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Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software

Raymond McConville
CTIA News Analysis
Raymond McConville
3/14/2008
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Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) will be releasing data today on a study conducted by researchers at Yale University that shows that an advanced form of P2P software can greatly reduce the traffic flowing over an ISP's network.

Verizon, which participated in the study, says that new software called P4P can reduce the impact of file-sharing traffic by over 50 percent. It does this by localizing the traffic so that it doesn't have to travel as great a distance and therefore reduces Verizon's costs.

In traditional P2P downloads, large files are transmitted in chunks from a multitude of users regardless of their location. So an HD movie being downloaded in New York could be coming from New Jersey, California, or really anywhere else in the world.

But P4P is smarter and can make sure as much of that download comes from other Verizon customers in the same city thereby greatly improving download speed and reducing its costs.

Doug Pasko, a senior technologist at Verizon told the Associated Press that in traditional P2P, only 6.3 percent of all data comes from other Verizon customers. In the P4P trial, Pasko says this number improved to 58 percent. All in all, download speeds improved by 60 percent in the researchers' trials.

It also greatly reduces the number of "hops" that data makes to get to its destination. In a P2P network, Pasko said it takes 5.5 hops to get to its destination whereas in P4P it takes only 0.89, another cost saving improvement.

The emergence of bandwidth-hogging P2P technology has taken center stage in recent months as ISPs have taken different approaches to mitigating the impact it has on their networks. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) particularly has come under fire for its attempt to block certain P2P software such as BitTorrent Inc. from its customers. (See Comcast Defends P2P Management , FCC Eyes Comcast's P2P Policies, and Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak.)

Verizon has taken the most hands-off approach of any carrier, saying that it doesn’t want to police the content flowing over its network. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) comparably says it is looking for ways to possibly filter such P2P traffic. (See Verizon, AT&T Differ on Content Inspection.)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently got involved and is looking into possibly legislating to what extent ISPs can regulate traffic on their networks. (See FCC Mulling New Internet Rules and Net Neutrality Solution: Buy Something .)

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to the Tower Technology Summit, a conference focused on the infrastructure that drives technical innovation in the wireless industry. Collocated with the industry's largest wireless event, CTIA, in Las Vegas, April 1-2, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


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materialgirl
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materialgirl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:36 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
Good for VZ! Rather than just calling file sharers all criminals, they actually looked into the technology and found it useful. If VZ moves ahead with P4P, what happens to giant core routers? Sounds like the intelligence is at the edge after all.
fanfare
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fanfare,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:31 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
I'm all for software that enhances local file sharing, however I would be wary of any software that is designed to control traffic. The reason? My ISP Penn Tele Data currently filters Bit Torrent data. If P4P prioritizes data transfers so that local clients transfer to/from local first, that is great. But if there is any type of filtering that prevents streams based on location, we could see overall bit rates suffer. The article states that p4p offers a 60% decrease in download time, terrific. But if I can get a faster stream from outside my region, and the software inhibits this stream, then we once again have shaping issues.

I sincerely hope that legislation steps in and prevents ISP's from discrimination relating to data transfer. If ISP's are allowed to dictate application specific data transfer on the net, we could miss out on explosive growth opportunities envisioned since the 90's. The economic implications are huge.
Raymond McConville
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Raymond McConville,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:30 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
that depends, I'm not sure if the software's intelligence is programmed to route the traffic in the fastest route possible or in the most cost effective efficient route possible for the ISP. Worth looking into.

But isn't the liklihood of a faster stream being available from OUTSIDE your region very slim?
OldPOTS
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OldPOTS,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:29 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
Ray,
A very large enterprise network I worked for tried to manage for both faster routes and/or more network efficient routes. Could do neither well. Internal customer SLAs actually went down.

I also observed that making most traffic local solves very little. Could not count on local to local traffic being faster, as delivery speed usually has to do with transmitting host (server). Then the receiver may not really be able to receive at near the transmitted rate.

Tinkering with the traffic without understanding it, is a recipe for a disaster.

OP

VBN forever - CAC node resource reservation routing
metroman
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metroman,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:29 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software


Does the carrier care about the performance of the source? It does not care about the performance of the source of any other internet related system (unless they own them or generate revenue from them).

If Verizon are able to spin that the are helping the P2P user by implementing P4P they are remaining neutral as far as shaping is concerned, they are just manipulating the source based on what is the best decision for them (whatever reduces load and long haul costs).

If they can claim on one hand that they are helping traffic to be delivered form the nearest source and still be able to play the neutrality card when it comes to the performance of the source then they will have a good spin. If however, there are some clever people out there who decide to look at this from another point of view i.e. that selecting the source based on distance rather than performance is NOT neutral, they will shoot themselves in the foot. Any takers?

Metroman
ethertype
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ethertype,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:45:28 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
All this debate about whether local sources are better or not misses the fundamental point: sending files from end user to end user, up one access link and back down another one, will never be the most efficient way to distribute content, no matter how "local" the pair of users are to each other.

Sooner or later we'll have to admit that the best approach for content distribution is to have broadband ISPs participating more actively in the P2P networks. They have the capability to provide highly distributed caches of content at hundreds of COs/exchanges and transfer them as fast as any user is able to receive. With Verizon showing that SPs can actually try to be helpful and non-discriminatory, it's the logical next step.
metroman
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metroman,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:26 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
ethertype

I am not sure that they are trying to be helpful - the evidence only currently shows that they help themselves by reducing off-net costs. If the ISP was to participate in the distribution then they would be liable in any DRM or copyright infringement case. If I was the ISP, until I knew I could lock this down I would not go near it.

There is also a cultural overtone to that kind of involvement. If your ISP was offering this as a service then it might be seen as a reason to stop using it. No matter what the intentions are, it stops the practice of P2P sharing being mildly subversive and therefore to some people would no longer be attractive. You idea would work if everyone did this, but some won't.

Metroman
chook0
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chook0,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:45:24 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
I may be missing something here, but my take on the article was that although Verizon took part in the trial, they did not alter their network at all. All the smarts were in the P-P software.

I have been thinking for some time that it would be helpful for P2P software to select peers for proximity. This seems to be what the P4P software is doing. There are a number of metrics that the software could be using for proximity - it could be looking at RTT, it could be snooping the TTL field in the IP packets, or it could be using some smarts based on the source IP address. I could be wrong here, but bittorrent currently uses some form of "greedy" algorithm to select its peers. This works from a purely selfish point of view, but filesharing actually contains benefits for the altruistic. For example, if I push the bits of a file I have to all the "close" peers by preference, I will then cause them to download bits that I *don't* have from elsewhere, and hence I should increase the number of "close" sources for the bits that I don't have. And of course the close peers are also selecting me by preference, so the end result should be an overall reduction in transfers across great distances (and hence reduction of the overall load in the network).

To my mind, this is a simple extension of P2P software to reduce overall network load from its original goal which was to reduce overall load on the server when lots of people want the file, and hence it can become helpful for the bandwidth providers as well as for the content providers.

I see this as a purely good thing. Everyone wins.

--chook

---------------------------
I'm all for software that enhances local file sharing, however I would be wary of any software that is designed to control traffic. The reason? My ISP Penn Tele Data currently filters Bit Torrent data. If P4P prioritizes data transfers so that local clients transfer to/from local first, that is great. But if there is any type of filtering that prevents streams based on location, we could see overall bit rates suffer. The article states that p4p offers a 60% decrease in download time, terrific. But if I can get a faster stream from outside my region, and the software inhibits this stream, then we once again have shaping issues.
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OldPOTS
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OldPOTS,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:23 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
chook,
You shed some light on this solution/problem.

But my question still remains, how do you know the 'best' source for fastest delivery and most efficient for the network?

While going local may be the preferred solution for the network, how do you know that the closes 'local' site's access link is not already heavily used and hurts the neighbors?

How do you know that that sources is not so busy that it can deliver at an acceptable rate?

OP

PS - CAC resource reservations
nanobaud
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nanobaud,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:45:23 PM
re: Verizon Demos Advanced P2P Software
It also seems to be a marketing effort for VZ. FiOS has more upstream capacity than the competition, and they would like to shape a marketplace where that weighs on the consumer selection. I hope it works and they stay behind it.

nBd
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