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Is Rogers lying or just incompetent? Throttling response to CRTC full of inconsistencies

Read this for background

Either the regulatory wranglers at Rogers are completely clueless about deep packet inspection, or they are lying.

Rogers: “We don’t target specific groups of customers or content”. In fact, the letter describes in great detail about how they are targeting customers who are using P2P applications on their home networks. That sounds like a group of customers to me.

Rogers: “Gaming customers have only been affected when running P2P file sharing simultaneously with a misclassified game”. This statement makes no sense whatsoever. Parsing it, it seems to be saying “Traffic that we can’t classify, running alongside traffic we can classify, causes connections to be throttled”. Okay. Except in the previous paragraph, Rogers stated “Rogers ITMPs limit only P2P file sharing applications to a maximum of 80kpbs of upstream throughput”. Soooo… what? Both statements can’t be true. If Rogers is only throttling P2P *applications* as explicitly stated in the second statement, then it wouldn’t matter how misclassified traffic was as described in the first statement. If their policy is only to filter P2P, why are they also filtering misclassified traffic? Wouldn’t it just make sense to not throttle it until you can identify it? Oh, wait – is Rogers actually filtering the entire upstream throughput and not just that available to P2P?

Rogers: “In very rare situations, traffic that is not P2P file sharing, may be misclassified, such as was the case with World of Warcraft.” WoW is one of the most popular online games. Misclassifying this traffic is at best, totally incompetent. Doing so would affect thousands of Rogers customers and would be anything but an isolated case.

Finally, am I the only one disturbed by the fact that the guy writing the letter is Rogers expert in both Copyright and Broadband law? There are huge differences between content/media and networks. The very fact that Rogers is internally Is organized with a belief that the same hammer can be used to drive both both nails just shows how screwed Canada’s Internet users actually are.

(As an aside, the letter includes a really annoying typo in the first a paragraph after the numbered list. Not really relevant, but it drives me crazy every time I read that sentence. If I was paying a flack to write on my behalf to a government agency, I’d want them to run it through an editor first. I realize this blog is full of similar oversights, but I do this for fun…)

  • Hi Ross,

    This is Chris at Rogers. I hope I can help clarify some of the issues you raised.
    To your first point, we don’t target specific groups of customers or content. What we do is target traffic on our network that is P2P upstream traffic. Among that traffic, we don’t identify the content, and we don’t target specific groups of customers (all Rogers Hi Speed customers are subject to our traffic management policy). You can find our traffic management policy here: http://www.rogers.com/web/content/network_managementTo your second point, we have admitted a problem with classifying World of Warcraft traffic. What you didn’t mention or didn’t know is that WoW traffic was being misclassified as P2P traffic. If a customer was playing WoW while also running a P2P filesharing application, they would experience problems because we limit upstream traffic to 80kbps. The P2P filesharing application would be using the available upstream, and WoW would therefore experience lags, disconnects, etc. 

    To your third point, this should only be a problem for Rogers customers under a very specific set of circumstances: playing WoW while also running P2P filesharing applications. 

    Hope this helps, @Rogers_Chris:twitter 

  • Oh, it’s one of my favorite cans of worms! Thanks for bringing it up :)

    I used to run the bandwidth monitoring at Shaw in Saskatoon, and was around during the big hubbub about changing and enforcing bandwidth caps. I had the ability to see the throughput history of nodes around town, and could see the spikes when users in the area revved up their torrents.I don’t know about Rogers, but here the nodes here had limited throughput, to the tune of 30Mbps downstream, and 5 or 7 upstream shared between about a dozen households. It only takes a few users going full throttle to negatively affect their neighbors. Left unfettered, some P2P applications will open as many connections and use as much throughput as possible, so that traffic needs to be managed to prevent issues. How deep does the packet inspection get? Well, savvy users have gotten around it simply by changing port numbers or encrypting their P2P traffic.Without insight to the Cisco equipment mentioned, I believe at Rogers we’re looking at a system that doesn’t prioritize or delay individual packets. Instead, the presence of targeted traffic triggers a lockdown on the end user’s connection as a whole.The endpoint would be that yes, it targets users in a way (users running bandwidth intensive torrent programs). It isn’t meant to interfere with time sensitive traffic, like for a video game or VOIP. but because of its limitations we’ve seen situations where it does. In this case, WoW uses P2P to distribute the game data and continues in the background while you’re in-game. This could definitely cause confusion, and it takes some major work to fix.

  • oats stao

    I currently am dealing with Shaw.ca on the west coast. 2 Weeks ago I upgraded to a bundle for 2mbps upload. The speed tests indicate it works fine. I can upload to Youtube, mediafire, ect no problem, efficient fast.   Only when I start Sharing my Original user content ( I run an Audio/Visual club online) do I see this shaping issue. It seems to be making out at this proverbial 80kbps.  I tried encoding the file ect. Still nothing> I have all my ports setup right. I called them a few times. The last call, the man on the phone said straight up, there is NO shaping with ANY useage with Shaw, aside from capping that is applied to those with plans that have limits what they can Download per month. I talked about how this aspect comes up all the time on forums and he called the forums unreliable , and basically to do harm to Shaw. I agree you can’t rely on everything on the web, I explained I’m always open for new angles and do much research to settle issues (that’s why I called Shaw to get theirs id eof things in a techncal aspect) but no technicalities explained. Just bold denial. Is this a fact?

    • Ugh. That really sucks. That’s one of the huge problems with all of these providers – they hold the cards and it is really tough to get them to help with problems in any meaningful way. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!