Back in October 2007, we reported that Comcast wasn’t the only broadband service provider messing with P2P traffic by delaying the P2P packets. We got a quasi confirmation from Cox Communications, but others denied doing any such thing.
Those denials won’t work for long; soon, there might be network traffic data to prove that “traffic shaping” is commonplace and messing with P2P is an everyday occurrence. Vuze, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based P2P company has been collecting this information, thanks to a plug-in they released last month.
While it’s not clear how many people downloaded the plug-in, Vuze’s BitTorrent client, Azereus, is quite popular. The plug-in allows Vuze to keep an eye on network interference and collect data to prove that other ISPs are indulging in traffic shaping. The plug-in basically “measures the rate at which network communications are being interrupted by reset (RST) messages.”
There are over a dozen Internet network operators in America — both cable companies and telephone companies, many of whom are believed to be engaging in their own “traffic shaping” (i.e. throttling) practices.
More recently, Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Vuze, is said to have sent a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in which he suggested that AT&T might be using the RST messages:
…while we appreciate the methodological limitations of our data, and therefore have drawn no firm conclusions from it, we believe the results show a significant enough difference in the level of resets from one network operator to another, to warrant asking certain network operators to describe their network management practices. In reviewing our data we have identified that the rate of reset activity in the ASN pertaining to your company appears to be higher than many others.
This clearly is a developing story and needs further reporting. Stay tuned for further details.