The truth about P2P traffic

The truth about P2P traffic

Amid all the bluster by the RIAA and others about the supposed ‘decline’ in file-sharing as a result of legal threats etc., there has been very little empirical data about P2P traffic — until now. A UK start-up called Cachelogic has come up with technology which enables ISPs to get a detailed analysis of network traffic through the use of a deep packet inspection device which enables them to identify traffic at port level and by application signature.

Over the last six months, Cachelogic has used this technology in collaboration with a range of big ISPs, and from this have derived what it claims is the first detailed empirical analysis of contemporary Internet traffic.

If accurate, the findings are fascinating. No — more than that: they are SENSATIONAL. They include:

* P2P is the largest single generator of traffic on the Net
* P2P traffic “significantly outweighs” Web traffic
* P2P traffic continues to grow.

“Traffic analysis conducted as part of a European Tier 1 Service Provider field trial has shown that P2P traffic volumes are at least double that of http [i.e. Web] traffic during the peak evening periods and as much as tenfold at other times”.

There’s lots more. For example:

* Kazaa et al have peaked.
* BitTorrent is the New Thing — and is already a big deal.
* P2P is being used as an increasingly popular way for companies and developers to distribute software (e.g. RedHat is now using it). And content providers like the BBC are examining P2P as a way of discributing their products. [Note: all non-infringing uses.]

And so on, and so on.

These findings support what some of us have suspected since 1999 — that the emergence of P2P was the most significant innovation in Internet history since the invention of the Web. And we’re only at the beginning of the shift — which is why it’s vital that the copyright thugs aren’t allowed to choke it off because some aspects of it allegedly threaten their obsolete business models. Imagine how we would have felt if Disney, Time-Warner, Elsevier & Co had been allowed to shut down the Web shortly after Tim Berners-Lee released it in 1991 on the grounds that it made publication too easy for non-corporates.