Bittorrent declares war on VoIP, gamers
The next internet meltdown
Gamers, VoIP and video conference users beware. The leading BitTorrent software authors have declared war on you - and any users wanting to wring high performance out of their networks. A key design change in the P2P application promises to make the headaches faced by ISPs so far look like a party game. So what's happened, and why does it matter?
Upset about Bell Canada’s system for allocating bandwidth fairly among internet users, the developers of the uTorrent P2P application have decided to make the UDP protocol the default transport protocol for file transfers. BitTorrent implementations have long used UDP to exchange tracker information – the addresses of the computers where files could be found – but the new release uses it in preference to TCP for the actual transfer of files. The implications of this change are enormous.
As BitTorrent implementations follow uTorrent’s lead – and they will, since uTorrent is owned by BitTorrent Inc, and is regarded as the canonical implementation – the burden of reducing network load during periods of congestion will shift to the remaining TCP uses, the most important of which are web browsing and video streaming.
By most estimates, P2P accounts for close to half of internet traffic today. When this traffic is immune to congestion control, the remaining half will stumble along at roughly a quarter of the bandwidth it has available today: half the raw bandwidth, used with half efficiency, by 95% of internet users. Oops.
When your internet bandwidth is divided by four, you’re going to notice. Even the downloading fiends who haunt the message boards at Broadband Reports can see this, as several have noted:
Is bypassing TCP congestion control a good thing for the users of the network? Why should one persons [sic] non-interactive file sharing generating a dozen to a hundred streams be more important than my interactive VoIP call or gaming experience?
Using it as a feature, maybe, but enabling this behavior by default is just wrong and will lead to continuing counter, counter measures and more justification for caps.
But this insight isn’t shared by downloaders in general, most of whom have a sense of entitlement where their etiquette gene should be.
What's UDP and why does this matter?
UDP was intended for real-time data transfers such as VoIP that typically move small amounts of data with a low tolerance for delay. By most estimates, UDP traffic amounts to less than two per cent of all internet traffic. Bulk data transfers are supposed to use TCP, in large part because it shoulders the burden of congestion control for the internet’s end-to-end layer. There’s no doubt that P2P file transfers are the epitome of delay-tolerant, bulk data applications.
The internet is only a stable system because application developers are gentlemanly with regard to the amount of traffic they shove onto the network. But it hasn’t always been so.
I don't have my notes to hand from the FCC/Comcast hearing at Harvard, but if I remember correctly, Mr Bennet had both myself, and the editor of TorrentFreak, with whom I was listening, laugh our socks off.
Something I don't think anyone else has mentioned though, is this claim about the 10% using 75% etc. I've been through these reports, for the last 3-4 years, every time they come out. They never match each other very well, and more importantly, they're almost always funded or worse, conducted by, some company that makes packet filtering, throttling, or tracking software/hardware. The point of these reports aren't to be accurate, they're to scare ISPs into buying their goods, and give the ISPs something to point at to justify raising prices, for the same service.
Course, Mr Bennet could probably have had a better education, if he'd tried #bittorrent on Freenode, where he could meet my TWELVE year old IRC nick (harder than paying for a webhost for 11 years) and discussed the protocol with people who know (and there's no filesharing or anything in that channel, so don't ask - it's for protocol discussion) and then he might have learnt something.
End of the day, this article does prove one thing - the person that knows the least, is the one that think's they're the expert.
Pirate cos... well former chairman of Pirate Party US, and current Coordinator for Pirate Party international - need I say more?
RE Bittorrent declares war on VoIP, gamers
I disagree with throttling, we pay our Internet subscriptions every month so why should we be limited 11pm - 6am to get the service we are paying for. I will take the meltdown on the chin and then harass my ISP for failing to provide the service as described as I am sick to death of poor quality most of the time.Bit torrent wouldnt have had to go this route if the ISPs were a little more reasonable IMAO.
Wondering why you consider emails to be excluded from bandwidth in general?
Im wondering if you know how these interweb tubes work?
And in particular what is this standard charge of which you speak? My ISP offerers several different packages tailored to different needs, how does yours work? is it the same as JonB's where everything is free? and you wonder why theres 'too many pigs at the trough'?