P2P traffic streams to BitTorrent

BitTorrent is fast becoming the leading p2p network as video surpasses music as the most popularly shared content medium, according to a survey by iPoque.

P2P traffic streams to BitTorrent

Indeed figures from its analysis of German Internet usage show that BitTorrent has already usurped eDonkey in terms of the amount of data traffic that each protocol generates: BitTorrent 53 per cent and eDonkey 43 per cent. Statistics from the rest of Europe show eDonkey still slightly ahead, but the trend is towards torrents.

So dominant are the two networks, that others barely register: the third most popular, Gnutella, accounted for less than three per cent of traffic during the June to October 2006 period of the survey.

The rise of BitTorrent mirrors the increase in the sharing of movies and television shows, which torrents are better equipped to handle. Where p2p was once the preserve of music sharers (and pornographers), film and TV now make up more than a third of the number of files being shared on BitTorrent and 22 per cent on eDonkey. That said, there are still many more files available on eDonkey – and much more pornography – than there are on BitTorrent. The survey found 250,000 different eDonkey files as opposed to just 56,000 on BitTorrent.

While video is therefore the chief reason for the rise in the popularity of torrents, iPoque suggests it is not the only one. Many file sharers, it says, have mistakenly assumed that BitTorrent offers greater anonymity than eDonkey and therefore greater security and greater protection from probing music and movie industry software designed to locate sharers to subject to legal action. iPoque also notes that BitTorrent software has also improved, most notably in the form of the Azureus client, which, it says, provides similar usability to eMule, the most popular eDonkey software. And finally, there are far fewer fake torrents than there are fake files on eDonkey, some of which are mis-named to hide pornography and computer viruses and other malicious code.

‘This is particularly common for current titles such as movies or audio CDs,’ the report concludes. ‘The search for titles is not an integral part of BitTorrent. Instead normal websites are used to offer and categorise titles. These repository sites often provide a rating scheme for the offered files, which significantly reduces the fake problem. It appears that the average quality of offered files is higher for BitTorrent than for eDonkey.’

But perhaps the most significant finding of the research is that p2p activity continues to increase. Between June and October the amount of p2p data traffic rose by 10 per cent, despite the PR and legal efforts of both the music and movie industries.

iPoque’s survey was based on aggregated statistics on the traffic generated by P2P networks plus an analysis of the content of 30TB of files.

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