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Cogeco Still Struggling With Accurate Meters?
Though fortunately still not charging overages...yet....
by Karl Bode 10:59AM Monday Aug 24 2009
At the beginning of the summer we noted how Canadian Cable company Cogeco had officially launched a plan to impose caps as low as 10GB per month, with per gigabyte overages as high as $2.50. The problem? Cogeco wasn't able to get their meters to actually work correctly, with inaccurate or conflicting usage amounts being reflected via online Cogeco usage meters and customer e-mail alerts. Cogeco told us they were working on the problem, and fortunately would delay billing customers until they got things fixed.

Click for full size
August is nearing its end and users in our Cogeco forum say the meters still don't work properly. It's unfortunate for Cogeco, considering they worked so hard to impose metered billing on the market -- insisting to consumers the move wasn't about making money but about better "managing the network." Apparently not.

"Ever since I slapped tomato onto my router and started monitoring my BW, cogeco has constantly been anywhere from 20mb to 700mb off every day," complains one user. "Any discrepancy is unacceptable with their outrageous overage charges," the user adds. "Twenty five to thirty gigabytes is the difference between paying fifty dollars a month for your Internet or eighty dollars a month," says another, adding that the problems are "unacceptable."

While consumers don't like the idea of low caps and high overages, many Cogeco customers have accepted the fact that limited competition and weak-kneed regulatory agencies leaves them with little recourse. As such, here you have a customer base begrudgingly accepting the fact they have to pay overage fees, yet the carrier can't actually get their metering system to work properly.

Cogeco customers: post your experiences with the meters in our comment section below.

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Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23

1000/1024 difference?

ISPs tend to measure your usage in gigabytes (1000), while I believe Tomato records usage in gibibytes (1024). Hence if Tomato shows you as having used 1024MiB in a day, then Cogeco would show you as having used 1074MB.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: 1000/1024 difference?

said by Guspaz:

ISPs tend to measure your usage in gigabytes (1000), while I believe Tomato records usage in gibibytes (1024). Hence if Tomato shows you as having used 1024MiB in a day, then Cogeco would show you as having used 1074MB.
Good catch. And who says Tomato software is always guaranteed 100% accurate. Who is verifying their process.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page

funchords
Hello
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-11
Yarmouth Port, MA
kudos:6

1 recommendation

Re: 1000/1024 difference?

said by FFH5:

said by Guspaz:

ISPs tend to measure your usage in gigabytes (1000), while I believe Tomato records usage in gibibytes (1024). Hence if Tomato shows you as having used 1024MiB in a day, then Cogeco would show you as having used 1074MB.
Good catch. And who says Tomato software is always guaranteed 100% accurate. Who is verifying their process.
And accurate at what point? The Internet doesn't guarantee delivery of any packet. So a packet that is measured as it passes point A may be dropped before reaching its measuring point at Point C.
--
Robb Topolski -= funchords.com =- District of Columbia -- KJ7RL
Evil does seek to maintain power by suppressing the truth, or by misleading the innocent. --Spock and McCoy stardate 5029.5
k1ll3rdr4g0n

join:2005-03-19
Homer Glen, IL

1 recommendation

Re: 1000/1024 difference?

said by funchords:

said by FFH5:

said by Guspaz:

ISPs tend to measure your usage in gigabytes (1000), while I believe Tomato records usage in gibibytes (1024). Hence if Tomato shows you as having used 1024MiB in a day, then Cogeco would show you as having used 1074MB.
Good catch. And who says Tomato software is always guaranteed 100% accurate. Who is verifying their process.
And accurate at what point? The Internet doesn't guarantee delivery of any packet. So a packet that is measured as it passes point A may be dropped before reaching its measuring point at Point C.
And to add on to this point:
TCP can retransmit packets, which means that if the ISP drops the packet (accidentally or purposefully) that means that the client would have to send out another one (or several) thus using more bandwidth.
Or even the ISP could be counting malicious packets of random hackers trying to get into your computer, which in my opinion is fraud because it's data that you don't want and never generated yourself. But, then if we start making that argument we could all end up in walled-garden internet "for our own safety".

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: 1000/1024 difference?

I agree the following 'could' be used against you for profit by ISPs:

1. UDP flood (its connectionless)
2. viral software / malware (even that provided by ISP) - not their fault, but ISP's 'could' pay off others to push content (UDP stream) to your device just to obtain revenue.
3. Botnet flood - can't really do much.

With metered billing, you _really_ need some form of acurate guage, and a method to shut down before you hit the mega $$ overages.

Eg. if someone left a bittorren running, or streaming site open, you could have a really big bill.
--
Canada = Hollywood North
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5
said by FFH5:

Good catch. And who says Tomato software is always guaranteed 100% accurate. Who is verifying their process.
Traffic counters rarely agree with each other because different pieces of gear may be counting/ignoring different things.

Your router may be counting IP packet sizes, the DSLAM may be counting ATM cells, Bell's switches may be counting Ethernet frame sizes, etc. Add the traffic that may get dropped upstream/downstream from your measurement point and the GB/GiB on top of that, it can sum up to a considerable difference.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
What the frick?! A gigabyte is 1024 megabytes, a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes, a kilobyte is 1024 bytes, a byte is 8 bits. Screw wikipedia and their idiotic "gibibytes". That is the one of the most retarded and unnecessary terminologies to ever disgrace the open internet discourse.
Walter Dnes

join:2008-01-27
Thornhill, ON

Re: 1000/1024 difference?

said by sonicmerlin:

What the frick?! A gigabyte is 1024 megabytes, a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes, a kilobyte is 1024 bytes, a byte is 8 bits. Screw wikipedia and their idiotic "gibibytes". That is the one of the most retarded and unnecessary terminologies to ever disgrace the open internet discourse.
Just don't try arguing this in a Canadian court. The judge may die laughing. According to the Weights and Measures Act...
kilo = 10^3
mega = 10^6
giga = 10^9
tera = 10^12
THIS IS THE LAW. See...
Weights and Measures Act
PART V
PREFIXES FOR MULTIPLES AND SUBMULTIPLES OF BASIC, SUPPLEMENTARY AND DERIVED UNITS OF MEASUREMENT

downloadable pdf at »laws.justice.gc.ca/PDF/Statute/W/W-6.pdf

urbanriot
Premium
join:2004-10-18
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cogeco Cable

Meter was off by 100+ *GIGABYTES* for a few days.

I'd previously noticed the same issues that other users reported, that some days weren't tabulated and the data transmitted would be dumped into a different day, so it wasn't possible to track your information...

However at the beginning of this month, other people in the house had downloaded a couple hundred gigs of data which put us over our bandwidth limit that did not show up on Cogeco's official meter, and we did not receive an overage email to the registered account as we were supposed to (I called into Cogeco to ensure they had the correct email on file, and they did). About a week later, after checking, all the bandwidth correctly showed up on the correct days! So, basically it didn't show any bandwidth transferred on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th of the month... until rechecking it a week later!

To summarize, their bandwidth meter and system does not seem to be functioning as I'd expect from a company that is charging people based on the readings of this meter. While the end of the month tabulations seem precisely accurate, each day does not seem to be accurate for each user. I would not care if they were wrong about a thousand megabytes, but it's difficult for end users to track their usage and ensure they're not going to suffer Cogeco's new charging if they can't determine what their levels are.

Thane_Bitter
Inquire within
Premium
join:2005-01-20
Reviews:
·Bell Sympatico

Re: Meter was off by 100+ *GIGABYTES* for a few days.

It sounds remarkably similar to Bell Canada meters which can take up to 60 hours (possible more) to display usage. There are also times when logging into the meter does not work due to maintenance or other issues.

What burns me about ISP metering is that you have to waste your bandwidth to check how much bandwidth you used; I can't think of any other situation were you are actually penalized for check how much you have used (i.e. it cost nothing to read your own water, electric, gas meter, or even how many minutes you have left on your cell phone). Granted the amount of data is small, it is not trivial especially when ISPs bloat their websites with flash enabled CPU robbing advertising graphics.
--
Life - A bitter little ray of sunshine.

jblow50

@exxonmobil.com

Dump-em

Why don't you people band together and make a combined effort to reverse this crap... like a customer union if you will. If the majority of their customer base threatens to dump them if they don't stop this nonsense, they will have no choice but to listen.

Then if they don't comply, just do it. Surely you can do without Internet for a month or so until they decide caps weren't such a good idea after all.
backness

join:2005-07-08
K2P OW2

1 recommendation

Expect Silence...

On behalf of the company on this matter.

Cogeco staff and fans seem to have a stong bias towards answering any questions that relate to the things the company does poorly.

When they can beat a straw man they are quick to bring the pitchforks and burn him at the stake.

When the problems are related to customers or problems with thier business practices they seem to disapear.

Great Company! Great Business model! Thank You CRTC for allowing competition into these markets. The Canadian public is really enjoying the benefits of a 10gb cap and 2.50$ overage charges.

urbanriot
Premium
join:2004-10-18
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cogeco Cable

1 recommendation

Re: Expect Silence...

said by backness:

Cogeco staff and fans seem to have a stong bias towards answering any questions that relate to the things the company does poorly.
It seems like certain aspects of management of the company is not providing the necessary information to the Cogeco staff that usually does their best to help their users (in their spare time) to provide US with the necessary information.

It seems like there's a new order coming from the very top at Cogeco, to stick it to their long time customers.
backness

join:2005-07-08
K2P OW2

Re: Expect Silence...

Don't forget, Rogers owns a big chunk of this company also. I'm too lazy to look it up but it is around 25-30%.

So we know who is driving the bus on this one.

Candoo3

join:2005-01-24
After being with them from the beginning, that's why I opted to get out and canceled all my services. There has just been too much BS the past couple of years, and my jar of vasoline is empty.

AkFubar
Admittedly, A Teksavvy Fan

join:2005-02-28
Toronto CAN.
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL

2 recommendations

Fight Fire with Fire

If Cogeco insists on using BW meters to bill customers, the meter needs to be certified by Measurement Canada as do other measurement devices such as weigh scales being used for trade in this country. Cogeco customers should accept nothing less than that.

Measurement Canada:

»www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/mc-mc.nsf/eng/Home
--
"No matter where you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Banzai

oxymoron69

join:2004-11-10
Corbyville, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Kingston Online ..

1 recommendation

Re: Fight Fire with Fire

Agreed, this is exactly the kind of garbage that's gonna happen when Bells' UBB drops in 2(ish) months.

Inaccurate meters billing overage that never actually happened for the companies' benefit... who'd have thought that would happen?

If these companies are going to bill real-world charges based on their fictional meters, they MUST be accurate.

How these companies' get away with this is baffling, oh wait, our nations telecom regulator is corrupt and lets them do this!

/rant, sorry I had a rough night
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

1 recommendation

said by AkFubar:

If Cogeco insists on using BW meters to bill customers, the meter needs to be certified by Measurement Canada as do other measurement devices such as weigh scales being used for trade in this country.
What use is your certified bandwidth measurement black box will be when traffic can get dropped both upstream and downstream from said box?

Subscriber sends data from his computer. That data may get dropped by his router, by his modem, by the DSLAM, by the aggregation switches before the BAS, by the BAS, by aggregation switches between the BAS and Bell's backbone, by Bell's AHSSPI switches at the ISP's PoP, by the ISP's routers, by the ISP's transit providers... or any other node beyond that. Same goes for the other way around. Because of that, no two bandwidth counters located at different points within the network will ever agree with each other no matter how much 'certification' they have been through so certifying a separate piece of equipment for this sole purpose is pointless.

Networking equipment is already stuffed with accurate bandwidth counters, there is no need for a separate byte-counting black box. Some gear counts raw Ethernet frame bytes, other count Ethernet payloads, other count ATM cells, other count IP traffic, etc. There is no reason to doubt those devices' accuracy, the only doubt lies in how those byte counters get accounted for when used for billing.
backness

join:2005-07-08
K2P OW2

Re: Fight Fire with Fire

That is exactly the issue.

Who determines what is requested by the consumer in terms of data and at what point on the network.

If Cogeco decides it will be at a point where they stand to benefit the most. If the consumer were to decide it would be only data that was specifically requested.

Only the billing company stands to gain from being able to make a nice chart that says where the overages begin but if they do not specify the details then it is the consumer who loses.

UBB is a sham and should be sent back to Nigeria where it was developped.

Best thing customers could do is all get together and ask for printouts of all the connections/data sent by mail to their home address to verify accuracy.

This would slow down this rush to implement UBB in a hurry when Cogeco had to send a flat bed out with the connections to a particular point on the network.

AkFubar
Admittedly, A Teksavvy Fan

join:2005-02-28
Toronto CAN.
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
I said nothing about a "byte counting blackbox". All I'm saying is that the providers need to use a fair and accurate measurement which implies that data source is a fair and accurate reflection and billing of the customer's usage. It shouldn't be some mysterious method that can't be validated or that can be tampered with.

Usually certification ensures that the measurement is fair for trade and there are no "thumbs on the scale".
--
"No matter where you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Banzai
InvalidError

join:2008-02-03
kudos:5

Re: Fight Fire with Fire

said by AkFubar:

I said nothing about a "byte counting blackbox". All I'm saying is that the providers need to use a fair and accurate measurement which implies that data source is a fair and accurate reflection and billing of the customer's usage.
All I am saying is that the NETWORK EQUIPMENT itself has practically 100% accurate byte counters, there is no reason to doubt/certify their accuracy: even a cheap 10 years old $3 second-hand Ethernet card from a dubious garage sale will still have 99.9999999% accurate byte counters if it is in working order, orders of magnitude better than what is typically required for trade weights and measures where the norm is around 1% error.

This is not a matter of accuracy since barring a major hardware/software flaw or Bell/Rogers/etc. convincing Cisco/Lucent/whatever to conspire to commit fraud, the hardware can be reasonably believed to provide exact measurements, just need to be clear on what it is actually counting. It is purely a matter of accounting: what is being counted, where, when, why and how.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
Um... you're a step below the line there buddy.

If Cogeco insists on using BW meters to bill customers, they should be forced to reveal their internal statistics as to how much bandwidth actually costs them. Cogeco customers should accept nothing less than that.

AkFubar
Admittedly, A Teksavvy Fan

join:2005-02-28
Toronto CAN.
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL

Cogeco is Obligated!

Since when do customers in this country have to validate a business's billing system?? Customers should be assured of fair and accurate billing under the law in Canada. I see a lot of legal challenges coming for this.
--
"No matter where you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Banzai
munky99999
Munky

join:2004-04-10
canada

With proper measurement

Even if they did implement foolproof certified good meters.

Still doesnt change the fact that there's TONS of things that can drive your usage way up.

Lets talk about Ping flooding.

Someone who isnt necessarily Cogeco... yet Cogeco could do it also.

1. Buy large amounts of shares in cogeco.
2. Setup massive flood center or botnet.
3. Flood the hell out of cogeco's ip ranges.
4. The users have only 1 recourse... totally disconnect themselves from the internet. That is... if they even have a clue it's happening... 99% of people wouldnt even be able to.
5. When cogeco starts sending out bills to everyone for hundreds and hundreds of dollars over what they ought to be paying.
6. Cogeco declares record profits.
7. Sell shares at the high.

PROFIT!

Qumahlin
Never Enough Time
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-05
united state

1 edit

Re: With proper measurement

said by munky99999:

Even if they did implement foolproof certified good meters.

Still doesnt change the fact that there's TONS of things that can drive your usage way up.

Lets talk about Ping flooding.

Someone who isnt necessarily Cogeco... yet Cogeco could do it also.

1. Buy large amounts of shares in cogeco.
2. Setup massive flood center or botnet.
3. Flood the hell out of cogeco's ip ranges.
4. The users have only 1 recourse... totally disconnect themselves from the internet. That is... if they even have a clue it's happening... 99% of people wouldnt even be able to.
5. When cogeco starts sending out bills to everyone for hundreds and hundreds of dollars over what they ought to be paying.
6. Cogeco declares record profits.
7. Sell shares at the high.

PROFIT!
Your argument is ruined by saying "even if they did implement fooldproof certified good readers"

It's a trivial exercise to create a meter that discards traffic that was unrequested by the user or that is not actually making a connection to the specified port. This means a "good" meter and a standard firewall would be all you need to not worry about ping floods (and seriously ping floods? What is this 1998?) or even UDP floods. Just depends on where your measuring the traffic and what your using to determine if a packet should "count" or not. I can think of tons of different rules that would distinguish bot flood traffic from legitimate traffic when it comes to home PC's

Distinguishing bot traffic is quite easy on a home PC compared to a website running services across a wide array of ports.

--
Forum Posts:7500
munky99999
Munky

join:2004-04-10
canada

Re: With proper measurement

said by Qumahlin:

Your argument is ruined by saying "even if they did implement fooldproof certified good readers"

It's a trivial exercise to create a meter that discards traffic that was unrequested by the user or that is not actually making a connection to the specified port. This means a "good" meter and a standard firewall would be all you need to not worry about ping floods (and seriously ping floods? What is this 1998?) or even UDP floods.
So you are all for the ISP breaking net neutrality and filtering internet traffic for us?

If those meters arent measuring those things? How you measuring only what does make it through the gauntlet and make it to my computer?

quote:
that discards traffic that was unrequested by the user
How does the ISP know this?

It isnt that we are trying to cause a denial of service. We are simply causing traffic to happen.
munky99999
Munky

join:2004-04-10
canada
said by Qumahlin:

Just depends on where your measuring the traffic and what your using to determine if a packet should "count" or not. I can think of tons of different rules that would distinguish bot flood traffic from legitimate traffic when it comes to home PC's

Distinguishing bot traffic is quite easy on a home PC compared to a website running services across a wide array of ports.
Sure you could. You certainly couldnt differentiate all. They on the otherhand cant measure at your computer.

So really... it's practically impossible for them to create any sort of accurate measurement if the person was under attack.

Here's the reality. All the packets are moving along and are accepted and moved on all the way until they hit your modem. The next step is possibly the first point where you block the traffic as you dont want it.

ISPs arent going to be measuring at your network's first hop. They will be doing it somewhere within their network. Most likely at the 1st multiplexer machines in the line. They cant tell if you blocked the traffic or not. The attacker can spoof packets and ips to make it appear like there's youtube traffic being sent to you.
backness

join:2005-07-08
K2P OW2

Re: With proper measurement

Thats what I was thinking.. but in much simpler terms..

Cat and Mouse game
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Ahem, TCP can't be spoofed. TCP accounts for the lion's share of traffic these days. Though with the advent of XoIP UDP will take over and we're back to square one.
munky99999
Munky

join:2004-04-10
canada

Re: With proper measurement

said by iansltx:

Ahem, TCP can't be spoofed. TCP accounts for the lion's share of traffic these days. Though with the advent of XoIP UDP will take over and we're back to square one.
I was under the impression youtube actually went 100% udp. Even for their http sort of transmissions. As obviously youtube consists of a massive amount of the internet's bandwidth usage.

If I'm wrong. Mybad.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: With proper measurement

Actually, to my knowledge all traffic in a web browser is delivered over TCP. UDP is only used for specilized applications. Also, I uploaded 10GB or so yesterday over TCP (SFTP). That should be enough to cancel out everyone's YouTube traffic in my town of 30,000 for that day anyway

Keith B

@cgocable.net

Thank god!

Good, it says I've used about 118 GB of bandwidth which is insane for average day usage. Very glad they're working on this / it's not accurate!