Why traffic volume billing is unfair


Under Construction

Concerning Belgacom Turboline's volume limits.

History


Internet traffic volume billing is UNFAIR for many reasons:
Customers are not responsible for all traffic going to their machine.
Think about paying for:
- unsolicited mail (can you imagine paying for your received paper mail?)
- the mail the provider sends to you (generates them easy profit)
- advertisements (banners, ...)
- protocol traffic (connection, authentification, dhcp, keep-alive messages,...)
- retransmission of lost packets (the lower the quality of the connections,
  the more profit again for ADSL-provider)
- after involuntary disconnections, traffic for reconnection and restart of
  downloads.
- people trying to visit your machine
- people trying to visit another ADSL-customer who actually bump into your site
  because your provider once again changed your IP-number
- people who flood your machine with huge amounts of data, maybe day and night,
  just because they hate you, your provider, Belgacom/Turboline, or that other
  ADSL-customer that had that IP-number before you...
    Depending on where the counter is situated in the network, the billed
    traffic can be even much more than what is possible with the modem's
    speed limit, e.g. with UDP floods. UDP (used for e.g. movies and audio)
    is connection less, which means that the data not has to arrive, it gets
    lost on the way as the bandwidth gets to narrow. Where the flood starts
    it can be e.g. 10mbit/s; when it passes the current Turboline bottle-neck
    (due to be upgraded) of 2mbit/s, 80% gets lost and only 2mbit/s gets
    through, when it reaches the ADSL modem, the flood get narrowed to the
    download speed (1mbit/s). Depending on where the counter is (before/after
    the 2mbit/s line, in the modem), the traffic accounted is 10 or 2 or 0.5
    mbit/s. Which is ca 378000, 75600 or 37800 BF per day at 3.5BF/MB ...
    My guess is that the counter is at or at least is polled from the telco
    center, that's - seen from outside - behind the 2mbit/s bottle-neck.
    So the counter would measure (for the moment) 2mbit/s...
    Such floods are quite easy to establish from other permanent connections,
    they can be scheduled (e.g. at night). Lots of variants exist, where the
    victim does / does not notice anything, where the victim's computer does /
    does not crash. It's even possible to start the flood from a dialup line,
    fake the originating host address and start a flood between the victim's pc
    and one of the servers of his provider, which even will continue when the
    dialup connection is broken.

What with the inherent very different costs of different types of traffic?
 The "free" traffic inside the ADSL-network, to the providers servers,
 and to academic sites over BNIX (sponsored by the government).
 The cheap traffic with the providers with peering agreement.
 The expensive National/International/Transatlantic traffic...
 And for the cheapest traffic, i.e. the traffic between 2 of their customers,
 they would even get double money...

What with the monthly enormous increase of traffic use (not only more Internet
usage, but also heavier pages, heavier standards for audio, video,...)?
Will Belgacom be able to index their prices fast enough?

Volume billing will result in:
- unsatisfied customers
- inhibition of internet and e-commerce growth
- over-capacity at the end of each month
- migration of customers to providers who don't apply volume billing ;-)
  (e.g. TVD, Brutele, Telenet...) 
- extra costs for traffic counting equipment
- worse network performance (sure if everything would be counted by the DANA,
  which already cannot handle the load of authentification and dhcp of 1000
  testers)
- customers trying to avoid costs by stealing other's passwords, using fake
  IP-nrs, and so on (look I'm searching already...)
- More malafide persons flooding the network...

There exists no good methods to block the counting of floods, since not all
kinds of floods can be distinguished from 'normal' traffic. It can contain
whatever (structured or random data), can use all kinds of protocols
(TCP/IP, UDP, ICMP, ...) and can be sent to all ports.

Moreover, volume billing should not be the concern of Belgacom/Turboline.
All traffic is local for Belgacom, while the Internet providers
have to hire international bandwidth...

By the way, why volume limits while there are already speed limits?

500MBytes/month (original limit of april 99)
 = 8 minutes @ 8Mbit/s (ADSL speed)
 = 65 minutes @ 1mbit/s (Turboline's commercial speed)
 = 20 hours @ 56Kbit/s (PSTN modem)
 = 40 minutes/day @ 56Kbit/s (PSTN modem)
 = 1.5 Kbit/s
 = 0.018% of 8Mbit/s (ADSL speed)
 = 0.15% of 1mbit/s (Turboline's commercial speed)
 = 5.6 hours video @ 200Kbit/s (e.g the ones @ http://www.turboline.be)
 = 11 minutes/day video @ 200Kbit/s
 = 16 MBytes/day
 = watching to the news twice everyday (http://www.vtm.be)
 = 1 Linux-distribution per month

Way too low, right?
 Seems we could finally convince Turboline too:

3GBytes/month (new limit of september 99)
 = 50 minutes @ 8Mbit/s (ADSL speed)
 = 400 minutes @ 1mbit/s (Turboline Plus)
 = 22 hours @  300kbit/s (Turboline Go)
 = 120 hours @ 56Kbit/s (PSTN modem)