What a novel idea: Verizon cooperates with P2P file sharers

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.

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.