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UPDATE - Numerous Mediacom Customers Without P2P Access
October 26, 2004
Thomas Mennecke
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Imagine an average day in the life of a typical P2P customer. You wake up, hop onto Azureus, your favorite BitTorrent client, and start trading information. This has been going on for the last four years, on one network or another with little or no disruption. Then imagine one day, virtually all connections to your favorite P2P networks suddenly vanishes.

Before calling tech support, you go through all the motions. You remove your router and directly connect, you verify your connection settings, unplug your cable modem for a few minutes then reconnect...nothing. Finally, after hours of torment you finally decide to hopelessly call tech support; perhaps it is the ISP's network that is to blame.

Many experienced computer users typically cut to the chase and simply ask if there are similar problems in the local area. This usually eliminates the annoying troubleshooting routine, as if somehow you changed your network settings.

In many cases, Mediacom customers are being told there is no problem with the network, and that somehow it is their personal equipment. This explination may hold more some weight if it were only one or two individuals experiencing the inability to access P2P networks. However, by traversing the Mediacom forum on, the enormity of the situation becomes obvious.

After only a few days of experiencing such problems, there are already 8 forum threads on the issue. In addition, at least 20 different individuals over a wide geographical area are experiencing an identical problem. Although Mediacom tech support does frequent the forums, they have been unable to identify the issue. Instead, they continue to push the notion that it is not Mediacom to blame. And this appear to be true.

Not only are many Mediacom customers experiencing the virtual disappearance of their P2P abilities, many Insight BroadBand customers are experiencing virtually identical problems. On the BearShare forums, dozens of customers have expressed their inability to connect to the Gnutella network. Please read the BearShare threads here and here.

While it appears neither Mediacom nor InsightBB are directly to blame; they do have something in common. Both Mediacom and InsightBB use AT&T as their Tier 1 (backbone) provider.

To get a clearer understanding of the situation, we spoke with Mediacom Vice President of IP Communications, JR Walden.

"First, Mediacom does not provide blockage of P2P applications. We have received a lot of complaints out of southern Illinois and we are trying to figure it out."

In addition, JR Walden states that when Mediacom receives DMCA (Digital Mellenium Copyright Act) complaints, they notify the individual. If the individual is a repeat offender, they terminate the individual's account, and not brush such a wide stroke that would affect many.

"Also, not all P2P applications are being affected. For some, BitTorrent may not work, however FastTrack may work fine. What we are also seeing is that some people in the same geographical area experiencing no P2P problems."

Mr. JR Walden also points out that Mediacom uses AT&T as their Tier 1 (backbone) provider. Mediacom operates over a wide geographical area, and other segments of the network such as Iowa, Florida, Alabama and Missouri are operating normally. Mediacom is currently trouble shooting the issue, however is having some difficulty in replication. Mediacom has a "ticket" open with AT&T and hope to have the situation resolved soon.

Slyck has contacted AT&T regarding this issue. A representative of AT&T stated they would notify us when they have more information.

UPDATE: Slyck has been in contact with AT&T's media relations personnel Robert Nersesian. While we thought we might be able to get a clearer explanation, this unfortunately is not the case. The following is a statement issued from AT&T:

"We have no evidence of any problem on our network. We've also had no complaints from Mediacom on this matter and have no open tickets or alarms for the facility that serves this area."

When asked if they were blocking P2P traffic, we were answered, "No."

Slyck will continue to research this increasingly bizarre situation.

Slyck would like to extend our thanks to Cory Higgins, a joint writer for Slyck and P2P Forums for his extensive assistance on this article.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Clients
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Software

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