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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Encrypt BitTorrent Traffic to Avoid ISP Bandwidth Throttling and Traffic Shaping

P2P web traffic (downloading TV shows, movies, and pirated software) is estimated to make up one-third of all Internet traffic. The massive popularity of peer-to-peer file sharing (especially over BitTorrent) has caused many ISPs to try to limit the amount of bandwidth that P2P applications can use. The practice has several names, including traffic throttling and traffic shaping.

For example, if your ISP has promised you a 5mbps Internet connection, and you're only getting a measly 50kbps, you might be experiencing traffic throttling.

A simple way to bypass traffic shaping efforts is to encrypt your BitTorrent stream. This makes it harder for your ISP to tell you are using BitTorrent. Popular clients like Azureus, ĀµTorrent, and BitComet all support BitTorrent protocol encryption.

In ĀµTorrent (my favorite client), you can find the setting under Options -> Preferences -> BitTorrent. Under Protocol Encryption, select Enabled. If that doesn't work, try Forced. Instructions for Azureus and BitComent can be found here.

utorrent encryption

If your ISP is using more sophisticated ways to throttle your traffic, you will need to read about using VPNs to avoid ISP bandwidth throttling.

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