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  • Opinion, Telecommunications - Written by on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 13:14 - 61 Comments

    Reality check: Telstra’s P2P trial is no big deal

    opinion Those panic merchants jumping up and down screaming blue murder over Telstra’s P2P shaping trial need to take a chill pill and go sit in the naughty corner until their blood pressure sinks a few points. The reality is that the trial isn’t a big deal and it’s certainly nothing out of the ordinary in the context of the Australian and international telecommunications sector.

    Over the past week I’ve watched, absolutely dumbfounded, as Australia’s technical community has tied itself in incredibly angry knots over a small trial of peer to peer shaping technology and a few other network management techniques which Telstra is planning to conduct with the assistance of a small clutch of its customers in Victoria.

    I’ve watched, amazed, as groups such as the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network have come out of the woodwork to demand answers from Telstra on the situation, claiming that the trial could lead to a “second-class Internet connection” being sold to customers … or even that it could lead to prices rising to the point that some might not be able to afford to buy broadband services at all (what?). I’ve watched, chuckling under my breath at the audacity of the claim, as iiNet’s chief technology officer claimed that the whole initiative represented “purely a business decision” on the part of Telstra to avoid upgrading its ADSL network.

    I’ve watched as technical commentators who should know better have posted extensive guides to circumventing Telstra’s trial … despite the fact that it’s completely voluntary. And I’ve watched as the head of Australia’s competition regulator threatened to investigate Telstra over the issue, despite the fact that there is no suggestion of illegality in Telstra’s trial.

    I’ve watched as the conspiracy theorists have come out, even normally sensible commentators such as networking engineer Mark Newton, who appears to have told music site Tone Deaf that Telstra’s next step could be to “molest Skype sessions”. That same article makes the headline claim that Telstra wants to “stop illegal music downloading” through its trial. And check out this piece by the generally calm-headed Stilgherrian, who opines that Telstra’s trial is the perfect way to segue into letting “the copyright industry’s investigators loose on their customers” … despite the fact that Telstra explicitly denied this was the case, and has in fact had a strong history of withholding customer information from litigious film and TV studios unless forced to hand it over by law — even going so far as to support iiNet in its recent High Court case regarding online piracy.

    Yes, yes. As Telstra chief executive David Thodey said at the company’s regular financial results briefing session last week, news reports around this issue are more than “a little over-hyped”. In actual fact, they’re flat out insane. And that’s not even mentioning the dozens of pages of forum postings and hundreds of other comments published by regular joes online. People are literally tearing each other to shreds online debating this one.

    So what’s happening here? Well, frankly, there’s a dominant industry narrative going on here which has remained in place for the past decade or so (Telstra being the ‘big bad’), and journalists starved of interesting stories in the slow days of a new year are whipping themselves into a frenzy over any little bit of controversial content they can find, in a desperate drive to generate page impressions and justify their feeble existence.

    The only problem is, the reality doesn’t match the hype. Telstra’s trial isn’t the end of the world or even really that unusual in the broader context of the Australian and international telecommunications industry.

    For starters, it’s a small trial. Telstra executive John Chambers, explaining it last week, states (emphasis mine): “The trial will be limited to a small number of ADSL customers in Victoria. All affected customers in the trial areas will be informed of the trial in advance and be given a choice of whether to participate in the trial.” So you’re probably not even going to be invited to be part of the trial to start with.

    Secondly, if you are on Telstra (god only knows why), and you happen to be invited into its shaping trial, then you can opt-out. Wow. What an incredible concept.

    That’s right. Don’t go on Whirlpool screaming about Telstra’s appalling network management practices. Don’t write opinionated articles on your personal blog damning Telstra for its all-round, eternal evilness. Don’t hold satanic rituals in your back yard in an attempt to sabotage David Thodey’s love life. Just tell Telstra you don’t want to be part of its trial, and that’s it. You’ll probably never hear anything about it ever again. It’s voluntary, people. You don’t want to be part of the trial? Don’t be. Incredible. Just incredible. It’s almost like we still have free will.

    Sure, the trial may eventually extend to Telstra’s wider customer base. It may become part of Telstra’s standard offering. It may even become compulsory. So what? Don’t care for Telstra’s network management practices? Well, for starters you’re probably more technically aware than the average joe and likely not using Telstra to start with. When any of my friends and family ask me for advice on which broadband ISP to go with, my first comment is usually “anyone but Telstra”, and my second comment is usually “iiNet or Internode; TPG if you’re a cheap-ass bastard”.

    For every telco like Telstra that has shitty network management practices (hell, why this that even news?), there’s going to be another major ISP which takes a different path; a better path; a path more aimed at actually delivering good outcomes to customers, which if you’ll think for a moment, has never really been a strong suit of Telstra’s (apart from with respect to its Next G mobile network of course, which is stellar). If you hate P2P shaping, vote with your feet and find another telco. It’s a free capitalistic world out there, not that you’d know from all the whining Australians do about how the Government should save us from everything.

    Next, have you considered the fact that Telstra’s P2P shaping trial may not actually be that unusual? In fact, that most other ISPs globally do something similar on their networks?

    In the UK, for example — the market usually most compared to Australia (the US is quite different as it has a number of geography-specific telco monopolies) — this kind of practice is basically bog normal. ISPs like Talk Talk, Orange and BT (click the links for the details) all conduct some form of shaping and traffic prioritisation on their network, and as long as they disclose it up-front, most customers have no problem with it. Industry regulator Ofcom even issued a formal discussion paper on the issue back in November 2011 (PDF), and found that the key ingredient here was information.

    As long as all of the ISPs disclosed precisely what they were up to, and left enough room in their networks for acceptable speeds for services regardless of shaping, it wasn’t that big a deal. After all, as we’ve mentioned previously, it’s an open market, and as long as customers have all the information, they’re able to make their own choices about which ISP to pay for broadband services.

    In addition, one factor that I don’t think many Australians commenting on this debate have really examined is that Telstra’s not the only ISP to run sophisticated network prioritisation tools on its network. Take this statement by iiNet customer service representative Matthew Jones in August 2010, when an international study found iiNet’s network one of the worst in Australia in terms of BitTorrent speeds.

    “We don’t throttle BitTorrent – what we do is manage congestion and give priority to interactive and time sensitive traffic – think VoIP and other “must be there in time” style traffic. The testing that this study has used is looking for evidence of the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. This is used by all major ISP’s (including iiNet) to manage congestion and to combat events like DoS attacks.”

    Or, alternatively, take this paragraph directly from iiNet’s Customer Relationship Agreement (PDF):

    “Applications will be prioritised based on whether the performance of the application is time-sensitive (i.e. the need for real-time usage of the application) and whether it requires a minimum throughput speed. Applications such as streaming video, voice, mail, web, Virtual Private Networking (VPN), Gaming, Video on demand (VoD), Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and other similar applications will therefore be prioritised over non-time sensitive applications such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and file Downloading. For example, your Netphone1 service will be prioritised over any Downloading you do, thereby maintaining the quality of your Netphone1 service.”

    This statement is extremely similar to what Telstra said about its P2P shaping trial this week:

    “The key characteristic of Bittorrent peer to peer traffic that is relevant to our network traffic management trials is the fact that most such traffic is not time-critical – for example, compared with VoIP or video streaming – and so might be slowed without significant consumer detriment. Other types of P2P services (eg some gaming services, Skype etc) will not be targeted for shaping this traffic management trial.”

    So one telco doesn’t explicitly shape P2P services on its network, but does de-prioritise such services when other more “time-sensitive” (read: ‘latency-sensitive’) services need the access, whereas the other will actively shape P2P services to help ensure other time-sensitive services always work. It sounds like the intention of what iiNet and Telstra are doing is in fact very similar.

    Of course, there are two key differences between the two approaches of the two telcos. As many have pointed out, Telstra is explicitly planning to trial what is called ‘Deep Packet Inspection’ technology on its network — which lets it look very closely at the content of Internet data as it passes through its network, and deal with it accordingly. This is part of how the company plans to throttle P2P services, and it’s what has gotten privacy advocates up in arms this week, even though Telstra explicitly stated that while it will be able to identify discrete packets as constituting P2P material, for example, it will not “know or record any of the content or information that it contains”.

    And there’s also another difference: Assuming there is no other network traffic on a certain broadband connection, that broadband connection, under Telstra, might still have its P2P functionality shaped, while under iiNet it would not be.

    However, if you think about it, the second case is relatively unlikely; what are the odds that the broadband connection of your household is explicitly only pulling down P2P files? In most households with multiple occupants, it’s a relatively small percentage of the time, perhaps only in the middle of the night. If you are a heavy downloader and keep the BitTorrent fire lit 24×7, you probably weren’t using Telstra to start with. And what is explicitly wrong with Telstra conducting deep packet inspection on its network traffic for the purposes of network prioritisation, if it is not aware of the content of the information it’s processing?

    For almost all Australian broadband consumers, assuming Telstra only minimally throttles P2P usage, the difference between these two scenarios is actually very minor in their effect to the end user; and I would suggest that in practice, most won’t even notice it’s going on.

    These, are, of course, precisely the sorts of differences which technically aware people will notice and know of; as I believe I’ve mentioned, I wouldn’t personally touch Telstra’s broadband network with a stick, because I had pretty much already assumed that if Telstra wasn’t already using these kinds of techniques on its network, then it eventually would be, and I didn’t want any part of this. As a technical user; I want my technology to be pure; unsullied like the driven snow. This, I believe, is is why I spent quite a few years as a Linux systems administrator; I didn’t want to admit the impurity of a flawed system like Windows into my life. My ideals have since sunk to the extent that I’m now almost fully complicit in Steve Jobs’ reality-controlled Apple environment; but I digress.

    The difficulty with technology, of course, is that even those systems which we perceive as pure, are actually anything but.

    Network neutrality? Don’t make me laugh. Every time you download a packet over virtually any broadband service in Australia, your ISP prioritises it in some way, shape or form. iiNet openly admits its FetchTV service gets priority over everything else on its network (hell, it even requires you to use its own ADSL router to facilitate even greater control by the ISP), Telstra has done the same thing for years and years with its own IPTV services, and I’m 100 percent sure that others such as Optus, TPG and even that God’s Gift to Broadband, Internode, does precisely the same thing. All Telstra revealed last week was a trial that would take that already entrenched that environment just one step further. And it’s even voluntary.

    But the technology industry loves dichotomies. Microsoft is bad, Apple is good (despite the fact that most people use Windows). No wait, Apple is bad, and Linux is pure. No wait, Telstra is bad, and iiNet is pure as the driven snow. No wait, iiNet is the real big bad, and Internode represents the one and only holy broadband saviour. Until they were bought by iiNet. Oops.

    The truth is always more complex. However, if there’s one thing I have learned in my more than three decades of life, it’s that people don’t always want to hear the truth. Screaming at each other about manufactured controversy is usually just so much more interesting.

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    1. Goresh
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink |

      “an international study found iiNet’s network one of the worst in Australia in terms of BitTorrent speeds.”

      This is what I was getting at in the other blog on this.

      Using QoS as IINet does means that ALL traffic end up with a higher priority.
      In practice, thios can mean torrents are slowed to a crawl while the network is doing something else, ANYTHING else.

      Torrent shaping the way Telstra is proposing means limiting Torrent traffic to a certain limit AND NO MORE. After that, it has the same fair and equal access to the network that every other service does (ie it may be slower than the speed it is shaped to simply because there is no more room in teh pipe for ANY traffic).

      And remember, that Telstra will only be applying this shaping during busy periods.

    2. belize
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink |

      good, honest, unbiased, technology reporting.

    3. Simon Reidy
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink |

      Good piece Renai. People really did jump the gun on this one. However I guess net neutrality, while largely an American concept, has also pervaded the thoughts of many open interent supporters in Australia, who are afraid of what Telstra’s trial may lead to.

      By the way I was following every single piece of your advice until this misguided suggestion:

      “Don’t hold satanic rituals in your back yard in an attempt to sabotage David Thodey’s love life”

      Regardless of Telstra P2P throttling, I will always continue participating in satanic Thodey-Love-Life rituals. A man must have a hobby after all :)

    4. Adam Nelson
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink |

      Heres my 2 cent. Regardless of a trial or not

      Best way of explaining it is like this

      Imagaine your a night club bouncer whom been told to stop people from coming in that wearing white shoes. The club opens at 7pm and 20% at capacity, by 8:30pm 70%, 8:45pm 93% and 10pm the place is 110% over capacity.
      Still you said “No people with white shoes”

      Telstra want to shape traffic to delay any forced investment into building more network infrastructure when the NBN is deployed it slows down any ROI (return on investment). Telstra has been reluctant to upgrade any infrastructure for the past 2-3 years until government and TIO complaints pile up forces into fixing the real problem

      The good example was the CRACE exchange in ACT. For entire year resident lobbied ISP. ISP were like “Wholesaler is got it finger stuck up it’s ass” and this upset customers because Telstra wouldn’t upgrade back-haul or hardware. It wanted to ignore the problem until TIO and Federal members started pressuring Telstra wholesale to “fix it”.

      It wasn’t Bittorrent traffic back then causing exchange congestion. It was all internet traffic and everything would be shaped to frustration of 512k speed in peak times.

      The point trying to get across is just because you shape bittorrent. It only delays real issue from being resolved or DPI have little will have no effect in resolving a congestion issue

      • Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink |

        “Telstra has been reluctant to upgrade any infrastructure for the past 2-3 years until government and TIO complaints pile up forces into fixing the real problem”

        There’s not a lot of evidence to support this claim. I draw your attention to comments by David Thodey last week:

        “On the fixed side, we completed an upgrade to almost 2000 sites enabling around 480,000 customers to access ADSL2+ broadband and we are making good progress on the build of the NBN transit network.”

        http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20130207/pdf/42cwnt8b8tz1rv.pdf

        • Bruce H
          Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink |

          Yes, to the Customer Telstra is spending, but I think the comment is that Telstra are not investing in International Transit.

        • Adam Nelson
          Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink |

          I use to work in ISP support and spent entire year watching what Telstra did to customers on the Crace exchange

          Telstra has no point of upgrading their DSLAM network and even a guy whom works in service assurance for Telstra agrees with me

        • Adam Nelson
          Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

          The only reason why Telstra is happy to be investing into Top Hat upgrade is because someone else is paying for the installation. This being NBN and Australian Government paying for access to the conducts and future bonus of $3000 when they’re switched from copper to the NBN

          It’s like a rail provider been told to install another track and then two years later its was going to be replaced by a faster MAGLEV train. There no ROI for installing another track in two years unless someone else subsidies it

    5. Posted 12/02/2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink |

      Renai, if you have taken to Telstra, then you pay a “PremiumPrice” for a “Premium Service”.
      personally i went there for their HFC network. i am 4.5 KMS away from the exchange and can get 2.4Mbps of ADSL..

      Im averaging 116Mbps down and 3Mbps up on their top HFC plan. and i can understand why i would be upset if telstra decided to throttle peer to peer. instead of maintaining their network. when it is so expensive to start with.

      i work for a telco that throttles peer to peer to 32kbps. thats becouse all of their products are wirreless and they dont want to clog up mobile towers, thats fine becouse if you want to download movies use a fixed connection.

      • NBNAccuracy
        Posted 12/02/2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink |

        “Im averaging 116Mbps down and 3Mbps up on their top HFC plan. and i can understand why i would be upset if telstra decided to throttle peer to peer. instead of maintaining their network. when it is so expensive to start with”
        Being a shared medium I bet all your neighbours would be damn glad they have stopped you hogging more than your fair share.

        • Posted 12/02/2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink |

          ^Maybe.. :)

        • Mulky
          Posted 12/02/2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink |

          Actually nbnaccuracy I think you will find that the ‘shared network’ issue that I hear about from time to time applies most to US pure coax cable rather than the hybrid we have in Oz.

          I saturate my connection regularly at various times of the day (shift worker) and haven’t dropped below 100 Mbps throughput or 34 Mbps prior to DOCSIS3.0.

          • NBNAccuracy
            Posted 12/02/2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink |

            Well good for you. I know people who regularly drop below 15Mb of and evening. I guess your lucky, but one persons experience doesn’t translate in to it not happening. It does.

          • Posted 12/02/2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink |

            @Mulky

            Nope. HFC has the same issues here as the US- total bandwidth for a EuroDOCSIS 3.0 node (Telstra) is 480Mbps down, 120Mbps (about 50MBps higher than US DOCSIS). That’s shared over maximum 500 users on Telstra’s nodes, much higher on Optus’.

            HFC is a shared medium. That’s fact. Just like FTTN and FTTH. HOW it is shared makes the difference (HFC total downloads 480MBps over 500 users, FTTN maybe 1Gbit over 300 users, FTTH (GPON) 2.5Gbps over 32 users) and rather depends on your luck in your neighbourhood. For the looks of you heavy downloaders, I’m glad I get a reasonable 9Mbps on ADSL :P

            Seriously though, imagine when IPTV takes off and EVERYONE is downloading 20-30Mbps consistently during peak hours…..watch HFC die in the arse then. It’s managed, but there is only so much you can do before you have to upgrade and push fibre further in. Which of course Telstra weren’t and now certainly aren’t going to do.

            You’re lucky you get those speeds. Hopefully you’ll continue to be before the NBN comes along.

    6. Tubsta
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink |

      Couldn’t have said it better myself Renai.

      Any ISP that does QoS on any packet is basically doing the same thing – prioritising everything else over p2p, just not de-prioritising p2p.

      People need to take their Orange (Internode) colour glasses off. The day I did 2.5 years ago gave me a better perspective of the entire internet world.

    7. Douglas
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink |

      Great article. Finally someone talking sense.

      I would like to point out one error that many of your readers have been making (and crying out “What about our PRIVACY!”) and that you have made above also “lets it look very closely at the content of Internet data as it passes through its network”.

      The DPI technology Telstra will be deploying (and most ISPs run – stuff like Packeteer) does not typically examine the content of packets passing through the appliance.

      These appliances identify suspected P2P flows and throttle them accordingly based on the heuristics of data flows. P2P flows have characteristics (heuristics) that can be identified just by observing the packet patterns, without actually looking at the packet contents themselves.

      Don’t just take my word for it:

      “Any inspection that takes place is used only to identify the signature of the traffic; it does not identify the content.”

      http://exchange.telstra.com.au/2013/02/05/maximising-the-customer-experience-trialling-new-ways-of-managing-our-network/

      Regards,
      Douglas.

    8. Brendan
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink |

      Renai,

      I will point out that this trial is to adjust traffic priority, based on perceived value. This is a slippery slope because once you start down this path, it’s increasingly tempting to make other changes.

      And it’s not like there aren’t a bunch of folks who’d love to be able to effect that change.

      It’s the same concern as was expressed over the government filter; the notion that once you have such a mechanic in place, the temptation to broaden it increases.

      Labelling people whom see that as a bit of a concern, as some sort of cranks doesn’t do the story any justice; it’s a bit like Turnbull calling people who have differing views as religious freaks.

      It’s a trial now, so doesn’t sound at all concerning. Trials have a habit of sometimes becoming de-facto. And I’d be interested to see if you have the same lack of concern then. :)

      • Douglas
        Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

        This is tinfoil hat stuff, really.
        Either explicitly or covertly, most every decent sized ISP is shaping P2P. Why no concern that those guys are going to expand the scope?
        Watch out for the black helicopters.

        • Brendan
          Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink |

          Because everyone else (apparently) is, it’s okay?

          Do you have a list handy of all the ISPs that are purposefully de-prioritising P2P traffic and aren’t telling people? Because I’ve certainly not seen a huge amount of damning indictments of ISPs gong gang busters doing this.

          • Douglas
            Posted 12/02/2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink |

            Did you click on the link in Renai’s article above which gives you the list you are after? I think those guys are doing OK.

            • Brendan
              Posted 12/02/2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink |

              You mean the list based on a survey of people whom are testing to see if their bit torrent client is going as fast as they think it should?

              That’s not what I asked for. That’s a list of people testing speeds; and a set of outcomes based on that. It’s not for a moment a 1:1 equivalent of ISPs whom actively de-priorities P2P.

              Sure, some do. And their terms of use typically state this. But that’s not the same as “everyone”. We know Telstra haven’t, otherwise what on earth is the point of the trial?

              I have healthy scepticism and curiosity over this; don’t confuse that for some sort of tin-hat membership because I simply question the purpose.

          • Paul Thompson
            Posted 12/02/2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink |

            Brendan, I have to admit I was wondering the same thing. The whole “other people are doing it too” justification is something that we outgrow in primary school.

            It also seems to contradict the point made about “If you don’t like it, leave.” (Which is another line that people throw out which is completely devoid of meaning.)

    9. Brendan
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink |

      Ultimately it’s Telstra’s network and they can really do whatever they like. Prioritising traffic currently tends to be based on either having dedicated VC’s, such as for FetchTV, or simply honouring QoS.

      But there is a big difference between choosing to honouring packets with QoS bits set, and actively de-prioritising traffic based on protocol, for example. The former is opt-in, the later is enforced.

      I still think this is Testra’s way of hedging it’s bets over potential capacity upgrades for the NBN, given the upcoming election. The timing is certainly interesting. ;)

    10. Tinman_au
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink |

      But Renai, think of the children!!!!1

      Actually, the kids are probably smart enough to use encrypted torrents if their parents do decide to stay on the trial. I can’t see even Telstra messing around with VPN/encrypted data like most business users use, and even if the trial goes live Australia wide, it’ll only effect the lazy and tech ignorant…

    11. Anonymous
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

      “iiNet openly admits its FetchTV service gets priority over everything else on its network”

      I think you’ll find this is only done on customers’ accounts who use FetchTV.

    12. Guest
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink |

      i think this article is trying to make a mole hill out of a mountain. upping priorrity on certain apps does not slow other apps down necessarily. what telstra are proposing to do does slow down p2p. thats a fact.
      anyone who thinks the oh its fine, its just a trial, is delusional. they arent just going to do a trial to a few non p2pers since anyone who does p2p will opt out. they will implement it and affect all their customers since there was no impact during the trial (since all the p2pers opted out).
      telstra also have already sent websites visited by customers overseas. whats to stop them sending the DPI information to someone outside their network as well.
      Just because they didnt cooperate in the past with regulators, well, they got new management now. they might have a different opinion.

      And FYI, i never have any issues using p2p on iinet. i dont do it often anymore, but it works fine when i use it

    13. Daniel
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink |

      Pretty sad for you to think that Renai.

      Lets like it if you do ISP Filtering Trial.

      Then you can be like China.

      And if you don’t like what I’m saying, restricting anyone’s access is still restricting.

      I don’t care if it’s Management or not, Trial or not, the fact is it is happening.

      As many others before me would say, I Pay X I get Y – simple – yet effective.

    14. John
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink |

      “People are literally tearing each other to shreds”

      http://theoatmeal.com/comics/literally

      I don’t think you mean literally. :)

    15. aNTHONY b truth
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink |

      Hopefully Anonymous will D.O.S the hell out Telstra Bigpond Servers, until they dump this fascist eavesdropping trial, In the meantime customers should be using this as an opportunity to get out of their Bigpond contracts! those who stay will need to look at VPN’s to bypass this silly D.P.I

    16. Richard
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink |

      Renai , your whole article reads like one huge troll, I believe the trial is the thin edge of the wedge.
      We pay x dollars for x amount of data we don’t need to be told how we should use it.

    17. David
      Posted 12/02/2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink |

      Renai I largely agree with everything you’ve said however there is one point I didn’t like. You mention if you are unhappy being with telstra and the potential of the trial being extended, then change ISPs. That’s all well and good if your exchange supports multiple providers. If many people like me are on an offnet exchange or even in a Telstra fiber community where it is either Telstra or just a wholesale of Telstra, you don’t really have much choice. If the trial does extend I imagine it is likely to include their wholesale customers and even if it doesn’t, their wholesale product is terrible. I am on ADSL2+ and was a TPG and spin customer on my exchange but either due to Telstra prioritising their direct customers or my ISP not having enough back haul, the speeds were atrocious. The minute I churned to Telstra my speeds were miraculously perfect. Nothing changed on my end and I went through many months of complaining to both previous ISPs. I’m stuck with telstra until the NBN. And if the NBN and labor haters gettheir way around here, that’s going to be a long time.

    18. Posted 12/02/2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink |

      TBH, I didn’t even bother reading ANY of those articles when I saw them on my newsfeed.

      I saw it was voluntary and I saw it was a trial. End of story.

      Iinet smash my occasional P2P downloads. I’m kind of surprised it’s taken Telstra THIS long.

    19. OliphanT
      Posted 13/02/2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink |

      “…in a desperate drive to generate page impressions and justify their feeble existence.”

      Pot … meet Kettle.

      Although I will confess most of your articles are quite readable when you are not going off the deep end. At least you *try* not to be too biased. Thankfully least you have some fact in there unlike most other so called technology reporters who write pieces with an agenda in mind.

      • Posted 13/02/2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink |

        I don’t need to get extra page impressions, I have enough to meet advertising needs …

    20. OliphanT
      Posted 13/02/2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink |

      Frankly limiting traffic that serves no real purpose has no impact as far as I can see. Don’t see what all the fuss is about. Torrents use too many connections anyway…

      • Paul Thompson
        Posted 13/02/2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink |

        What do you mean by traffic that “serves no purpose”?

        Bittorrent may not be efficient but it is effective.

    21. Sean
      Posted 13/02/2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink |

      Renai you may think P2P throttling is fairly benign but it leads to the slippery slope of packet inspection and internet censorship. I thought we were done with this crap when Conroy finally decided to drop it. Sadly you are the third journalist I have read this week that has hinted that throttling and DPI is “not such a bad thing”. Maybe you need to spend some time in China as a journalist to gain some perspective.

      If Telstra really wants to limit use then they need to drop their monthly GB limits and reduce the corresponding monthly fees.

      Of course we all know they won’t do that.

      • seven_tech
        Posted 13/02/2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink |

        @Sean

        DPI is used by iinet and TPG….they use it for the Freezone…

        • Paul Thompson
          Posted 13/02/2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

          I think it is important to know who else uses it, and how they use it.

          As long as it doesn’t become an argument based on “if someone else does it, it is okay for me to do it too”

      • NPSF3000
        Posted 13/02/2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink |

        “Sadly you are the third journalist I have read this week that has hinted that throttling and DPI is “not such a bad thing”. Maybe you need to spend some time in China as a journalist to gain some perspective.”

        Be careful – technology is often neutral, it’s how it’s used that is the problem.

        • Posted 13/02/2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink |

          @NPSF3000

          Indeed. As I said above, iinet use DPI for identifying Freezone traffic. The technology is not the problem. Technology can’t be evil- only the people that use it.

      • Posted 13/02/2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink |

        “Maybe you need to spend some time in China as a journalist to gain some perspective.”

        Insulting me isn’t going to get me to seriously consider your argument, mate ;)

        • Sean
          Posted 13/02/2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink |

          That definitely was not intended to be an insult. It was a statement. Isn’t freedom of information a basic tenent of journalism? Why would you be supporting a mechanism that has the potential to restrict the freedom of reporting of factual information. Or has the potential to breech personal privacy. Any attack on net neutrality undermines the whole system of freedom of information.

          How can you be sure DPI and throttling won’t lead to a further controls on our internet access.

          • Posted 13/02/2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink |

            “Any attack on net neutrality undermines the whole system of freedom of information.”

            No. It doesn’t.

            • Sean
              Posted 13/02/2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink |

              /me checks how many Telstra ads appear on the Delimiter website … ;)

              • Posted 13/02/2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink |

                @Sean

                Seriously?? You’re THAT petty?

                • Sean
                  Posted 13/02/2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink |

                  @seven_tech: Actually no .. I respect Rene a great deal. Regardless I think the topic is running its course. It will be interesting to see how Telstra responds to public opinion.

                  If anything Rene’s articles have certainly made people far more aware of DPI and traffic throttling. That is a definite positive in a country where much of the population is blissfully unaware of these types of issues.

              • Posted 13/02/2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink |

                “/me checks how many Telstra ads appear on the Delimiter website … ;)”

                Um … none just now ;)

                • Abel Adamski
                  Posted 14/02/2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink |

                  Whips out, get cracking

            • Posted 14/02/2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink |

              @ Renai,

              http://www.technologyspectator.com.au/telstras-perilous-p2p-throttle-plans

              “The trial may seem innocuous but there are a number of pertinent questions that need to be asked.

              What’s to stop Telstra either selling or voluntarily providing information obtained using DPI to content producers so that they can take action against individual Telstra customers?

              What would Telstra do if content producers made it a condition of a license for television, movie and music content that Telstra was to use DPI to identify and throttle the connections of customers that use peer-to-peer networks?

              What will Telstra do if subpoenaed to provide this information in any future court action taken by content producers? Even if the court was mistaken to permit such a subpoena the immediate effect would be devastating for many Australians even if the matter was overturned at a later time similar to the iiNet High Court decision.

              Another thing to keep in mind is that Telstra will be doing the content producers a big favour by collecting information using DPI. This information will be so enticing to content producers that we should expect no stone left unturned in their effort to gain access.

              Telstra’s trial of DPI is misguided and communications minister Stephen Conroy should step in to prevent Telstra using DPI for the purpose of throttling peer-to-peer networks. What’s needed is a national review of the use of DPI and legislation that would severely punish carriers or ISPs (including immediate loss of license) and jail time for executives that made information collected using DPI available to any third party organisation.

              Australians should be very worried about the privacy and security implications of the use of DPI. This is a monster that must be stopped now before consumers end up paying a hefty price.”

              Alot of questions need to be answered, as it is very clear that other people will try and get hands on this type of data. and as demonstrated before tesltra has had a history of handing of data.

              Renai, im sorry however you appear to be wearing Blinkers at the moment.

              • seven_tech
                Posted 14/02/2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink |

                @SammyG

                As I’ve said several times now, iinet and several other ISPs ALREADY use DPI for their “Freezone” content. It’s only because Telstra are using it to throttle SOME PTP traffic that all of a sudden DPI has become an issue.

                The same issues surrounding what data is used how obtained from DPI could be used against iinet for using it for their Freezone….but nobody makes noises about that.

                • Posted 14/02/2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink |

                  @ Sevent_Tech.

                  hey, i am also aware that other providers are using it on their networks aswell. i have also acknowledged that i work for a telco that does currently throtle P2P on their mobile Broadband products.

                  what i have an issue with. is we now have the Biggest telco in Australia Condoning Actually slowing down certain services that you already have paid a premium to gain access to.

                  i dont have an issue with throttling P2P over mobile networks, becouse fixed line networks have a Much greater Bandwidth than 3G mobile networks. and congestion is a major issue for mobile companies.

                  also IInet and the other telcos are using DPI for prioritisation, so a packet of data coming from Freezone can be marked as priority 1 where as P2P or general browsing packets can be marked as priority 2 or 3. if there is no congestion at the node. then no difference will be made to the order of packets going through.

                  So, in telstras world.
                  no congestion at present your data that you have already paid a Premium to gain access to, is going to be artificially slowed anyway, and maybe handed over for data mining.

                  • seven_tech
                    Posted 14/02/2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink |

                    @SammyG

                    Do we know Telstra are going to actually “shape” PTP or are they simply going to prioritise PTP low so that all other traffic will go through first?

                    If it’s the first, then what they are doing is nothing different from iinet etc. I’m unsure which way they are actually heading. I’ve not read much about the technical detail of what they’re doing.

        • Posted 13/02/2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink |

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came

          Renai,
          First the came for the P2P
          and i didnt say anything, for im not on telstra and i dont use P2P
          then they came for ….

    22. Blake
      Posted 13/02/2013 at 1:04 pm | Permalink |

      Reality check: It is a big deal.

    23. Chunk
      Posted 14/02/2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink |

      Slippery slope…

      • seven_tech
        Posted 14/02/2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink |

        @Chuck

        Better tell that to iinet then….

    24. pblakez
      Posted 14/02/2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink |

      can I come out of the naughty corner now Renai ? ;}

    25. Cranky
      Posted 15/02/2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink |

      So I go to a restaurant, order a meal and when it arrives at the table it looks fantastic.

      I take a couple of bites and I’m really enjoying it when suddenly the waiter appears and removes the remaining food, leaving me with the plate and cutlery.

      When I jack up about it he repsonds by saying “Oh we didn’t know you wanted to eat the meal? Why are you complaining, you’ve still got a perfectly good plate and cutlery?”

      Becuase F#@K you Telstra, that’s why.




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