Leading US telecoms firm Comcast got into trouble with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a few years ago when, in line with the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, it was ordered to stop throttling BitTorrent traffic in 2008.
A couple of weeks ago the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found against the principle of net neutrality in a court case between Verizon and the FCC. If left to stand, this decision effectively puts an end to net neutrality (the concept that all internet traffic should be treated the same, regardless of where it comes from and what it contains – a core principle that has led to the success of the internet).
It is widely expected that the FCC will re-establish its legal basis for enforcing net neutrality ‘in the coming days’ (by reclassify internet services as ‘communications services’ rather than ‘information services’, and thereby bringing them back under its jurisdiction), but in the meantime Comcast has wasted no time in going back to its bad old ways.
It has already been reported that Comcast is throttling traffic from rival media streaming service Netflix, but we now hear reports that UDP traffic on port 1194 (the default port used by OpenVPN) is also being throttled.
Fortunately, bypassing this restriction is easy, all you have to do is switch from UDP 1194 to TCP 443 – the port used by SSL traffic (i.e. everything using https://), and which is almost impossible to block without breaking the internet.
Many providers’ custom VPN clients let you easily switch ports. To do this in the generic open source OpenVPN client, you can edit the relevant .ovpn config file in a text editor, and manually change the settings.
If you have problems then your VPN provider should be able and happy to provide assistance.