[tor-talk] What are use cases made unpleasant by Tor's speed?

Joe Btfsplk joebtfsplk at gmx.com
Tue Jul 29 17:18:34 UTC 2014

On 7/28/2014 8:07 PM, Griffin Boyce wrote:
> Hey Virgil,
>     I'd say that the issue with Tor's speed is one of inconsistency,
> rather than outright slowness.
>     Give you an example:  I was watching a friend set up a new laptop, and
> she elected to fetch drivers direct from the manufacturer's website.  So
> someone downloads a few dozen files with the Tor Browser.  Pretty common
> stuff.  She ran into issues of speed -- at one point all pending
> downloads failed -- but for the most part the speed ranged from 200kbps
> to 1mbps.  There are circuits where the connection slows to Pyongyang
> levels, but for the most part Tor is pretty solid.
>     Tor excludes relays that have less than X speed over N period of time,
> but perhaps the threshhold for X should be raised and length N should be
> lowered.  My theory is that this would solve many of the "speed issues"
> that people experience.  Perhaps try simulating these differences with
> Shadow and report back your findings?
General question (to anyone):  Most users have noticed at times, TBB 
slowing to a halt.
Sometimes it might be the site's server - sometimes the relays in the 
built circuit & other times, something else.

How is Tor designed to handle when individual circuits are built, 
containing say, a relay current with throughput that's already at or 
near its capacity?

Does Tor detect that specific relays are already near capacity & drop it 
(them), for others that have significant, unused bandwidth?
As a test, when the speed of multiple sites is quite low, I've sometimes 
forced closing circuits.  Over time, I've noticed it often rebuilds the 
next circuit reusing 1 or 2 of the previous relays.

Often, the ones it reuses are very low bandwidth, but there's no way to 
instantly know if those reused relays are near their capacity. You just 
know that something is causing extreme slowness on multiple sites.

Then, TBB / Tor may speed up to where it's not half bad.  It's like a 
box of chocolates.

As many have said, it's not that TBB / Tor is slower than clear 
browsing.  But that it's so unpredictable, even unreliable at times, 
regarding speed.
Sometimes, "speed" isn't the right word.  It can be, "is it still alive, 
at all?  Do I still have a connection?"

No, it may never have generally consistent speeds, but sometimes it 
reminds me of the earliest internet days where at times, usability could 
be a problem on given days.
It'd be nice if the loading sites, etc., could just keep moving - at any 

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