Comcast is back in the news with a new bandwidth limiting feature.
After getting a sharp slap on the hand by the FCC Comcast has found a new method for slowing down the P2P users according to a story at DSLReports.
The new system will use hardware installed with the Regional Network Routers. This hardware is looking for one of two conditions; if either of these is met it will flip the user from a Priority Best Effort routing to a plain Best Effort routing. The lower QoS will remain in effect for 15 minutes.
The conditions are:
Sustained usage of 70% of allotted up or downstream throughput and when the Cable Modem Termination System for a user gets congested, and that user's traffic is somehow identified as being responsible. I am not sure how they will determine that as there can be over 15,000 users attached to any given CMTS.
Read more here.
Comcast says that sustained use of 70% of your up or downstream throughput triggers the BE state, at which point you'll find your traffic priority lowered until your usage drops to 50% of your provisioned upstream or downstream bandwidth for "a period of approximately 15 minutes." A throttled Comcast user being placed in a BE state "may or may not result in the user's traffic being delayed or, in extreme cases, dropped before PBE traffic is dropped."
Note that upstream and downstream bandwidth are managed separately. Also note that the differentiation between PBE and BE traffic occurs in two millisecond increments. According to Comcast, even if the packets for a best effort throttled user missed 50 "busses," the delay would only be about one-tenth of a second.
In addition to the new throttling system, Comcast has also a 250GB monthly usage cap for all users. As we mentioned last Friday, Comcast has confirmed that a web portal-based bandwidth tracker is currently in beta among Comcast employees -- but has yet to give an official launch date. A Comcast insider had previously given us leaked screenshots of the monitor, and said it was originally scheduled to go live on January 5.