Comcast cable modem Internet users joined those connected to Canadian ISPs Cogeco and Rogers in encountering traffic shaping that is causing Comcast customers to be unable to seed with new peers. Many ISPs in the US and Canada have been experimenting with ways of limiting BitTorrent traffic for over two years now, but this new development of breaking connections with peers is something that is more aggressive than we have seen in the past.
Sources suggest that Comcast is using an IP traffic shaping solution from Sandvine which has but one sole purpose: to throttle available bandwidth for BitTorrent traffic. Many users have already tried a variety of methods to circumvent traffic shaping, but very few solutions really work. Right now, users are being forced to set up BitTorrent over SSH or VPN, as these are currently the only known way to bypass the problem.
Many Comcast users are outraged over this latest development. Complaints to Comcast are falling on deaf ears, as P2P traffic is viewed as the biggest bandwidth waster of the Internet. While we find it hard to believe that ISPs are going to dictate which protocols users can and cannot use over their network, it is obvious that with increased pressure from the RIAA and MPAA, ISPs have to find a solution to try to limit their liability for users that are using their P2P connections to obtain copyrighted material.
The battle will definitely continue and don’t look for the ISPs to start giving ground on limiting traffic any time soon. As a matter of fact, we predict that more ISPs in the U.S. will start using traffic shaping; and one has to wonder what protocol or traffic ISPs will try to limit next to improve their bottom line.