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Cox, the latest US provider to throttle traffic
Friday 23 November 2007 12:29:27 by Andrew Ferguson

Now while Cox Communications is a long way away in the US, it is worth watching out to see what is happening in other countries. Over on The Register they have the details on some investigation Robb Topolski has carried out that adds Cox to the list of providers throttling peer to peer traffic.

The statement from Cox will have a very distinctive ring to it for UK broadband users:

"To ensure the best possible online experience for our customers, Cox actively manages network traffic through a variety of methods including traffic prioritization and protocol filtering. Cox does not prohibit the use of file-sharing services for uploads or downloads, or discriminate against any specific services in any way. To help our customers make the most out of their Internet experience, we take proactive measures to ensure that bandwidth intensive applications do not negatively impact their service."

Statement from Cox Communications

While Sandvine hardware was identified as the hardware carrying out the traffic management with Comcast, as yet it has not been verified if this is the case with Cox, but apparently there is a 90% certainty the same hardware is used.

The Sandvine PTS 14000 hardware was actually selected by Carphone Warehouse and announced in August 2007. Sandvine stated at the time in the press release:

"Sandvine's intelligent broadband management solutions enable broadband providers to derive additional value from their existing network infrastructure with bandwidth savings, as well as ensure high-quality service delivery that increases subscriber satisfaction ... Sandvine is pleased to assist Carphone Warehouse Networks with immediate network improvements and plan for ongoing network growth."

Tom Donnelly (Executive Vice President), Sandvine

The platform deployed will handle up to 10Gbps of traffic and with Carphone Warehouse having some 2.4 million customers, we hope that multiple blocks of 10Gbps will be used. If a single 10Gbps platform is used, this gives a budget of around 4Kbps (Kilo bits per second) for each user. Precisely what Carphone Warehouse are using the platform to do is unclear and we do not know whether anything similar to Comcast is happening.

The average end-user generally sees traffic management as a bad tool, mainly because it appears to happen clandestinely and very little information is ever available to help people judge whether there is a network issue or that, because it is peak time, some applications will run slower or even grind to a halt in some cases. Where traffic management really only means adding a few minutes to a one hour download, most will not complain, but if a one hour download becomes an eight hour one people will get frustrated.

Traffic management seems to be here to stay, and it is what allows providers to advertise products with unlimited downloads at a price that makes it look better than other providers with 25 or 40GB usage allowances. Whether that is right or not, depends on your viewpoint and brings us back around to the 'what is unlimited' debate.


Posted by whatever2 over 9 years ago
not sure there's any's either unlimited or it has limits...doesn't matter what that limit is or wether it leaves other aspects unlimited, by imposing a limit, its not unlimited.

you dont see bmw advertising their speed limited cars as being unlimited just because you can sit in them as long as you want...
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
Am glad to TB and The Reg covering articles like this in their news section.

Hopefully one day we'll have a level playing field where customers will be able to make an informed decision based on transparent product descriptions.

At the moment it seems the only reliable way to get the truth about an ISP is to read the forums on here. Shame Ofcom don't provide a link here really.....
Posted by ETEE over 9 years ago
Judging by the speeds being reported in the TT forum recently, it looks like CPW *are* using one 10Gbps traffic managed network on Geo fibre for all its customers.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
"or discriminate against any specific services in any way." isnt accurate if they doing prioritisation. To prioritise something then something else is effectively deprioritised.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"The Sandvine PTS 14000 hardware was actually selected by Carphone Warehouse"

That says it all, all they do is screw service.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Packet inspection? Oops, there goes common carrier status.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Packet inspection in the states i imagine will be harder for the providers to get away with, as Americans will start shouting their rights of privacy etc etc... It may not get them anywhere but unlike here it will probably get investigated alot quicker.
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