Bit Rate

Researchers: Comcast's Blocking ALL Traffic! Oh... Wait... Never Mind.

4/09/2008 1:35 AM

The Net Neutrality squad must have thought they’d been tossed a truckload of smoking guns.
 
Computer science researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder made the explosive allegation that Comcast was apparently throttling back traffic generated by all Internet applications — not just BitTorrent

According to the initial UC Boulder report, posted Monday by broadband blog site DSLReports.com, Comcast’s network management "even disrupts normal Web browsing and e-mail applications."

Well… no.

The UC Boulder allegations prompted a lightning-quick response from the Comcast PR team (Jeff Baumgartner at CDN muses that the MSO must have "the Bat phone number" for the university’s Systems Research Lab).

After Comcast’s inquiry, the researchers posted a contrite retraction on their Web site Tuesday, explaining that their initial conclusions were wrong.

Turns out the packets they thought were being blocked by Comcast were, in fact, being blocked by their own network router. It seems the "synthetic" traffic they generated in the test had the hallmarks a denial of service attack, designed to overload network resources with an inhumanly fast burst of packets, and the network address translation (NAT) device in the lab was simply overloaded.

Shoot. Now we still don’t know whether Comcast would actually let you check your e-mail 100 times per second!

September