Revised BitTorrent protocol removes the need for ISP throttling

By on November 2, 2009, 2:50 PM
BitTorrent Inc. is preparing to launch a redesigned implementation of the BitTorrent protocol that could benefit both ISPs and users. Internet providers have long been interested in having a tighter grasp on bandwidth consumption, so heavy users of P2P networks are a natural enemy. Many providers throttle BitTorrent connections by arguing that they affect the speed of other traffic.

Recognizing this, BitTorrent Inc. has been working on a solution that should please both the throttlers and the throttlees. BitTorrent 2.0 -- or "uTP" -- supposedly senses congestion by calculating the time it takes for packets to reach their destination. If a major delay is detected, the protocol automatically adjusts upload or download speeds.

This new feature is present in uTorrent v2.0 beta, and according to BitTorrent VP of product management Simon Morris, a couple hundred thousand people are already using the client. Would you be ok with running a uTP-enabled torrent client, and do you think this will get service providers off the backs of heavy downloaders?




User Comments: 39

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jurrasstoil said:

Glasnost can dectect whether your ISP is throttling specific traffic or not.

[link]

JieMan JieMan said:

As for the major use of torrents aside , I think this is going to benefit everyone on the web , its only getting more crowded around here and with more and more streaming video sites ( the real culprits of bandwidth hogging) this might just alleviate things some.

njel said:

This new protocol looks very interesting. And every step, even if it is small, to accelerate the downloads is good.

It is a shame that uTorrent is not an Open Source project.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Considering you pay for internet speed but not limited bandwith I think this is merely up for ISPs to make things up to not get crawled up.

You constantly pay for a service, in which more and more people connect but no one updates for the connections to be ok, the throttling is a cheap way out ISPs obligue to the user.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

I am not in favor of this, and I am very much for net neutrality.

paynetrain007 said:

This could be good. Depends how it would work.

elroacho72 said:

Sounds great, but I don't think anything will take the pressure off BT users; but maybe if they all started buying the stuff instead of downloading it for free."I know nothing! I see nothing! NOTHING!" as Schultz would say. I know showing my age...

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

mattfrompa:

I am not in favor of this, and I am very much for net neutrality.

So... care to explain how this works against net neutrality?

paynetrain007:

This could be good. Depends how it would work.

Why does it depend on how it works? If it is powered by the satisfaction one feels every time someone in the world opens a box of puppies, does that make the end result any better or worse? What if it uses some unexplainable property unknown physics... would that make the end result any better or worse? Why does it depend on how it works? I have some ideas, but it would be much more interesting if you could elaborate a bit.

buttus said:

I find it very interesting that torrents have been blasted for years by ISP's and yet here is uTorrent taking a proactive approach to help both the ISP and the torrent users out. Still, I'll wait until uTP is out of Beta before installing it.

MBK MBK said:

Seems like a good idea to me, bandwidth needs to be shared until the lines get upgraded (or a more cost-effective alternative) increases net bandwidth.

I can see many torrent users bypassing this technology though (at least for as long as they can), many people, including myself at times, get bandwidth greedy.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

It's interesting, but I don't see how this will keep ISPs from throttling or packet sniffing.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Wagan8r: As the topic says, the protocol will check the delay and auto adjust down/upload speeds. It would become something like concious downloading, so the throttling won't be needed.

ken777 said:

This sounds like it's going to help, but it's not really going to fix things for service providers. As more and more content becomes available (legally) online, bittorrent traffic will stop being such a big issue. Seems like streaming HD video is going to be the next big bandwidth hog.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

This sounds nice, and id be fine with running uTP, especially if it makes things goes faster. I don't think tho it would get people off the backs of heavy downloaders because most of these "heavy" users are pirates, and service providers can't seem to stop them.

InsaneVr6 said:

If it makes things go faster and work more efficiently, then why wouldn't someone want to try it out?

Since we are talking about torrent's it's well known that most of them are used to pirate software, music, movies, etc. and that is something that probably will never end, but at least Bit-torrent is taking steps in the right direction to help both sides out to use their protocol for what it was designed for.

JudaZ said:

It's up to the ISP to provide bandwidth I pay for...and my ISP handles that just fine... they dont need to throttle... they have the technology ...they dont sell something they cant provide.. but a lot of them do..

...i download a 10 -20 Gb a day ...at least.. no throtteling yet.. and not likely to ever happen ..

lynxon said:

I really hope that this works out how they're hoping and can give people little boosts instead of just slowing the speeds down a bit, although I hardly ever use torrents so this doesn't impact me much.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

My ISP only throttles my bandwidth during peak times 5pm to 11pm. I get full speed any other time so I do most of my big downloads first thing in the morning.

zaidpirwani said:

Bit Torrent in my opinion is the way to the future, we are starting to see sites which are very very bandwidth intensive, we are moving to the cloud, soon all our PC's and laptops will work from the Internet and so that wherever we are, we will be able to get the same personal experience from any machine we use, this is where BitTorrent will really work, also it needs to be properly employed on video sharing sites, if they can work it out somehow, to use bittorrent for content delivery, the bandwidth problem will be half solved.

Shalimar said:

While the intent is good I seriously doubt it'll work.. since it's only a matter of a very short time before some morons liek Comcast, Cogeco or Bell (aka hell) try to manipulate this for their own benefit. All of the above have proven they don;t give a rats ass about their customers after all.. and hence why many of us refuse to deal with them at all.

Puiu Puiu said:

If it's going to help those who aren't downloading but are experiencing slowdowns then i'm all in. I'm going to download uTorrent 2.0 now.

waterytowers said:

I tend to side with the analysis of George Ou, which indicates the congestion control doesn't work that well. I can't see why you would tack congestion control onto the Bittorent protocol. If you want to fight bandwidth issues use traffic control to guarantee all protocols get bandwidth ahead of Bittorrent. Set all bandwidth intensive protocols to a low priority. This should be a default configuration on the router/modem for anyone that runs Bittorrent, otherwise when they run Bittorrent they can't browse the web without long delays. ISPs are in the best position to throttle specific traffic but they are only likely to do this if customers complain because they cant access the web and it is due to congestion from too many Bittorrent users.

ron5334 said:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality

I could see where improved bandwidth utilization can benefit a lot of different users. The real problem with bandwidth is the ISPs needing to do the upgrades to handle the increased traffic. Everyday more people are logging onto the internet, spending more time online and doing more. Streaming video will most likely become the next big bandwidth hog. The ISP's will need to upgrade their infrastructures to handle the increased traffic. Getting the greedy ISP's to shell out for the upgrades to fiber optic and other hardware will be the real challenge. When major companies like Comcast choose to throttle rather than upgrade or start suggesting new "pricing plans" based on bandwidth usage, it shows where there priorities really are.

just my humble opinion

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

If you want to fight bandwidth issues use traffic control to guarantee all protocols get bandwidth ahead of Bittorrent.

The problem with using traffic shaping on Bittorrent is that much of the traffic is encrypted anymore. Without some expensive, massively scaled, sophisticated traffic analysis, it is far from ideal -- or even possible -- to treat non-torrent encrypted traffic fairly.. especially a high percentage of the time.

VPNs, SSL, SSH and other sources of very legitimate, encrypted traffic should be prioritized over bittorrent based upon importance IMO, but encryption makes that tough. You could prioritize traffic that meets certain inspection criteria over standard ports, but many business don't use the typical ports for these kinds of things. You could analyze the traffic for P2P behavior, but then perhaps legitimate services like TOR, Ventrilo, Steam, certain games etc.. suffer.

Also, putting BT at the bottom of the priority list doesn't solve the problem. If there's too much BT traffic, then decent BT traffic like Blizzard Updater and other encrypted traffic that appears to be P2P- like (certain games, Steam and such) will become unusable. That would be a shame.

This is probably part of a greater solution that should include *some* prioritization as well as infrastructure upgrades. But I'm all for BT regulating itself. The Internet is a big place and it is difficult for a nanny to regulate and monitor, so if protocols can handle this part themselves somewhat reliably, then more power to them.

limpangel limpangel said:

ISPs will maybe (and thats a big maybe) stop throtlling only if all bt clients use this technology and that will take some time, even after it is released out in the open by the utorrent developers (if they ever release the specifications).

swilllx2p said:

In my opinion ISPs are going to keep throttling regardless of whether this protocol is used or not and, personally i don't much care for it at all. I don't mind the protocol but i see it as another excuse for ISPs not to upgrade there speeds. It's long overdue and I hate to see them get reasons to prolong it even more.

strategic strategic, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The downloading of torrent files should be 'capped' at a given speed (no more than 2x dial-up speed) which has no connection with the ISP speed whatsoever. All this downloading has a major effect on everyone's internet browsing and everyone who downloads these torrent files should have to wait a long time for the files to download, so they might think twice and buy instead...

jazboy said:

today every kid is growing on internet , p2p, chatting. ISP provider can't just keep increasing the bandwidth. In this the average internet using people get loss. This is really going to be help for such kind of people. I welcome this step.

Kadir said:

I don't understand anything from this. I just use BitTorent to download from torrents.

So, our ISP's would see what we were downloading or what?

Someone, explain to me. :P

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I don't think this really fixes any problems. The fix needs to be for ISP to actually provide the speeds they advertise. If the ISP starts getting a heavy load from a fair share of their customers they should be able to provide that bandwidth, but so many of them can not. So they start throttling. The solution needs to be more along the lines of upgrading their hardware until they can offer those speeds consistently.

pioneerx01 pioneerx01 said:

If it works, it can be interesting, but I am mostly against this "feature" I am sure someone will find a way to disable the feature.

gruesomeA said:

I doubt this will appease ISPs. I imagine they will always find something to complain about when it comes to bit torrents, and since they are the ones with the power, they will most certainly do something to about it, even if it is no longer throttling.

nomasteryoda said:

BitTorrent should remain as it is not be changed because of pressure from big media. In fact, filtering by any group will reduce network productivity across the whole of an ISP's network. We need to understand the freedom of data and big media needs to realize their old ways of doing business are flawed. BitTorrent is the most efficient method of downloading large files.

poertner_1274 poertner_1274, secroF laicepS topShceT, said:

This new protocol looks very interesting. And every step, even if it is small, to accelerate the downloads is good.

It is a shame that uTorrent is not an Open Source project.

At least it is a project that is actively worked on and takes suggestions to incorporate.

JudaZ said:

jazboy said:

today every kid is growing on internet , p2p, chatting. ISP provider can't just keep increasing the bandwidth. In this the average internet using people get loss. This is really going to be help for such kind of people. I welcome this step.

Why cant they? We have the technology...but they unfortunaly have the greed. I'm glad i dont live in the US and have to deal with Schoogelike comcast.

Build better connections. Whats the problem...money? Well maybe if you stop wasting money on comming up with new ways to make the internet experience worse for your customers and isnstead invest in faster and wider connections and improving it. this wouldnt even be an issue for the american consumer. ....and it seems like its mostly an issue for them.

...havnt heard of anyone trying to throttle the speed here..not without geting called out and having to back down..or loosing all the customers. Throttling is a way of trying to sell a product theycant provide on old or weak technology that cant handle the workload.

Its a cheap guys solutions to temporary fix a symthom, and ignoring the real issue.

start fixing the real problem instead of trying to come up with workarounds.

Sometimes its better to leave the superglue and scotch tape alone and start new.

LxTrix said:

Well this is definately good news considered i have comcast.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm really surprised that Comcast hasn't come up with a Bitorrent package when you can pay extra and not have your service throttled. I'm sure they're working on a way to do it to be able to get just a little more cash from their customers while doing nothing to upgrade their aging systems and forcing out competition. I'd like to know how much is spent yearly on advertising vs. how much is spent on actual infrastructure upgrades.

aceofspaids222 said:

ron5334 said:

The ISP's will need to upgrade their infrastructures to handle the increased traffic. Getting the greedy ISP's to shell out for the upgrades to fiber optic and other hardware will be the real challenge. When major companies like Comcast choose to throttle rather than upgrade or start suggesting new "pricing plans" based on bandwidth usage, it shows where there priorities really are.

just my humble opinion

Correct. The ISP must upgrade their infrastructures to handle the traffic. Its not like less people are going to use the internet in the future. Something must be done about all these streaming media sites also. They need to account for their massive traffic increases.

RickD said:

Let me get this straight: If the network jamb up, the new BitTorrent slows down? So now my transfer is even slower? And this helps me how? I've got a better idea: If the network jambs up, how about the ISP increases capacity to meet their contractual obligations? Hmm? What, they can't support EVERYBODY downloading at the advertised rates? Then maybe they shouldn't have advertised those rates.

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