P2P Traffic - Continues To Be A Problem Worldwide

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P2P Traffic - Continues To Be A Problem Worldwide

Post by ForumAdmin » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:32 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technol ... ref=slogin

As you would see from the above article, it isn't only Exetel that is deeply concerned about the impact of P2P traffic on it's future financial viability.

I went in to the office yesterday to interview some applicants to fill positions required by the new technologies we are beginning to deploy and the changes we are making to the directions of the company over the coming year. The interviews were, as always, interesting in all sorts of different ways including the glimpses the interviewer obtains about the ways other technology companies operate.

In some ways it's difficult to objectively view what you think you learn but an overall impression I have got from interviews over the past few weeks is that many technology companies are struggling to keep up with the one constant of this industry - constant and unrelenting change at a rapid pace.

This was re-inforced, if indeed it did need re-inforcing, when I had a walk round the office before locking up. The ten large boxes holding the caching servers still 'litter' the little available spare space we have and the final equipment is due to arrive on Monday having cleared customs last Friday. As this is a major investment for Exetel and it continues to concern me greatly, both on the technical and financial aspects of such a change, I didn't lock up and leave but went back to my PC and, yet again, reviewed all of the assumptions and projections we have made in deciding to make this large investment.

The projections, assuming they are correct, are truly astonishing in financial terms - which, of course, they had to be for us to risk so much money starting 15 months ago when we took the first step of investing $100,000 in the NetEnforcer 2040. That first investment has paid for itself every month of its operation - a truly great financial decision, operationally (albeit a blindingly obvious one).

While the implementation on the NE delivered an $80,000 reduction/saving in the monthly expenditure on ingress/egress bandwidth by 'pushing' 400 mbps of peak time P2P downloads in to off peak time it came at a cost of severely annoying a portion of our customers who believed that their file downloads should happen in the shortest possible time at all times of day - something we decided was not going to happen if the cost of doing that was $80,000 a month and a 25% slow down in peak periods for file downloading was not any real inconvenience. Those that didn't see it that way went somewhere else and so we lost some customers which has to be a bad thing and it would have been better if that hadn't happened.

However......I doubt that those disgruntled user's subsequent ISP didn't either already use, or implemented shortly after they moved to them, the same or similar P2P control processes that we used

We had always planned two more steps in changing the 'model' of delivering large file downloads.

Step One - The NE allowed us to 'push 25% of our peak time downloads (400 mbps out of 2 gbps) from the 8pm to 12 midnight period to 12 midnight to 12 noon period and was successful in allowing Exetel to only pay for 1.6 gbps of activated IP to handle 2 gbps of peak time demand.

Step Two - The new P2P caching is projected to allow the 400 mbps of 'delayed P2P downloads' to, via the cache, be 'instantly supplied' rather than slowed down once it's operational.

So, if these 15 month old projections turn out to be true (and the first 400 mbps did turn out to be true) then we will be able to deliver 2.4 mbps of downloads at the price we currently pay for 1.6 mbps of downloads, a saving to the business of approximately $160,000 per month with, if it all goes to plan, NO customer impact on file downloads once/if the caching works effectively. The effective cost of the 800 mbps of additional downloads will cost Exetel around $A50.00 per mbps compared to a current cost for the other 1.6 mbps of $A250.00 per mbps.

An amazing advance in technology if you're prepared to do a lot of research, take some risk, understand your customer base, have very competent and dedicated network engineers and be prepared to lose more money and more customers in the development phases than you are comfortable about.

...and believe me when I say it isn't as simple as the confines of my time allowance in writing this and your attention span allowed for extraneous musings demands.

As with all neatly presented Excel spread sheetfigures you've looked at and agreed with dozens of times before it all looks very likely to me.

I hope I maintain that view once the physical installation process commences some time later this month.
Last edited by ForumAdmin on Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

tocpcs
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Post by tocpcs » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:43 pm

You are right of course 'thewowlagger', they could have averaged increases in prices to cover the dollars lost!

But, demand would just continue to increase on top of itself, as P2P growth continues.

Exetel's decision to get the NE was a relatively good one, however, it could indeed treat traffic incorrectly therefore causing problems for customers.

What I suspect will happen is the slow down in P2P traffic will no longer be required with the cache.

I suspect that the bandwidth demand will decrease on the international links, I suspect the cache hit rate will be high that the links will see a wide drop in traffic.

Now, if Exetel leave them at the current size, after implementing the caching solution, they could more than likely lose the NE, and that would see legit traffic fast, and P2P traffic fast (cached).

I do agree however, that the links should be upgraded, rather than running them at capacity and shaping traffic across the customer base to simply save on dollars.

The profit is always a key decision in business though. I find the move a good move, but I think things will need to be reevaluated after the P2P cache is installed, I really doubt they'll be running at capacity on the international links once the traffic cache is filling up, and getting hit repeatedly (I suspect perhaps a 70% hit rate).

tocpcs
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Re: P2P Traffic - Continues To Be A Problem Worldwide

Post by tocpcs » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:44 pm

ForumAdmin wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/technol ... ref=slogin

As you would see from the above article, it isn't only Exetel that is deeply concerned about the impact of P2P traffic on it's future financial viability.

I went in to the office yesterday to interview some applicants to fill positions required by the new technologies we are beginning to deploy and the changes we are making to the directions of the company over the coming year. The interviews were, as always, interesting in all sorts of different ways including the glimpses the interviewer obtains about the ways other technology companies operate. In some ways it's difficult to objectively view what you think you learn but an overall impression I have got from interviews over the past few weeks is that many technology companies are struggling to keep up with the one constant of this industry - constant and unrelenting change at a rapid pace.

This was re-inforced, if indeed it did need re-inforcing, when I had a walk round the office before locking up. The ten large boxes holding the caching servers still 'litter' the little available spare space we have and the final equipment is due to arrive on Monday having cleared customs last Friday. As this is a major investment for Exetel and it continues to concern me greatly, both on the technical and financial aspects of such a change, I didn't lock up and leave but went back to my PC and, yet again, reviewed all of the assumptions and projections we have made in deciding to make this large investment.

The projections, assuming they are correct, are truly astonishing in financial terms - which, of course, they had to be for us to risk so much money starting 15 months ago when we took the first step of investing $100,000 in the NetEnforcer 2040. That first investment has paid for itself every month of its operation - a truly great financial decision, operationally (albeit a blindingly obvious one).

While the implementation on the NE delivered an $80,000 reduction/saving in the monthly expenditure on ingress/egress bandwidth by 'pushing' 400 mbps of peak time P2P downloads in to off peak time it came at a cost of severely annoying a portion of our customers who believed that their file downloads should happen in the shortest possible time at all times of day - something we decided was not going to happen if the cost of doing that was $80,000 a month and a 25% slow down in peak periods for file downloading was not any real inconvenience. Those that didn't see it that way went somewhere else and so we lost some customers which has to be a bad thing and it would have been better if that hadn't happened.

However......

We had always planned two more steps in changing the 'model' of delivering large file downloads.

Step One - The NE allowed us to 'push' 25% of our peak time P2P downloads (400 mbps out of 2 gbps) from the 8pm to 12 midnight period to 12 midnight to 12 noon period and was successful in allowing Exetel to only pay for 1.6 gbps of activated IP to handle 2 gbps of peak time demand.

Step Two - The new P2P caching is projected to allow those 400 mbps of 'delayed 'P2P downloads to, via the cache, be 'instantly supplied' rather than slowed down.

So, if these 15 month old projections turn out to be true (and the first 400 mbps did turn out to be true) then we will be able to deliver 2.4 mbps of downloads at the price we currently pay for 1.6 mbps of downloads, a saving to the business of approximately $160,000 per month with, if it all goes to plan, NO customer impact on file downloads. The effective cost of the 800 mbps of additional downloads will cost Exetel around $A50.00 per mbps compared to a current cost for the other 1.6 mbps of $A250.00 per mbps.

An amazing advance in technology if you're prepared to do a lot of research, take some risk, understand your customer base, have very competent and dedicated network engineers and be prepared to lose more money than you are comfortable about.

...and believe me when I say it isn't as simple as the confines of my time allowance in writing and your attention span allowed for extraneous musings demands.

As with all neatly presented Excel spread sheetfigures you've looked at and agreed with dozens of times before it all looks very likely to me.

I hope I maintain that view once the physical installation process commences some time later this month.
ForumAdmin, the email you sent out, it has itself duplicated where you attempted to paste a link to the forum thread..

CoreyPlover
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Re: P2P Traffic -Continues To Be A Problem Worldwide

Post by CoreyPlover » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:56 pm

thewowlagger wrote:I think, once again, you've neglected the portion of customers that have not complained about P2P shaping, but instead have had to suffer the negative effects of the NE not being able to properly identify traffic signatures of applications that should be real time, things like VoIP and gaming.
I think you have neglected the majority of people who use Exetel for their low priced ADSL services / high quote off-peak (P2P) allowance and who love the level of service they provide. To me, Exetel has always been an ISP that offers fantastic value for high throughput, not low latency.
thewowlagger wrote:While it's all good that you feel the need to post puff pieces about the need to shape bandwidth and do whatever it is Exetel apparently need to do to stay in business. Such technologies should not negatively impact your legitimate 'legal' customer base.
I do not think these pieces are "puff". I find them incredibly insightful and informative. I do not know about the NetEnforcer enough to know whether it is the sole reason for negatively impacting on the aforementioned VoIP and gaming, do you?
thewowlagger wrote:On average, you could have increased plan prices by $1.60 per month to cover the $80,000 extra in bandwidth.
Not really a viable option to continue indefintely though is it? I think it is unrealistic and naive of you to believe that you can solve today's exponentially increasing bandwidth demands with price increases and kudos to Exetel for realising this and being proactive about it.
thewowlagger wrote:But did you? No. Instead you invested money into a product that's flakey at the best of times but will put an extra $860,000 profit into the shareholders pockets within 12 months (that's after the initial $100,000 investment mind you) at the cost of your customers end user experience of your service.
The NetEnforcer is flakey? It is detrimental to end users? As I said before, I don't know about the NetEnforcer in enough detail to comment but I haven't noticed any disadvantages.
thewowlagger wrote:Exetel is in the business of making money and in business you wouldn't sink $400,000 into a new technology without knowing it's going to achieve a significant return on investment.
Surely they would. Almost all sources of profit and growth in companies attracts risk. It is a basic principal of business and economics. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
thewowlagger wrote:perhaps purchasing a NE and peer cache were not the only way to cut bandwidth costs as you make it out to be, they just happened to be the most profitable, at the expense of your customers.
And what are your viable alternatives to a NE and peer cache?
thewowlagger wrote:Now, let's see how long this post stays up here for.
Yes, let's see. I think you'll find these forums are much more open that you accuse them of being.

ForumAdmin
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Post by ForumAdmin » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:30 pm

These Forums are for discussion of on topic threads.

That particular poster just makes negative post after negative post.

His negativity isn't an issue - it's just boring, off topic, and clogs up threads.

You've, thoughtfully, taken each of his points and presented a different interpretation.

Fair enough.

But, really, the issue is very simply that P2P is a problem around the world and different ISPs will address it in different ways.

I've outlined the way that Exetel is addressing it at the start of this post citing a recent article in a US publication abot the way a major US ISP is addressing P2P overload.

If Exetel proves to be an unsatisfactory ISP for any individual user then the alternatives are very obvious but off topic posts are not adding to this thread.

How Exetel as opposed to Comcast is attempting to deal with P2P overloads in peak times is the subject of this thread.

Gratuitously insulting posts will simply be deleted based on the clearly stated Forum rules - they add no value.

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Post by gong_guy » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:04 pm

I hope it all goes to plan good luck.

1) One thing I have noticed as I am relatively new to P2P is that for me I get better P2P speeds in peak time then I do off-peak. Off-peak P2P speeds for me lately have been slower.

2) The other point I would like to make is why are you telling us and also your competitors full details of your costings and savings? Don't get me wrong I find it very interesting but you are practically giving your competitors a case study on saving bandwidth.

I would keep things closer to my chest.

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Post by PossiblyNotBob » Sun Oct 21, 2007 7:47 pm

I'm quite liking this alternative approach to the increased stress rather than just jacking up prices and buying more bandwidth. After all, it is always better to have something more efficient rather than just feed it more juice.

In fact as I say this, it goes for more than this issue with exetel (thinking of staff and support issues that exetel do differently to other ISPs.)

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Post by ForumAdmin » Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:04 pm

gong_guy wrote:I hope it all goes to plan good luck.

1) One thing I have noticed as I am relatively new to P2P is that for me I get better P2P speeds in peak time then I do off-peak. Off-peak P2P speeds for me lately have been slower.

2) The other point I would like to make is why are you telling us and also your competitors full details of your costings and savings? Don't get me wrong I find it very interesting but you are practically giving your competitors a case study on saving bandwidth.

I would keep things closer to my chest.
1) Everyone's experience will vary.

2) We have had a policy since we started of keeping our users informed - I doubt that anything we say is of any use to any competitor. If it is it means one of two things:

a) Their management is bereft of ideas and the understanding that constant learning and research in an industry where change is constant is the base requirement of managing a technology company.

b) They never innovate, only copy, and therefore charge their customers more for longer than necessary than Exetel will.

They will always be using out of date network implementations and services (and therefore will charge more for less) compared to the companies that do invest the time and money in research and then take the risks to innovate.
Last edited by ForumAdmin on Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ludditetechnologies » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:26 am

ForumAdmin wrote:
2) We have had a policy since we sarted of keeping our users informed - I doubt that anything we say is of any use to any competitor.
I want to say one of the main reasons I continue to be a strong supporter of Exetel is precisely this reason: an almost (in this industry) unheard of openness and transparency to their customer base.

I feel that Exetel gives a damn about me as a customer when they take the (often considerable) time and effort to explain the goings on of what is to me an extremely important part of my life.
I work in the IT industry and spend many of my leisure hours using my link (my ADSL connection) to all that is wild and wonderful on this amazing revolution that is the net.

When I have all the information I am in the best position to make the right decision for myself.
For example, God forbid I would be one of the poor suckers beholden to BigPuddle and all the misery associated with being one of their customers… expect any openness or any idea what goes in their network? Not on your life, pay up and shut up more like it.

Keep it up Exetel, not perfect but way ahead in so many ways.

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Post by DarkLotus » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:55 pm

ForumAdmin wrote:
2) We have had a policy since we started of keeping our users informed - I doubt that anything we say is of any use to any competitor. If it is it means one of two things:

I like Exetel for the same reason, i find it rather interesting getting to read up on the technical side of an ISP, and its a nice change to actually be told about changes that are happening etc.

Colt
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Post by Colt » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:52 am

DarkLotus wrote:
ForumAdmin wrote:
2) We have had a policy since we started of keeping our users informed - I doubt that anything we say is of any use to any competitor. If it is it means one of two things:

I like Exetel for the same reason, i find it rather interesting getting to read up on the technical side of an ISP, and its a nice change to actually be told about changes that are happening etc.
Yeah exactly, it's nice to see they keep doing it regardless of all the bitching that comes with it as well. :roll:

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Post by thepigs2 » Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:02 am

Back to the topic.

That's very interesting ForumAdmin. I see it's very stressful operating a value internet reseller, always fighting to be more economical.

It sort of seems like a war with the P2P software vendors. I'm not sure I could cope thinking about the P2P software vendors trying to thwart shaping technologies by using encryption or other such measures. Imagine if P2P software vendors started tunneling P2P traffic inside VOIP packets! Then it would be almost impossible to provide QoS based on technologies existing today.

I guess that's my main concern with P2P shaping technologies. It may encourage the more subversive types to exploit loop holes to their own advantage, while damaging other services, especially low-latency services such as VOIP, gaming, working from home via citrix/RDP. I could argue that Exetel aren't acting in the long term interests of the internet, but as a $$$ driven consumer I'm partly to blame. And I guess it's evolution. Or is it capitalism? I forget.

Did you investigate simply raising prices ala Internode? Or lowering download allowances (or shaping after exceeding quota)? I'd argue with the above posters that this is more transparent.

Exetel for me is at least $25 cheaper for me on Optus ADSL2+ w/ telephone than anywhere else. I could easily absorb $10 a month without thinking of changing providers. (Of course I wouldn't complain if you spent that $10 on optus backhaul either ;)).

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Post by ForumAdmin » Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:18 am

thepigs2 wrote:
1) packets! Then it would be almost impossible to provide QoS based on technologies existing today.

2) I guess that's my main concern with P2P shaping technologies. It may encourage the more subversive types to exploit loop holes to their own advantage, while damaging other services, especially low-latency services such as VOIP, gaming, working from home via citrix/RDP.

3) I could argue that Exetel aren't acting in the long term interests of the internet, but as a $$$ driven consumer I'm partly to blame. And I guess it's evolution. Or is it capitalism? I forget.

4) Did you investigate simply raising prices ala Internode? Or lowering download allowances (or shaping after exceeding quota)? I'd argue with the above posters that this is more transparent.

5) Exetel for me is at least $25 cheaper for me on Optus ADSL2+ w/ telephone than anywhere else. I could easily absorb $10 a month without thinking of changing providers. (Of course I wouldn't complain if you spent that $10 on optus backhaul either ;)).
1) P2P controllers have coped with all of the encryption put in place so far. You have to remember that DPI and signature checking is not going to miss anything and as different encryptions are used it takes very little time to 'reverse encrypt. At the end of the day P2P developers have no reason to attempt to disguise the traffic carried - unless they are overtly attempting to break the law - so the issue is a non-issue.

2) There are no 'loop holes'.

3) Exetel are providing a service that it defines and provides it on the terms it defines.

4) Exetel's main reason for being in the ISP business is to offer services at lower costs to the end user than other companies; so increasing prices rather than finding innovative ways of not increasing prices is a far better way to go.

5) Exetel deploy more bandwidth per user than any other ISP that I have known about in the past. That is amost certainly true today from the contractual knowledge we possess about the major carriers' networks.

pjb42
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Post by pjb42 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:35 pm

Hi Admin (and all),

I for one am pleased with Exetel. I spent a month examining all the ISP's that could provide me with a service I wanted after being on a 2 year contract with Primus (and 2 years with iiNet before).

I chose Exetel because you were honest and open, answered my questions without excuses and marketing hype, and provided a good service with all the facilities I wanted at a very fair price (in comparison to other ISP's here).

I do some web design/host config setups/scripting etc. And the availability of 200MB hosting space with my plan was a huge bonus to me (and the fact that as a Hosting provider as well as an ISP, I won't have the kind of problems I'd have with a company that was only an ISP).

As for the P2P *debate*... it's really a hot potato. I agree with Exetel's position given the state of broadband in Australia. From what I have seen, if the BB situation improves significantly here, I am confident that Exetel will be one of the first to innovate and provide a better deal. :)

I will be extremely pleased if Exetel keeps being smart and stays in business, rather than unrealistically cutting costs and die!

I like the fact that Exetel tries to be honest and open with their customers! That in itself is a good reason for me to join. :)

I do use Bitorrent for grabbing latest OSS/Linux rel's & patches (if I have to). And the current performance is just fine for me.

The whole debate is curious though... I think the main question is: "Why do so many people want to use P2P?" What is it they are so dissatisfied with, they feel they have to use it (either for legitimate reasons, or perhaps more importantly, for illegal reasons)? I honestly do not believe that this coming bandwidth crisis can be solved until the World deals with the underlying issues. The current actions of groups like MPAA, RIAA, BSA, etc only serve to make the problem worse! Not better! I find it amazing that the USA (mostly) did not learn the lessons of prohibition! Oh well... I know that for many people, they hate the attitude of those groups (and companies such as Micro$oft) that basically say: "You are a criminal until we say otherwise!" Perhaps they should try an attitude adjustment. ;)

Until the root cause of the problem is properly dealt with, it will get worse. I would love to see someone do a proper (and honest!!) Risk assessment! It will never happen though... the big companies already KNOW the answer! ;)

FYI: I am a semi-retired IT guy who has worked in Security, Networking, SysAdmin etc over 30 years. I even did a security audit for Powertel in 2000/01 when they opened their office in Collins St. Melb. :) (their security was a joke BTW!) I have also worked with several ISP's and performed capacity, risk, and general security audits.

Cheers!

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Post by ForumAdmin » Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:28 pm

Thoughtful post.

The issue is that a considerable amount of P2P traffic is theft of copyright and that has to be addressed, over time, by the entities whose property is being stolen.

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