BitTorrent just released version 4.20. The new version gives ISP’s a “customer friendly” alternative to manage the increasing bandwidth need that is caused by BitTorrent traffic; caching traffic instead of throttling or shaping.
In an attempt to decrease the bandwidth generated by BitTorrent traffic, ISP’s started to shape and throttle BitTorrent traffic on their networks. By throttling BitTorrent traffic the speed of BitTorrent downloads decrease, and high speed downloads are out of the question.
While other popular clients decided to implement encryption to protect BitTorrent users from being slowed down by their ISP’s. Bram Cohen, the creator of the BitTorrent protocol and the developer of the mainline BitTorrent client did not think that encryption was the solution, and found a more ISP friendly alternative.
The mainline BitTorrent client rather uses caching instead of encrypting. The “Cache Discovery Protocol” allows ISP’s to detect the most popular torrents, cache the data, and seed it. ISP’s like it because it’s cheaper to use bandwidth within their network than to use external traffic. So in the near future it could be that you’re downloading your favorite torrents from your ISP’s server instead of some random seed or peer at the other side of the globe.
Ashwin Navin from BitTorrent inc reported to slyck:
“Transparent caches are sophisticated pieces of hardware, they perform deep-packet inspection to detect the frequency of certain files. If a file shows up on the network frequently, the cache stores that file so that its seeded in the network rather than by peers. ISPs appreciate this because their access networks are terribly congested with P2P traffic. Caches are legal and covered explicitly in the DMCA.”
So are these developments good or bad?
Well that’s hard to say at this point. It is unclear if it will increase or decrease speeds, it is unclear how this will affect ratio’s and what the legal consequences are.