Researchers develop rules to improve BitTorrent download speeds

By on July 7, 2011, 12:00 PM

Researchers at Delft University of Technology are proposing a new set of rules that significantly improve BitTorrent download speeds. The Tribler project has put together a new Superior Seeding Standard, inspired by the ratio-enforcement policies at private tracker communities.

Details of the new initiative are outlined in a paper titled "Fast Download but Eternal Seeding: The Reward and Punishment of Sharing Ratio Enforcement." It will be presented at the P2P 2011 conference later this year, but it's also embedded below for your reading pleasure (via TorrentFreak).

The Tribler BitTorrent client has been in development for research purposes for more than five years. In December 2010, Tribler became the first BitTorrent client to offer truly decentralized P2P. Now, the latest release of the client, Tribler 5.38, implements the Superior Seeding Standard rules, a set of rules that reward users who put the most effort into sharing.

"One of the problems with tit-for-tat is that it provides no motivation for seeding the terabytes of long-tail content that's out there on BitTorrent," Tribler leader Dr. Pouwelse told TorrentFreak. "We believe that people should be rewarded with priority downloads when they are seeding these more obscure files, especially the stuff which only gets a few downloads a month. The 'seeding rewards' concept has been in the making for several years. It always required a central server, but we finally made it work in a truly decentralized manner with robustness against cheating. We implemented a first version of this proposed 'Superior Seeding Standard' in the latest Tribler release, and we expect that it will be tweaked and optimized quite a bit in the years to come."

After analyzing the effectiveness of private BitTorrent trackers, the researchers found that users achieve great speeds, but the ratio requirements discriminate against users who don't have high-bandwidth connections. Their proposed rules reward BitTorrent users independent of their connection limitations. Instead of looking at the share ratio alone, the algorithm looks at your "seeding effort" to determine your priority in the swarm, which results in faster downloads.

As is with most of Tribler's innovations, however, getting other BitTorrent clients to adopt this set of rules will prove to be a tricky endeavor. If the official BitTorrent client and µTorrent were to implement the Superior Seeding Standard, the BitTorrent world would immediately start to benefit.

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