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Reader Comments (77)

Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:30PM chum said

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@Severius

I read the whole 6-sentence article (whew!) but I'm not really sure what you read into my comment. I could not care less about WoW, don't even play it. I don't care why it's being throttled. I'm arguing that if I pay for a certain level of service, that's what I should get. It has nothing to do with Blizzard screwing anyone.
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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 3:41PM Daelen said

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This is isn't rocket science. Torrents are very rarely used for true p2p and mostly just a pirate thing. A ton of us use WoW ports to get around the p2p throttle, now they're closing that hole.

Rogers is one of Canada's major television providers and has channels of its own. Only makes sense that they try to limit their internet customers from stealing from their television business ;)

Posted: Mar 27th 2011 3:59PM Averice said

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How does that save on costs? The wires are already laid, what exactly is increasing the costs?

Massively, would love a follow up article on this. Though I guess you guys don't usually do investigative... blogging?

Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:05PM Mystal said

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@Averice

Because there aren't enough cables laid to give every one full bandwidth, all the time. If they don't cap people, then they DO have to create more capacity, and that DOES cost money.

Internet is not simply on or off. There is a limit on the amount of data that can be sent down even a fiber optic line. At some point, you've got to lay more cable, and fiber is extremely expensive, for a lot of reasons.
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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:24PM fallwind said

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@Mystal

you mean they might actually have to turn ON some of the hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber already IN the ground?
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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:31PM Mystal said

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@fallwind

Is it sincerely your belief that there's a bunch of fiber that's just sitting there with no signal going through it? Is that really something you believe?
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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:40PM fallwind said

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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 8:20PM Laephis said

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@Mystal

It's not a "belief", it's a reality.

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Posted: Mar 30th 2011 1:50AM (Unverified) said

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LOL, Mystal just got owned.
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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 4:56PM Yog said

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Playing MMOs, especially wow, doesn't even take that much bandwidth...not exactly sure what they were trying to accomplish there other than get people angry at them.

Posted: Mar 27th 2011 6:37PM JoolaPrime said

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@Yog maybe not on a per-user basis but as a whole it chews up a lot.
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Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:02PM Mystal said

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@Tempes Magus

That's a good way to apportion the costs correctly, but in the end, no matter what scheme they use, they've either got to provide enough bandwidth that every one can always connect at maximum speed (even though a large portion of that bandwidth will never be used) or they need to to be able to occasionally cap people who are using enough that they're interfering with the ability of others to use their fair share.

If they do the former, then your bills would go way up (to pay for the capacity that's never being used), but you'd never be capped. If they do the latter, then wherever they draw the line will be too little for some people.

Ultimately, people just have to decide if they are getting their money's worth, and if not, find a cheaper alternative. That or government simply needs to step in and treat internet access like it's a necessary utility, like power and water.

Posted: Mar 27th 2011 5:20PM fallwind said

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@socialenemy2007

ya, let me get right on that switching thing, I can go to.... oh ya, no one because they all pull this crap.

Posted: Mar 27th 2011 7:16PM J Brad Hicks said

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How to test if they're doing this inadvertently: check to see if it affects City of Heroes players who are using the new NCsoft launcher, which also uses P2P to distribute patches.

Posted: Mar 30th 2011 10:45AM (Unverified) said

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I was one of the two people that filed the complaint against Rogers with the CRTC. There is a lot of disinformation in this thread; I'll try and clear some of it up.

Rogers has been throttling P2P connections for years. But the way they throttled P2P changed in October/November of 2010 (the exact date depends on where you are in Canada, it was rolled out in a phased approach across the country).

Prior to the end of last year, Rogers ITMP (Internet Traffic Management) was limited to the upload part of a P2P connection and would try to limit the upload speed for a given subscriber to 80Kb/s.

The new policies they rolled out in October/November are much more draconian. As soon as their DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) routines detect you are doing ANY sort of P2P on your connection, they throttle your entire connection to a crawl (around 15/20 Kb/s); both upstream and downstream. They also start inserting period ACK/RST packets into the actual P2P connections (basically a reset packet, telling the program at the other end to terminate the connection).

They then white-listed certain protocols: HTTP/HTTPS, email, certain types of video streaming (Youtube). But the majority of your connection becomes several throttled; and that includes things like VPN connections - so if you're using your home network to connect to the office; while some other computer on the same network is running a P2P transfer, your traffic to work slows to a crawl.

Rogers is in direct violation of CRTC regulations with these practices; first because they don't publicly state that they're doing this (it's take n some research - i.e. packet capture -on my end and that of other people to determine what it is exactly Rogers is doing); secondly, because each application of throttling PER CONTENT TYPE requires prior approval from the CRTC (which obviously Rogers didn't bother obtaining).

Now, where does WOW enter the picture?

The actual device that performs the throttling on Rogers network is a product sold by Cisco called the "Cisco Service Control Application for Broadband" (technically a piece of management software that runs on Cisco's Service Control Engine). This product is used by almost all major N. American ISPs; which is why originally, the WOW connectivity issues weren't just limited to Rogers.

In November 2010, around the same time that Rogers was rolling out it's new ITMP policy, Blizzard changed how the WOW client communicates with the server, in preparation for Cataclysm. I suspect these changes are related to the so-called "on-demand delivery" capabilities of the client - i.e. the fact that you can start playing the game now before it is fully patched.

Unfortunately, something in how they changed the underlying communication mechanism inadvertently causes the Cisco management software to identify one part of the WOW traffic (specifically, the connection that is used to send game client commands to the server; i.e. button presses, chat, etc) as P2P traffic.

The ITMP practices then kick in: the entire connection is severely throttled and the connection used for sending game commands gets periodic ACK/RST packets, which causes the client to terminate the connection, disconnecting the player from the game.

This problem affected subscribers across North America, not just Rogers subscribers. Apparently, this led Blizzard to work closely with Cisco, resulting in a "fix", a so-called Protocal Pack (specifically, pack #23). Most ISPs rolled this out during the month of December, but apparently Rogers lagged behind. It's not clear to me whether they every installed this "patch" and obviously Rogers isn't going to tell us.

There is a secondary problem: the WOW patch client itself. By default, this patch client uses a P2P protocol as well to obtain the patches and of course, it's impacted by the same throttling behavior: as soon as the client starts up, your entire connection gets throttled severely. If you then, say, try to play the game on a second PC, you will not be able to stay connected for more than 30 seconds. Incidentally, this is how I discovered the problem: I was installing the WOW client on a laptop (requiring 9.5 gb of patches) and trying to play at the same time from a desktop pc.

I hope all this adds some additional information to the whole debate.

Posted: Mar 30th 2011 10:53AM (Unverified) said

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Oh, one more thing - it is amusing to see how much time Rogers reps are spending going into various game-related forums and posting the same response they issued to the CRTC whenever this story crops up. The contrast with how they completely ignored the months and months of complaints by hundreds of WOW subscribers on their technical forums about this issue is quite striking....
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Posted: Apr 3rd 2011 12:13PM placebonation said

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Before another retarded word is said about it being Canada's or Blizzards fault. Blame Bell. Rogers buys bandwidth from US based company Bell. When bell raises prices Roger's has to cut the cost somewhere. So chill with the 'lefts' fault in Canada. Read a book. This is Bells fault.

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