Is your Internet provider throttling BitTorrent traffic? Find out

Is your Internet provider throttling BitTorrent traffic? Find out

Summary: How frequently are Internet service providers throttling speeds when you use BitTorrent software?

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Does your ISP interfere with your file-sharing traffic? Find out below.

File-sharing, made rapid and easy by software including BitTorrent, has exploded in use besides increased broadband penetration worldwide. It's important to remember that BitTorrent searches and BitTorrent clients -- such as uTorrent, BitTorrent and Tixati -- and the practice of file-sharing between computers is not an illegal one. However, ISPs have throttled speeds if BitTorrent clients are in use in the past for traffic management purposes, and more recently -- as many people use the software in order to obtain intellectual property-protected files, such as films, music and television shows -- the practice has spread.

Internet service providers are not always transparent over this practice, however, it is now possible to find out if your ISP is in on the game.

As reported by TorrentFreak, thanks to data collected and displayed by Measurement Lab (M-Lab), we can all examine the frequency of data throttling worldwide.

The Glasnost application, developed by the Max Planck Institute, can be used for free in order to detect meddling in the use of BitTorrent, eMule and Gnutella, as well as video streaming sites including YouTube, email, Usenet, HTTP transfer and SSH transfer protocols.

Based on M-Lab tests of at least 100 connections performed between December 2012 and December 2013, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore were the worst data throttlers, with 74 percent, 61 percent and 53 percent of tested connections having been tampered with respectively. The United States had a throttling rate of 14 percent, whereas the United Kingdom was the second most throttled country in Europe with 28 percent, beaten only by Poland with 35 percent.

Greece and Romania performed more positively, with tests showing only seven and nine percent of limited BitTorrent connections.

If we then take a look at which Internet service providers throttle speeds the most, in the United States, Comcast throttles roughly 12 percent of connections. Cox interferes with 13 percent of connections, whereas Verizon manipulates only nine percent of connections. However, as the publication notes, throttling rates are beginning to creep higher again after taking a dive when ComCast was exposed for controlling customers' file-sharing traffic several years ago -- causing a dive of 50 percent throttling rates to the single digits.

In the United Kingdom, Orange is the most throttle-happy ISP, with a limiting rate of 38 percent. BT comes in second with 35 percent, whereas TalkTalk throttles only 10 percent of connections.

For more information on your ISP, check out M-Lab's diagnostic tools.

Topics: Browser, Broadband, Piracy

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  • So, there's no net neutrality

    Some of these ISPs offer their own content, so by throttling others' content on BitTorrent, they are using their powerful position as ISPs to protect their own products against competition.

    Also, throttling data is a form of censorship.

    I use BitTorrent. But I use it to download legitimate commercial software that I have paid for.
  • No proof of protocol-specific throttling

    The implication in the TorrentFreak article is that ISPs are throttling specific applications ,like BitTorrent and eMule. If you dig into the actual data ( you'll see that they also detect throttling on HTTP, IMAP and other uncontroversial protocols. The conclusion I draw from this is that ISPs are throttling users who are using a very high percentage of local bandwidth, especially at peak periods, irrespective of the protocol. This is called responsible network management and is done for the benefit of all customers.
    Larry Seltzer
    • No-Proof

      Well I guess you're not aware of the new generation of heuristic programs that determine the relative likelihood of what type of data is being past through the network so the ISP or net admin within a corporation can throttle or if desired, terminate entire ranges of ip addresses. Sprint has this software for its cellular network as do many of the larger ISP services the most common being Time-Warner. As one can find torrenting software that encapsulates itself within http packets this is becoming a cat and mouse game between providers and the public.
      Leonard Church
  • It's not managing the TYPE of data that is objectionable.

    That is a red herring used by the ISPs to justify their actions ("we HAVE to keep the networks from getting too congested"), and there are legitimate reasons to do that. Obviously, video or audio STREAMING is more vulnerable to throttling than sending a file that will be PLAYED offline (or at least played as a unit in the receiving PC before it requests more data). And web page delay is more of a user hassle than slowing down a bulk file transfer (e.g. downloading a Windows update to be installed, or receiving/sending email on a POP3/SMTP server).

    But when they get into WHOSE streaming is being throttled or blocked; or WHICH web pages load slowly or get 404'ed "in error," or WHO can send email to WHOM, then the net neutrality ideal is being violated. An example would be Comcast allowing full speed streaming of movies on a Comcast cable channel, while throttling independent films such as "Bowling for Columbine" or "The Last War Crime" being streamed from their owners' web sites. Or AT&T crippling bulletins from their union, CWA, during a strike or while negotiating a contract. Or every internet provider stopping users from making campaign contributions to a Democratic candidate, or signing a petition to the FCC to enforce net neutrality.

    When they do that, it goes back to the old crooked model that drove Anton Strowger out of the funeral business and into inventing the rotary dial switch: the town operator who was his competitor's wife routing all funeral calls to her husband.
  • Oops!

    I get Charlie confused with Violet Blue...
  • Can't get the data

    I can't get the data,But i am not wrong about this problem, because i found a webiste to bypass ISP, the site was :
  • Yep

    Regardless of the tool you use ATT will identify you. I tested my network for torrent bandwidth throttling and it came back green (no throttling). I proceeded to use a torrent client and noticed mid DL, my internet was shut off for 5 minutes. Logged back in and continued, shut off again. Switched providers, no issue. Bye At&T. You guys not only suck, your hold times suck, your 24Mbps DL rates are more expensive than ever compared to other providers offering 2x and much banwidthfor the same price and they don't censor what you DL. AT&T will also charge you for router behind router assistance (yes, checking that check box the says detect router behind router)if you don't know where to find the checkbox as a new customer. Waaay too many issues with this provider. So happy I am back with my old provider. They are just awesome.

    Lastly, chen...your modem accessing the proxy is ridiculous. you are still broadcasting where you are going through your modem. At&T is just a crappy ISP with low end hardware and engineers who cant show up on time to perform installs or troubleshoot line noise issues.