Comcast Bandwidth-Capping Notification and Solution

With news from dif­fer­ent tech/in­ter­net-focused sites writ­ing about band­width-cap­ping, I final­ly have received an email from Com­cast. They seem to be updat­ing their AUP which most­ly adds a clause to whats con­sid­ered “exces­sive use of [their] ser­vice”. Here’s the email:

Dear Com­cast High-Speed Inter­net Cus­tomer,

We appre­ci­ate your busi­ness and strive to pro­vide you with the best online expe­ri­ence pos­si­ble. One of the ways we do this is through our Accept­able Use Pol­i­cy (AUP). The AUP out­lines accept­able use of our ser­vice as well as steps we take to pro­tect our cus­tomers from things that can neg­a­tive­ly impact their expe­ri­ence online. This pol­i­cy has been in place for many years and we update it peri­od­i­cal­ly to keep it cur­rent with our cus­tomers’ use of our ser­vice.

On Octo­ber 1, 2008, we will post an updat­ed AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updat­ed AUP, we clar­i­fy that month­ly data (or band­width) usage of more than 250 Giga­bytes (GB) is the spe­cif­ic thresh­old that defines exces­sive use of our ser­vice. We have an exces­sive use pol­i­cy because a frac­tion of one per­cent of our cus­tomers use such a dis­pro­por­tion­ate amount of band­width every month that they may degrade the online expe­ri­ence of oth­er cus­tomers.

250 GB/month is an extreme­ly large amount of band­width and it’s very like­ly that your month­ly data usage does­n’t even come close to that amount. In fact, the thresh­old is approx­i­mate­ly 100 times greater than the typ­i­cal or medi­an res­i­den­tial cus­tomer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in per­spec­tive, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a cus­tomer would have to do any one of the fol­low­ing:

* Send more than 50 mil­lion plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Down­load 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Down­load 125 stan­dard def­i­n­i­tion movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heav­i­est mul­ti- or sin­gle-play­er gam­ing activ­i­ty would not typ­i­cal­ly come close to this thresh­old over the course of a month.

In addi­tion to mod­i­fy­ing the exces­sive use pol­i­cy, the updat­ed AUP con­tains oth­er clar­i­fi­ca­tions of terms con­cern­ing report­ing vio­la­tions, news­groups, and net­work man­age­ment. To read some help­ful FAQs, please vis­it http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Excessive-Use.

Thank you again for choos­ing Com­cast as your high-speed Inter­net provider.

On their FAQ, this will prob­a­bly be one of the most asked/searched one:

How does Com­cast help its cus­tomers track their usage so they can avoide exceed­ing the lim­it?

There are many online tools cus­tomers can down­load and use to mea­sure their con­sump­tion. Cus­tomers can find such tools by sim­ply doing a Web search — for exam­ple, a search for “band­width meter” will pro­vide some options. Cus­tomers using mul­ti­ple PCs should just be aware that they will need to mea­sure and com­bine their total month­ly usage in order to iden­ti­fy the data usage for their entire account.

But those who have done a search on “band­width meter” will only find “speed tests” rather than a log of current/past “true” band­width. Even if they find a good “band­width meter”, it’s hard to keep track if they are on a net­work of mul­ti­ple users. How­ev­er, don’t fret.

I remem­ber read­ing up on this a cou­ple of weeks back. This is most­ly for those who can install DD-WRT. If you have a Linksys router, you’re in luck as most of their mod­els can be updat­ed to run this mod/hack. Any­ways, click here to read up on the Life­hack­er arti­cle on how to mon­i­tor your month­ly band­width with your router.

I hope that helps, and good luck.

Spread Firefox — Download Day 2008


Sounds like a good deal, right? All you have to do is get Fire­fox 3 dur­ing Down­load Day to help set the record for most soft­ware down­loads in 24 hours — it’s that easy. We’re not ask­ing you to swal­low a sword or to bal­ance 30 spoons on your face, although that would be kind of awe­some.

By the way, the offi­cial date for the launch of Fire­fox 3 will be post­ed here soon — so check back! Join our com­mu­ni­ty and this effort by pledg­ing today.

How Not to Use Default Gateway on VPN (PPTP) in Mac OSX

Well, after search­ing for hours and hours, I have final­ly found a solu­tion to a small but trou­ble­some prob­lem. The prob­lem (if you call it that) occurs when I tried con­nect­ing to my work’s VPN. Rather than not using my work’s gate­way when con­nect­ed, OSX does this by default. Hence, you can see and hit your inter­nal IPs but not resolve the rest of the inter­net.

In Win­dows XP, this may be dis­abled via the fol­low­ing:

  1. Open Net­work Con­nec­tions
  2. Under Vir­tu­al Pri­vate Net­work, open the Prop­er­ties of your con­nec­tion
  3. Click and open Prop­er­ties for “Inter­net Pro­to­cal (TCP/IP)”
  4. Click on Advanced
  5. Dis­able “Use default gate­way on remote net­work”
  6. Hit OK, OK, and then you’re done

Although it’s easy in Win­dows XP, I could­n’t fig­ure it out for OSX. I searched and search to final­ly get this arti­cle from macosx­hints, Avoid Cre­at­ing PPTP Default Routes. The hints at the very bot­tom of the com­ments helped some­what, but did­n’t get me to view my inter­nal IPs—which was the reverse of the orig­i­nal prob­lem. Luck­i­ly, with a lit­tle bit more search, I land­ed on this arti­cle page by Chris­t­ian Stock­er on Chang­ing default routes on OSX on VPN. Though it was the same as the pre­vi­ous page from macosx­hints, I saw this short and sweet reply which hap­pen to have fixed every­thing:

lon­nie @ 22.08.2006 19:22 CEST
Inter­net Con­nect 1.4.2 has

Con­nect Menu -> Options…

|X| Send all traf­fic over VPN con­nec­tion

Uncheck­ing should do the same.

I hope this arti­cle could be of help, and save those who are look­ing for the same solu­tion san­i­ty and time.

Look Ma, “Mobile” Web

Well, I could­n’t believe it till I expe­ri­enced it first hand. I’m blog­ging on the AC Tran­sit bus w/ WiFi. Here’s the result of the con­nec­tion (from dslreports.com)…

So, if you hap­pen to be rid­ing on these lines, try tak­ing the bus­es that looks sim­i­lar to the char­ter ones.