Can you slow or block the traffic caused by BitTorrent on your router? If someone connected on your network is using BitTorrent, your connection can slow down. Other than that, using BitTorrent can even open you to lawsuits. The sad part is that it’s not that easy to fix this problem.
What is BitTorrent?
Most people think that BitTorrent is a program, but it’s not. It is a technique of downloading data and files with the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing systems. BitTorrent clients are the programs that you use if you want to download files using the protocol of BitTorrent.
What makes its protocol different is that it distributes file sharing across the users who are currently downloading a file or users who have downloaded the file already. You don’t have to download the whole file before you begin sharing it because BitTorrent will break up and distribute files in hundreds of little pieces. You can start sharing a piece of file with other BitTorrent users as soon as that piece of file is already downloaded on your side. This is what makes this protocol fast. As soon as you have downloaded a piece of the file, you can immediately share it with others, instead of waiting until all required files are finished downloading.
It is hard to block anything
It is difficult to block something on your router, especially if it’s your home router. If you have built-in blacklists or parental controls on your router, it can make the process easier. You can block websites like twitter.com or facebook.com if you don’t want someone accessing the Facebook website on your network connection. However, these blocked websites form built-in blacklists and parental controls can be easily unblocked by using a proxy or VPN.
It is even harder to block BitTorrent because you are not just simply blocking a website. You have to block or slow down a certain type of protocol that devices connected on that network are using to communicate with other devices around the globe. Just like technology that evolves day by day, BitTorrent has also evolved so that people who want to block it won’t succeed. Other than that, you will not find any switch or button to block BitTorrent traffic, making it more difficult.
BitTorrent evades throttling and blocking
As mentioned earlier, BitTorrent has evolved together with the processes that can block it, making it a tough target. Even Comcast and other internet service providers can’t regulate the traffic caused by BitTorrent. This traffic can slow down some protocols used by their customers, making it inconvenient for them. That is why there’s no surprise that BitTorrent has innovated and evolved to be more difficult to even slow down or block. It is prevented from being blocked on home network connections and it can evade slow internet service providers.
It’s not easy to block BitTorrent ports
The standard port on which BitTorrent ran when it was first released in 2002 was port 6881 up to the port 6889. Network providers and internet service providers started slowing or throttling BitTorrent traffic using these ports. The BitTorrent program has prevented from using these ports to become connected because of some BitTorrent trackers.
During that time, anyone can avoid being blocked and they can change what port is used by the BitTorrent program on another port. Today, it has become harder because programs of BitTorrent already have built-in options to using different ports so that BitTorrent trackers won’t detect them.
Other than that, the modern programs created by BitTorrent are using Distributed Hash Table or DST, which is an extension, to change information by the peer-to-peer method. The program will communicate through UDP, negotiates a different port for every connection, and uses it.
To prevent BitTorrent apps from forwarding ports automatically to allow connections, you can disable UPnP on your router. However, the connection will still be sent on the ports.
Traffic inspection can’t be used because of encryption
Internet service providers and other network operators have faced virtually no longer running programs from BitTorrent on predictable ports. That is why they have adjusted to using the Deep Packet Inspection. This method can check every network packet characterized by BitTorrent traffic instead of simply checking all the ports that are connected to the network packet and then blocking or modifying them afterward. This method can identify the associated packets. It can even block, adjust, or link these packets to BitTorrent directly.
So, the BitTorrent protocol invented a new feature to tighten up their defenses. They created the Protocol Header Encryption or the Protocol Encryption to fight Deep Packet Inspection. This encryption makes it more difficult for network operators and internet service providers to perform traffic shaping or even track and detect BitTorrent traffic because of this encryption is designed to mess up the traffic brought by BitTorrent. In other words, network operators and internet service providers will not be able to slow down or block the traffic.
Today, some routers are using QoS or Quality of Service to determine what type of traffic is brought by BitTorrent. It will also allow users to tune in across the whole network. But, these methods are also prevented by the protocol encryption and port misdirection used by BitTorrent.
Ways to Slow Down or Stop BitTorrent
In blocking BitTorrent traffic, there’s is no easy technical solution because its defenses to prevent detection has evolved. You will not be able to look for any button to slow down or disable it across your whole home network.
Organizations are using some technical options. One of them is by controlling their workstation with the use of an application whitelist feature. This feature will prevent employees from running the application of BitTorrent on their computers. Businesses with public Wifis, on the other hand, are trying to block everything coming from standard traffic brought by web browsing.
In your home, a person can do whatever they want, when they have successfully accessed your network. If you want to remove a person from your network, just change its password. After that, go to the settings and only allow the devices that know the password to connect. If you’re using a Mac, you can directly block a certain device from the router. This feature is called the address filtering feature. But, you should note that using this feature will block all connections from that blocked device as well.
On the other hand, you should ignore all technical solutions if your roommates or family members continue to slow the network connection. You should just simply ask them to set up or stop the download and upload speed limits on the BitTorrent application.
You don’t have to slow down the traffic caused by BitTorrent if your router has QoS features. However, you should deactivate all the traffic coming from devices that use BitTorrent by configuring the router. This way, prioritizing all the traffic coming from other devices connected to the network will be easier for you.