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Cox Raises Their Usage Caps
Company refines their definition of gluttony
by Karl Bode 03:15PM Wednesday Sep 30 2009
Just a few days after Cox bumped speeds in some of their more competitive markets, a Cox employee has stopped by our forums to indicate that the carrier has clarified their usage caps. With the FCC (and State Attorneys General) increasingly demanding network limitation transparency with consumers, the Cox website now not only lists concrete usage limits for all tiers, but the various top speeds they provision in each Cox market (which is usually dictated by the level of competition they're facing).

According to the Cox website, their top "Premier" offering comes with top speeds ranging from 15-25 Mbps, with a 250 GB monthly (combined up/down) usage cap. Their "Preferred" package comes with speeds ranging from 9-15 Mbps, with a 200 GB monthly usage cap. The company's "Essential" and "Value" tiers, which come with 1.5 Mbps and 3 Mbps download speeds respectively, both sport 50 GB monthly caps.

Keep in mind, Cox employs what are called "soft" caps, which may or may not be enforced depending on the level of congestion in your local market. Also note that according to Cox, many of these caps have actually increased. The 50 GB down and upstream cap on Cox's value tier, for instance, used to be 4 GB down and 1 GB up. If you click the Cox link above, you'll also note their faster 25-50 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 tiers come with a fairly massive 400 GB monthly limit. That's the kind of headroom you'd be hard pressed to find even the heaviest of users complaining about.

If you've been here long enough, you'll recall that Cox was criticized by users for sending out warning letters in 2002 targeting specifics users for excessive consumption -- without telling users what an actual limit was. After similar user complains caught the eye of regulators, Cox started being a little clearer about what they defined as "gluttony." Note there's no indication that Cox is interested in imposing metered overages (yet), though Cox is one of the only major ISPs we know of that will boot customers from the network for piracy.

One remaining problem is like Comcast, who imposes a 250 GB per month cap on all tiers, Cox doesn't offer users a tool to track their bandwidth consumption. "We hope to have a customer facing utilization tool up and running in the future but no such tool is available from us at this point," says Cox.

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pizz
bye bye twc. hello Comcast.
Premium
join:2000-10-27
Astoria, NY
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 recommendation

Good step

in the right direction. Still 250GB is low, but i'm starting to think the rationale behind it. Now this is all assumptions, nothing based on fact just opinion!

These caps the US providers are using are probably there to deter gluttons who just use their pipes 24x7. If someone goes over it for 1 month i don't think they'll enforce it, but if they continue to do so then they'll probably get hit with overages, kinda like what Comcast does.

I just hope these caps scale with usage needs in the future.
--
The more you talk, the less you listen.

screavic4
Premium
join:2006-08-11
Paron, AR
kudos:1

Re: Good step

I too agree they are low but like you said, it's to prevent people using the pipe 24/7.

They will scale I hope, the same as web hosting packages did. Started really small and now you can get "unlimited" packages fairly cheap but you are "limited" by what you can / can't do on them.
--
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My software never has bugs, they just develop random "features".

Jigsaw
Stardust We Are
Premium
join:2000-10-21
Cleveland, OH

Re: Good step

said by screavic4:

I too agree they are low but like you said, it's to prevent people using the pipe 24/7.

They will scale I hope, the same as web hosting packages did. Started really small and now you can get "unlimited" packages fairly cheap but you are "limited" by what you can / can't do on them.
The cap use to be don't Quote me but 40 Gig Preferred and i think 60 Gig Premier.So they bumped it alot.But they have not enforced the caps(Least i have not seen one Complaint in the forums here).Will see what happens in the Future.
--
"It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."-George Carlin
amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·KCH Cable

Re: Good step

I think you're about right. I recall reading 40 somewhere (preferred).
200 for preferred is probably close enough to "enough" that most won't ever touch that. It's also the tier that "most" are on.

When I was checking things about a year ago, I recall seeing a few months of pretty high usage, but far less than 200GB.

With this news I feel much better about not worrying that I'd hit some cap. Granted, I suppose I could get there and even surpass it, but thankfully they are still "soft" and would only hassle me if really needed.

That, and I'm in a college town. Tons of folks likely use a LOT more bandwidth than I would

Nice to hear about the updated policy. Glad they went with some fairly fair numbers instead of some insanely low one like AT&T wants to with DSL.

knightmb
Everybody Lies

join:2003-12-01
Franklin, TN
said by screavic4:

I too agree they are low but like you said, it's to prevent people using the pipe 24/7.

They will scale I hope, the same as web hosting packages did. Started really small and now you can get "unlimited" packages fairly cheap but you are "limited" by what you can / can't do on them.
There is no reason to worry about a customer using the pipe 24/7 really. As one who runs his own ISP, I've found that all the myths that the big players say about bandwidth hogging and such are just false. It really just comes down to knowing how to configure your routers, gateways, and portals properly. If one person on BitTorrent can take down a gateway node with traffic then the node needs something other than the factory default settings on it.

Of course, the fact we use all linux/free bsd based software/hardware might have something to do with it. I'm not sure what OS all the other hardware runs on. When we shopped for hardware, often laughed at the high prices for hardware running some custom version of windows that we never bought of course.
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dynodb
Premium,VIP
join:2004-04-21
Minneapolis, MN

Re: Good step

said by knightmb:

There is no reason to worry about a customer using the pipe 24/7 really. As one who runs his own ISP, I've found that all the myths that the big players say about bandwidth hogging and such are just false. It really just comes down to knowing how to configure your routers, gateways, and portals properly.
Please enlighten us as to how one might configure their router, gateway or portals to allow a DS3 or OC3 to pass more than 45M or 155M of data.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: Good step

Compression?

Seriously, some traffic is more important than others. You can do this based on flows and do it transparently...

knightmb
Everybody Lies

join:2003-12-01
Franklin, TN

A torrent state table
Click for full size
Torrent in action
said by dynodb:

said by knightmb:

There is no reason to worry about a customer using the pipe 24/7 really. As one who runs his own ISP, I've found that all the myths that the big players say about bandwidth hogging and such are just false. It really just comes down to knowing how to configure your routers, gateways, and portals properly.
Please enlighten us as to how one might configure their router, gateway or portals to allow a DS3 or OC3 to pass more than 45M or 155M of data.
Not enough space to fit it all here if you want technical details, but mainly it boils down to not even looking at the traffic in terms of how much bandwidth you have, but more in the terms of making sure traffic is shared evenly to begin with.

If you have a node that will max at 45 megabits/sec and it's not smart enough to know how to pipe in simultaneous connections into a group so that other traffic can pass it's time to look at some other hardware setups. Quite frankly, it is basically traffic shaping but without all the silly rules. If you have one pipe (use the 45 megabits/sec again) and 45 customers tied to this node; then one customer running BitTorrent should only be able to dominate the idle available bandwidth. If the customer is able to burn 45 megabits/sec and stall everyone else instead of the bandwidth being split down evenly among all connecting peers, then that's another example of not using some basic traffic shaping setup.

The biggest problem I see though is mainly the state tables being way too small. You can have a switched network where computer A and computer B doing a file transfer at full bandwidth doesn't halt everyone else in the office. The problem occurs for some devices where something like BitTorrent isn't churning out bandwidth as much as many simultaneous connections. So the gateway device that is awesome for speed when peers are just sending data to a few IP address chokes when one peer is just sending small chunks to hundreds or thousands of IP address at a time. The device just wasn't designed with the RAM needed to maintain a state table that big and thus just chokes out.

It's the same problem that all home routers have, great bandwidth for a few connections, but crash/choke they are asked to do small bandwidth to a lot of different locations. They all just run out of RAM because the state table is just too big to fit.

Your desktop PC suffer the same issue as it can only make so many connections before it hits a limit. The real key is making sure whatever setup you have is going to more powerful than anything a client (PC) could throw at it be it just raw data transfer or hundreds/thousands of connections going at once.

For me anyway, FreeBSD and Linux have basically solved the issue due to how much fine tuning they allow. A good PC with lots of RAM does circles around some of the most expensive commercial software/hardware out there.

Sure, you can buy your way into the multi-hundred thousand dollar Cisco equipment that would be on par with the setups I'm talking about, but I don't believe that even the richest ISP (Comcast, AT&T, etc.) are going to spend that kind of money to install one at every block to make sure John Doe and Jane Doe down the street can check e-mail while D00D1 down the block is sharing his torrents with as many clients as his PC/Connection can handle at once.

The next best thing you can do is build it yourself and spend all the money saved on keeping the pipe big for all your customers and not worry about which time of day and how much bandwidth percentage XYZ customer is using. We have customers that barely touch 200MB a month and others that doing 10GB a day of traffic. The only company policy we have is keep it fast, don't mess it unless it becomes a problem.

Hmm, this reply was a lot longer than I expected and barely touched on the technical side of things, so basically if you want to churn out bandwidth like this screenshot I have attached (just picked the top 100 from thepiratebay as a example, stealing is wrong, etc. yes I know, canceled it after the screenshot)
then FreeBSD gateway is your friend (and Linux too for a OS for the client). I had over 6,000 connections going, of which over 5,000 just for that torrent. So even with all the leechers, was still about to churn out some good bandwidth for it. That's running on the same pipe as 3 other customers who having their BT blazing 24/7 also, but their machines barely touch 500 connections due to probably defaults or limitations of their PC. In all that, other PCs still surf the web, play movies, etc. as though nothing is wrong.

If I can burn up this much simultaneous bandwidth while 3 others are doing the same and everything hums along just fine, I just shake my head when I hear hype about the one BT user who is able to take out his/her entire neighborhood with just a single PC. It's all about the setup.
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88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

1 recommendation

Re: Good step

said by knightmb:

Even though you tried to blur it out I can see you are illegally downloading Transformers 2. People like you is the EXACT reason why we have to put up with caps in the first place. Thanks. Is $5 too much for you to afford to rent it from the video store?

lovswr

join:2001-09-15
Smyrna, GA
Let me pick a nit. The SPE (SONET Payload envelope) in an Oc-3/STM-1 is 140M. There is 15M of overhead that the system uses for its own operation. Such things as the stuffing events, the payload pointer (which tells the system where YOUR 140M of data starts within each frame, & even a orderwire channel that is big enough for analog broadcast video.

So yes the line or wire speed is clocked at a little over one hundred & fifty million times per second, the actual throughput or amount of customer data is not quite that high.
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knightmb
Everybody Lies

join:2003-12-01
Franklin, TN

Re: Good step

said by lovswr:

Let me pick a nit. The SPE (SONET Payload envelope) in an Oc-3/STM-1 is 140M. There is 15M of overhead that the system uses for its own operation. Such things as the stuffing events, the payload pointer (which tells the system where YOUR 140M of data starts within each frame, & even a orderwire channel that is big enough for analog broadcast video.

So yes the line or wire speed is clocked at a little over one hundred & fifty million times per second, the actual throughput or amount of customer data is not quite that high.
Nit pick the nit pick I thought an OC-3 running STM-1 operated at 155 M/bs with 150 M/bs due to payload overhead? I'll have to dig out a manual for that one I guess.

The fiber networking protocol you refer to though is *usually* protocol neutral. It's job is just through the packets out (over-simplifying of course given routes, etc.) as fast as it can. Being that an atomic clock keeps the network in sync, it kind of sits high up on the hardware chart for me. I've never really seen one of those taken down by overload, but I know it does happen. As much as I would love to talk about overhead, payload, and pointers; that might cause a real eye-glazing effect at this news forum.

Basically, my only spill is that (and you probably know as well), that some of the problems we hear about with an ISP overload does have a solution that doesn't involve punishing one user for being a bandwidth hog or deciding that everyone should just be capped to XYZ gigabytes of bandwidth.

I know that no system is invincible to load. I could get about 30 clients doing about 30,000 connections each to max out the ISP setup due to the gateway/router devices having only a few gigs of RAM for state tables if I really wanted to push it to destruction.
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DJMASACRE

join:2008-05-27
Nepean, ON

1 recommendation

said by screavic4:

I too agree they are low but like you said, it's to prevent people using the pipe 24/7.

They will scale I hope, the same as web hosting packages did. Started really small and now you can get "unlimited" packages fairly cheap but you are "limited" by what you can / can't do on them.
any cap is a bad cap

preventing people from using the pipe 24/7 is contradicting to using Internet in the first place.

nice try though
runlevelfour

join:2002-06-12
USA

1 edit

Re: Good step

said by DJMASACRE See Profileany cap is a bad cap

preventing people from using the pipe 24/7 is contradicting to using Internet in the first place.

nice try though
AGREED. Funny how certain services such as internet and mobile phones are tightly metered to squeeze every cent out of customers while other services provided by largely the same companies do not. Television AFAIK does not have any capping system. Nor does local phone service (although one can argue LD).

The internet has become this way since it became commercialized. Every bit player has to make a killer profit, and will try wrangling the system into making sure we all pay for said profits.

DJMASACRE

join:2008-05-27
Nepean, ON

Re: Good step

said by runlevelfour:

said by DJMASACRE See Profileany cap is a bad cap

preventing people from using the pipe 24/7 is contradicting to using Internet in the first place.

nice try though
AGREED. Funny how certain services such as internet and mobile phones are tightly metered to squeeze every cent out of customers while other services provided by largely the same companies do not. Television AFAIK does not have any capping system. Nor does local phone service (although one can argue LD).

The internet has become this way since it became commercialized. Every bit player has to make a killer profit, and will try wrangling the system into making sure we all pay for said profits.
its been a scam since day one,

thats why I still have not even thought about getting a celll phone or equivalent device.,

they have taken the market directly into stupidity....

rather than innovative ingenuity.

it makes no sense at all.

yet we see the flock of morons who believe what they are using has a purpose in every day life.

its absurd.

but i wont get into the details through this thread
jimbo2150

join:2004-05-10
Euclid, OH
said by pizz:

These caps the US providers are using are probably there to deter gluttons who just use their pipes 24x7. If someone goes over it for 1 month i don't think they'll enforce it, but if they continue to do so then they'll probably get hit with overages, kinda like what Comcast does.
But I see this not only as a way to deter heavy users, but also as a last-resort to skirt the FCC's support of net neutrality. Imposing caps when they don't really need to to prevent competing heavy-bandwidth applications from competing with a similar offering from the ISP/Telco/CableCo (ABC, NBC, YouTube, Hulu anyone?).

In the end, will is be ethical to cut off a person's connection or charge excessive overages when they use competing services (like Vonage) when making emergency calls?

said by pizz:

I just hope these caps scale with usage needs in the future.
See above. Just because it's a private company does not mean it will use it's power ethically. Considering many rural and suburban areas carry little to no competition in the internet fields, it could easily become a problem. I don't trust companies to regulate or control my internet any more than many users on this site shun allowing the government to control or regulate their connections.
--

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jchambers28

join:2007-05-12
Alma, AR

1 edit

caps

They are lightly enforced and some times not at all. My guess is that they are trying to keep copy write material off their network.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: caps

Or more likely they are trying to discourage people from cutting cable tv and downloading torrents.
caco
Premium
join:2005-03-10
Whittier, AK

Docsis 3 areas looks to be 400 GB up and down

Ultimate Package (requires a DOCSIS 3 Modem)
Feature Maximum Limit
1. Maximum download speed 4 50 megabits per second
2. Maximum upload speed 5 megabits per second
3. Monthly bandwidth allowance 3 400 gigabytes combined download and upload
4. Personal WebSpace account size 10 megabytes of disk space per User ID
5. Personal WebSpace traffic 3 gigabytes a day per User ID for visitors viewing your pages

Premier Plus Package (requires a DOCSIS 3 Modem)
Feature Maximum Limit
1. Maximum download speed 4 25 megabits per second
Maximum download speed with PowerBoost® 1 28 megabits per second
2. Maximum upload speed 2 megabits per second
Maximum upload speed with PowerBoost 1 2.5 megabits per second
3. Monthly bandwidth allowance 3 400 gigabytes combined download and upload
4. Personal WebSpace account size 10 megabytes of disk space per User ID
5. Personal WebSpace traffic 3 gigabytes a day per User ID for visitors viewing your pages

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birdfeedr
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-11
Warwick, RI
kudos:9

Re: Docsis 3 areas looks to be 400 GB up and down

Hmm. Wonder if the 3 GB per day for Webspace visitors counts against the monthly bandwidth allowance. Probably, but possibly not. Webspace traffic 90 GB per month max. can be handled elsewhere in the system, off the cabled nodes that would/could be come congested.

So far, Cox caps appear to be node management policies, rather than revenue generators. Revenue motive would be evident by small caps.

Having looked at them as an alternative to FiOS in my area, if I signed up for Cox HSI, it would be the Premium level at minimum.
cableguy619
Premium
join:2003-06-24
Chula Vista, CA

you have to remember

Not every place you download from offers 50 meg uploads, etc.....

Obviously big things are coming and looks to be soon..

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

I have absolutely no problem

with 250gig caps per month

I use the net to download videos/music/TV and even with all of that, I don't think I would sniff that gig limit.

Anyone going above that AT THIS MOMENT....well, I guess I don't mind being possibly charged a little more.
iansltx

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

Comcast, are you listening?

Cox's new caps are actually pretty cool. If Comcast had similar caps (50GB for Economy, 200GB for 12/2, 250GB for 16/2, 400GB for 22/5 and 50/10) that'd be even cooler. Yes I know that would be decreasing caps for the low end, but those folks wouldn't be using those many bits anyway, and can actually upgrade. More importantly, the higher-end D3 tiers (which have more capacity) get higher caps. I could hit 250GB per month with my current activities. 400GB per month OTOH would be a bit of a reach.

That said, I'm just fine with Comcast having a decently-priced 5 Mbps upload tier, and a 10 Mbps up tier of any sort. Cox has neither of the above :/

aRTee

@rocktenn.com

...their definition of gluttony

I'm not certain that I would have a problem with this "gluttony" unless you consider that a large portion of my connections will be business to business. With that my routers keep trading routing protocol updates to multiple networks (broadband and T1) to maintain a clear set of links at all times. I'm considering using the backup route (probably the broadband link) for large file transfers while the T1 is for day to day traffic (server updates, smtp, bgp, etc). The advantage that I have is that I can keep track of the amount of traffic that goes up/down a given path with my router interfaces. I'm guessing that I won't be hit up unless we have a slew of traffic shooting across this link. I know that my T1s are running between 5% to 55% utilized on any given location and that is 7x24.

charterengr
Premium,VIP
join:2002-03-09
Englewood, CO

Re: ...their definition of gluttony

aRTee - No cause for concern in this case. If you have a Cox biz connection, there aren't any consumption limits on those connections - so you're good to go and no need to worry about what your biz to biz traffic is doing.
--
Want the most out of BBR? Visit our help page: »members.cox.net/coxengr/bbr_help Are you a Cox employee? Please read this before posting: »members.cox.net/coxengr/bbr_cox
dynodb
Premium,VIP
join:2004-04-21
Minneapolis, MN

50GB on a 3M?

A 50GB up/down combined cap on a 3M connection sounds pretty low. The vast majority of users come below that, but it's still barely over one hour of downloads a day.

250GB and 400GB seems somewhat reasonable though.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: 50GB on a 3M?

Welcome to my world. Our ISP caps the 10M package at 60G which is up from 40G just a year ago.

30M/2M (yes, a whopping 2M upload!) is capped at 100G.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast
I'd agree that 50GB isn't enough if Cox had areas where they didn't offer 200GB and 250GB tiers (ahem AT&T DSL). As it stands however you can upgrade for a few extra bucks per month to a tier with a higher cap no matter where you are, and realistically if you use more than 50GB you'll be on a higher-end plan than 3 Mbit.
bemis

join:2008-07-18
Reading, MA

Good News Citizen!

The chocolate ration has been increased from 30 grams to 20 grams this week!
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

Re: Good News Citizen!

Incorrect. It went from 20g to 200g
ReneM

join:2003-07-18
Cockeysville, MD

Still not a lot of broadband you get

250GB/month is about 96kb/s. That's 3% continued usage of a 25mb/s line. How generous! Good thing that i have FIOS where i can use 100% of what i pay for.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Still not a lot of broadband you get

said by ReneM:

Good thing that i have FIOS where i can use 100% of what i pay for.
Enjoy it while it lasts:

»Verizon: Metered Broadband Is Coming

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by ReneM:

250GB/month is about 96kb/s. That's 3% continued usage of a 25mb/s line. How generous! Good thing that i have FIOS where i can use 100% of what i pay for.
That assumes you are using your connection 24/7 which you don't. Even when you use it you're not using it 100%. If you spend 5 minutes read some article here are you using ANY of your connection durring that 5 minutes? Very little if any.
ReneM

join:2003-07-18
Cockeysville, MD

Re: Still not a lot of broadband you get

I use it 24/7. What world are you living it that your computer(s) doesn't do anything while you read a web page, Windows 3.0 ? FTP, Torrent, Web Server, Web Services, Multitab browsers, VIOP, Online Games Streaming/Recording TV and more.

agrall

join:2000-09-29
Tucson, AZ

Cox and Comcast in Tucson

We have both Cox and Comcast in Tucson, AZ... but instead of offering the consumer a choice - they have drawn a line in the city - on one side you get Cox, and on the other side you get Comcast...

It is very frustrating - the result is that I have ONE choice only for high speed internet - especially since Qwest seems to have no interest in expanding their network here.

I wonder what life would be like if they actually had to compete for customers...

jamesparker

@nayatel.pk

Website designing

good work its a wonderful post and i totally agree with your post.its full of information!
Web designing