Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Interwebz is 20/20


We recently upgraded the internet connection at home to Comcast's upper tier service. This service is defined as "Performance Plus" and includes 8Mbps down and 768kbps up.

That's pretty standard as high-end packages go, especially with cable. You can browse all you want, but putting stuff up on the internet will be substantially slower.

Comcast also has issues with P2P (like Bittorrent) and they work against that actively, going as far as putting a device in the network to simulate a disconnect request from the machines on either end. In the network security realm, this is a traditional man-in-the-middle attack and is considered (at best) as bad form.

Side note: If you want to use Bittorrent as a Comcast subscriber, set your traffic to encrypted in the client properties. The technology Comcast uses (Sandvine, apparently) doesn't do anything with encrypted traffic.

I've always hated asymmetrical traffic limitations in ISPs. If I wanted to host Pr3++yG33kyTh1ng from a server at home, I couldn't. Further, if I want to upload photos to a print processing company or even Flickr it takes far too long.

Content delivery is the basis of the new and improved web, and anyone stuck on the slow end of the pipe is at a disadvantage.

I'm hoping what I read this morning starts to change that.

Verizon is rolling out symmetrical 20Mbps up and 20Mbps down internet in a few select locations at a price that is about $5 less than we pay for our current, slower, lopsided service.

The East Coast is getting it first, but I would think that as it reaches more markets the cable and DSL providers will be forced to take another look at these policies and unleash a little more room for traffic in both directions.

I used to work at an ISP. I can tell you that there is far more bandwidth available for use than the customers ever see. When a network is put in place and before users are added to it, the available bandwidth is immediately throttled down to around 10% of capacity to allow for subscriber growth.

In this way, they can deploy internet to more and more users without major infrastructure upgrade costs. If this were not the case, there would be no way for my service to go from 1.5Mbps to 8Mbps during the course of a phone call.

Faster speeds are coming. Hopefully soon.

I have never been described as "patient", just "pretty".

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