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Comcast reports congestion management works

Mon, 09/22/2008 - 8:30am
Brian Santo

Comcast’s new network management technique works, and it inspired not a single complaint among subscribers in test cities, the company reported. Comcast is now preparing to roll out the capability.

The old technique – which aroused the ire of subscribers, network neutrality mavens and the FCC – was to identify specific protocols (that is to say, types of traffic, in this case BitTorrent traffic) and sever the connection (with the expectation that BitTorrent clients would automatically try to re-establish the connection).

The new technique does not identify protocols. Rather, it identifies users who are using an inordinate amount of bandwidth, isolates their connections, and throttles back the amount of bandwidth allocated to those specific connections.

Comcast conducted a series of trials over the summer with different vendor equipment and techniques.

Comcast was unable to respond to an inquiry about the technical implementation of its new network management technique by press time.

The three major CMTS vendors (Motorola, Cisco and Arris), for example, have all been advertising the ability of their equipment to throttle back the bandwidth allocated to individual connections.

Comcast conducted its trials in Warrenton, Va.; Chambersburg, Pa.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Lake View and East Orange, Fla. The company said it “did not receive a single customer complaint that could be traced to this new congestion management practice, despite having publicized the trials and notifying customers involved in the trials via e-mail.”

Comcast also said that based on consumer data collected from these trials, on average less than 1 percent of its high-speed Internet customers were affected by its new congestion management technique.

In August, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that Comcast violated its network neutrality principles and ordered the company to institute a new traffic management system, which Comcast had earlier said it was going to do anyway (see “FCC formally slaps Comcast”). Comcast is appealing the FCC’s August ruling (see “Comcast appeals FCC ruling on net neutrality violation”).

Comcast recently selected Sandvine’s Congestion Management for FairShare solution, which the company introduced at The Cable Show in May (see “Comcast picks Sandvine’s Congestion Management for FairShare solution”). FairShare allows service providers to enable fair usage in the shared access network with techniques to ensure equitable allocation of network resources during periods of congestion.

More Broadband Direct:

• Comcast reports congestion management works

• Comcast picks Sandvine's Congestion Management for FairShare solution

• SeaChange certifies Shenick's diversifEye technology

• Hotwire picks Motorola for FTTH

• JDSU debuts all-in-one tester for FTTx

• Anystream buys Voxant

• Broadband Briefs for 9/22/08

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