I decided to play with the tools at Measurement Lab. Of interest to me was: Test if your ISP is manipulating Bittorrent traffic. I am after all on a Streamyx connection and people tend to complain about it.
I administered the full test, which took around seven minutes (about the time it takes to wolf down a burger, and have a drink), and the results came back mostly positive.
First, it talks about BitTorrent traffic, using a standard BitTorrent port – 6888 – it seems while the downloads show no rate limiting, it seems the uploads have potential rate limiting. On a non-standard BitTorrent port – 10016 – the BitTorrent traffic again confirmed that there was upload throttling. Even TCP traffic on a well-known BitTorrent port, is throttled.
So there, TMNet’s Streamyx, the most popular broadband service in Malaysia (in fact, probably the only widely available commercial broadband service, so to speak), is confirmed to be rate limiting you, based on the BitTorrent protocol, even on non-standard ports (its definite on the standard BitTorrent port, but not so certain on others – its probably protocol level, from what I would gather). Just limiting the upload speed, is enough to do damage to how BitTorrent works, naturally.
Workarounds? I know there’s some service called BolehVPN. I personally use a box located in a colo, that does the work for me, and I bring what I need down, via scp -C. Does encrypting help? I think I need to read up more on how BitTorrent works, clearly…