Are your packets being "shaped"?


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 10, 2004
New Orleans / Lafayette, La
So I recently moved away from the nest and onto my own in an apartment. The internet here is great (13mbps down/ 6 up), yet I just found out that my ISP, Cox, is packet shaped and limiting downloads that take place over time.

It is utterly frustrating. Is anyone else here experiencing this?


Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
New Zealand
Not me, but I've heard a lot of complaints from people on other ISPs here in NZ who are experiencing the same kind of thing. I believe the only solution is to change ISP.

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
Adelaide, Australia
Do you mean they slow you down at certain times of the day/nigth or that they slow you down if you're connected to one source and downloading for a long time (large files)? My ISP "shapes" its plans but the shaping refers to download limits and exceeding them over the space of a month - they'll reduce the maximum upload and download speeds.


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 10, 2004
New Orleans / Lafayette, La
No,there's no bandwidth limit because the complex I'm in is brand new and has like 400 residents.

Long haul downloads, like HD video, sometimes game data, and bittorrent all get bandwidth cut down almost 90% after 5 mins.


macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
St. Louis, MO
I've heard about ISP's doing that (fortunately Charter hasn't started with that yet....the only good thing I can say about them), but I'm wondering how is it legal. You're paying for 13mbps down, and only getting 10% of that, which is 1.3mbps. I know 13 is merely a cap and speeds will never reach that high, but a difference of nearly 11mbps means you are NOT getting what you're paying for. I'm normally sickened by all these frivolous lawsuits, but I really hope someone starts a class action against these ISPs.

I know it's to stop illegal p2p, but that's not the ISP's responsibility, if people want to download, so be it. The proper authorities will go after them. Shouldn't be the ISP's job to babysit, especially since it does eventually affect 100% legal activities. It would be like buying a Bugatti that after 5 minutes automatically reduces its power output to 150 horsepower because speeding's illegal :rolleyes:


Moderator emeritus
Nov 28, 2001
down in Fraggle Rock
snip...I know it's to stop illegal p2p...
Not really. Most of the ISPs doing bw shaping are doing to to prevent you from using competitor's internet services. This all started when VoIP became popular. The ISPs started offering their own VoIP and they took actions to damage the bw of competitor's VoIP services.

While it is also being used to throttle p2p traffic, it was conceived and is largely being employed for other issues.

This is why people were pushing for net neutrality - and why the ISPs fought it.


macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
Traffic shaping has taken off in the UK. My ISP has changed owners three times since I first signed up. What was previously 'unlimited' has now become 'unlimited subject to fair use policy'. The speed cap comes in between 4pm-midnight if you reach download limits pertaining to your plan, your bandwidth speed drops to 25% for a sinbin period of four hours. These limits are ridiculously low and ensure that you will have your bandwidth shaped if you so much as download a movie (hello iTunes!), let alone torrent away merrily.

It is preferable to a data cap, but means that all of the advertised benefits of the faster plans - HD films streamed on demand etc - is effectively blocked to you. It does not stop my wretched ISP continuing to advertise this with happy smiley families enjoying their music and films over broadband. :mad:

There is a thread about bw throttling on Slashdot today and the Register also has something to say on the matter.


macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2005
Northern Ireland
I'm with BT Broadband and for the past while they've taken to restricting p2p downloads during the day (usually around 10-15 KB/s) but after 1am the restriction is cut and downloads are at full speed (This results in Adium being disconnected momentarily every night at exactly 1am, I've actually been able to correctly guess which of my friends are also on BT Broadband by seeing which of them is also disconnected at the same time :p)

It's kinda annoying actually, but seemingly most ISPs do this now so switching would probably be more hassle than it's worth.


Moderator emeritus
Mar 25, 2002
London, England
Although Virgin Media do impose the bandwidth capping between 4pm and midnight I haven`t actually seen any speed decrease in general. My torrents run as fast as I let them run (I use uTorrents scheduler to keep BitTorrent traffic down between 4-12 and stop myself getting hit by the cap).

You can also encrypt your BT traffic so your ISP can`t tell what the hell is being transferred with some of the more recent clients, there`s also ways I`ve seen of creating your own SSH tunnel to no where in particular and forcing all your network traffic through it, again to stop them seeing what your data is.


Mar 4, 2006
Although they've not said anything Tiscali appear to be packet shaping between 6pm and midnight. Any BTing I do between those times seems to top out at a max of 100KBps, outside of those I can get up to 600KBps easily.

Not too bothered to be honest. I'd rather that than a monthly bandwidth limit.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 1, 2005
My packets are for sure shaped.....but then it's part of my job to control the packetshapers (we use packeteers) so i don't mind so much :)