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Monday, April 23, 2007

Increase BitTorrent Speeds: Bypass ISP Bandwidth Throttling

Many ISPs, especially outside the US, have not been reluctant to limit P2P traffic over their networks. That means if you're trying to download a movie over BitTorrent, you're unlikely to be getting the maximum download speed. The practice is called traffic shaping. P2P traffic over protocols like BitTorrent or FastTrack are "shaped" so you don't get to use the maximum bandwidth your ISP promised you.

One way to get around this sort of bandwidth throttling is to use a VPN, or virtual private network, which lets you send and receive data over a secure connection. This means your ISP won't be able to tell if you're downloading MP3s from Kazaa or surfing the web. Like with an anonymous proxy, you'll be assigned an anonymous IP address, but the connection is also encrypted and likely has higher bandwidth.

An oxymoronic free public VPN called SecureIX lets you hide the nature of your web traffic and hence bypass ISP bandwidth throttling. The free service allows you to download at speeds of up to 256kbits/second (around 25KB/s) while the premium, paid service has a 5000kbits/second limit. You even get an email address when you sign up with 1GB of storage and POP3 access. The sign up process is short and easy because the whole point is to collect as little information as possible. Once you sign up, you can follow the setup instructions here to get started.

Obviously, SecureIX can let you do more than speed up file sharing. Activists who fear political retaliation can use the service to anonymously communicate over the web. Or, maybe you just don't like the idea of having your browsing habits tracked. Whatever the reason, services like SecureIX may have a bright future.

A related service called Relakks out of Sweden offers a similar package, but is paid only.
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Reader Comments:

http://www.strongvpn.com works good too

SecureIX is no longer accepting new sign-ups. They claim to be looking for a buyer for the business and are refusing new sign-ups in the meantime.

http://www.strongvpn.com will monitor your downloads and send you warnings if you download anything that they may not approve of.

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