Rogers Traffic Shaping Making It Difficult For Users To Use Secure Email

from the nice-work dept

Canadian ISPs haven’t been shy about using traffic shaping tools to try to slow down the use of things like BitTorrent. This is a lot of what the network neutrality debate is about — as ISPs would like to shift all that traffic onto the slow lane. Of course, as has been pointed out, this can backfire badly. Trying to slow down BitTorrent traffic will just lead to more people encrypting all of their internet use — increasing the overhead involved, increasing the traffic and making the attempts at traffic shaping pointless. This is exactly what’s happened in plenty of cases. However, Canadian ISP Rogers has taken things to the next level, and apparently decided that all encrypted traffic must be bad and should be slowed down. That means that for folks who happen to do ordinary things like use encrypted email connections (as you should), Rogers can make email nearly impossible to use. It’s not clear how this helps anyone. It pisses off users who (hopefully) will jump to other ISPs at the first opportunity (if there is one), and doesn’t help Rogers keep bandwidth down on its network. It just makes the system more expensive and more overloaded, while making it nearly impossible for people to do basic things like email. Nice job, Rogers.


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Comments on “Rogers Traffic Shaping Making It Difficult For Users To Use Secure Email”

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34 Comments
Sanguine Dream says:

Re: Rogers stupidity

Thats what happens when a company is run by people with “business” degrees. They know how to run a business but they don’t understand the products/services they are trying to sell.

Remember, an excellent IT worker doesn’t automatically mean she/he would make an excellent IT manager. Possible but not garaunteed.

B's Opinion Only (profile) says:

I was a Rogers Internet user and long-time fanboy. I convinced many people to switch to Rogers years ago before traffic shaping came along. I was subscribed to the highest, most expensive tier of Rogers cable internet service.

Last month I finally had enough. Since Bittorrents can obviously only be used for evil, Rogers traffic shaping was limiting my download of legitimate, well-seeded Linux distros to 4.5 Kb/s (that’s right four and a half kilobits).

Their phone support is either extremely stupid, or is trained to pretend that they have never heard of the concept of traffic shaping. Explaining it to them is like talking to a small child.

When I cancelled last month I was extremely clear that the reason I was cancelling my service after almost 10 years was completely because of their traffic shaping. The phone rep said “I don’t see that on my screen, I will just check ‘other'” I told her absolutely not, I needed a note placed on my account that clearly indicated they had lost me and my $840 per year because of Rogers idiotic traffic shaping.

Canadian message boards are filled with people dumping Rogers because of this. Rogers users need to know that Rogers internet is ONLY for HTTP traffic. Any other types of connection is obviously being used for criminal purposes and is slowed down to 9600 baud (remember your Commodore 64 modems, kids?).

I am now happily using Bell’s new ‘fibre to the node’ DSL service and I am consistently achieving 12000 Kb/s downloads from good servers, even if I dare to attempt something as ridiculous as downloading a linux distro.

Bell is actually spending money building their network instead of blocking what is allowed down its pipes. They are installing these fibre-optic-fed ‘stingers’ all over. There are three in my neighbourhood – guaranteeing a maximum 500 metre cable-run and full speed service for any customer.

A note for those cancelling their Rogers internet – you must cancel 30 days in advance and if you are on a Rogers bundle you have (unknowingly) agreed to a contract and they will ding you for cancellation fees!

Bryan Price (user link) says:

Encryption is detected how?

And Rogers is able to see that a data packet is encrypted how? There isn’t a bit that says this packet is encrypted. So I really don’t see how Rogers would degrade encrypted traffic. Encrypted email, ssh, VPN, scp, sftp, https – all that is encrypted.

So now you can’t do online shopping because they are blocking https?

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Re: Encryption is detected how?

And Rogers is able to see that a data packet is encrypted how? There isn’t a bit that says this packet is encrypted.

The simplest way is to assume that anything random-looking is encrypted. Of course, compressed stuff is also random-looking. This would include JPEG images on web sites. Perhaps they have special checks for things like “Content-type: image/jpeg” coming over HTTP.

In which case, of course, you could hide your encrypted stuff in there. 🙂

Overcast says:

Of all the things I do – VPN is where I need the most bandwidth as for work; I need to remote into various servers, sometimes using an already slow java app to accomplish this.

I just switched ISP’s – why? Because my old ISP didn’t give me the upload speed I needed.

All the VPN traffic; of course, is encrypted. Luckily, I’m not stuck with one ISP.

Yes, this is a stupid idea indeed.

GoblinJuice says:

Uh. I'm pissed.

Note to anyone from an ISP reading this: don’t fuck with encrypted traffic, because you don’t have a goddamn clue what it is. Seriously.

BitTorrent and YouTube crap is one thing, but encrypted traffic could be goddamn serious.

I’d prefer no “shaping” — but if you feel you “must”, then be goddamn careful and don’t touch anything that could actually – gasp – be important.

Please, save the scarecrow argument about evil pirates using encryption. PGP has been around for… I’ve forgotten how goddamn long… but 99% of people don’t use it. Same is true for encrypted P2P.

o_O I’m pissed.

Anonymous Coward says:

When I pay for an internet connection i’m paying for a dumb pipe. A lot of internet businesses are based on over subscription. I bet they are selling their services as having this amount of speed hoping that most users never utilize it. This fine but you can’t start punishing users for it back firing on you. You maybe forced to raise prices to build out the infrastructure to cover the higher bandwidth usage. This makes more sense then traffic shaping. There is no way for an ISP to say that this service is not important to every user.

Brendan D (user link) says:

Rogers monopoly reigns supreme

Rogers is the only connection available in my area, so naturally I decided to get the home phone VOIP service as well as the cable internet to bundle them. Now im paying $33/month for a basic local line with 1 feature and $33/month for 1mbit/128kbit cable internet. Even at those prices and those low speeds they still manage to throttle all my bit torrent downloads, VPN tunnels to work and ssh tunnels to some linux boxes. My only other options are sketchy Sympatico anywhere broadband or satellite internet. I’m at the point of trying the sympatico wireless next week.

This is BullShit

Scapy says:

Moronic Oligopolies

Recently I phoned Rogers to find out why they had reduced my upload speeds. They claimed that they had to do something because people were abusing their service (…by using what they paid for!?) and complaining. I guess their phone service that they didn’t increase infrastructure for was getting bogged down maybe.

I almost switched to Bell, but after them lying to me and gross incompetence (3 sperate people said they’d mail out my modem to no avail). They claimed they’d give me unlimited bandwidth and others there said no that was impossible other times I inquired about my account.

After all the hassle of dealing with both a friend of a friend introduced me to what I consider the holy grail of alternative Hi-speed internet if you can get it. http://acanac.ca/more-info.htm Acanac Offers no blocked ports, unlimited downloading (no mention of upload limits anywhere), and good speeds 5Mps d/l and 0.8Mps u/l. To me that looks like twice the u/l as Rogers and the same d/l.

jack says:

Bell is also rather horrible

Bell gives you very pathetic amount of total bandwidth cap. 2GB per months on a basic and 10 GB for the other types. I had the basic services (since the high speed was not available for my area) for a months and was surprised to have received a $80 bill! They are never brave to tell you about the limits on any page before you sign up. Sigh. Even the free internet service that comes with my dorm offers is better than that. I am stuck with Rogers for now. Remember 6 years ago when home broadband was just being advertised, it was “unlimited”.

Mike says:

I can confirm the arbitrary encrypted packet dropp

I have a remote server, on which I run my own personal blog site, a few websites for a few businesses I’ve sold a while ago, and through which I route my 100% legal email through.
I use stunnel to create 2 tunnels so that I can do pop and smtp. It’s 100% legal, ethical, sensible.
But Rogers has been making it extremely frustrating. I get about 300 spam email messages per day, and downloading email always takes a little bit. Not too too long, but around 1 to 2, maybe 3 minutes at times. But Rogers is dropping my encrypted tunnel halfway through. From that point, it refuses to re-establish the socket connection altogether. I have to retry numerous of times each and every single night, it’s really quite annoying.

Everyone, and that includes the normal ordinary http user that isn’t affected by Rogers bad tactics, should be convinced to stop their service with Rogers, purely because it’s the right thing to do. Rogers is NOT an ethical company to do business with. Ted Rogers must be one hell of an idiot. So lets take the business away from that selfish evil little twarp.

john says:

not allot of choices Rogers or Bell

I am frustrated with trying to get Bell to fix my dsl.
I was getting 700kb down 300kb up transfer rate untill one day it dropped to 50kb down and 50kb up. Bell is saying that thats the best I can expect, end of story, no explanation as to why it changed. My only choice other than dial up is Rogers, but i guess thats only good if i dont want to transfer torrents…damn.

BR Admins (user link) says:

Boycott site

We figure the best way to send a message to Rogers about net neutrality is to cancel and document it. We’re collecting “cancellation signatures” here: http://www.boycottrogers.com. Go there, tell us if you’ve canceled or plan to cancel, tell us why and what Rogers would have to do to get you back or prevent you from leaving, and maybe get Rogers to realize that their clients won’t just roll over.

Aki says:

Internet traffic shaping : just a comment

Hi, I designed and partially own an small isp in Kenya ( east africa ). In our business, we purchase international wholesale bandwidth for resale & is very expensive : about 7500USD per Mbit. We sell in circuits of 64kbps. Despite the internet being very expensive here, we do not apply any traffic shaping or controls on any traffic as clients pay for what they can afford. I’m very surprised that in your part of the world where international wholesale bandwidth must be at least 10 times cheaper, the ISP apply controls. If an ISP is doing that, it clearly indicates bad business decisions or poor network infrastructure design or just bad business practises by the competiton may be the real cause of these issues. Good luck..

BoB KaYaK says:

Rogers dry humps its users

well i’m a usenet user that used to get great speeds downloading, and never uploaded anything. Rogers notified me saying if I went over 100 gigs a month they throttle my speed down. Being content with a 100 gigs I followed the new ditctatorship rules placed upon what was an unlimited account but with that magic loop hole in the end user, that agreement was pratically changed before the ink dried on the contract. But nope that wasn’t good enough still, now i’m being throttled for downloading encryted files through Usenet servers. Where’s the fairness. I admire their efforts for trying to track down perv’s sharing files but hey sorry rogers your my ISP, your not my Government (ECHLON) who are allowed to enfringe and spy on my doings. This if I can’t read what your doing then you can’t do it scenario has to stop. I don’t see anywhere in the end user agreement where my files need to be preapproved by them before they can be moved threw the network.

kathleen walsh says:

would like to contact ted Rogers

Met and dated ted rogers in 70’s I have left toronto and I am living in northern Ireland. Would like to have a talk with Ted. He would like to hear from me I know. We had dinner at the 4 seasons hotel and had raw fish to eat. He would not take a steak well done. Please contact him for me.

kathleen walsh
was at 505 cummer ave when we went out together.

gary singh says:

i have been rogers customer for last 12 years . i have everything from cell phone ,cable and internet from rogers .last month i downloaded a p2p software(would not mention the name). it downloads fine for 5 minutes or so then get blocked ,saying “connecting”. Ater reading info on the net I found out the it is my internet provider who is blocking it. It is a robbery, I pay the money to exsess the internet , doesnot matter which site i go to ,it is my decison . NOW ROGER IS GOING TO CONTROL WHAT I CAN OR CAN’T DO ON THE INTERNET. Roger you can kiss good bye to my $ 168.00/ month starting 25 march,2008. not to mention cell phone

Pat Yuers says:

Skype unusable

How odd that Skype is unusable via Rogers cable internet – could it be because they are currently selling Rogers voip service? I pay for far more bandwidth than I need but still cannot get a good voip connection even half the time. In other words, Rogers is blocking legitimate use of their service. Is anyone considering a class-action suit against Rogers for failing to fulfill advertised and contracted services?

Antonio De Rita says:

who's Rogers.

Rogers is a nobody we keep it up if it give as a good services.If it starter with,hocus and pocus,it will loose the raputation the wich is not very rich.According with so many complain.I personally can’t complain,so far,,,,hopefully there wont be any complain.But if they insist,for sure someone alse will come with a better services,and of course people will run for it

Jeff says:

Is there a choice?

Yeah, it pisses me off that I am paying for a 5mg pipe but only get it when rogers approves of what I am downloading – ie things that don’t actually need a 5 mg pipe. But as I understand it, the only choice in this price range is DSL. Either DSL through bell which also gets shaped, or DSL through any of a number of other providers that do not shape the traffic but ALL use Bell as their provider which Bell then shapes. So since rogers and Bell are the only tier 1 providers the only choice we have is who we want messing with our traffic.

Do I understand that correctly?

Do I understand this correctly?

Ben says:

Traffic Shaping

Rogers actually uses units produced by Sandvine. Sandvine produced these “boxes” to be run in tandem with the internet that you get at your house. Prior to these units, they were not able to see the specifics that you were doing. My buddy works there doing quality work. Apparently, they can see if you are encrypting, and if you are not, they can see what you are doing. Consider it a “Big Brother” kind of thing. They can tell you who streams the most football on your street, who downloads the most music or whatever. Its actually pretty disgusting if you ask me.

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