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Comcast to reconfigure traffic shaping

by on28 March 2008


Public outcry forces a policy change

Internet cable modem provider Comcast has been at odds with users over the past couple of months, as we reported with their network traffic shaping which blocked Bit Torrent access. It seems, however, after much public outcry and some poking around by the FCC that Comcast has starting to now move in the other direction away from deploying such aggressive network traffic shaping technologies.

In an announcement today, Comcast says that it will rapidly reconfigure its traffic shaping technology to a technique that is more appropriate for today’s emerging Internet trends. While Comcast can put all of their best spin on the situation, the truth of the matter is that users revolted in droves over Comcast’s traffic shaping techniques. The good news is that this decision by Comcast to back down and reconfigure could be an early sign that other ISPs will not even try to deploy such an aggressive traffic shaping policy.

The best news beyond the announcement of the reconfiguration of their traffic shaping techniques is that the traffic management schemes that have been a secret in the past will at some point in the near future be published for everyone to see. They are also saying right up front that they will be seeking input so the feedback can be used to improve the methods in the future. We hope this open information on how Comcast has its traffic shaping configured will be something that other ISPs will also be forced to make available to the public, as well.

While P2P traffic continues to be a large percentage of the traffic riding on the Internet, a better way to manage the load needs to be found. As Comcast found out, deploying an aggressive traffic shaping solution is not the right way to deal with the issue. With the Comcast announcement it has been suggested that the FCC may, in fact, change the direction of the investigation into Comcast’s Internet practices.

Last modified on 28 March 2008
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