LinuxReviws.org --get your your Linux knowledge
> Linux Reviews > News and headlines > 2004 News archive > November >

Peer to peer network traffic may account for up to 85% of Internets bandwidth usage

University of Turun in Finland configured a very advanced packet shaper that they used to identify what was using Internet bandwidth by content rather than ports. They found that BitTorrent and Direct Connet alone used up half their bandwidth. University of Turun later used the they later used the statistics to reduce the total network traffic to levels marginals of what it were before they put their new packet filter in place.


  1. Interesting bandwidth usage figures
  2. 64%/85% peer to peer traffic
  3. Hard media distribution is dead
  4. Azureus downloaded by 20.000.000
  5. Reuters 2004-11-04 : BitTorrent Accounts for 35% of Traffic


1. Interesting bandwidth usage figures

Incoming traffic

Outgoing traffic

2. 64%/85% peer to peer traffic

Look good at the figure for outgoing bandwidth. Add up Direct Connect, BitTorrent, E-Donkey, Kazaa and WinMX and you will find that astonishing 85% of the outgoing network traffic and 64% of the incoming traffic at Turun were bits related to peer to peer file sharing applications.

The numbers are obviously not representative for the whole Internet, but imagine these students Internet use after graduation. Will their habits change then? Not likely.

3. Hard media distribution is dead

It is inevitable. DVD replaced videotape. Internet distribution has already replaced DVD. A main reasion is the entertainment industries failture to pick up the markets demand to remove all hard media completely. People know they do not need cd players, dvd players, video players or any other hard media device to view entertainment. Hard media takes space and is incredibly inefficient, expensive and outdated. The production of CD's, covers, DVDs and other garbage cause pollution and harm to the earth, contributing to the death of millions of species world wide. The future is electronic distribution.

Todays young people are choosing to hook up their computers and small entertainment devices to their television sets. Students these days tend to not have television sets all and view all their entertainment on a computer monitor. Another explanation is the lack of cable television in many parts of the world. The choice is obvious if it stands between two channels of government propaganda and a huge variety of television shows by BitTorrent.

The graphs speak for themselves. Almost all of the network bandwidth was somehow related to file sharing. They may all have been sharing ogg versions of old Jazz music, but chances are high copyrighted files were distributed too.

Corporations and big organizations do not need to worry about their employees browsing the web anymore, that account for insignificant bandwidth usage. Time, however, is wasted in any case. The bandwidth costs can be cut down by minimizing peer-to-peer traffic programs that does not need to be used. There are ISO images of Linux distributions available and much of the BitTorrent traffic is legitimate files, some files may even be needed by system administrators. There is not much justification for allowing Direct Connect or E-Donkey, two excellent file sharing applications. E-Donkey even has a nice anonymous plug-in that allows you to hide your IP address. Nice Jazz tunes are abundantly available on these networks, but sadly there are no hubs providing original legitimate content out there. There is no way allowing your employees to use Direct Connect or E-Donkey during office hours will increase your shareholder value and it may cause you legal problems if anyone abuses such services from your network.

A packet filter that classifies packets by content allows you to drop such traffic. Linux professionals can configure this for you and there are how-to documents available.

4. Azureus downloaded by 20.000.000

The very popular BitTorrent client Azureus reached it's 20.000.000 copies downloaded milestone and released version 2.2.0 of the client on 31. October 2004. The new version can play a sound when a torrent is complete! Also, the core now supports setting the IP TOS (type-of-service) field for outbound data. This feature may move some of the traffic on graphs such as the one above from BitTorrent to Unknown, http or something completely different.

Azureus is completely written in Java and can be used with most operating systems. Check it out, the new version is the best-looking, most functional and feature-rich BitTorrent client created as of today. It even comes with a built-in tracker.


5. Reuters 2004-11-04 : BitTorrent Accounts for 35% of Traffic

as seen on ihack.ms

LONDON (Reuters) - A file-sharing program called BitTorrent has become a behemoth, devouring more than a third of the Internet's bandwidth, and Hollywood's copyright cops are taking notice.

For those who know where to look, there's a wealth of content, both legal -- such as hip-hop from the Beastie Boys and video game promos -- and illicit, including a wide range of TV shows, computer games and movies.

Average users are taking advantage of the software's ability to cheaply spread files around the Internet. For example, when comedian Jon Stewart made an incendiary appearance on CNN's political talk show "Crossfire," thousands used BitTorrent to share the much-discussed video segment.

Even as lawsuits from music companies have driven people away from peer-to-peer programs like KaZaa, BitTorrent has thus far avoided the ire of groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America. But as BitTorrent's popularity grows, the service could become a target for copyright lawsuits.

According to British Web analysis firm CacheLogic, BitTorrent accounts for an astounding 35 percent of all the traffic on the Internet -- more than all other peer-to-peer programs combined -- and dwarfs mainstream traffic like Web pages.

"I don't think Hollywood is willing to let it slide, but whether they're able to (stop it) is another matter," Bram Cohen, the programmer who created BitTorrent, told Reuters.

John Malcolm, director of worldwide anti-piracy operations for the MPAA, said that his group is well aware of the vast amounts of copyrighted material being traded via BitTorrent.

"It's a very efficient delivery system for large files, and it's being used and abused by a hell of a lot of people," he told Reuters. "We're studying our options, as we do with all new technologies which are abused by people to engage in theft."

FOR GOOD OR EVIL

BitTorrent, which is available for free on http://bittorrent.com, can be used to distribute legitimate content and to enable copyright infringement on a massive scale. The key is to understand how the software works.

Let's say you want to download a copy of this week's episode of "Desperate Housewives." Rather than downloading the actual digital file that contains the show, instead you would download a small file called a "torrent" onto your computer.

When you open that file on your computer, BitTorrent searches for other users that have downloaded the same "torrent."

BitTorrent's "file-swarming" software breaks the original digital file into fragments, then those fragments are shared between all of the users that have downloaded the "torrent." Then the software stitches together those fragments into a single file that a users can view on their PC.

Sites like Slovenia-based Suprnova (http://www.suprnova.org) offer up thousands of different torrents without storing the shows themselves.

Suprnova is a treasure trove of movies, television shows, and pirated games and software. Funded by advertising, it is run by a teen-age programmer who goes only by the name Sloncek, who did not respond to an e-mailed interview request.

Enabling users to share copyrighted material illicitly may put Suprnova and its users on shaky legal ground.

"They're doing something flagrantly illegal, but getting away with it because they're offshore," said Cohen. He is not eager to get into a battle about how his creation is used. "To me, it's all bits," he said.

But Cohen has warned that BitTorrent is ill-suited to illegal activities, a view echoed by John Malcolm of MPAA.

"People who use these systems and think they're anonymous are mistaken," Malcolm said. Asked if he thought sites like Suprnova were illegal, he said: "That's still an issue we're studying, that reasonable minds can disagree on," he said.

GOING LEGIT

Meanwhile, BitTorrent is rapidly emerging as the preferred means of distributing large amounts of legitimate content such as versions of the free computer operating system Linux, and these benign uses may give it some legal protection.

"Almost any software that makes it easy to swap copyrighted files is ripe for a crackdown BitTorrent's turn at bat will definitely happen," said Harvard University associate law professor Jonathan Zittrain. "At least under U.S. law, it's a bit more difficult to find the makers liable as long as the software is capable of being used for innocent uses, which I think (BitTorrent) surely is."

Among the best legitimate sites for movies and music:

-- Legal Torrents (http://www.legaltorrents.com/), which includes a wide selection of electronic music. It also has the Wired Magazine Creative Commons CD, which has songs from artists like the Beastie Boys who agreed to release some of their songs under a more permissive copyright that allows free distribution and remixing.

-- Torrentocracy (http://torrentocracy.com/torrents/) has videos of the U.S. presidential debates and other political materials.

-- File Soup (http://www.filesoup.com) offers open-source software and freeware, music from artists whose labels don't belong to the Recording Industry Association of America trade group, and programs from public television stations like PBS or the BBC.

-- Etree (http://bt.etree.org) is for devotees of "trade-friendly" bands like Phish and the Dead, who encourage fans to share live recordings, usually in the form of large files that have been minimally compressed to maintain sound quality.



News and headlines

Meet new people