What a novel idea: Verizon cooperates with P2P file sharers

What a novel idea: Verizon cooperates with P2P file sharers

Summary: Verizon will unveil test results detailing how an Internet service provider can boost download speed by about 60 percent if it cooperates with file-sharing software makers.According to the Associated Press, Verizon's test could represent a turning point between ISPs and P2P firms.

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TOPICS: Telcos, Browser, Verizon
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Verizon will unveil test results detailing how an Internet service provider can boost download speed by about 60 percent if it cooperates with file-sharing software makers.

According to the Associated Press, Verizon's test could represent a turning point between ISPs and P2P firms. The message: If folks are going to download content legally companies should cooperate to speed up the process and save bandwidth.

News.com's Maggie Reardon, who also appears to have been prebriefed, says:

Using network topology data from Verizon and Telefonica, Yale University tested a software enhancement to the peer-to-peer protocol that it developed with software developer Pando Networks.

What the researchers discovered was that when using the so-called P4P software they were able to reduce the impact of peer-to-peer traffic on Verizon's network by more than 50 percent. This is significant because peer-to-peer traffic makes up roughly half of all traffic traveling over Verizon's network.

The results are expected to be released at a P2P market conference held in New York Friday. Verizon, part of the P4P Working Group, is expected to deliver its results at 2 p.m. EDT along with Pando.

Verizon's test appears to speed downloads up by grouping file sharers by geography and limiting the number of network hops. That way someone isn't downloading files simultaneously from points across the globe and draining network resources. This clustering is possible because Verizon and P2P software companies are sharing data.

Reardon notes:

Douglas Pasko is Verizon senior technologist and co-chair of the P4P Working Group, which was formed by Verizon, Pando Networks, and the university to develop P4P. He said that when the P4P software was used on the Verizon network it found that 58 percent of its peer-to-peer network traffic stayed local. Using regular P2P technology, only 6 percent of the traffic stayed local.

Verizon says that it will only deal with legit P2P firms like Pando instead of companies that enable piracy.

In any case, Verizon's move is a welcome step. It sure beats the approach taken by Comcast with BitTorrent and AT&T, which wants to be the Internet's traffic cop.

Update: George Ou notes that Comcast couldn't do what Verizon did even if it wanted to since they have two different network architectures. Here's what George had to say:

P4P technology, or network-aware and network-optimized P2P (Peer to Peer) technology, is a huge step forward for P2P. It not only improves performance of P2P technology, but it also alleviates congestion on the distribution and core layer of the Internet because peers will more intelligently select the shortest paths instead of the more random approach that P2P takes now.

What P4P can't do however is alleviate last-mile congestion on shared medium last-mile networks. That means cable broadband and wireless broadband technology will not benefit from the innovations of the P4P working group and therefore must not be confused as a possible solution for Comcast. On a DOCSIS 1.1 cable broadband network, there is only 10 Mbps of shared upstream capacity amongst an average of 200 to 400 customers. Even DOCSIS 3.0 cable broadband can only support 120 Mbps of upstream capacity shared between 200 and 400 customers.

Topics: Telcos, Browser, Verizon

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40 comments
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  • P2P: A perfectly 'good' technology

    And Verizon is taking the right path to innovate and maintain Net Neutrality.

    Bad ComCast! Bad!
    D T Schmitz
    • See the update Larry posted with my note

      See the update Larry posted with my note.

      P2P isn't "evil", it just hogs all the bandwidth and that's all there is to it.
      http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=1031
      georgeou
      • Thanks George--Let's see what Verizon's P4P announcement brings!

        nt
        D T Schmitz
      • Bad assumption-- not all P2P traffic hogs bandwdith

        What about instant messengers exchanging mere bytes of data per pass? What about information exchange systems like grid computing protocols (think SETI on your PC)??
        kckn4fun
        • I don't count Skype P2P as P2P

          I don't count Skype P2P as P2P. I'm only referring to file traders who download and seed files in the 10 to 1000 MB or greater range.
          georgeou
      • Re: See the update Larry posted with my note

        [i]See the update Larry posted with my note.[/i]

        I saw it and I conclude that FIOS can't get here soon enough. Hurry up, Verizon!





        :)
        none none
  • The problem isn't traffic, it's parking.

    A lot of people have tried to compare P2P with cars in a traffic analogy. I think a better analogy would be a parking analogy. Think of your average user as a home owner with 1 or 2 cars. When they are online they have those 1 or 2 cars parked in front of their house. The BitTorrent subscriber could be thought of as someone having a party with 20 or more cars that need to park. In a shared network everyone parks on the street so your street is completely blocked by the party goers at your neighbors house so when you come home, all the parking is taken and you have to park down the road and walk. Now imagine 4 people on the street having floating parties running 24 hours a day. With 20 cars at each party and others cruising around, looking to park as soon as someone leaves. It wouldn't be long before your shouting for the cops to, "DO SOMETHING!! I TAXES (ISP fees) TO BE ABLE TO PARK IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE! NOT 3 BLOCKS AWAY AND HAVE TO WALK!!" This is the position broadband providers are in. If your last mile is DOCSIS 1.1 your street is 2 lane with parallel parking, with DOCSIS 3 it's 2 lane road with nose in parking (maybe 4 to 10 times the available parking). It just means your neighbor can invite more people to the parties at the same time. The plan Verizon describes here is like everyone going to the party agreeing to park at a parking lot down the street. It works as long as everyone follows the rules. The problem is that under the Verizon plan you have to use software that conforms to Verizon protocols. If your particular P2P isn't blessed by Verizon, (Verizon says that it will only deal with legit P2P firms like Pando instead of companies that enable piracy.) you're back to square 1. So we're in the position of;

    (A.) P2P's having to police their networks for the content on their subscribers??? computers

    or

    (B.) An external agency monitoring the transfers to watch for possible illegal/copywrite content (open your computer for the RIAA)

    or

    (C.) ISP's managing the network traffic at the protocol level. (can you say throttling?)

    This is a problem that isn't going to go away. It's going to take cooperation from the P2P software designers, the ISPs and the subscribers. If any one of these players ignores the rules then one or both of the others has to take drastic measures. At the moment it seems to me that the one ignoring the rules is the P2P software by automatically expanding sessions to consume the maximum available bandwidth. It steals the shared bandwidth that everyone on that segment of the network pays for.
    Scubajrr
    • How about this?

      ISP's provide some amount of on-line storage which is included as part of the package. Could p2p software be configured to share their files from their remote storage, instead of local storage. This would take cycles and bandwidth at the remote storage site, but would avoid the last mile problem on their networks.
      (note that this talkback constitutes disclosure, so don't think about running to the USPTO) If this service were provided, it would be reasonable for an ISP to limit P2P traffic on the last mile loop.
      jimbo2
      • Re: How about this?

        Never happen. If the ISPs host P2P content on their own servers then they are liable if the content is found to be infringing.



        :)
        none none
  • RE: What a novel idea: Verizon cooperates with P2P file sharers

    This won't satisfy the net neutrality wing nuts and whackdoodles, because the geographical grouping and hop limiting "obviously infringes on their right" to download from wherever they want to.
    Vesicant
  • Kind of meaningless to BitTorrent

    Given that the VAST majority of BitTorrent files are illegal.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • These are the torrents you use or in general?

      From what I read of your posts, you either frequent sites for content that is illicitly posted (perhaps you are too cheap to purchase legitimate copies?) or you only go to a limited number of sites. Given how little you actually know about most technical subjects (based upon the VAST majority of your posts), how are we supposed to read the validity of your comments on these subjects?
      B.O.F.H.
  • Half job...

    "Verizon says that it will only deal with legit P2P firms like Pando instead of companies that enable piracy."

    Well...they're half-way there. Now maybe they'll recognize that P2P does not "enable piracy"...it's a neutral technology, its *users* choose to commit piracy. So hopefully they eventually get that too and don't limit this to a few beholden companies like Pando. People wanna see *all* the big P2Ps work and work better than they do now.
    Techboy_z
    • Touch and Go

      [i]Now maybe they'll recognize that P2P does not "enable piracy"...it's a neutral technology, its *users* choose to commit piracy[/i]

      Absolutelly true, unfortuneatly, some company that is having it's software of music pirated would likelly go after and try to sue Verizon as they are "cooperating with the sites that allow pirating".

      Sticky to trusted sources cut down on the possibility of that happening to them
      GuidingLight
      • Re: Touch and Go

        [i]...some company that is having it's software of music pirated would likelly go after and try to sue Verizon as they are "cooperating with the sites that allow pirating".[/i]

        If you mean "software vendors that allows pirating," and you're implying that if people use their software the vendors are secondarily liable, then certainly Windows* bears tertiary liability, no? Where does it end?

        *And every other OS vendor.




        :)
        none none
      • Leadership from the legal side....

        Agreed. But the solution isn't to take it out on neutral parties in the form of "preventive" solutions that are actually preventing legal use and technological progress. It's an overhaul of the legal framework so that there's a disincentive to do so, and greater incentive to instead enforce the law solely against violators...which is kinda foundational to the concept of rights, at least here in the U.S.
        Techboy_z
    • Hmmm, not really

      They too can easily see which P2Ps are chiefly serving pirated works. BitTorrent of course falls into that catagory as the vast majority of files are pirated content. By not supporting BitTorrent they can simply side step trying to decide what is and is not pirated work.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Re: Hmmm, not really

        [i]They too can easily see which P2Ps are chiefly serving pirated works. [/i]

        And how, pray tell, can they do that?




        :)
        none none
        • Go to mininova or btjunkie website and download the entire list of IPs from

          Go to mininova or btjunkie website and download the entire list of IPs from the tracker for all the people downloading pirated content.
          georgeou
          • Regardless...

            BitTorrent is *still* a neutral technology. What if 75% of its traffic is illegal? That does not make it right to prevent the other 25% from perfectly legal usage! *Enforce the law*...don't declare the innocent guilty!
            Techboy_z