISP's edge equipment you're probably getting 'back hauled' cross country to some location where they've got a Cisco 12000 series or some big Juniper box. You should be reading "WAN line costs", "hardended telco facilties costs", "depreciation on equipment you *can't* get at Best Buy", etc, etc.

    This gets you to the ISP's network and their customers. Somewhere, out there, they peer with other top level carriers, and that is how you get to the global internet.

    Besides not being able to buy the gear at Best Buy you can't *hire* the geniuses needed to make it all go from behind the counter of a local McDonalds. If you want someone who can pour piss out of a transit autonomous system without refering to the instructions printed on the heel of a Cisco 12008 you pay. If you want someone to answer the phone when the customer calls you pay. Scale that up by ten thousand T1 customers and you can imagine what is required - a real live company, so large it must be publically held to receive the funding it needs.

    Bandwidth is like real estate. You can get an address on Skyline Boulevard (Sprint or UUNet DS1), you can move in to section 8 housing at 2209 Jones Street and heckle crack dealers (DSL), or maybe you're upscale enough to get a doublewide at 64th and Grover (cable modem), but make no mistake about how the world is gonna be - you plant petunias in the 'hood (VPN applications), homey's pit bull(Kazaa) is gonna take a dump there the very next day.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead