My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

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My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:00 pm

No really, they are bad. I wont name them, however does anyone know how I can completly bypass their traffic shaping systems? It's driving me mad, and switching from them is not easy due to being in a contract (They never used to be like this).

Speed tested it just 2 moments ago for a download speed of just under 14MB/Sec down and 1.2MB/Sec Up. But in real-world downloads, it's pathetic - Hovering at about 2KB/Sec only. Downloading 1 song in iTunes (8.8MB) has an ETA on it of 5 hours. It's the same on downloads from within the browser from a few things I tried getting from various places. It's traffic shaped again to exactly 2KB/Sec download speed.

Torrents don't connect at all, neither does Xbox Live and YouTube also wont load any videos. How have they been able to do that?

Internet browsing is super fast though :roll: Once I get to Midnight, it will instantly speed up to full capacity - But will hit the brakes again at 9AM the following morning until midnight of the same day - Pretty much the entire time I am awake then?

I've tried connecting via proxy with no success. Thats just as slow - It's like they know your doing it and throttle that too. Any ideas technical peeps?
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:50 pm

Have you called them and asked?
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:52 pm

Moved to Networking.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:20 am

If you actually Google for their name and traffic shaping then you might find suggestions on how to get around it.

Technically what they are doing is Deep Packet Inspection and setting the speedtest sites to highest throughput, plain web access is also set to fast but other things like YouTube and iTunes will be throttled right down. Getting around it generally involves making your traffic look as much as possible like what they allow at high speed. It helps if they allow VPNs at high speed as then you can encrypt everything and send it over the VPN port and they can't look any deeper in to the packet. Another trick is to do something like an MLPPP tunnel that their DPI boxes don't parse. Both these techniques require a cooperating proxy service to terminate the tunnel.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:53 pm

Thanks for the replies so far all (esp notfred for the packet inspection information). I gave them a call a few days ago, and after some persuasion the advisor on the phone confirmed that traffic management policies are in effect from 9AM to Midnight 7 days a week. Between these times, certian "bandwidth intensive" services are restricted as so:

Multimedia Websites (YouTube / BBC's iPlayer / Photobucket): 200Kb/Sec
Multimedia Services (iTunes / 7Digital / Amazon Digital): 50Kb/Sec
Download Services (FilePlanet / Download.Com / FileFront): 50Kb/Sec
Online Game Services (Xbox Live / PSN / Steam): 200Kb/Sec
Services (FTP/ Remote Desktop Server/Client / VPN): 50Kb/Sec

The following sites/services (Not exhaustive) are examples of sites that are banned 24/7 due to "questionable legality (as they put it)" of the content they contain:
- Peer to Peer Networking
- Newsgroup Access (NNTP)
- Rapidshare, MeagDownload Etc
- PirateBay, ISO Hunt Etc

General internet traffic is not speed restricted, neither is email, webcam/chat, Skype style services or any uploading bandwidth.

Really frustrating is their refusal to allow the use of SkyPlayer at all - Insisting that is is illegal to use because it uses P2P (Kazalia Client) to distribute the encrypted TV Programs from Sky's Servers :roll: . anything P2P is blocked regardless. I still have not found a way round this, so will still be open to suggestions.

Altho, I might just tell them where to shove their nanny state broadband service.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:06 pm

So basically during the day your connection is "broadband" in name only; many services are effectively limited to dialup speeds. Pretty pathetic.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:15 pm

What would you possibly use broadband for if you can't use it for legal videos or file downloads?
I thought the UK's wireline rules were a lot better than those in the USA; apparently I was mistaken. Get off that POS service as fast as you can!
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:34 pm

rcs2k4 wrote:Thanks for the replies so far all (esp notfred for the packet inspection information). I gave them a call a few days ago, and after some persuasion the advisor on the phone confirmed that traffic management policies are in effect from 9AM to Midnight 7 days a week. Between these times, certian "bandwidth intensive" services are restricted as so:

Multimedia Websites (YouTube / BBC's iPlayer / Photobucket): 200Kb/Sec
Multimedia Services (iTunes / 7Digital / Amazon Digital): 50Kb/Sec
Download Services (FilePlanet / Download.Com / FileFront): 50Kb/Sec
Online Game Services (Xbox Live / PSN / Steam): 200Kb/Sec
Services (FTP/ Remote Desktop Server/Client / VPN): 50Kb/Sec

The following sites/services (Not exhaustive) are examples of sites that are banned 24/7 due to "questionable legality (as they put it)" of the content they contain:
- Peer to Peer Networking
- Newsgroup Access (NNTP)
- Rapidshare, MeagDownload Etc
- PirateBay, ISO Hunt Etc

General internet traffic is not speed restricted, neither is email, webcam/chat, Skype style services or any uploading bandwidth.

Really frustrating is their refusal to allow the use of SkyPlayer at all - Insisting that is is illegal to use because it uses P2P (Kazalia Client) to distribute the encrypted TV Programs from Sky's Servers :roll: . anything P2P is blocked regardless. I still have not found a way round this, so will still be open to suggestions.

Altho, I might just tell them where to shove their nanny state broadband service.


First off, wow, I am shocked they gave you such specifics on their profiling.
As NotFred stated you should be able to get around this by using a VPN tunnel.
There are a few (and more and more) VPN providers out there. HotSpotVPN and WiTopia are two examples.
These services are generally used by road warriors to protect themselves while using open WiFi hotspots, but should work for your need.
From your ISP perspective, all of you traffic would look the same, so this allow you to use any app you want, and the above shaping rules would not be enforceable.
You should verify that VPN traffic is not throttled with your ISP and check with whichever VPN service you select that they have no restrictions as well.

Of course, you should add up your monthly ISP charges, VPN service charges and what ever termination fee they will charge to see if its more cost effective to switch ISP.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:40 pm

rcs2k4 wrote:Thanks for the replies so far all (esp notfred for the packet inspection information). I gave them a call a few days ago, and after some persuasion the advisor on the phone confirmed that traffic management policies are in effect from 9AM to Midnight 7 days a week. Between these times, certian "bandwidth intensive" services are restricted as so:

Multimedia Websites (YouTube / BBC's iPlayer / Photobucket): 200Kb/Sec
Multimedia Services (iTunes / 7Digital / Amazon Digital): 50Kb/Sec
Download Services (FilePlanet / Download.Com / FileFront): 50Kb/Sec
Online Game Services (Xbox Live / PSN / Steam): 200Kb/Sec
Services (FTP/ Remote Desktop Server/Client / VPN): 50Kb/Sec

The following sites/services (Not exhaustive) are examples of sites that are banned 24/7 due to "questionable legality (as they put it)" of the content they contain:
- Peer to Peer Networking
- Newsgroup Access (NNTP)
- Rapidshare, MeagDownload Etc
- PirateBay, ISO Hunt Etc

General internet traffic is not speed restricted, neither is email, webcam/chat, Skype style services or any uploading bandwidth.

Really frustrating is their refusal to allow the use of SkyPlayer at all - Insisting that is is illegal to use because it uses P2P (Kazalia Client) to distribute the encrypted TV Programs from Sky's Servers :roll: . anything P2P is blocked regardless. I still have not found a way round this, so will still be open to suggestions.

Altho, I might just tell them where to shove their nanny state broadband service.


Wow that's crazy. I would suggest you switch to a different ISP. Can you sue them? Did they notify you that some services might be banned when you signed up?
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:48 pm

cubical10 wrote:You should verify that VPN traffic is not throttled with your ISP and check with whichever VPN service you select that they have no restrictions as well.

Better check what you quoted -- VPNs are throttled to 50kb/s! :o
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:02 pm

That's really horrific man - I know UK broadband is bad, but I've never heard of a company that brazenly bad. Can you PM me the company name (if you don't wanna post it up here), just so I know where to avoid in future?

For what it's worth, I'm with Aquiss (www.aquiss.net), and aside from having a bit of a struggle with them to get a broken phone line replaced (thought that was a BT problem, you have to go through the ISP to actually submit a fault...brilliant system...), I've got nothing bad to say about em. Granted the "daytime" bandwidth allocation isn't great, but as long as you remember to just do big downloads during the night or at the weekends, 30GB/mo Peak has been plenty for our family here.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:03 pm

SNM wrote:
cubical10 wrote:You should verify that VPN traffic is not throttled with your ISP and check with whichever VPN service you select that they have no restrictions as well.

Better check what you quoted -- VPNs are throttled to 50kb/s! :o


Now that is BS! That is completely useless if you are a teleworker!
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:31 am

They are just so bad that your best move is going to be to swap ISPs.

If you really were determined, you could try running a VPN to a server on port 443 (used by https) as it seems that is not in their list, but they may count https as part of the "Services" tag and drop it to 50Kb/s so it could be a lot of effort for nothing.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:59 am

notfred wrote:They are just so bad that your best move is going to be to swap ISPs.

If you really were determined, you could try running a VPN to a server on port 443 (used by https) as it seems that is not in their list, but they may count https as part of the "Services" tag and drop it to 50Kb/s so it could be a lot of effort for nothing.

Depending on whether they're doing deep packet inspection (and how good it is if they are) they also may be able to tell that you're running a VPN protocol instead of HTTPS over that socket.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:42 am

axeman wrote:It sounds to me that they're not just "traffic shaping", they've really oversold the service based upon why kind of bandwidth they actually can supply. If they're supposedly only throttling to 50kb/sec, but you're getting 2kb, you need a new ISP.

I think we're having some bits-vs-bytes confusion. 50 kb (kilobits) would translate to roughly 5 kB (kilobytes), depending on overhead.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:36 am

Because of how open they are with their restrictions i'm inclined to think that must be the norm for all of the competition in the area at least. Be careful about who you're switching to as well if you take that path.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:32 pm

I haven't been paying close attention, but considering the legal environment in the UK (where a coming law will require ISPs "to disconnect or slow down the web access of people who repeatedly infringe copyright law", and a couple of law firms already have been making a good business suing ISPs because of "suspected" filesharing by their subscribers, not to mention the dirty cyberwar that has resulted) I wouldn't be surprised if this is, or soon will be, something like the normal practice for pretty much every ISP there. (It is interesting that those privateer law firms have been avoiding Virgin Media and TalkTalk, so you may want to look in that direction.)

The overall throttling of "normal" / "legal" traffic during daytime hours just sounds like underprovisioning, however -- ie, they take on subscribers whether their network can handle them or not, and aren't purchasing/building capacity to cover normal usage. That's something you should be able to avoid by switching to somebody else.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:53 pm

axeman wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I think we're having some bits-vs-bytes confusion. 50 kb (kilobits) would translate to roughly 5 kB (kilobytes), depending on overhead.
Is the the proper way to write it? I always assume kb means kilobyte, no matter how it's capitalized.
JBI is correct here, lower-case b for bits, upper-case B for Bytes.

The distinction is important especially when you get things like 8b10b encoding on the physical layer. Typically you would use the bits figure to refer to the encoded and the bytes figure to refer to the data giving a 10:1 bits to bytes ratio rather than the standard 8:1.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:39 pm

And traditionally those working in digital communications have always measured everything in bits-per-second because at the lowest level that's all you see. Communications companies thus naturally use that measure, and their marketing departments like it for the same reason the storage companies are the only ones to correctly use SI prefixes: it makes the numbers bigger. Encoding as Ned describes and other higher-level complexities like packets just make actual informational throughput even lower (in exchange for something else, like reliability or routability) and are generally considered "overhead" that the marketing departments handwave away in very fine print.
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Re: My Sucky ISP... (Ranting Warning!)

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:06 pm

notfred wrote:The distinction is important especially when you get things like 8b10b encoding on the physical layer. Typically you would use the bits figure to refer to the encoded and the bytes figure to refer to the data giving a 10:1 bits to bytes ratio rather than the standard 8:1.

...which -- in a convoluted sort of way -- actually brings us back to the days of RS-232 serial links, where there was a start bit and stop bit for each 8 bit data byte. Maybe there's some sort of fundamental law of the universe at work here, where reliable data transfer has a 25% overhead! :lol:
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