New and improved peer-to-peer
March 9, 2005, 12:07am PST | Length: 00:02:56
Peer-to-peer networking now involves pulling down bits of files from multiple connections, ensuring lower failure rates and improved efficiency.
Most discussions about peer-to-peer networking center on thekinds of files that are downloaded and whether it's legal or illegal. What Iwant to talk about today is the actual technology of peer-to-peer networkingand show you how it has evolved and improved over the last several years. To dothat, I'm going to give you a simple diagram. I'm going to show you how it usedto work and how it works now.
So, let's say in the old days, several years ago I'm overhere and I want a file. There's a particular file I want to get and there was adirectory here that tells me, you know, connected via the software. Let's justsay there are 3 different locations, each of which has that same file here onthe hard drive. Once I know that using the software I try to make a connectionto one of these and I try to pull that file across and download it. So it's agood early way to be able for people to share files. But if this file is big orif my connection isn't very good, and if this breaks down in the middle, youknow, what happens if I lose my connection mid-way through? Well, you knowwhat, the file is worthless. I've got to go out and try to make a connectionwith another place where that file is located and I could have the sameproblem. So that's the old way of doing things.
The new and improved way of peer-to-peer networking has thesame players. I'm still sitting over here and I want to get a file, and there'sa directory that tells me, Hey, there are, let's say 3 locations, each one ofwhich has that same file on its network. But now, I put in a request to getthat file and the directory breaks up my request and breaks up the file requestinto many different pieces and goes out and initiates connections between mymachine and these machines and I'm pulling down bits of this file from each oneof these and pulling it across so the bandwidth requirements and theconstraints on the connection are much lower because I'm only taking bits of itat a time and since I'm tracking the individual pieces of the file.
If at any time I lose this connection, the software can goahead and point me to another location and I can pick that up. It also knowwhat parts of the file I have and what I don't and it can keep assembling thatfile and I don't lose any of the stuff I've already done. So what does thistell us? It tells us that the new generation of peer-to-peer networking is moreefficient, has a lower failure rate, less stress upon the networks of theplayers involved and is a much more likely way to get files, especially largefiles transferred easily.