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