DEBUG ME my_worst_experiences_with_rogers:rogers_complaints - DenisWiki


In 2005, it was revealed that Rogers engages in packet shaping. Now, I am well aware that some applications, if not configured correctly, can cause significant problems on a network, and so they must be controlled. I'm primarily thinking of peer-to-peer applications used by people who do not understand the best way to correctly configure their programs. I operate a small network, and myself and all of my users are painfully conscious of the results of the ill-configured peer-to-peer program on the network. I am OK with a modest number of control over peer-to-peer traffic for this reason. Rogers, however, has gone more than a few steps beyond what is justifiable for network operation. Of course, I'm assuming here that Rogers truly has the capability to provide every client with exactly what their advertised rates are. Nevertheless, it appears not even their technical support staff understand the traffic shaping in effect, or they're lying to customers. I called in multiple times about this, and one individual denied that Rogers uses packet shaping and further said they never would. Two others say that Rogers does indeed use packet shaping. One individual described the effects as “hardly noticeable” except for “illegal traffic”, while the other said the effects were “up to a 40% decrease” for all encrypted or high-port traffic. I'm sorry, last time I checked, I was paying for Internet access

at “up to” the advertised rates, not pointlessly and arbitrarily degraded Internet access. What is worse, they're not just degrading traffic which is actually causing network performance issues - they are purely degrading anything inbound on high ports and any encrypted traffic! This really is comparable to when two men were removed from a flight for maybe speaking Arabic. Extreme case? Perhaps, but the similarities are there. If that's the case, passengers were removed because they might have been speaking a language that is the native tongue of a terrorist. In this scenario, users are having traffic degraded because they could be using protocols used by a software pirate. Now, what I don't quite get is how they cannot differentiate between typical offport SSH traffic and other encrypted traffic. SSH packets contain, among other things, the string “SSH”. It isn't difficult to find, it's right at the start of the payload, and it is used to give a fingerprint for SSH traffic. All traffic shaping devices and commercialgrade firewalls I am conscious of are effective at detecting SSH traffic and selectively applying or not applying shaping rules based on that recognition.

Based on e-mails and telephone conversations with Rogers technical support, it truly is not only their applications but also their technicians who do not know the difference between peer-to-peer traffic and other traffic. The first email I sent to them was asking about encrypted remote login protocols, and the answer I received was talking about peer-to-peer downloads. They also do not recognize the distinction between the BitTorrent protocol and also a BitTorrent client application, simply because they talk about “the application BitTorrent”. Essentially, they made no attempt to handle the concerns I really had, and when I called them on it and pointed out the many problems presented by their technical support responses over e-mail and phone, the following e-mail I got simply pointed me toward the Rogers End User Agreement along with the Rogers Acceptable Use Policy (PDF). Neither of these say anything about traffic shaping in any way (at least they did not when I downloaded them) although the Appropriate Use Policy does say that no servers are permitted.

That would disallow any peer-to-peer client, in addition to the SSH server I was running that started this whole thing. Interestingly enough, using the Video Conference or Webcam features of the MSN client also violates this policy, simply because they begin servers for direct connections where possible, with alternative systems if a direct server connection fails. I believe they do the same thing for users with the “direct dialog” capacity, but I'm not sure about that. Other IM services may also break the AUP in the same or similar ways. And of course, they suggested filling out their customer care form if I had additional questions or concerns, and that I should write to the Office of the President if I was dissatisfied with their service. “Dissatisfied” would be one of the ways to set it. “Dissatisfied and pissed in the incompetence of Rogers technical support and technical support managers” would be a little more accurate.

Not only should this concern people who care about being able to use their Internet connection properly (and within the laws that apply to them), this should even be of great concern to advocates of network neutrality. Rogers complaints can already determine what traffic is internal to their own network, and they have got aggressive traffic shaping in effect. All that is left is always to apply a rule that says “any traffic with an external source/destination has a maximum speed of X”. At least the University of Ottawa has been having complaints from users who are not able to properly use their email applications from home. Interestingly enough, only rogers complaints users have complaints. It won't stop there, yet. With all encrypted traffic being degraded, any businesses that depend on VPN technologies for remote users will end up with employees unable to connect (or unwilling to cope together with the subdial-up speeds) if those users (or the business itself) uses rogers complaints.

Michael Geist points out the lack of transparency and the danger to communications, but he also points out something even more disturbing. As of April 17, 2007, no governmental authorities, including Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, Competition Commissioner Sheridan Scott, and Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Chair Konrad von Finckenstein, have made any attempts to discontinue this. Bernier has really acted to bring about something completely the reverse - despite the objection of a parliamentary committee studying telecommunications deregulation, he pushed forward with a strategy to do just that early in April Learn More.



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