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Friday, October 19, 2007


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Dave Sprogis

I’ve witnessed something like this for several months when moving large files from one computer to another. When I use HTTP over port 80, the first couple meg seem to transfer at full bandwidth. After that point the Comcast dampers seem to engage and the last meg (if you ever get there) can take 100X the time of the first. I’ve observed that by switching protocols and ports, I am able to bypass the dampers and the file transfers at the full bandwidth to completion.

It seems to me that an appropriate response from the P2P community would be a scanning approach in which ports and perhaps protocols are dynamically shifted as the transfer rate drops below a threshold. Comcast would naturally respond by dampening all or most of the high-order ports and would look for patterns in the protocol. When this happens it seems to me that the P2P community might need to start looking at ways to masquerade under cover of well-known protocols and port numbers. After all, Comcast can’t dampen everything or they would invalidate their bandwidth claims.

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