The NZ Herald tech columnist Peter Griffin[1] writes the following:

I’ve been back and forth on email over the last few weeks with a Herald reader who believes his internet connection is being throttled back extensively because he is a big user of peer-to-peer file sharing systems. I should point out that he’s a legitimate user of such services – he’s a sound engineer and needs to send and receive big files. P2P is an efficient way of doing this.

“P2P” usually refers to a decentralised non-server based network, and these days usually also means a swarmed network like bittorrent. So, unless the sound engineer in question needs to send and recieve files to and from THE ENTIRE INTERNET, using a P2P network to move them around is the exact opposite of efficient.

If you want to send your mum an avi of you beatboxing the theme song to Super Mario Brothers, you open your IM client and send it directly, you don’t create a tracker for it, post a torrent link to the Pirate Bay and them IM your mum with the torrent URL. I am aware that strictly speaking, IMing your mum is a peer to peer transaction, as there’s no server involved, but that’s not what people mean these days when they talk about P2P.

[1] “You know Stewie, this reminds me of the time I described a tedious pop culture based non sequitur.” .. okay, he’s not THAT Peter Griffin. I bet he gets that a lot, though.

1 Comment

  1. P2P

    Having spoken to other people in that sort of situation (needing to send large files overseas quickly), the advantage that P2P software offers in the one person to another person situation is a built in “send with multiple TCP streams” feature. As such it can work out to more effectively use the paths complete bandwidth than sending through a single TCP stream (FTP, HTTP, whatever) that uses poorly tuned TCP settings.[0]

    So it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re trying to use P2P software as a hack around poor OS TCP defaults such as windowing size. Which sort of counts as using P2P to transfer the files, even if such a claim is rather misleading.


    [0] Virtually everything is poorly tuned out of the box for the “wrong side of the world, plus extra latency due to poor choice of ‘broadband’ technology”.