Showing posts with the label Comcast

Comcast will use your service to offer WiFi to other customers

Yes, you heard that right! If you're a Comcast customer and you rent a cable internet modem from them, then it has a separate wireless channel that other Comcast customers can use. This means as a Comcast customer, you can surf the Internet from any neighborhood where Comcast has an install base. While in theory I like the flexibility as a Comcast customer to get WiFi anywhere ( Xfinity WiFi Hotspots ), in practice I'm not too pleased. Why I'm not pleased. I pay Comcast to have their Internet service, which enables this capability. I pay another $8 to rent their modem, which is also required for this capability. I was never asked; my account was opted-in. If I have an issue with my connection, I have to hold a long time (typically), and if something is wrong at my end, I have to pay for them to correct, yet again Comcast benefits from my service working. If you live in an apartment complex, Comcast advertises your apartment complex on the list of available hots

Time Warner wants to put restrictive usage caps on your Internet access

The cable providers are scared of losing their cash cow by people watching TV over the Internet. In the latest volley from the cable companies, Time Warner is rolling out restrictive caps that are high priced, and extremely high if you go over. Sure, $15 a month for Internet sounds good, until you realize it's for 1 GB of data and an additional $2 for each gig you go over . As Wired points out (in "Congressman Wants to Ban Download Caps"), that's 3 hours of Hulu video or half a standard definition movie delivered online. For a mere (cough, cough) $75 per month, you can get 100 GB per month, and only pay $1 penalty for each gig over. It sure makes Comcasts 250 MB cap at $50 - $55 per month look good. I've heard some folks defend the caps, claiming we don't need that much bandwidth, but each argument has been based on 1 user. The typical claim has been from 50 to 90 GB average usage. Multiply that by a family of 4 and now you're at 200 to 360 GBs. And if t

AT&T gets on the bandwagon with network slowdown practices

AT&T has released new information that they will also start degrading customer network throughput for those that use more than what AT&T would consider average. You can read all the terms of service on the AT&T site . Here are some highlights in order of appearance, followed by my commentary: Broadband access is provided in speed tiers of: (1) 200 Kbps to 768 Kbps downstream (not available for AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service) (2) 769 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps downstream (3) 1.56 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps downstream (4) 3.1 Mbps to 6.0 Mbps downstream; (5) 6.1 Mbps to 10.0 Mbps (available only with AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service) (collectively “Service Capability Speeds”)... ... AT&T Uverse High Speed Internet throughput speeds may be temporarily reduced when a customer is using other U-verse services in a manner that requires high bandwidth. This could occur more often with higher speed Internet access products. ... While this performance optimization process w

Follow-up odds and ends: Google, Comcast and Microsoft

Well it has been a week since Google released Chrome, a week since I've tracked my Internet bandwidth usage, and 5 days since Microsoft released its ads to compete against Apple. Let's take a look and see how each are doing. =============== I wrote a little about Google's surprise announcement of their new browser Chrome last week, highlighting some of its features. One feature that intrigued me was the ability to "tear-off" a tab and turn a browser window into a pseudo application on your desktop. I did just that with my email and RSS reader -- I replaced Thunderbird with a direct window into my Gmail account and replaced the RSS reader with Google's RSS reader. I had looked and tried many RSS readers before settling on Thunderbird, but found that over the last six months that I've used it less and less. I like the Google Reader interface much better than Thunderbird and others and Chrome has made it just a little easier to access it. In addition, in th

Your biggest privacy concern could be from your own ISP

Over the last 6 to 12 months there has been several battles between ISPs, users, and the government. ISPs want to choose what type of content can run on their network and how fast it should be delivered. One such example is Comcast's blocking of P2P traffic . During their FCC investigation, Comcast changed this practice, though after being ruled that it was actually illegal practice, Comcast is now challenging the ruling . For Comcast to block just P2P traffic, it had to scan all the activity on your connection to identify what part of the traffic was P2P. In the Comcast ruling, the FCC implied that it would be legal to monitor user traffic so that illegal content could be blocked such as child pornography and copyrighted material. While we would all like to see child pornography and other nefarious activity stopped, this would require the ISP to inspect everyone's content, from banking to love letters to new job applications and everything in between. It would be interesting t

Comcast announces bandwidth usage cap

Effective October 1st, Comcast is putting a cap on its unlimited usage plan -- instead of unlimited bandwidth, you get 250GB per month. It looks as if first-time offenders will only be given a warning, but then any subsequent violations could result in termination of your service. At first glance, that seems like quite a lot of bits; lets check it out. Comcast claims their average usage is 2 - 3 GB per month. From the Comcast Network Management Policy page, here's how you could use the 250 GBs. Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email) Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song) Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie) Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo) What Comcast didn't publish was a realistic look at usage. For example, Comcast left a few items off such as IM, YouTube, podcasts, and 3rd party VoIP calls. With that being said, estimating usage for a family of 4 still only exceeds the Comcast estimate by 10x (20 - 30 GB p/ month). I did not c

How fragile is the Internet?

Update June 3, 2008 Jim Louderback, Revision3 CEO, joined the TWiT podcast on Sunday (posted June 2nd) and talked about the DoS attach quite extensively. Jim's a real class guy; check out what he had to say about the DoS attach, BitTorrent, and MediaDefender. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Internet TV company Revision3 suffered Denial of Service (DoS) attacks from MediaDefender . What specifically did MediaDefender do to Revision3 servers? MediaDefender flooded the Revision3 servers with 8,000 requests per second. With that type of volume, the Revision3 servers couldn't keep of with those requests, let alone legitimate requests for Revision3 content. Revision3 has posted an article with the details . From the MediaDefender website, MediaDefender, Inc. is the leading provider of anti-piracy solutions in the emerging Internet-Piracy-Prevention (IPP) industry. We provide services that stop the spread of illegally traded copyrighted material over the Internet and Peer-to-Peer n

Comcast and Net Neutrality

Are you still unsure of how Comcast is playing unfair with your Internet access? Remember they paid people to fill seats in an open forum with the FCC where they would scrutinized. Comcast also released a "Bill of Rights," [which] is really about informing the consumer that their Internet traffic could suffer delays. Read all about it in a recent article, Will the feds get it in gear on Web traffic? , from Therese Poletti in MarketWatch. Don't just sit back and let your geek friends try to fight this... if you or your company depends on the Internet for doing business, then you need to get involved too. Want to get another perspective? Larry Hardesty of MIT's Technology Review has also released an article on this subject . Specifically , he has information on a middle-ground proposal that will be coming from Mung Chiang, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University.

Still using Comcast?

Dave Winer , who pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software posted yesterday a terrible experience he had with Comcast . It makes me ask again, "Given the choice, why are you still paying Comcast any money?" Then this morning around 9AM the service went down. ...The recording said I was talking to their legal services department, Press 1 if you are stealing content, 2 if you are using too much bandwidth, 3 if Comcast hates your guts, 4 if you're a criminal. (I don't remember the exact wording, this wasn't it, but the implication was that I was guilty of abuse, me, a paying customer, in good standing. By pressing a button I was admitting to doing something wrong.) ... It would be easy to cut back. Not sure I will though, cause I hate to be lectured and threatened by companies I pay $180 per month to. Let's recap for a moment. (1) Comcast decides that P2P traffic is using too much bandwidth

Comcast and BitTorrent working together

Seems the investigation by the FCC on how Comcast handles its network traffic management is having an effect on who Comcast does business with. As reported in today's Wall Street Journal, Comcast is now working with BitTorrent to find an acceptable solution for network traffic management. Currently Comcast has just discontinued any P2P traffic during busy times by sending requests to discontinue communication to each party. It appears Comcast now has a better approach in the works -- manage total bandwidth by user. Because cable Internet puts entire neighborhoods onto one network, busy times can cause slow downs. Comcast's plan of eliminating certain types of traffic (P2P, which they assumed was mostly illegal file transfers), though maybe successful in many cases, did not meet normal terms of service. Take for example the popular World of Warcraft -- users get updates via legal P2P traffic -- there is no law breaking going on there. What made one protocol more okay on the ne

Goodbye Comcast, Hello Verizon FIOS

In a blog on February 26, 2008 , I told you about Comcast being investigated by the FCC for their network management -- specifically P2P apps. I also suggest that you should quit using Comcast as a vendor. Well today I canceled my Comcast services as I now am using Verizon FIOS . So far, no problems with Verizon's service. Now, only time will tell.

BitTorrent is not going to wait for the FCC

It was great to hear that the FCC is investigating Comcast for its disruption of BitTorrent traffic, but the developers of BitTorrent are not going to wait for Comcast to change its practices. The Developers of BitTorrent are building a new encryption layer that will work against Comcast and other ISPs techniques for killing the BitTorrent traffic on their networks. David Downs wrote an excellent article in the San Francisco Weekly that describes BitTorrent and how Comcast was thwarting BitTorrent traffic. Downs describes a visit from Peter Eckersley, a computer science Ph.D. candidate at the University of Melbourne, who works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation . Using Whiteshark, network monitoring software, Eckersley was able to show how Comcast was spoofing both ends of the BitTorrent communication to discontinue the BitTorrent file transfer. This is big in terms of Net Neutrality for all of us. This is more than an issue for users of BitTorrent! If Comcast can decide what