uTorrent and Vuze Enable Torrent Downloads On the Go

Both BitTorrent Inc. and Vuze released significant updates to their clients this week that include features to remotely control the applications from devices like the iPad or smartphones. BitTorrent Inc. also included a new protocol dubbed uTP into its flagship uTorrent client that could help to avoid network congestion issues.

Remotely controlling your BitTorrent downloads through a browser on your office PC or a mobile device isn’t exactly new; both uTorrent and Vuze have previously offered such functionality or supported access to it through third-party plug-ins. However, the process has been cumbersome in the past, and the new upgrades should help to make this function much more accessible.

Vuze unveiled a functionality called “Vuze remote” earlier this week that makes it possible to pair a Vuze client with any PC or mobile device with a browser without having to know the IP address of the client’s host machine. Users simply enter an access code generated by their client on the site http://remote.vuze.com, and they’re greeted with a web interface that resembles the look and feel of the original client, or a mobile-optimized interface in case they’re accessing the page with a smartphone browser.

Vuze allows users to remotely administer torrent downloads, making it possible to start a download on your home PC from your laptop of mobile phone while on the go. Functionality to remotely access these downloaded files seems to be in the works, but has not yet been included into the current release.

Competing client maker BitTorrent Inc. launched a limited test for a similar, albeit even more ambitions feature a few days ago that goes by the code name of Project Falcon. uTorrent users with access to the Project Falcon beta can control their client through a web application available at http://falcon.utorrent.com that adds another layer of security to remote torrent downloads.

Each session is encrypted with a session key that is being generated on the fly based on a user’s mouse movements, making it impossible for BitTorrent Inc., or anyone else for that matter, to monitor what a user is downloading. BitTorrent VP of Marketing and Product Simon Morris told me yesterday that the architecture of Project Falcon is actually very similar to a remote access service like Webex GoToMeeting, with the content viewed through the web app being completely isolated from the server infrastructure.

Falcon is also eventually going to support direct access to downloaded files through the browser, and uTorrent will even extend streaming functionality to its remote access. This means that users will be able to download a video file to their home machine and then stream it to a machine in their office — a set-up particularly useful in situations where access to P2P protocols or applications is blocked.

BitTorrent Inc. also released a stable version of uTorrent 2.0 this week, which includes the company’s UDP-based uTP protocol. uTP aims to prevent network congestion by automatically slowing down transfers once signs of congestion appear, and previous tests have shown this to work much better than using TCP for BitTorrent transfers.