Why is Bittorrent killing my webpages?
April 5, 2005 4:41 PM   Subscribe

I run bittorrent (for legal files only, of course), but when I do, it tends to kill my web browsing ability. Most of the time when running bittorrent webpages will timeout. I use Azureus now and it used to happen with ABC as well. Is there some setting with Azureus OR with Firefox that could be changed to stop this?

One more thing--when I stop bittorrent the browsing works perfectly again...so I know bittorrent is the culprit.
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Get BitTornado, a bittorrent client which allows you to throttle the upload and download bandwidth used by the application. Throttle your upload bandwidth to something smaller than your maximum.

In my case, my ISP (Cox Communications) limits me to 60K/s (bytes) upload. If I throttle the upload bandwidth to 40 or 50K/s, everything is fine. If I let it use all 60K/s, the network becomes useless.

Note that your upload speed affects your potential downloads on the web because, for even while downloading, acknowledgement packets are sent back to the server to say that a given packet was received. TCP does this to guarantee a perfect transmission, but the result is a maxed out uplink will affect downstream traffic as well.
posted by knave at 4:48 PM on April 5, 2005

Alternatively, use a smaller MTU on your network and/or see if your router can prioritize ACKs.
posted by kindall at 4:51 PM on April 5, 2005

I just looked at their site, apparently Azureus mentions this in their FAQ. I've never used Azureus, but I would try their solution first, and if it's still impaired, try BitTornado.
posted by knave at 4:52 PM on April 5, 2005

I share a cable connection with two other computer users and have netlimiter to keep my bittorent uploads from taking up all of the bandwidth. (The program can run on a schedule and automatically change your upload/download caps at different times of the day.)

I think having no room to upload your web url requests, for instance, would cause a time out error.

Having said that, lately, about once every 1-2 weeks, and even with netlimiter installed, I occasionally get a timed out error and have to reset my cable modem and router. But I have been willing to live with that...
posted by parma at 4:54 PM on April 5, 2005

I noticed this as well, so started using NetLimiter to limit my upstream to 1k. Also, as well as limiting my uploads to 128k my ISP counts uploaded data towards my "download" quota so.. bleah..
Having it at 1k doesn't seem to _overly_ effect the transmission speeds - I still see 40-60k speeds when sufficient people are seeding the torrent, and I usually have four or five torrents tickling down. The upstream data being sent by TCP shouldn't be overly onerous anyway -- it's only sending acknowledgement packets, not the entire packet back.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:04 PM on April 5, 2005

With Azureus there are small download ("D:") and upload ("U:") rate trackers in the bottom right corner. If you right click on either of them you can set a cap.

With most internet connections the upload speed is only a fraction of the download. I'd guess you're saturating your upload bandwidth. Let Azureus go full throttle, and then cap it to half the rate it stabalizes at (sometimes mine will jump to 60KB/s at first but then quickly levels out to 40KB/s, so I cap it at 20KB/s).
posted by sbutler at 5:07 PM on April 5, 2005

Azureus has built in controls for throttling bandwidth usage. You can access them from the context menu of the files you're torrenting. I think there's also some settings under Options|Network to do the same, but I can't verify that right now.
posted by boo_radley at 5:09 PM on April 5, 2005

Having said that, lately, about once every 1-2 weeks, and even with netlimiter installed, I occasionally get a timed out error and have to reset my cable modem and router. But I have been willing to live with that...

I had a similar problem with my netgear router. After using BT for a bit I couldn't do anything else without resetting my router. I eventually learned I could disable something called SPI in my router's configuration. It's worked fine ever since. From what I understand, SPI is used to prevent DOS attacks and the router was seeing BT traffic as a possible DOS so it would lock up some ports or something. I can't imagine anyone would want to DOS me. I'm not very DOSable.
posted by bondcliff at 5:31 PM on April 5, 2005

Another vote for throttling your bandwidth, ideally with any program that can use lots of bandwidth you shouldn't go above 80% of the total amount of bandwidth you have. You'll find if you play with the limit a bit there is a sweet spot where your download speeds will actually increase by lowering your upload. Excellent FAQ about bandwidth throttling can be found here. If your using a router make sure you have all the ports required to run BT open as well. I've also found BT slows me down (unlike other p2p applications) even when I throttle and never did find a way to fix it.
posted by squeak at 5:53 PM on April 5, 2005

ABC has bandwith throttling as well. I never have problems with other traffic slowing down, really.
posted by angry modem at 7:02 PM on April 5, 2005

One of the key settings is the number of simultaneous connections. Turning that down allowed me to connect faster.
posted by apathy0o0 at 8:05 PM on April 5, 2005

second on what apathy0oo0 sez - I just discovered this after switching routers - having the bandwidth throttled is one thing, but having too many connections open (a setting in my client, Azureus) is what makes web browsing time out. I decreased that (it'll depend on your router) and all went back to normal.
posted by stevil at 8:38 PM on April 5, 2005

You could try the Speed Scheduler plugin for Azureus. It allows you to regulate the maximum upload and download speeds based on time of the day. I use it thus:

Midnight - 7am: unlimited up and down
7am - 10pm: 15k up, 40k down
10pm - midnight: 30k up, 80k down

This way I get good up and down speeds when I'm asleep, and good browsing when I'm awake. But even when I'm browsing I'm still sharing my stuff, albeit slowly.
posted by Ridge at 7:34 AM on April 6, 2005

Like Ridge, I use Speed Scheduler with Azureus and it works like a champ. You can set schedules that are simple (I throttle Bt from 5p to 1a and 7a to 10a, wide open other times) or complicated to the point where they are specific to days of the week.

If you want to be Alpha Geek and have a newish linksys router device you could install one of the replacement firmwares (which you can find many of here)and run a QoS solution that prioritizes Bt traffic below all others.
posted by phearlez at 7:51 AM on April 6, 2005

Yeah, over the weekend my little brother was complaining that he was getting horrible ping times while playing Halo. So I just right-clicked on my BT downloads in Azereus and limited the upload and download speeds to 10k.
posted by exhilaration at 1:57 PM on April 7, 2005

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