Some Internet service providers (ISPs) have been proclaiming for many years that they can't handle all the Internet traffic their users throw at them, especially during peak usage hours. It's a controversial topic, and it's one of the key issues in the so-called Net Neutrality debate. To control some traffic, Canadian ISP Xplornet blocks peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing ports by default.
It's well known that P2P networks, while popular among power Internet users, can hog a lot of bandwidth. The company states the following in its Fair Access Policy: "To minimize the impact that heavier users might have on the experience of other Xplornet customers, we have implemented a Fair Access Policy." The policy blocks P2P ports in the hopes of affecting "the fewest customers while helping maintain the best speeds for the majority of customers."
The following list includes names of P2P networks and the ports that they use (and which Xplorenet blocks):
Kazaa: port 1214
Edonkey and clones: ports 4661-4672
Winmx and Napster: ports 6257, 6257, 6699, 6699
Bittorrent: ports 6881-6889
Gnutella, Morpheus, Limewire: 6346 and 6347
eMule: ports 5555, 4242, 3306,2323, 6667, 7778
Peer-to-peer ports may change if new versions of the applications come out. Changing ports is just one way that creators of P2P networks try to stay ahead of the ISPs, who have legitimate concerns about how much traffic they can handle. It's a cat-and-mouse game that will only get more heated as more and more users download video, share large files and do other bandwidth-hogging tasks.
Xplornet made headlines for being the first national 4G network that claims to serve all rural Canadians. It is a terrestrial wireless network that launched with about 1,200 towers. The company has big expansion plans, and it says that by 2012 all rural residents of the country should be able to get affordable broadband.
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