Sandvine gear is currently being used by Comcast to throttle or block BitTorrent traffic.
Sandvine, which produces traffic-shaping hardware and software for broadband
providers, said May 19 it will now offer a range of policy options for ISPs,
including an application-agnostic approach. According to a number of reports,
Sandvine gear is currently being used by Comcast to throttle or block
Sandvine said its new FairShare program is designed to work with the
company's traffic optimization solutions to allow broadband providers to shape
traffic without specifically discriminating against particular applications
like BitTorrent, the popular peer to peer program widely used to download video
"Sandvine FairShare incorporates more decision factors and more policy
options that enable broadband providers to ensure fair allocation of network
resources and optimize network efficiency," Don Bowman, Sandvine's chief
technology officer, said in a statement. "FairShare's approach is unique
because it can implement both application-aware and application-agnostic
network management strategies."
According to Sandvine, FairShare automatically responds in real time to
changing network environments and subscriber usage patterns. It collects
subscriber usage metrics from various sources and analyzes the data according
to configurable parameters. Based on the results, FairShare modifies policies
to balance available bandwidth and resources among subscribers.
"FairShare takes into account the three key dimensions of
traffic-speed, latency and jitter-to ensure the reliable delivery of the
broadest range of applications with the highest level of overall subscriber
satisfaction, especially during periods of heavy usage," Bowman said.
has been under attack
for almost a year for throttling BitTorrent traffic
in violation of the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality
principles, which prohibit discriminating against specific applications in
handling network traffic. The FCC is currently investigating the charges
cable giant and BitTorrent announced March 27
that they were working to
address issues associated with rich media content and network capacity
management. Comcast said by the end of the year it would migrate to a capacity
management technique that is protocol-agnostic. Earlier in 2008, Comcast
announced its plans for the deployment of wideband Internet services using the
DOCSIS 3.0 standard, which will be available for up to 20 percent of Comcast's
customers by the end of 2008.
In addition, Comcast
said April 16 it is working with Pando Networks,
a two-year startup with
backing from Intel, to produce data to help Comcast "migrate to a protocol-agnostic
network management technique by the end of this year."