P4P: The future of downloading?

March 17, 2008 | 10:36

Tags: #downloading #p2p #peer-to-peer #throttling

Companies: #verizon

US ISP Verizon has decided on an interesting approach to the increased transit costs peer-to-peer file sharing users create: improve the software.

Verizon has become a founder member of the Distributed Computing Industry Association's P4P Workgroup, which is looking into creating a standard protocol for carrier-grade peer-to-peer file transfer systems. The news is good for both the carrier and the end-user, too: tests indicate that both the performance of the file download and the congestion on the network were both improved.

P4P isn't, as the name might imply, two better than P2P but instead stands for Pro-active network Provider Participation for P2P. Yes, it's a bit laboured but points for trying, guys.

The idea is to create a system whereby Internet Service Providers are able to communicate information regarding network conductions to the client P2P application in order to improve performance and lower network congestion. By giving the client software information about P2P users that are close in terms of network routing, the software is able to choose seeds in a way which maximises routing efficiency.

This system relies on gathering as much data about the network conditions around all users of a particular torrent, so the group is keen to see its technology adopted as an official standard. Much like BitTorrent, the idea is that the more ISPs use the system the more efficient it'll be.

As usual the group has given no indication on when we're likely to see the technology implemented, but with ever-increasing resistance to throttling as a way to reduce data tranist costs it's clear that ISPs desperately need something to keep them afloat.

Do you see this as a way of increasing the performance of your P2P downloads, or just the ISPs looking to increase their bottom line? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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