A post by The Register today starts with the warning –”Gamers, VoIP and video conference users beware. The leading BitTorrent software authors have declared war on you.” So, what’s all this about? At the core of the matter is the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, whose most recent alpha version came with a new type of file transfer. BitTorrent clients are known for using the TCP protocol to allow file transfers, but it seems that uTorrent is switching over to UDP, a protocol that is very popular for streaming media, VoIP and other real-time transfers. Basically this means torrents will beeating up all of the bandwidth available for VoIP. The Register even refers to uTorrent’s UDP transfers as a “net-killing feature.”
Some would actually argue and say that the introduction of uTorrent’s UDP may actually contribute to lessening such clogging problems.
Janko Roettgers at Gigaom comments Bennet’s article saying :
Bennet’s piece is based on a belief that UDP traffic is “aggressive” and uncontrollable, whereas TCP is the nice and proper protocol that can be easily managed. This notion ignores the basic fact that P2P developers, in order to make the protocol work at all, need to implement TCP-like functionalities on top of UDP, one of which includes congestion control. You simply can’t operate a P2P client that eats up all of its users’ bandwidth, much less build a successful business model on top of it.
Roettgers continues by reminding us how BitTorrent has let the matter of balancing the network load to the users handling allowing them to set limits to their client’s maximum both upload and download rate if it prevent other web activity.
“uTorrent’s new implementation wants to automate this process by regulating its UDP traffic in relationship to ongoing TCP transfers.”
I guess like Roettgers puts it “for now, we do have to take the company’s word for it that this actually works”. Indeed we’ll just have to wait and see about this as uTorrent is not open source, and the client’s UDP file transfer protocol hasn’t been publicly specified, either.