Saturday, November 15, 2008

"A workaround for Bittorrent traffic shaping" or "bashing my ISP"

Recently, I found out that my ISP does traffic shaping with respect to Bittorrent traffic. After my clients sends the Bittorrent handshake, all packets from the respective TCP conversation were dropped, so the remote peer sees nothing of the following. That's not just a minor issue in quality of service, right? That's a breach of contract with respect to universal IP service agreements.

If you are subscribed to UPC in Vienna, this letter to my ISP might be interesting to you. Next to regular rhetoric that they should immediately stop that practice, they are also warned that otherwise I will get them in front of the national conciliation body for telecommunication (

If you are unlucky to be subscribed such brain dead ISPs, you can use Azureus to work around that.
  • Find out your public IP and ensure that there is some open/forwarded port in your firewall/router or whatever you may have. 
  • Get and setup up and Azureus.
  • Run TOR with its Socks proxy.
  • Launch Azureus
  • Azureus-Options-Connection: Enter the public port from before as Incoming TCP/UDP listen port.
  • Azureus-Options-Connection-Proxy Options: Tick "Enable proxying of tracker communication
  • Azureus-Options-Connection-Proxy Options: Tick "I have a SOCKS proxy", and enter the host/port combination of your Tor Socks proxy (most likely localhost:9050)
  • Azureus-Options-Connection-Transport Encryption: "Require encrypted transport" with Minimum encryption level "RC4"
  • Azureus-Options-Tracker-Client: Enter your public IP/port in the "Override Options".
That's it. You are ready to go, and override ANY bittorrent traffic shaping (at least the one that listens for bittorrent signature). The drawback is that your only able to communicate with other Bittorrent clients that know encryption. But that's better than no connection at all.