Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Slow down

Well it didn't take too long for the internet connection to slow down to a crawl. Since we were re-connected we've had a honeymoon period when the speed was pretty consistent. Not the 2Mbs that we we had before but often approaching 1Mb and useable.

This morning though the speed is down to a crawl. Pages appear slowly just like on a dial up connection. One of the speed tests I've tried reports 12kbps upload and 61kps download. A more accurate java based test shows the actual speed is somewhere near 230 Kbs upload and 761Kbs download.

So what does this mean? Well there is nothing wrong with the satellite connection. What we are loosing is bandwidth which means that more than likely someone on the development is using p2p software to share files.

Typically these programs are used to share music mp3s and DVDs between users on the same system. The deal is that you download the files you want using multiple connections but at the same time you allow others to upload your stored files again using multiple connections. Once the pieces of the file are downloaded the software then puts them together to provide you with a free copy of the music or DVD. You are then meant to store the files you collect on your computer so that others can download parts of it from your system. The more files you collect the more users will try and connect to you. People using these systems typically keep their computer switched on and connected to the internet 24/7 and may have tens if not hundreds of Gbs of files stored.

Let us forget for a moment the legalities of file sharing; p2p software will use as much bandwidth as it can get hold of to realise the multiple connections. Worse still, once it has the bandwidth it holds on to it. Web surfing and collecting emails uses bandwidth to upload commands and download page elements but then releases it. On an ADSL connection p2p users are a pain but on a satellite connection, with much more limited bandwidth available, they kill the connection speeds for the rest of the users.

So whoever you are please stop. Buy your CDs and DVDs from the shops like the rest of us otherwise we will ask Clear Communications to disable your connection.

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