Comment: Canadian ISPs and Internet Traffic Management

I’ve recently put up a document that summarized most of the first round of filings for the CRTC’s investigation of Canadian ISP traffic management practices (PN 2008-19), and thought that I’d post a few things that I thought were most interesting (for me). Keep in mind that many of my interests revolve around deep packet inspection.

Network Use Averages

  1. Bell filed their specific data points in confidence, though from what they provided we can see that the top 5% of usage on the network has declined from 61.1% to 46.6%, and the top 10% of network usage has declined from 77.1% to 62.6%.
  2. In TELUS’ case, we find that their retail customers have decreased the amount of content they are uploading, though they are downloading more. Their wholesale customers are both downloading and uploading more than in 2006. Specific traffic data was filed in confidence to the CRTC.
  3. Bell finds that P2P and HTTP/Streaming traffic are the most commonly used end-user categories that contribute to bandwidth usage.

Canadian ISPs Admitting to Traffic Management

  1. Bell Wireline (excludes Bell Mobility and Bell Aliant Atlantic). DPI technology is used, though the vendor and products are filed in confidence.
  2. Cogeco uses DPI, but has filed the vendor and products in confidence.
  3. Rogers filed their comments in confidence, but from past information that has emerged we know that they are using DPI equipment.
  4. Shaw Communications Inc. uses Arbor-Ellacoya devices, though the particular products are filed in confidence.
  5. Barrett Xplore Inc. Uses VoIP prioritization, provisioning of modems, and DPI. Specifics are filed in confidence.
  6. While not explicitly stated, is appears as though Bragg Communications Ltd. also uses DPI.

Canadian ISPs Not Using Traffic Management

  1. MTS Allstream Inc.
  2. SaskTel (though they do use Arbor Peakflow SP, dominantly for network security purposes)
  3. Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.
  4. Telus

What is Being Filtered/Throttled?

  1. Bell acknowledges that they do throttle traffic between 1630 and 0200 each day by limiting bandwidth available to P2P applications. A detailed listing of applications is not publicly mentioned.
  2. Cogeco currently uses management technologies against: eDonkey/eMule, EmuleEncrypted, Kazaa, Fast Track KaZaA Networking, Napster, Bittorrent, Dijjer, Manolito, Hotline, Share, Soulseek, v-share, Zattoo, Joost, KuGoo, Kuro, DHT, Commercial File Sharing, Baidu Movie, Club Box, Winny, Gnitella, Gnutella Networking, WinMX, Direct Connect, PeerEnabler, Exosee, Further, Filtopia, Mute, NodeZilla, waste, Warez, NeoNet, PPLiveStream Misc, BAIBAO, POCO, Entropy, Rodi, Guruguru, Pando, Soribada, Freenet, PacketiX, Feidian, AntsP@P, Sony Location Free, thunder, Web Thunder. They only look at the specific signature of P2P applications.
  3. Rogers “looks at header information embedded in the payload and session establishment procedures.” What is unclear to me is how they are suggesting that header information is embedded in the payload itself – these are two separate spaces in packets, as I understand networking 101. Specifics P2P that are filtered is not mentioned, though they only concentrate on uploaded content.
  4. Shaw doesn’t say – they’ve filed their findings in confidence.
  5. Barrett doesn’t say – they’ve filed their findings in confidence.
  6. Bragg targets: Bittorrent, News, DirectConnect, Blubster, gnutella, KaZaA, WinMX, eDonkey, Filetopia, Hotline, GuruGuru, Soribada, Soulseek, Ares, JoltID, eMule, Waste, Konspire2b, ExoSee, FurtherNet, MUTE, GNUnet, Nodezilla. Bragg focuses on the packet headers and the behaviour of packet exchanges, and avoiding learning about the content of packet flows.

Under What Conditions Non-Management ISPs Would Manage Their Networks

  1. MTS Allstream notes that only if a capital investment analysis found traffic management technologies to lead to enhanced revenue would they invest in management technologies.
  2. SaskTel has three conditions that would lead them to adopt management technologies: (a) customer demand outstrips capacity and augmentation could not be economically accomplished; (b) if competitive forces require the introduction of alternate service definitions; (c) if there was a need to enforce the aUP so that there was sufficient network capacity for end-users.
  3. TELUS does not currently use management technologies such as DPI, and has no plans to do so.

There is more in the document that is of note, but insofar as it pertains to DPI I thought that these were probably core points that people would be interested in.

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