Is My Isp Throttling Bittorrent
How to Test if Your ISP is Throttling Your Internet Connection
We’ve all heard the rumors, and even seen occasional evidence. Some Internet service providers slow down certain types of traffic, like BitTorrent traffic. Other ISPs slow down their customers’ connections if they download too much data in a month.
But does your ISP do any of this? It’s hard to tell. You have to run various tests to see if anything look unusual.
BitTorrent Traffic Shaping
Let’s start with one of the more common scenarios: is your ISP slowing down your BitTorrent traffic? Or are your torrents just slow?
Neubot is a useful tool for testing BitTorrent traffic shaping and monitoring it over time. This tool is a bit complicated to use, but is rather powerful.
To install it, visit the Neubot page and click the “Windows” link. Download and install it like any other program. Neubot will run in the background and automatically perform tests. To view the Neubot web interface, open your Start menu and click the “Neubot” shortcut.
After opening the Neubot interface, click the “Privacy” tab, allow the options under Privacy dashboard, and click “Save”. This gives Neubot permission to collect and publish your Internet address on the web for research purposes. If you don’t want to do this, you can’t use Neubot.
This data provides a picture of traffic shaping on different Internet service providers across the Internet, and collecting it is the reason for Neubot’s existence.
To manually start tests, select “speedtest” from the Manually start test box and click “Go”. Neubot will perform a standard HTTP speed test.
Next, select “bittorrent” from the Test box and click “Go”. Neubot will perform a BitTorrent speed test.
As with other similar tests, you’ll want to run this test while you’re not performing any large downloads on your network.
Click the “Results” tab at the top of the page to view your results. From the Test box at the top of the page, select “speedtest” and click “Go! ” to see your HTTP speed test results.
Then, select “bittorrent” from the Test box and select “Go! ” to see your BitTorrent test results. Compare the speeds shown on the two different pages.
Take the results with a grain of salt. As the Neubot interface says, “[the bittorrent] test is quite different from the speedtest one, so there are cases where the comparison between the two is not feasible”. Just seeing a difference between the two speeds doesn’t mean much, especially if you’ve only ran a single test for each.
However, if BitTorrent speed is extremely low compared to HTTP (speedtest) speeds, there’s a good chance your ISP is throttling your BitTorrent traffic. In the screenshots here, the speeds are actually very similar and we don’t see any throttling.
This tool runs in the background and runs tests automatically, so you can leave it installed and check in now and again to see how the results fluctuate over time. If you don’t want Neubot to run, you can uninstall it from the Control Panel just like any other program.
The Glasnost project once provided web-based tests that could identify whether different types of traffic are being rate-limited (slowed down). However, this tool was shut down in 2017.
Is your ISP slowing down your connection because you’ve used too much data? Some ISPs have been known to do this as a way of enforcing their bandwidth caps. Even ISPs that offer “unlimited” connections may throttle you after you hit a certain, usually large, threshold.
To test whether your ISP is slowing down your Internet connection over time, you’ll have to measure your Internet connection speed over time. For example, if your ISP is slowing your Internet speed down, it’s probably slowing it down towards the end of the month after you’ve used a large amount of data. You then probably have typical, fast speeds at the beginning of the next billing period.
You can monitor Internet speed variations over time by using the SpeedTest website. Run a test at the beginning of the month and run further tests regularly, especially at the end of the month. If you consistently see slower speeds near the end of the month, it’s possible that your ISP is throttling your bandwidth. You can sign up for a SpeedTest account to log your results and compare them over time.
Note that other factors can also affect any type of speed test results. For example, if you or any other person on your network is downloading or uploading on your connection, the measurement may not be accurate—you should perform a speed test while your connection isn’t being used. The time of day can also impact your Internet connection speeds. You may see faster speeds at 3 a. m. when no one is using the shared line to your ISP rather than at 9 p. while everyone else in your neighborhood is using the line.
It’s also normal if you don’t see the maximum speeds your ISP is advertising. Most people aren’t getting the Internet speeds they’re paying for.
This isn’t a perfect test. An ISP could prioritize traffic from SpeedTest so that you look like you have a fast connection, even if they’re slowing your other traffic. But if you see a pattern, it may be indicating a throttling situation.
Netflix and YouTube Throttling
You may also want to try the Netflix FAST speed test. Netflix created this test to allow you to check whether your ISP is throttling connections to Netflix or not. Compare the results to the speed you see on SpeedTest. If the Netflix speed test results are significantly slower, that’s evidence your ISP is throttling
Google also provides a “Google Video Quality” report which will show the quality of your connection to YouTube’s servers. If you have a fast Internet connection but a poor quality connection to YouTube’s servers, that’s evidence that your ISP may be throttling YouTube connections.
When you connect to the Internet, your traffic travels through your Internet service provider’s network before it leaves your ISP’s network and travels over another provider’s network. ISPs may sometimes degrade performance at these interconnection points unless the other provider pays an additional toll to the ISP.
The Internet Health Test by Battle for the Net checks your Internet connection to see if there are problems at “interconnection points”. By checking a number of different routes, the tool will detect whether you’re experiencing degraded performance at one or more interconnection points.
The tool performances a number of different speed tests across different networks. If all of them are fast, you’re not experiencing this problem.
If your ISP is throttling your connection, there’s not much you can do, unfortunately. You can switch ISPs and try to find a better one—assuming your ISP doesn’t have a monopoly in your area. You may also be able to pay for a more expensive plan with higher bandwidth allocation and, hopefully, without traffic shaping.
Image Credit: Jerry John on Flickr
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Does your ISP throttle BitTorrent traffic? Find out – CNET
Does your ISP interfere with your file-sharing traffic? Find out, made rapid and easy by software including BitTorrent, has exploded in use besides increased broadband penetration worldwide. It’s important to remember that BitTorrent searches and BitTorrent clients — such as uTorrent, BitTorrent and Tixati — and the practice of file-sharing between computers is not an illegal one. However, ISPs have throttled speeds if BitTorrent clients are in use in the past for traffic management purposes, and more recently — as many people use the software in order to obtain intellectual property-protected files, such as films, music and television shows — the practice has spread. Internet service providers are not always transparent over this practice, however, it is now possible to find out if your ISP is in on the reported by TorrentFreak, thanks to data collected and displayed by Measurement Lab (M-Lab), we can all examine the frequency of data throttling Glasnost application, developed by the Max Planck Institute, can be used for free in order to detect meddling in the use of BitTorrent, eMule and Gnutella, as well as video streaming sites including YouTube, e-mail, Usenet, HTTP transfer, and SSH transfer protocols.
Based on M-Lab tests of at least 100 connections performed between December 2012 and December 2013, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore were the worst data throttlers, with 74 percent, 61 percent and 53 percent of tested connections having been tampered with respectively. The US had a throttling rate of 14 percent, whereas the UK was the second most throttled country in Europe with 28 percent, beaten only by Poland with 35 and Romania performed more positively, with tests showing only 7 and 9 percent of limited BitTorrent connections. If we then take a look at which Internet service providers throttle speeds the most, in the United States, Comcast throttles roughly 12 percent of connections. Cox interferes with 13 percent of connections, whereas Verizon manipulates only nine percent of connections. However, as the publication notes, throttling rates are beginning to creep higher again after taking a dive when ComCast was exposed for controlling customers’ file-sharing traffic several years ago — causing a dive of 50 percent throttling rates to the single digits. In the UK, Orange is the most throttle-happy ISP, with a limiting rate of 38 percent. BT comes in second with 35 percent, whereas TalkTalk throttles only 10 percent of connections. For information on your ISP, check out M-Lab’s diagnostic tools.
How to Tell if Your Internet Is Being Throttled | BroadbandNow.com
The bottom line: throttling is frequent on mobile and wireless services, but not very common with cable, DSL, or fiber. The only way to reliably test if you’re being throttled is with a VPN service. If you want to know if your internet is being throttled, you can follow these simple steps:
1. Run an internet speed test
2. Download and activate a reputable VPN
3. Run another speed test to see if you get a different result
If your network is being throttled, your speed will dramatically improve once you activate a reliable VPN. If you notice no change, there is likely another reason behind your slow internet speeds.
Believe it or not, internet bandwidth is never truly unlimited. The signal being sent to your devices is coming from a single cell tower that is shared with many other individuals simultaneously.
For this reason, internet service providers (ISPs) may sometimes “throttle, ” or limit, your usage to certain speeds without expressly telling you when they are doing it in order to free up bandwidth for others connected to the same tower.
Typically, ISPs only throttle what they consider to be a “heavy” internet user — as per their own definition — during “times of high traffic. ”
A typical internet user will likely never experience network throttling. If your internet is slow, there may be another reason behind it.
It’s frustrating to run a speed test and see that you’re getting less speed than you’re paying for. The question is: are you being throttled? Or is it some other issue?
What Is Throttling Data?
Throttling is the process of an ISP purposely slowing down an internet user’s data transmission. Sometimes you’ll see lower speeds that are difficult to explain and aren’t attributed to equipment issues. You won’t always receive a clear notification that your connection is throttled despite rules that pressure telecom companies to inform you, so the uncertainty regarding your slower connection can be incredibly frustrating.
Currently, you’ll usually see a throttling of your entire connection, but with the repeal of Net Neutrality, some people worry that ISPs may start throttling specific types of content. This is not yet a common issue.
Why Do ISPs Throttle Data?
There are multiple reasons why an ISP might throttle data:
1. You have met your data limit. Many people have data limits on their internet connections. When they exceed the allotted amount of data, their speeds will often be drastically reduced. Instead of cutting off access to internet service completely, ISPs instead prioritize customers that are within the terms of their plan. The slower speeds can be incredibly annoying, but it’s definitely preferable to losing the ability to surf the web completely.
2. You are connected during a “high traffic” time. While bandwidth isn’t usually an issue for major internet providers, the fact remains that it is a finite resource. With extremely heavy data use that exceeds allowances, ISPs may need to throttle some connections in order to provide high speeds to the rest of their customers.
3. Your ISP is choosing to throttle your specific activity. With the repeal of Net Neutrality, the ability of an ISP to throttle may be expanded, adding the ability to throttle specific types of content or to charge higher fees to major data users such as streaming services like Netflix. If costs are increased dramatically for these content providers, the costs of paying off ISPs may be passed down to you.
How To Check If Your ISP Is Throttling Bandwidth
Note that throttling results in extremely low download speeds, while more common issues like Netflix congestion only cause a 10–40% speed reduction.
The most obvious way to tell if your internet is being throttled would be to run a free speed test available online. Unfortunately, most internet providers can detect speed tests and artificially inflate your speeds to make it appear that they’re not throttling you.
So, a speed test isn’t a foolproof way to identify internet throttling.
The only reliable method of checking whether your connection is throttled is through a Virtual Private Network, also known as a VPN.
ISPs may sometimes throttle only specific types of content, and a VPN can make this practice next to impossible by masking your IP address and activities from your ISP.
With your ISP forced to treat all of your content equally due to the inability to discern what sort of websites you’re viewing, you should then be able to measure your true speeds using an online speed test.
So, to reiterate, you can tell if your internet is being throttled by following these steps:
If your speeds are significantly lower than normal and you can’t explain the problem after following the steps in the troubleshooting section below, the odds are that your connection is being throttled.
How To Fix Data Throttling
Thankfully, there are a couple of practical steps you can take to fix internet throttling:
1. Monitor your monthly data usage. If you’ve exceeded your data limit on a capped plan, you can usually avoid the issue by better monitoring your usage moving forward or switching to a plan with higher data allowances. If your data is supposed to be “unlimited, ” however, there may not be an easy fix.
2. Sign up for a reputable VPN. A good VPN may be able to provide you a solution to internet throttling. If a VPN cannot solve the issue, you may need to resort to one of the next two steps. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that many large online services such as Netflix and Hulu are getting better at detecting VPNs and may restrict you from using their services if they cannot determine your location.
3. Switch to a new internet service provider. Some ISPs are more notorious when it comes to slowing down its users, and almost every ISP has a different data cap in its terms. If you are constantly being throttled, you may want to sign up with another internet service provider that has a significantly higher data cap.
4. Express your concerns to government representatives. If these solutions don’t work for you, the only real recourse that remains is to try to convince representatives and Federal Communications Commission officials to fight for a more open internet. By submitting an FCC comment voicing your concerns or contacting your congressperson, you can add your voice to the many fighting against predatory throttling and content prioritization.
Why Is My Internet Slow?
Throttling is one of many potential bottlenecks that can slow down a consumer Internet connection.
If you’ve gone through the appropriate tests and determined that your internet isn’t being throttled, or you simply aren’t convinced one way or the other, there are other tests you can perform to find the true cause.
Here are a few reasons why your internet could be slow:
Your modem and router are old or outdated. Most of the time, the issue is something to do with your modem and router — they might need a restart, or be too old to function properly.
You’re connected during “high traffic” hours. The second most common issue is “peak use” slowdowns from other customers. It’s normal for cable Internet to slow down around 30% from 5–9 PM when everyone in the neighborhood starts their nightly Netflix binge.
WiFi connections are slower than Ethernet. Finally, keep in mind that it’s normal for Internet connections to slow down when you’re on WiFi vs. plugged in with Ethernet. Connect your computer to the router with Ethernet and run a speed test to see if the speed is still reduced.
Go through the checklist below to check if there’s another issue before assuming you’re being throttled:
Check for Throttling Checklist
Reset your router. Occasionally, the equipment just needs a reboot to get your connection back up to speed.
Connect via Ethernet cable to see if it’s a problem with your WiFi
Connect via another device to see if the problem is isolated to one computer.
Check for viruses with a reputable antivirus and malware scanner
Call your service provider to see if they can detect a technical issue.
To continue trying to diagnose your connection issues in greater detail, you can check out our more comprehensive WiFi troubleshooting guide.
If you’ve run through the checklist above and you’re still experiencing connection issues, it’s possible that your connection is being throttled.
Is Internet Throttling Legal?
Is throttling legal? As of 2018, there aren’t many legal protections against throttling, although consumer outrage when ISPs do throttle specific services generally keeps the practice in check.
In most cases, the throttling of an internet connection is legal. One common reason that data is throttled is due to excess use on a plan with a data cap. In almost all cases, ISPs are obligated to inform consumers when they throttle connections.
Back in 2015, US courts ruled that companies could not prioritize different streams of data with “internet fast lanes, ” or penalize customers for not upgrading to a faster plan.
With the repeal of Net Neutrality, these provisions have basically been gutted, making regulations around selective throttling nearly non-existent.
Despite the repeal of these protections, ISPs generally still have to inform customers when they throttle data. Outside of the obligation to provide notification, however, these companies now have much fewer limits when it comes to prioritizing content and charging customers for priority connections.
Many ISPs have made a pledge to treat the greater freedom responsibly, in spite of past issues with blocking select services.
Frequently Asked Questions about is my isp throttling bittorrent
Can ISP throttle BitTorrent?
However, ISPs have throttled speeds if BitTorrent clients are in use in the past for traffic management purposes, and more recently — as many people use the software in order to obtain intellectual property-protected files, such as films, music and television shows — the practice has spread.Jan 24, 2014
How can I tell if my ISP is throttling?
The most obvious way to tell if your internet is being throttled would be to run a free speed test available online. Unfortunately, most internet providers can detect speed tests and artificially inflate your speeds to make it appear that they’re not throttling you.Aug 10, 2021
What happens if your ISP catch you torrenting?
Your internet service provider (ISP) and copyright trolls monitoring the BitTorrent network can take action if they catch you illegally torrenting. This can range from a warning letter and throttling (slowing down) of your internet connection speeds to legal action – although the latter is increasingly rare.Apr 8, 2021