A new study suggests that more than half of all Internet traffic is generated by non-human sources such as hacking software, scrapers and automated spam mechanisms. The majority of this non-human traffic, according to cloud service provider Incapsula, is potentially malicious. The study is based on data collected from 1,000 websites that utilize Incapsula’s services, and it determined that just 49% of Web traffic is human browsing. 20% is benign non-human search engine traffic, but 31% of all Internet traffic is tied to malicious activities. 19% is from ” ‘spies’ collecting competitive intelligence,” 5% is from automated hacking tools seeking out vulnerabilities, 5% is from scrapers and 2% is from content spammers. “Few people realize how much of their traffic is non-human, and that much of it is potentially harmful,” Incapsula co-founder Marc Gaffan told ZDNet. Incapsula, coincidentally, offers services aimed at securing small and medium businesses. More →
Sprint, a carrier that often touts itself as the only carrier with “truly unlimited” data plans, actually throttles its heaviest data users. Speaking at an investor conference on Thursday, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse admitted that Sprint imposes limits the top 1% of data hogs. “For those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off,” Hesse said. The executive explained that Sprint needs to throttle — or slow down the data speeds — of its heaviest users in order to make room for the growing number of smartphone users on its 3G and 4G WiMAX networks. Earlier on Thursday Sprint detailed its first 4G LTE markets, which will roll out in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio during the first half of this year. More →
Data caps that wireless carriers and internet service providers often implement on heavy data users may not be the right solution for avoiding network congestion. Instead, ISPs and carriers should throttle data speeds to ensure solid network performance. Research firm Diffraction Analysis recently set out to discover if “data hogs” — the few people on the internet who consume more data than the general population — really do have a negative effect on the overall quality of a network. Read on for more. More →
Let’s face it… not all 4G is created equal. When Verizon Wireless’ LTE launched in its first few markets last year, bloggers and media saw blazing fast data speeds in their tests that put other 4G networks to shame. So did we. In fact, on numerous occasions and in numerous device reviews, we called Verizon’s LTE the fastest cellular data service we had ever tested. But a common sentiment rang throughout the Internet: Verizon’s 4G LTE is fast now, but that’s because the network is empty. And Verizon Wireless’ competition mirrored the opinion, of course. In a private conversation about the discrepancy in performance between Sprint’s 4G WiMAX and Verizon’s 4G LTE, a Sprint executive told me that Verizon’s network was so fast because it was empty. “Wait until it fills up,” the exec chuckled. “Then we’ll see if the ThunderBolt still deserves its name.”
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4G. It’s everywhere. It’s on the tech sites you read. It’s on the televisions you watch. It’s plastered in advertisements all over the city streets you walk. It was probably in the sandwich you ate for lunch. Cellular carriers around the world are betting the bank on 4G — be it LTE, WiMAX or the newly knighted HSPA+ — and 4G-enabled gear is already starting to flood the market despite the lack of nationwide coverage. More →
BGR has learned that AT&T may have plans to offer tiered data services when it launches its Long Term Evolution network later this year. The carrier apparently plans to trial two separate types of tiers alongside its LTE service: speed tiers and data tiers. Speed tiers will provide LTE data service at varying rates of speed depending on the plan a customer selects, similar to land-based broadband services currently offered by ISPs. Data tiers will afford subscribers “data buckets” of varying sizes, similar to the configuration of AT&T’s current data plans.
The carrier may also have plans to give subscribers the option to boost services temporarily for a fee, according to a document provided to BGR. The documents mentions “Top Up Sessions,” which allow users to increase their data allotment for the remainder of a billing cycle, and “Speed Up Sessions,” which will allow subscribers on lower-tier plans to speed up their service for a specific duration. The document does not provide any details in terms of what speeds might be afforded by each tier, nor does it detail how much data will be included with each of the various data bucket sizes. It is also currently unclear how many speed and data bucket options AT&T might intend to offer its LTE subscribers. According to the document, AT&T will begin trials of the aforementioned tiered LTE service plans in May for this year. Hit the jump for an excerpt from the internal AT&T document detailing the tiered data.
A study conducted recently by network technology firm Arieso showed that Android users move more data over cellular networks than any other group of smartphone users. The study mentions high-resolution cameras along with video recording and sharing capabilities as being among Android’s biggest bandwidth hogging features. Due to Android’s rapid growth, carriers find themselves struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing congestion on their networks. “Smartphone subscriptions are rising and so too is subscriber appetite for mobile data. It’s a trend that’s set to continue,” Arieso CTO Michael Flanagan told Reuters. The move to next-generation “4G” network technologies like WiMAX and LTE will help carriers accomodate the demand for data, but rolling out these new networks takes a tremendous amount of time and resources. Sprint began lighting up its WiMAX network last year but coverage is still very limited, and Verizon Wireless just flipped the switch on LTE in 38 cities, though it currently does not offer any LTE-compatible cell phones. AT&T and T-Mobile will not begin rolling out LTE until next year. More →
We just got back from Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G event in NYC, and besides messing around with the device and seeing it for the second time first hand, we finally got a release date and price. As reported earlier, you’ll be able to get Android’s finest for $199 with a new two year agreement on June 4th. To recap the new data pricing, Sprint’s adding a $10 “4G” add-on feature to their $69.99 unlimited voice, data, and SMS package. Tethering (mobile hotspot) will run you an additional $29.99 monthly. All in, it tops out at $109.98 — still a pretty good deal if you think about it, especially considering the handset will support up to 8 simultaneous devices and even better, there’s no bandwidth cap at all. Check out our awesome gallery from the event complete with some HTC EVO 4G hotness sprinkled in.
The net neutrality movement received a huge blow today when the US Court of Appeals sided with Comcast in its claim that the Federal Communications Commission lacks legal authority to demand ISPs shape internet traffic. Over the past few years, the FCC has grown increasingly concerned that ISPs would throttle connection speeds for things such as peer-to-peer file sharing and streaming media in order to dedicate more bandwidth to services it can better capitalize on. Comcast first challenged the FCC on net neutrality in 2008 when the FCC reprimanded Comcast for throttling the connections of clients who used a large amount of bandwidth through P2P networking.
As a rule of thumb, we at BGR are not in favor of government agencies (whether independent or not) imposing rules upon industries, although in this instance we’re actually finding ourselves disappointed if only for the fact we believe net neutrality must become a reality. More →
Ars Technica has posted an interesting article, speculating that wireless carrier network congestion (especially in the case of AT&T) may not have so much to do with how much bandwidth your device is consuming, but rather how your smartphone is connecting to the network. More →
With little fanfare, Comcast launched a new online file backup service called Secure Backup & Share for its broadband internet customers. The new service utilizes Mozy, an online backup solution that is currently managed by Decho Corporation, a subsidiary of EMC. Using a tool installed on your PC and soon Mac, the service will backup selected files to a secure online location that can be accessed from any web browser, including your web-enabled mobile phone. Three tiers of storage are available including the Standard 2GB plan which is free, the Preferred 50GB plan which is $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly, and the Premier 200GB plan which is $9.99 monthly or $99.99 yearly. Apparently Comcast forgot about its bandwidth cap and “network management techniques” when offering these plans as the 200GB plan comes dangerously close to the 250GB monthly cap and the uploading process will definitely cause you to max out your connection for more than 15 minutes which may result in your connecting being throttled. Comcast does not state whether the cap or throttling is waived for those accounts that purchase a storage plan, so we must assume that both are still in effect, a situation that certainly diminishes the attractiveness of these plans. It also begs the question, if Comcast’s network is so strained that it has to enforce a cap and utilize “network management techniques”, why are they offering a bandwidth-intensive online storage solution?
Canadians with a serious need for speed might want to pack their bags and move to one of Canada’s five largest cities — Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal — as today Rogers announced that its 21Mbps HSPA+ network upgrade has gone live and is ripe for the picking. Almost. No current Rogers handsets are capable of reaching such speeds, but if mobile internet is something you’re absolutely smitten with then you should definitely consider pre-ordering the new 21Mbps HSPA+ Mobile Internet Rocket Stick. It starts off at $79.99 on contract (which is $79.99 more than Rogers’ current Rocket Stick offerings), but c’mon; not owning the latest and greatest gear flies straight in the face of what we here at BGR are all about. As for the general benefits for current 3G handset owners, the upgrade also comes with an overhaul of the network’s backend, meaning more people should be able to simultaneously use data without making the network come to a screeching halt.
As part of the sanction by the FCC for its package hijacking of BitTorrent traffic, Comcast was ordered to file a new network management plan with the FCC by midnight Friday. Comcast complied with the order and announced that it would use bandwidth throttling a new congestion management technique as its new network management plan:
It will identify which customer accounts are using the greatest amounts of bandwidth and their Internet traffic will be temporarily managed until the period of congestion passes. Customers will still be able to do anything they want to online, and many activities will be unaffected, but managed customers could experience things like: longer times to download or upload files, surfing the Web may seem somewhat slower, or playing games online may seem somewhat sluggish.
This protocol-agnostic bandwidth throttling plan is expected to be deployed nationwide by the end of December 2008. With its 250GB cap set to go live in October and now bandwidth throttling on tap for December, it looks like we will not be having a Comcastic Day.