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March 16th, 2008

P4P: faster, smarter P2P

Posted by Robin Harris @ 5:32 pm

Categories: Infrastructure, Public policy

Tags: Network, Comcast Corp., P2P, Internet Service Provider, P4P, pTracker, Peer To Peer (P2P), Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Networking, Internet

The P4P working group demod higher P2P download speeds with 1/6th the inter-metro hops that soak up expensive, long-distance network bandwidth. P4P is designed to enable better ISP and P2P coexistence with a win/win solution: better performance for users and less network overhead for the ISP.

P4P speeds up P2P downloads by localizing network traffic. Standard P2P traffic gets spread all over the globe, so a single packet may go through a half-dozen costly high-end routers and thousands of miles of scarce ocean-floor fiber on its way to your PC. Metro-area routing is both cheaper for ISPs and faster for the users.

CDN vs P2P vs P4P
[graphic courtesy of the P4PWG]

Traditional P2P
Todays P2P is network oblivious: peers are selected without regard to network topology. One stream may be coming from Flagstaff while the next is coming from Cape Town.

pTracker and iTracker
P4P is an open standard for delivering network awareness to P2P networks. One way it can work - and there is more than one, but the tech papers arent available yet on the web - is to add a peer-tracker (pTracker) and an Internet-tracker (iTracker).

The peer queries the pTracker for nearby peers. If the pTracker knows where the right bytes are in the local metro area, it returns that info to the peer. But if the inventory isnt locally available, the pTracker could then go to the iTracker for peering suggestions that take into account network topology and costs.

The pTracker then selects a set of active peers and returns that list to the peer that initiated the request.

The pTracker is run by the P2P system - say BitTorrent or Pando - while the iTracker can be run by trusted 3rd parties, P2P networks or ISPs.

The Storage Bits take
As the volume of video content rises, the demand for P2P will only grow. With P4P it appears a substantial portion of the ISP community will make its peace with P2P content distribution. This is a Very Good Thing.

Which leaves Comcast - who isnt a P4PWG member - facing their original problem: they under-provision their network in order to maximize profit. As long as customers are passive receptacles that works, but once they start distributing content through P2P Comcast has a problem.

Comcast wants to make their problem your problem. Rather than saying they cant compete with DSL or fixing the problem through protocol or equipment upgrades, theyve been fighting the common-carrier law.

Thats just wrong. Common carrier status for telecom is over 160 years old. It has stood the test of time for very good reasons. Comcast needs to get with the program: either get competitive with the telcos or get out.

Comments welcome, of course.

Robin Harris has been selling and marketing data storage for over 20 years in companies large and small. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

  • Talkback
  • Most Recent of 20 Talkback(s)
This is great
I heard of another legal network that was implementing this and my feeling was that as good as the technology was, implementing it in just one legal p2p network wasn't going to cut it. I am very happy... (Read the rest)
Posted by: John Musbach Posted on: 03/21/08 You are currently: Logged In | Log out
Nice write-up! laird@...   | 03/16/08
Comcast doug@...   | 03/17/08
I actually got quoted in Larry's blog, but thanks. georgeou   | 03/17/08
Right, and Comcast wants to make THEIR network arcitecture problems OUR DonnieBoy   | 03/17/08
P4P does NOT alleviate last-mile congestion georgeou   | 03/17/08
Repost here, need to fix characters georgeou   | 03/17/08
ZDNet just needs to set the character encoding to UTF-8, and the problems DonnieBoy   | 03/17/08
But, Comcast is selling bandwidth the can NOT deliver. If people actually DonnieBoy   | 03/17/08
And all other cable providers? nucrash   | 03/17/08
Ok, but a "fair" method for throttling bandwidth. How about throttling the DonnieBoy   | 03/17/08
George is correct R Harris  ZDNet | 03/17/08
No one in the consumer broadband industry advertises CIR georgeou   | 03/18/08
RE: P4P: faster, smarter P2P wongd@...   | 03/17/08
Sorry boys and girls, if you No_Ax_to_Grind   | 03/17/08
Yep, And That's Why I Don't Use Comcast itanalyst2@...   | 03/17/08
Not ALL the rules R Harris  ZDNet | 03/17/08
Sorry Comcast, not in my town ... terry flores   | 03/17/08
The **AAs are NOT going to like this!...... btljooz   | 03/17/08
Actually, if they followed No_Ax_to_Grind   | 03/17/08
This is great John Musbach   | 03/21/08

What do you think?

2 Trackbacks

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:
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  • P4P: Open standard for P2P
    After the fourth generation of P2P and their need around the globe yields out the new standard for devliering network awareness to P2P networks. As in tradional P2P, peers communicate with each other without regard to network topology ...

    Trackback by Divided we stand March 17, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  • P4P Is The Smarter Version Of P2P
    'Make way for the new Optimized P2P Network' The P4P working group demo’d higher P2P download speeds with 1/6th the inter-metro hops that soak up expensive, long-distance network bandwidth. P4P is designed to enable better ISP and P2P ...

    Trackback by Upcoming Technologies,Current Technologies,Reviews,News,Info and more! March 18, 2008 @ 7:32 am

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