New Protocol To Boost BitTorrent Speeds

BitTorrent, a San Francisco-based peer-to-peer networking start-up is working with Cachelogic of Cambridge, UK on a new protocol called the “Cache Discovery Protocol” or CDP, which supposedly will act like DHCP for peer to peer networks. The protocol has been developed by Cachelogic.
DHCP assigns IP addresses to devices on a network automatically, without much mucking around on the end user part. Similarly, the new CDP would allows BitTorrent client to auto discover better seeds that have been cached on the network, and allow faster downloads of the files. The new technology is especially helpful in situations where there are only a handful of seed files.

This is not the frist time BitTorrent and Cachelogic have teamed up. The two companies have a history of working together and did a large scale trial for UK-based broadband provider, ntl. Though, not all details are available at this point, my understanding is that the caching of these seeds addresses will address some of the issues around BitTorrent’s performance, especially where there is very limited upstream speed available. (More details to follow!)

The torrent swarms see performance degradation when there are too many leechers, folks who pull down more data than they upload. (If you a more detailed and succinct description of these performance issues, please leave a comment.) Many actually don’t do this intentionally. While the broadband providers have been slowly increasing the downstream speeds, the upstream data transfer speeds have not increased that quickly.

Internet service providers will find this new protocol particularly interesting. It will boost the speed of downloads, but will place limited demands on their system from an upstream data perspective. As I said earlier, more on this when reporting resumes on Monday. It is time to break for the weekend.

Update: More details here.