Advertisement
News
Advertisement

A separate peace

Wed, 04/02/2008 - 9:15am
Brian Santo

One of the indicators that the brouhaha over Comcast "blocking" traffic from BitTorrent was not a major issue was that BitTorrent barely complained.

The whole thing was a digression, apt to go away as soon as Comcast bought itself some more bandwidth on its networks.

CED was among the first to explain (see "Petards and hoisting") that, yes, Comcast was cutting off BitTorrent sessions, but given that BitTorrent clients are designed to keep trying to re-establish connections, the practical result was that BitTorrent sessions were delayed. Comcast cut off BitTorrent sessions only when network traffic became so heavy that the voluminous extra BitTorrent traffic threatened to overwhelm and degrade other services to other customers.

It was a clumsy solution, but it was, as Comcast insists, one of the few practical means available, under the circumstances, to manage its network. The explanation was a hard sell when it became a political issue, but BitTorrent's recent comments suggest that it understood all along why Comcast was doing what it did.

The controversy was all politics, and so is the solution that Comcast and BitTorrent announced – that they will collaborate on ways to fix the situation (story here).

Yep. It's still there.

Comcast will still have net neutrality zealots on its back (they will never go away, nor should they), but they will cease scratching and biting for a while. My guess is that part of the technical solution will be expanding network capacity a little bit faster than originally intended – perhaps combined with the rollout of DOCSIS 3.0, which Comcast is planning anyway.

Meanwhile, BitTorrent – which started by enabling what most believe was a vast amount of illegal file sharing but is rapidly proving itself useful for legal activity – gains another chunk of legitimacy by working with one of the top broadband providers in the land.

Politics. It's a beautiful thing.

Advertisement

Share This Story

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading