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467 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 67455 2-Sep-2010 09:24
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As an avid geek, one of the things I like to do is test things, in good faith. Because of this good faith, I have kept the details below to myself, although I did send a message to a Telecom employee who is active on these forums informing him of my findings. Unfortunately they were a little late in the piece. Now that most users are off the plan, I would like to share the findings of my experimentations.

I thought it was a really good plan and it was only flawed in small ways, namely it lacked even a loose fair use policy & their technology couldn't keep up with the technology of users. I welcomed the opportunity to shift my usage to offpeak times, in exchange for A) more overall usage and B) the freedom of not having to monitor usage like a hawk.

The most obvious problem with their technology was outlined in a number of forums while Big Time was still in operation, though they patched these holes, there are only so many fingers you can stick in the dam. I can't say I ever tried those policies - I was more than happy to have my non browsing traffic shifted to offpeak times.

What I found while I was using the plan, was that their technology also had a terminal flaw in how it affected torrents; in particular, µTP traffic & Teredo. As many people who use bittorrent will possibly know, µTP is:

"an open source cross-platform protocol used in the bittorrent networks and is designed to provide reliable, ordered delivery while maintaining minimum extra delay. It is implemented on top of UDP protocol."

While Teredo is:

"a tunneling protocol designed to grant IPv6 connectivity to nodes that are located behind IPv6-unaware NAT devices. It defines a way of encapsulating IPv6 packets within IPv4 UDP datagrams that can be routed through NAT devices and on the IPv4 internet"

Having many different versions of bittorrent clients available @ my disposal, I eventually tested the throughput during peak & offpeak periods and found that utp & toredo connections were much less affected by Telecom's shaping than vanilla (or even encrypted) TCP connections.

Utorrent clients released prior to the introduction (in the 1.8 version) of the two technologies were completely cut off by Telecom's shaping technology, while the UDP connections allowed transfer rates of in excess of 150kB/s at any time of the day. Now granted, it's not full speed by any stretch of the imagination, you're still looking @ 8.5GB per day of onpeak download traffic as a result if used consecutively, at up to 230GB of onpeak download traffic per month. Furthermore, UL speed was similarly affected; the only thing affecting UL speed was the line speed.

Given that I would estimate that a substantial majority, if not close to 100% of utorrent users would be using a version newer than 1.8.3, and utorrent is by far the most popular bittorrent client in use, you are looking at a substantial population who were able to download excessive amounts of onpeak data.

This combined with the publicised difficulties Telecom had in differentiating between "good" FTP and HTTP (say a driver update for your gfx card) & bad FTP and HTTP downloads (such as from remote severs or from file hosting services), and it was evidently very easy for people to effectively bypass Telecom's traffic management software and use copious amounts of data each month, particularly at onpeak times (potentially 500GB on peak(!)).

I would finally also like to add that after discovering my findings, I stopped using the UDP based technologies for my bittorrenting. I strongly approved of being able to leave my client running with the Ubuntu images seeding in the background for it to communicate with NZ peers during peak hours (and thus alleviate some of the international traffic) and then take advantage of spare capacity offpeak.

K1wi

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29 posts

Geek


  Reply # 375725 2-Sep-2010 13:03

It's impossible to manage traffic like it appears Telecom aimed to do with Big Time. The fact is that the plan wouldn't have been sustainable even from the start, and for this reason I find it odd that they even introduced it in the first place.


Michael Malone writes...
I'd love to offer unlimited, if it was profitable. It's not. The end result is that the ISPs who try it lose money, then die or get bought cheap. And here we are.


 

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 375876 2-Sep-2010 16:56
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The hardware and rules they implemented simply weren't good enough. My understanding is they reused the hardware and licenses from Go Large but with a some new rulesets.

However you could for ages you could:

- Change your http referrer to be www.youtube.com and you'd be white-listed for full speed http downloads.

- Resolve rapidshare, megaupload etc urls to their ip addresses and if you used the ip address in a download manager you could bypass their blacklist for http downloads that were based on urls.

They also launched the plan without the following in place which I would have thought would be mandatory for an unlimited service:

- Google caches (these didn't go live until a few months into the plan)
- Transparent caching http/web proxy (still only being slowly progressively rolled out now)
- Filesharing & P2P caching servers eg: PeerApp, Oversi etc
- Steam content mirror

Many ISP's overseas have shown a managed unlimited service with good performance for real time apps/services with shaped heavy bulk downloading is possible it just a level of hardware and people managing the rules that Telecom didn't put into the project.

Behavioural Traffic Analysis and giving each user a fair share of the total available pipe rather than using DPI to classify and rate shape certain traffic is the way things are going.

Would love to see Telecom try again with some of the above caching in place and using hardware like http://anagran.com/solutions/p2pmanagement

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 376514 4-Sep-2010 11:19
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i think trying to focus on particular types of traffic is always going to be hard ... when i was in the UK i was with Virgin cable and they had an "all traffic" kind of management policy ...

basically if you went over X amount of data during peak periods, your connection would get throttled back for 5 hours ... during off peak periods you were free to do whatever you pleased ...

the clever part was that the 5 hour slowdown would carry over into offpeak time - i.e. if you got throttled at 8:45pm (peak stopped at 9pm), it would only go back to fullspeed at 1:45am ... so you were much more likely to be good during peak times so that you could go at fullspeed as soon as the cap came off ... 

advantages :
- no (easy) way around it (not that i knew of at least)
- drove the behaviour of people not max-ing out connections during peak
- still unlimited overall

it really surprises me that they haven't tried this approach yet

more details here :
http://help.virginmedia.com/system/selfservice.controller?CONFIGURATION=1002&PARTITION_ID=1&TIMEZONE...


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