50x Faster Than BitTorrent? Dream On!

Yesterday, quite a few websites, such as TechCrunch, quoted Kaiser Kuo, who claims that Blin.cn is working on a P2P-technology that is allegedly 50 times faster than our beloved BitTorrent. Impossible of course, and we will show you why.

First of all, if Kaiser Kuo’s claim is right this would mean that on average, BitTorrent users would use less than 2% of their available bandwidth when downloading. This is an absurd claim, because most people know that it’s fairly easy to max out your connection, even on a private tracker.

It gets even more hilarious if we look at the download speed Kaiser Kuo is bragging about. He tells us that it downloads 2.2% of a DVD quality episode of the TV-series “24” in only 3 minutes. If we assume that he’s talking about the 700Mb DVD quality file, this means that he reached an average download speed of 88kB/s. I have no clue under what stone Kuo has been living, but 15.4Mb in 3 minutes is not going to impress many people.

TorrentFreak contacted Ashwin Navin, President and Co-Founder of BitTorrent Inc. When confronted with the 50 times faster than BitTorrent claim, he said: “BitTorrent can regularly saturate your downstream capacity, which in layman’s terms means BitTorrent is as fast as you can get. The claim is indicative of the fact that BitTorrent is the global standard for P2P transfers, against which all others are compared. BitTorrent DNA took that standard up significantly, but we don’t run around making sensationalist claims to get buzz.”

Indeed – a sensationalist claim – that’s what it is, nothing more, nothing less. Sure it might be possible to develop a P2P technology that is more efficient than BitTorrent, but the difference would never be bigger than a few percent. Even BitTorrent itself can’t be considered to be twice as fast as any other P2P technology, so claiming that any technology is 50 times faster is just a load of crap.

But wait, perhaps Kuo is talking about the time it takes until you can actually watch the episode. Their service supports streaming, and if you can watch the episode after 2% has downloaded this will mean it is 50x faster. However, this is not really revolutionary, the BitComet BitTorrent client implemented this feature over a year ago, and FoxTorrent has the same functionality.

On top of that, it is impossible to stream a episode of “24” at the speeds Kuo is suggesting (88kB/s). If he did the math he would have realized that it will take more than 2 hours to download or stream the 45 minute episode, not something I would like to watch.

Last but not least, is the environment for P2P developers that great in China? Kuo says that the anti-piracy watchdogs such as the RIAA and MPAA hamper technological innovation in the US. However, BitTorrent Inc. does a great job with their p2p streaming implementation (beats Blin.cn), and Harvard is implementing the latest economical theories in their BitTorrent client.

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