P2P Improvements

Discussions regarding new & existing plans and other Exetel initiatives
ForumAdmin
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P2P Improvements

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:10 pm

It seems a very long time ago now that we realized that P2P usage had the ability to wreck the plan models we believed were what were required in the future broadband market and set out to find short, medium and long term solutions to those very real dangers. In fact it was two and a half years (four and a half years if you count our initial 'free time' initiative) - which in this business can be a lifetime for a small communications company being much longer than most start ups actually last.

We have had our share of issues, problems, set backs and every other problem inherent in pioneering anything and there have been more than a few times that I felt like giving up and changing the models and objectives. Many of the problems we encountered were clearly our fault (lack of knowledge/lack of planning/lack of patience/lack of......) but many more were associated with deficiencies or shortcomings in the deliveries of the 'promises' made by the hardware and firmware providers.

Irrespective of who or what caused the various problems at the various times we have gradually managed to gain a much better understanding of the elements of P2P in terms of network provisioning and we have gained a great deal of knowledge in how to deal with P2P in the future using a range of hardware and software 'tools' that didn't exist 30 months ago.

Our initial 'protection' against P2P downloads swamping peak time bandwidth was the introduction (from the second month of our being in business) of the 'free' off peak period which encourages our customers to use low bandwidth usage times of the night to start file downloads. We have modified the conditions and time frames of this period over the last almost five years and have got it progressively 'more right'.

Our second ' bandwidth control 'phase' was to install 'bleeding edge' hardware to just identify P2P 'packets' via DPI (deep packet inspection) and restrict the amount of bandwidth the network made available for P2P protocols. This was very successful, from our point of view, initially as it reduced the amount of raw IP bandwidth we needed to buy to handle total customer volume by slowing down P2P downloads and effectively spreading them over the less used time periods.

However the software was not perfect and, due to the necessity of keeping up with the constant changes the P2P developers kept making to their encryption and other processes we went through periods of 'mis-identifying' other protocols as P2P which resulted in some customer dissatisfaction while we waited to get the fixes and, doubtless, cost us a number of customers. These phases lasted too long and were commercially unacceptable but, although we almost reached the point of abandoning the use of the DPI equipment we persevered and have not had a repeat of these issues for almost 12 months now.

Our third 'phase', which we started almost a year ago was to install another 'bleeding edge' piece of hardware that cached P2P traffic thus, in theory, eliminating some of the raw IP bandwidth but still using the customer connectivity bandwidth which meant that it didn't produce the same level of savings as simply reducing total network bandwidth spend for P2P but did reduce the most expensive component of it and, a major plus, actually sped up the delivery of the most popular P2P files.

One, major, drawback of this box was it actually required us to more rapidly upgrade the 'customer side' of the network bandwidth which, for ADSL2 12 months ago, was as expensive as raw IP bandwidth for Optus ADSL2. However contract re-negotiation partially addressed that issue and our ongoing knowledge increase and broadening skill set began to address the other issues.

Which brings us to today - the start of the fourth (of now five) phases in re-engineering our network to eliminate the 'curse of P2P' and to both further reduce the cost of providing P2P data (which now accounts for over 75% of all data on our network) and to remove any 'speed constraints' that we have previously had to apply to P2P. Over the next few months we will 'reverse' the way we have managed P2P by using the Allot boxes to 'protect' all non P2P traffic by dynamically ensuring that all types of the end to end (customer - data source - customer) non P2P traffic has more than enough bandwidth at all times to ensure no 'saturation' can ever occur while at the same time using the raw IP bandwidth savings an 'unrestricted' P2P cache generates to buy more 'customer side' (and therefore much lower cost at the moment) bandwidth to handle the increase in P2P traffic that will now be generated.

That's the theory and, doubtless, as with the previous three phases it will take time to make 100% effective but it is a sensible way of operating a network that has so much strain imposed by P2P capabilities in an ADSL2 environment.

Fingers crossed as the first phase begins today - you should see an increased speed on an increased number of P2P downloads.

Paul33

Re: P2P Improvements

Post by Paul33 » Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:22 pm

hi, when were these changes actually made and done today ....since im on a naked connection and still only downloading anything at 40kb ....it hardly go any quicker reguardless of if im using p2p or http. its been like that for the last 3 days more or less.

Yoshi_900
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by Yoshi_900 » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:09 am

cool nice work... will be happy to help u with P2P speed issues... but the one problem with P2P speed issues is that its all dependent on the seed side i cannot download any faster if the seed cannot upload any faster.

ForumAdmin
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by ForumAdmin » Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:59 pm

The way the PeerApp cache works should make that less important.

gregando
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by gregando » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:12 pm

Very interesting read. How will this change affect encrypted traffic? For example VPN tunnels or other encrypted protocols?

tycannah
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by tycannah » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:16 pm

Exetel's email seeks to explain and excuse the P2P performance that longtime customers have persevered with over many years (over 4 years in my case). I have always assumed that it wasn't Exetels' incompetence that caused me to average my P2P downloads at only 37kbs for a 1500/256 ADSL1 line but that it was a commercial decision. I always put up with it simply because it was the best value for money, otherwise we would have not put up with the missleading product claims. (quality of the service is a statutory requirement in Australia and cause for remediation).
Today is the first time ever that I have experienced TRUE download speeds for SUSTAINED periods and I was, quite frankly flabbergasted. I could not believe that P2P could ever be that fast despite friends that had competitive ISPs telling me that I was being robbed of proper speed. Its one of the reasons I have never moved to ADSL 2 with Exetel. Whats the point if you are constraining the P2P downloads.
Quite frankly, I dont understand all this GobbletyGook that you have in this long winded email explanation of your 5 stage re-engineering and I dont care other than to say that I am now very pleased that we are getting a "normal" speed that we should have been getting from day one. Now you have to do it CONSISTANTLY throughout the day and night for the month before we can trust that its a service worth your praises.

ForumAdmin
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by ForumAdmin » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:27 pm

gregando wrote:Very interesting read. How will this change affect encrypted traffic? For example VPN tunnels or other encrypted protocols?
It doesn't affect it at all.

CoreyPlover
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by CoreyPlover » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:23 am

jskf01 wrote:wow tycannah u experienced good speeds eh? Care to share what kinda speeds you were getting?> Im on adsl2 unfortunately and i always been getting about 300k max and im 1.5km from the exchange.
300KB/s? If so, those are great speeds to be getting.

Typical P2P speeds of users (at least, before this fourth stage of re-development) used to be between 50-150KB/s.

Yoshi_900
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by Yoshi_900 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:55 am

well i have been having no problems with P2P when i download a torrent that is well seeded i get speeds around 500k to 700k and that was before the upgrade.

jskf01
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by jskf01 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:17 pm

yoshi are you referring to speeds on public torrents? Cos thats what im referring to and WOW those are some good speeds you are getting. Also i wanna clarify what kinda speeds ppl are getting on ONE torrent as opposed to the combined speeds of say 3 torrents at the same time. on one torrent i can max out at only about 150k/s which is horrendous for adsl2 1.5km from the exchange

CoreyPlover
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by CoreyPlover » Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:42 pm

jskf01 wrote:on one torrent i can max out at only about 150k/s which is horrendous for adsl2 1.5km from the exchange
Again, is this KB/s? Because 150 KB/s is not "horrendous" and is on par with other users. When downloading one single torrent, you should increase your maximum connections per torrent to match your maximum global connections (something like 200 connections) to maximise your seed connections. Even then you are reliant on those remote seeds being of good to high quality. Also, your brand of modem may make a difference as older DLinks and Netgears tend to not cope as well with high numbers of connections compared to other modem brands.

ForumAdmin
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by ForumAdmin » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:03 pm

Let me clarify some things as there seem to be a lot of misconceptions.

1) Qld and Vic users can't ever be negatively affected by the Net Enforcer - they don't access destinations controlled by it.

2) NSW/ACT/SA/NT/WA users can be affected by the Net Enforcer but ONLY:
a) between 8 am and 12 noon
b) between 8.30 pm and 1.00 am

3) The MINIMUM amount of bandwidth available to P2P at the most constrained times is 1.5 gbps

4) The maximum amount of bandwidth available is over 2 gbps

As with 95% of all other 'user problems' - the reported 'P2P problems are almost always issues with the end user's set up or by people who simply refuse to understand that P2P is constrained during heavy use periods.

The revised topology will make over 16 terabytes of cached P2P available to Exetel P2P users and has removed constraint of access to that cache 24 x 7.

The revised network topology diagram can be accessed from the user facilities here:

https://www.exetel.com.au/members/images/network.jpeg

jskf01
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by jskf01 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:39 pm

The cache eh? So how come I have not been able to access the cache for about 3 months now? I remembered when i could access the cache every night and get 1mb/s speeds. HAs the cache been stalled for the last few months or something or is it harder to access? Cos it seems to be miss n hit for me.

ForumAdmin
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by ForumAdmin » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:25 am

jskf01 wrote:The cache eh? So how come I have not been able to access the cache for about 3 months now? I remembered when i could access the cache every night and get 1mb/s speeds. HAs the cache been stalled for the last few months or something or is it harder to access? Cos it seems to be miss n hit for me.
There has been no change in the ability to 'hit the cache' if you are in NSW/ACT/SA/WA/NT.

If you are in VIC or QLD then you will not be routed to the cache if your destination path is shorter via the direct IP feeds in those States.

Yello
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Re: P2P Improvements

Post by Yello » Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:01 pm

Thanks ForumAdmin great news!

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