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"What is not generally well-known is that the upstream cap can also affect the downstream speed -- if the upstream is saturated by uploading (e.g., sending a large PowerPoint file to the boss, or running a Napster or other public service), the downstream will drop to about the same speed. This is due to a weakness in the basic TCP Internet protocol, not Cable or DSL per se, and not the service provider.
Quoted from »cable-dsl.home.att.net/#Asymmetry
From a question in the forum by pianotech and a link provided by hobgoblin
For information on how to disable file sharing in many common P2P applications, see Adelphia's eSafety page on disabling P2P file-sharing: