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Businesses Communications The Almighty Buck The Internet United States Verizon Entertainment

Verizon Accused of Throttling Netflix and YouTube, Admits To 'Video Optimization' (arstechnica.com) 52

New submitter dgatwood writes: According to an Ars Technica article, Verizon recently began experimenting with throttling of video traffic. The remarkable part of this story is not that a wireless ISP would throttle video traffic, but rather that Verizon's own Go90 video platform is also affected by the throttling. From the article, "Verizon Wireless customers this week noticed that Netflix's speed test tool appears to be capped at 10Mbps, raising fears that the carrier is throttling video streaming on its mobile network. When contacted by Ars this morning, Verizon acknowledged using a new video optimization system but said it is part of a temporary test and that it did not affect the actual quality of video. The video optimization appears to apply both to unlimited and limited mobile plans. But some YouTube users are reporting degraded video, saying that using a VPN service can bypass the Verizon throttling."
If even Verizon can get on board with throttling sans paid prioritization, why is Comcast so scared of the new laws that are about to go into effect banning it?

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Verizon Accused of Throttling Netflix and YouTube, Admits To 'Video Optimization'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's going to be lots more "optimisation" come end of net neutrality.

    Optimisation I believe is based on revenue if I remember correctly.

    • I don't think this is a case of traffic discrimination, and is indeed optimization without negatively impacting Netflix. Traffic tends to burst rather than be constant, and Netflix is no exception. Imagine (hypothetically) that Netflix was to burst 60mbit of traffic your way for 1 second so that your client then doesn't need to retrieve any more data for another 19 seconds. Why do this when we can drop it to 9mbit for 1 second to get another 2 seconds of video? Modern networks are quite reliable, so we don'

  • Netflix totally brought this on themselves by banning VPNs. If I could easily connect though my VPN, then Verizon couldn't tell it was video and throttle it.

    —George

    [Note] Well, I guess Verizon could try to block VPN traffic like China does, but that's a whack-a-mole game if you dress your VPN in TLS wrappers, like with stunnel.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Netflix signed region-locked contracts. If they let you connect with a VPN, then they could be sued for breach of contract and lose their content.

    • It's not Netflix's fault that an ISP is throttling their bandwidth and it is certainly not their fault that they prevent your chosen method to circumvent this from working for reasons which have nothing to do with bandwidth. The fact that an ISP is doing this is why we need net neutrality.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They do it on FIOS too. This is what happens when your ISP is also a content provider. And we all just sit back at watch as the big get bigger. Soon if you are in a comcast or verizon only monopoly area you won't be able to cut the cord.

  • Look, I'm as pro-net-neutrality as the next guy, but when you have people with the attention span of a gnat loading video after video in UHD on a shared wireless link just to lose interest after 20 seconds (after half the video has loaded), it probably makes a lot of sense from a network management standpoint to limit the videos to 10Mbps. T-Mobile limits most of their video to 1.5Mbps, but since they're the tech fanboy sweetheart no one bats an eye at that!

    Note that I don't disagree with T-Mobile's approac

    • Apps or browsers should handle streaming in a sane fashion, not downloading half the video if you're only going to watch the first 20 seconds. We shouldn't be delegating or even allowing the ISPs to be making those decisions for us.

      I'm totally fine with general bandwidth-throttling of heavy users after they exceed their caps over time, if that's specified in the contract. This sort of behind-the-scenes thing, IMO, is not okay. The ISPs have a direct financial incentive to throttle bandwidth down to a bar

  • Oh, bull pucky! (Score:5, Informative)

    by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Saturday July 22, 2017 @01:21AM (#54856537) Homepage Journal

    I had a really snarky and funny line to start this off with, simulating network lag, but Slashdot filters insist that I remove junk chars. from the post. sigh

    I do work for people with no other access to internet other than cell they can afford. Most of them are elderly, and most of them have health monitors that report to their heath care professionals via Internet. Pacemakers are big, though there are some that use it for other health monitoring including checking to see if they've opened their medications for the day, and a few that are under court ordered monitoring while their cases are pending.

    What I've noticed is that UDP packets seem to be targeted, but not TCP so much. I've started using Raspberry Pi's to wrap UDP, deliver it the cell network, then on to a cloud server, then use the cloud server to unwrap the UDP and forward it. It's not just Verizon I see this issue with, but all major carriers and some minor ones. I can't say the UDP packet loss is nefarious action by the ISP. After all, the advantage of UDP is not having the overhead of TCP. But it does seem odd.

    Most of the people I help out are in small towns far from any metroplex. I am training my replacement though, because as I mentioned in another post my own health is declining. I will be putting up my scrips to github shortly so if you're interested in helping out folks, you don't have to re-invent what I've done. A lot of it is bash with standard utilities, but some of it is python or C programs. All of it is documented to the point of "A PHB can do this." because that's the way I document. Smart folks can scan it for nuggets, and those not well versed in the art can advance their skills.

    Aside: One of the scripts had a one liner - but the documentation for that single line runs three pages. It has to do with taking a hundred lines of data, formatting it, wrapping it in JSON, and sending it on. I tell you exactly why each flag is used, why it's there and what it does, what to look for if there are errors, and where to find more information if I didn't cover it. Yeah - a bit of over kill. I'm trying to make it so that even the most inexperienced can help their loved ones if they have no other options.

    I used to help set up CLECs for places without any internet, but in the past three years this have become impossible or too expensive due to changes in state law. I tired to get a pole permit (move other telecoms equipment - POTS line in this case) five years ago, and it's still pending approval. It's moot now - that pole no longer is there. It was removed when they pulled out the POTS wiring.

    Anyway, Verizon isn't the most evil out there, though I don't think in any way they have a halo. AT&T in my opinion is far, far worse.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What I've noticed is that UDP packets seem to be targeted, but not TCP so much. I've started using Raspberry Pi's to wrap UDP, deliver it the cell network, then on to a cloud server, then use the cloud server to unwrap the UDP and forward it. It's not just Verizon I see this issue with, but all major carriers and some minor ones. I can't say the UDP packet loss is nefarious action by the ISP. After all, the advantage of UDP is not having the overhead of TCP. But it does seem odd.

      So it would seem TCP is afforded higher priority than UDP. This is completely understandable from the perspective of web browsing when UDP is generally only used for DNS queries and actual HTTP content is carried by TCP.

      It sounds like you're wrapping UDP in TCP which adds a lot of overhead.

      Have you tried ICMP? It has less overhead than TCP and you might find the ISPs care to make a effort to deliver ping packets to make their latency look good. Running your UDP traffic through an ICMP tunnel might be suffic

      • Have you tried ICMP? Actually, it didn't occur to me. So there's a major "derp" on my part. Thank you, I'll look into it.

  • I assumed every self respecting techie was boycotting Netfix because they are one of the driving companies behind adding DRM (EME) to HTML5. I'm surprised anyone on this board noticed. :-/
    • You know what you get when you leave DRM out of HTML5?

      Proprietary players, as far as the eye can see...one for every site. 90% infested with marketing shit and toolbars.

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