Am I being throttled (by Grande in Texas?)
January 11, 2009 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm in Texas and just started using Grande Communications as my internet service provider. The cable internet connection is fast (averaging 10 Mbps) but my torrent downloads are slow. Does Grande throttle? If they do throttle, is there any way to bypass the throttling?
posted by buzzbash to Technology (12 answers total)
torrents are limited to the upload speeds of your file-sharin' compadre(s).
posted by troy at 4:45 PM on January 11, 2009

I've experienced torrent throttling with Grande (as in, whenever I start torrenting something, the connection slows to a crawl, not just for torrents, and affected everyone on my router). I never found a good solution, other than to just only torrent at night as not to piss my roommates off.
posted by comwiz at 5:04 PM on January 11, 2009

Not sure if they throttle, but they definitely monitor traffic and will kill your connection if they get a DMCA letter from a rightsholder.
posted by kid_dynamite at 5:05 PM on January 11, 2009

What kid_dynamite said. Grande has shut me down twice until I called them and told them that I'd "ask my visiting house guests to please delete the copyrighted material".
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:09 PM on January 11, 2009

Not like I ever download those darn torrents *cough*, but all my Grande web traffic is just a lot faster/more at the non-peak times. I suspect they oversell their service to keep their prices cheaper than the other local options. Dare to dream of FIOS?
posted by ejoey at 6:40 PM on January 11, 2009
posted by Sufi at 7:29 PM on January 11, 2009

I've talked to various tech support people in Waco who say Grande does not throttle or filter bittorrent.
posted by abdulf at 9:24 PM on January 11, 2009

Check the router port forwarding is working correctly. Setting a lower max upload speed can also help.
posted by JonB at 11:33 PM on January 11, 2009

There's this test here. My understanding is that it will detect things like packet resets but may not be able to detect basic throttling.

Does Grande throttle?

They all throttle or traffic shape at some level. Think of it this way, what if torrent traffic had the same level of service as http, voip, gaming, etc? You'd have a hard time visiting a website and pretty much no chance of using voip or playing an online game. Dont get up in arms because my VOIP packets are slowing down your bulk transfers. Thats not a bug or a conspiracy against you, thats smart network management. I also wouldnt want my bulk transfers affecting your VOIP phone calls.

That said, its notoriously difficult to determine how low on the QoS chain torrents are. How do you know its not legitimate traffic slowing you down or the host outside your network? You dont. What you can do is decide that if the level of service you are getting fits your need. If the torrents are unbearably slow all the time then you should go with your gut, vote with your wallet, and switch ISPs.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:31 AM on January 12, 2009

Also its worth noting that many ISPs offer business DSL or business cable for only 10 or 20 dollars more than what they charge for residential service. These connections are usually a lot more usable for bulk transfers and 100% utilization 24/7. Not to mention you are allowed to run servers and usually get a better level of tech support. I recommend moving to business class service for power users and chronic downloaders.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:39 AM on January 12, 2009

Some other things to check may be the max amount of peers you can connect to for each torrent and overall.
If you're connected to 40 peers max and they're all sending to you at .5 k/sec its gonna be slow going, but if you can bump up to, lets say 150 or 200, you can connect to more people and thus grab more data at a time. Try to play around with the "maximum peers value" and "maximum peers per torrent" value to see if you get improvements. If you're getting something as soon as it is released (say, a tv broadcast) then it'll have thousands of peers, so you'll increase it a lot, but if it is an old torrent and only has 40 peers, you'll be limited by that.
Be mindful that this does have the ability to screw the bandwidth of other users on your network and your router may limit the number of connections (DD-WRT I know has a setting for this and i always set it up to ~2000). I'd recommend monitoring your router to make sure its not being overworked by all the connections and packets flowing through.
See if your torrent client has scheduling for alternate peer/speed settings so that it automatically ramps up after 11pm and slows down after 7am.

Also, turn on encryption on your torrent client and use an automatic blocklist if available (I know Transmission & Vuze have the ability to do this)
posted by ijoyner at 12:16 PM on January 12, 2009

Thanks everyone for the input. I became interested in the throttling issue after I switched ISP's last week. I switched from a slow AT&T DSL connection (about 1 Mbps) to Grande's faster cable connection (averaging about 8 Mbps.) Speeds were determined by using Unfortunately, the eight-fold increase in connection speed didn't translate to faster torrent downloads. Instead, it seems that my torrents were running slower--hence I began to suspect that new ISP was throttling torrents. It's not that I'm opposed to throttling or traffic shaping. I understand why it's necessary and desirable for both the ISP and the end-user, especially during peak hours. That being said, I'm going to try to bypass any artificial limits on my connection speed.

I ran the Glasnost test, and the results indicate that I'm not being throttled. That's encouraging news.

I checked my D-Link DIR-655 router config and realized that my port forwarding needed to be reconfigured to my new static ip. Fixed that.

I tweaked some of the settings in uTorrent. Not sure if that helped. Might need to experiment some more with that.

So did any of that help? I'm not sure. Currently, I'm downloading an obscure movie from 13 peers and my download speed is hovering between 30-60 kBps. Not fantastic, but definitely serviceable. I can live with that.

It surprised me to read that Grande will readily suspend your account if they get a DMCA complaint. But then I remembered: downloading copyrighted material without permission is a violation of law and a violation of the TOS I agreed to when I signed up with my new ISP. Duh. It's easy to forget that sometimes. It's a good thing that I download ONLY un-copyrighted materials!

Thanks again everyone.
posted by buzzbash at 4:47 AM on January 13, 2009

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