BitTorrent

From SwinBrain

Contents

What Is It?

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that uses a central "tracking" server to help individual clients share data between them. The "tracker"s role is relatively simple, and has no knowledge of the file contents being transfered, and so a tracking server can support a large number of users easily.

All clients can download and also help others by uploading partions of files. This is a key difference to other file sharing protocols: the more clients there are, the better the overall performance for the clients (the more people to share file data with).

With traditional file transfer protocols like FTP, HTTP or SCP, the greater the number of clients connecting to a central server, the higher the load (at the server) and the lower the quality to all clients.

Client and tracker server software for BitTorrent is available most platforms, and the protocol has been implemented in a variety of programming languages. See the BitTorrent.org site for more development details.

Philosophy: Give & Take

By the nature of the BitTorrent protocol design, it works best when clients are prepared to share data as well as download. For this reason, its good to offer as much "upsteam" traffic as you use in "downstream" requests.

Economy of Scale

Several vendors and web sites now offer their software or products via BitTorrent. In fact, some venderos have stated that they would not be able to operate or offer resources if it were not for the economic saving of a distributed peer-to-peer systems. They do not bear the load of file transfers - their distributed network of interested clients do.

Examples include large image distributions of linux, and movie trailers that promoters want people to actively share.

Great Tool, Illegal Use

BitTorrent, like any other file transfer protocol, can be used for illegal purposes. However, the distributed nature of a torrent file means that a single source, and therefore a liable entity, is much harder to track or define.

BitTorrent trackers, who store the meta-data information of torrent sources, do not actually have any file data at any time. However, tracker sites have still be raided by authorities in attempts to curb illegal downloading of files. (See the wikipedia BitTorrent site for details)

There is work on a "trackerless" protocol.

Links

[edit]Protocols: POP3 | SMTP | IMAP | MIME Types | HTTP | HTTPS | UDP/IP | TCP/IP | FTP | SCP | SSH | Telnet | BitTorrent