Comcast said to be thwarting Torrent sessions: Good, I say. You?

Seems as though Comcast has been nipping BitTorrent transfers in the bud by blocking the seeding step that Torrent users must undertake before their PCs are Torrent-enabled for individual sessions.Good, I say.

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Seems as though Comcast has been nipping BitTorrent transfers in the bud by blocking the seeding step that Torrent users must undertake before their PCs are Torrent-enabled for individual sessions.

Good, I say.

Not that I have any love for Comcast(even though this post is being uploaded over a Comcast broadband connection). I find them greedy and acquisitive of my money, and inefficient at the service provisioning game.

On the other hand, I've made a point of pointing out the Torrents largely are dens of thieves, who, too often, want to get copyrighted works for free.

That said, let's explore the technology approaches Comcast is pursuing to battle the torrents.

Ernesto of TorrentFreak says this practice has become more common over the last few weeks.

He notes reports have been coming in of BitTorrent transfers being cut off, and downloads not being able to be seeded. Torrent users on Comcast have also reported a "significant increase in download speeds," Ernesto notes.

You'd think there would be a workaround, but nooo, not so easy.

 

"Unfortunately, these more aggressive throttling methods can’t be circumvented by simply enabling encryption in your BitTorrent client.," Ernesto explains. "It is reported that Comcast is using an application from Sandvine to throttle BitTorrent traffic. Sandvine breaks every (seed) connection with new peers after a few seconds if it’s not a Comcast user. This makes it virtually impossible to seed a file, especially in small swarms without any Comcast users. Some users report that they can still connect to a few peers, but most of the Comcast customers see a significant drop in their upload speed.

 

Next, Ernesto explains this "throttling" business,and how it adverselyaffects "seeding:"

The throttling works like this: A few seconds after you connect to someone in the swarm the Sandvine application sends a peer reset message (RST flag) and the upload immediately stops. Most vulnerable are users in a relatively small swarm where you only have a couple of peers you can upload the file to.

Only seeding seems to be prevented, most users are able to upload to others while the download is still going, but once the download is finished, the upload speed drops to 0. Some users also report a significant drop in their download speeds, but this seems to be less widespread. Worse on private trackers, likely that this is because of the smaller swarm size.

Yes, but shouldn't BitTorrent protocol encryption be able to stop this? Apparently not. Ernesto says setting up a secure connection through VPN or over SSH seems to be the only workaround.

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