Fwd: SlashDot: "Comcast Gunning for NAT Users"
Eric A. Hall
ehall at ehsco.com
Thu Jan 31 22:09:47 UTC 2002
"Bill Woodcock" <woody at zocalo.net> wrote:
> > Besides the technical difficulties of detecting a household that is
> > running a NAT...
> Can you think of a way of doing it reliably? Anything that provides
> anything more than a guess?
Comcast has a mail server, they could poke at the HELO banners and
HTTP proxies indicating that multiple browsers are in use, especially
if multiple platforms (Win95, WinXP, as simple test)
More than ~4 simultaneous TCP connections open at once.
None of those would be bothered by firewalls or other legitimate devices, and
would probably all be within a legally-defensible purview of ~analysis.
As to whether or not Comcast does any of this, I do not know. My brother has a
friend who was a 2nd level tech with @Home, and he says they did it, so I
would not be surprised that Comcast would also.
The thing is that Comcast is trying to make money by selling ~consumer
Internet access, and they have a perception problem with shared access
(PacBell used to run great "bandwidth hog!" ads). They don't want people using
more pipe than ~consumer access would normally imply.
This is hard because they are selling bandwidth ("watch video") so they can't
really cap the downloads, and they are selling always-on so they can't measure
by time conveniently either. So they try to get the "bandwidth hogs" through
contractual means. Comcast prohibits VPNs, and prohibits ~"attaching to
another network", as examples. If you use too much bandwidth, they will use
these to drop your service.
Eric A. Hall http://www.ehsco.com/
Internet Core Protocols http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/coreprot/
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