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Isp Funny Business?


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Hi All.


I've got an ongoing issue with my torrenting that I'd like some input about.



I moved to a new city in January 2014. Got a new ISP with a decently fast connection for the cost (30Mbps down/2Mbps up). Plan has a 250GB data limit.


I torrent quite a bit of stuff along with the normal NetFlix, online games, etc. traffic during a month. In February I get a 'you have exceeded the 250GB limit' notice.  I'm informed that I get 3 passes, after which I'll be charged a fee. They auto-sign me up for a bandwidth use notification service so I'll get emails after I pass 200GB/month.


Between January and April I'm getting 500kB/s+ transfer speeds on normal 300-500MB files and could support around 5 simultaneous downloads. Can spend 1 evening torrenting everything from the week I want (all unlicensed media stateside, so I'm not violating any copyright rules here).


In March I get my first auto-notice of passing 200GB. On April 1st they send me notice that I exceeded the cap. 2nd warning.


Current Situation

During the month of April, my speeds drastically slowed on torrents. I went from my > 500kB/s transfers to some very odd behavior in tracking my speeds. Connections will reach 200kB/s then immediately drop to between 5-10kB/s. If a download ever settles down in speed, it will only be around 40kB/s. I can now only support 2 downloads at a time. Any more than 2 simultaneous downloads and the others will have 0 transfer speed. They won't connect.


In May I called the ISP about it. Had them check all the lines, connections, made them come out and check the equipment (modem from them I bought was still under warranty, made them check the new router I bought when I moved). All equipment was fine.  I asked about torrent blocking numerous times to which they denied, denied, denied.


I've run all the tools I can find to detect torrent blocking or throttling (like Glasnost/M-Lab software) to no avail. It's not detecting packet shaping or throttling.



What other tools are available to tell if an ISP is messing with my torrent data?


I've read some sketchy reports about ISPs, instead of packet shaping or throttling bandwidth, using a tactic where they just constantly reset the connection. This matches what speeds look like when I torrent... get a connection, speed steps up as I connect to more people, speed caps around 200kB/s, disconnects, drops to 0-2kB/s, builds back up to 100kB/s, drops to 0-2kB/s, sometimes will level out at something lower than a 56k modem would give me.  Are there any network tools I can use to tell if the ISP is forcing disconnects on my torrents?


Has anyone had similar problems with ISPs messing with connections where you weren't able to readily detect the interference?


What other suggestions might I try in my client to get around this? (I've already tried using encryption and random ports.)


I will say, I can still torrent. It now takes days and days to get what I could get in a single overnight queue. If I'm eager, I can also go direct to file hosting sites to get the data, but there it's a heavily manual process and direct downloads through the browser use all available bandwidth, which can suck for anyone else in the house on the network.


Any input would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance.  If you request info on my client settings, you'll have to wait about 8 hours til I'm home.




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Here's a screenshot of typical performance of my client with associated client data. With this number of peers and connections, does it make any sense that I have these kind of download speeds?


(edited to add: probably should save the file to view it on full resolution.)



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I didn't.


I guess I should add, I've never needed to follow a setup guide. Clients have always worked well with little to no tweaking. (I do set caps on transfer speeds, numbers of files, etc.) But as far as needed to adjust it for speed or connectivity, it's never been an issue until after I've received these transfer notices from my new ISP. I don't know if there is a correlation to that or not. What I'm inquiring about is a way to test it beyond what Glasnost provides.

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