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Cox to experiment with prioritisation

Cox to experiment with prioritisation

Cox is hoping that ditching its policy of blocking P2P traffic outright and introducing a system of bandwidth prioritisation will keep its customers sweet - and the FCC off its back.

Cox Communications – believed by many to be the second largest blocker of P2P Internet traffic in the US – is planning to implement a new method of managing its bandwidth congestion problems.

According to BetaNews, the company is looking in to methods for limiting the impact peer-to-peer file sharing traffic has on real-time communication protocols – which may spell the end for its outright blocking policy, and more joy for its customers. The move will also come as a pleasurable surprise to the Federal Communications Commission, which sanctioned the company last year for injecting packets into P2P datastreams that resulted in the connection being dropped – without telling its customers that it was doing so.

In a statement to the Associated Press, spokesman David Grabert hopes that the new filtering system, “based on the time-sensitive nature of the Internet traffic itself,” will “lead to a smoother Internet experience with fewer delays.

The new system prioritises traffic according to protocol, rather than blocking certain protocols outright even in times of spare capacity. Packets which require a more-or-less immediate response, including web traffic, voice chat, video streaming, and gaming, will get a higher priority than less time-critical traffic such as file uploading, peer-to-peer file transfers, and Usenet groups.

The company is quick to assure customers that the new system – which covers more protocols than the old system – will only “momentarily” delay the traffic, and then “only when the local network is congested.

The new system will undergo trials in Arkansas and Kansas, to be followed by a rollout to all four million customers across the US if successful – except business customers, who get to continue to enjoy an unmolested Internet feed for there extra dollars.

Whether the new prioritisation system will please both sides of its userbase – the P2Pers who just want to snag the latest releases as fast as possible, and the normal web users who just want their YouTube videos to play back smoothly – remains to be seen, but it certainly has a better chance than outright – and secret – blocking.

Any Cox users here hoping to see P2P transfers become an option again, or are you worried that your real-time traffic will suffer under the new scheme? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

16 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
n3mo 29th January 2009, 13:09 Quote
Yay for the "free countries". In UK you get throttled just for using your own bandwitch and the traffic is being monitored, so don't even think about something nasty. US throttles p2p. From this point of view eastern europe seems like a Internet heaven.
Flibblebot 29th January 2009, 13:33 Quote
The problem is the assumption that all P2P traffic is inherently illegal - which is not the case, since a lot of software houses, as well as Open Source distributions, use P2P to transfer software and updates. Blocking or shaping P2P traffic punishes everyone, regardless of whether they're downloading the latest Sims addon or the latest version of Linux.

Just remember the aphorism, people: never assume, cos it'll only make you look like a tosser.
Arkanrais 29th January 2009, 14:46 Quote
I thought the saying was "never make assumptions because it makes an ass of you...and umptions".

but, yes. ISP throttling is a pain in the ass. I get the occasional youtube video that refuses to stream , and I used to be able to stream videos from gamevideos.1up.com but now I have to wait for it to load a decent proportion of the video before playing (GV.com takes around 1-2Mb/s to stream and my line goes up to 4Mb/s)
it sucks when you get penalized for using what you pay for.

but back to the news. it's a step in the right direction. By the sounds of it, Cox Communications had the FCC on their ass for the throttling? I doubt they would have a policy re-think if not for the threat of legal action.
p3n 29th January 2009, 15:04 Quote
Thats why my usenet traffic travels through port 443, if they start throttling all encrypted traffic then they will lose a customer :)
SlickGnome 29th January 2009, 15:13 Quote
Hey, maybe this means I'll be able to complete more than one torrent in 10, in a reasonable amount of time. I was thinking about getting a dialup account with AOL, just to download torrents on (would be faster and more reliable than cox:()

<--- Located in Kansas.

Last night it took about 3 minutes to load Google.com. <Sarcasm> Connect to the work VPN... are you kidding me, that has to be illegal, only criminals use VPN's, or have servers!!! </Sarcasm> Crosses fingers and hopes the world hears a resounding "POP" as they pull their heads from some place dark and smelly.
ssj12 29th January 2009, 15:33 Quote
uploading taking a back seat... do they not know that online gaming needs both download and upload speeds that are half way decent...
mrb_no1 29th January 2009, 16:49 Quote
n3mo: i dont think the uk does get its traffic monitored, i do believe bt even posted a news thread that uncluded a statement from the current minister on the subject saying that monitoring traffic isnt gunna happen for the uk, which is always good news.

as for the throttling, that sucks, i'm with sky broadband so they dont limit me at all, but i went to a mates for some lanning, and he told me off for downloading at 4pm, he said wait til gone midnight and then do it or they'll spank his connection, and thats virgin media i do believe!

peace

fatman
devdevil85 29th January 2009, 17:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkanrais
By the sounds of it, Cox Communications had the FCC on their ass for the throttling? I doubt they would have a policy re-think if not for the threat of legal action.
Hell no they wouldn't have re-thought their policy... It costs them money which is "bad"....
PhenomRed 29th January 2009, 21:44 Quote
"Experiment" and "Cox" should not be in the same sentence *snigger*
Neogumbercules 29th January 2009, 22:04 Quote
That kinda sucks. I could have SWORN Cox was screwing with my P2P transfers and that just confirms my suspicions.
n3mo 29th January 2009, 23:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrb_no1
n3mo: i dont think the uk does get its traffic monitored, i do believe bt even posted a news thread that uncluded a statement from the current minister on the subject saying that monitoring traffic isnt gunna happen for the uk, which is always good news.

Just a few weeks ago here on b-t was a news that UK invested loads of money into transparent proxies filtering all outgoing and incoming traffic (in a so-called paedophile search - anyone believes that crap? even the sound of it is dumb)
thehippoz 30th January 2009, 00:40 Quote
on at&t dsl here.. no issues like that- and I do alot of questionable stuff with the bandwidth.. I'll never use comcast because of how they came up.. all that equipment is (was) at&t's.. they are just as shady as mci worldcom if you ask me- even sat is better than cable.. I dunno why people are paying to get throttled- the cost is ridiculous for comcast cable too
thehippoz 30th January 2009, 00:42 Quote
oh says cox lol sorry I can't read when type this fast.. cox is ted turner on the east coast midwest- I can't really say much about him even though used to live in atlanta for 7 long years (too long)
naokaji 30th January 2009, 08:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrb_no1
as for the throttling, that sucks, i'm with sky broadband so they dont limit me at all, but i went to a mates for some lanning, and he told me off for downloading at 4pm, he said wait til gone midnight and then do it or they'll spank his connection, and thats virgin media i do believe!

peace

fatman

Yes, it's virgin who throttles like hell, however, unlike other isps they atleast tell you how much "fair useage" (redownloading all my stuff on steam would be enough to trigger the throttling approx 40 times during the evening and 20 times during afternoons) is in their opinion.
B1GBUD 30th January 2009, 08:44 Quote
I've never experienced throttling with my 20Mb virgin pipe, and my VPN LAN to LAN has been up for several hundred days.

Could they "shape" encrypted p2p packets if you using un-common ports?
Venares 30th January 2009, 09:29 Quote
Virgin are by far the worst for this.
Its like giving someone the keys to a Ferrari and then telling them they can only drive it at 3mph.
I essentialy cant download anything between 10am and 9pm now or my connection gets spanked so hard you'd think you where going 10 rounds with mike tyson.
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