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Blog Piece: Trend Watch: P2P Traffic Much Bigger Than Web Traffic

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Interesting blog post on, on a presentation at the Web2.0 Submmit.

While looking through Mary Meeker's 2006 Web 2.0 Summit presentation, I was struck by the figures on page 19: "Peer-to-Peer (P2P) traffic was 60% (and rising) of Internet traffic in 2004, with BitTorrent accounting for 30% of traffic, per CacheLogic". You can definitely see why this is the case, as P2P is normally used to download very large media files - music, movies, etc. But still it makes you realise just how big P2P currently is on the Internet and, given the increasing amount of video coming onto the Web, how crucial it is going forward.

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That's a cool graph! :D
It's interesting to see how it's been developing. Specially, how fast p2p is growing.
As for how much "market share" it has, i don't find that particularly surprising, as there are already lots of open source stuff that is released under torrents, and it appears to be the best way to take advantage of everybody's connection and not only the servers'.
Also, most of my friends download something in the order of the tenths of GB every month, and i bet that isn't made out of web traffic ;)

I'd love to see a graph like this comparing real mail vs. spam mail over time.  anyone know of any such charts?

Second Shadow:
I'd love to see a graph like this comparing real mail vs. spam mail over time.  anyone know of any such charts?
-mouser (December 07, 2006, 06:31 PM)
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Hmmm ... this is the best such chart I could find:

It comes from the Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse website.


The DCC or Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse is an anti-spam content filter that runs on a variety of operating systems. As of mid-2007, it involves millions of users, tens of thousands of clients and more than 250 servers collecting and counting checksums related to more than 300 million mail messages on week days. The counts can be used by SMTP servers and mail user agents to detect and reject or filter spam or unsolicited bulk mail. DCC servers exchange or "flood" common checksums. The checksums include values that are constant across common variations in bulk messages, including "personalizations."

The idea of the DCC is that if mail recipients could compare the mail they receive, they could recognize unsolicited bulk mail. A DCC server totals reports of checksums of messages from clients and answers queries about the total counts for checksums of mail messages. A DCC client reports the checksums for a mail message to a server and is told the total number of recipients of mail with each checksum. If one of the totals is higher than a threshold set by the client and according to local whitelists the message is unsolicited, the DCC client can log, discard, or reject the message.

Because simplistic checksums of spam would not be effective, the main DCC checksums are fuzzy and ignore aspects of messages. The fuzzy checksums are changed as spam evolves. Since the DCC started being used in late 2000, the fuzzy checksums have been modified several times.

Unless used with isolated DCC servers and so losing much of its power, the DCC causes some additional network traffic. However, the client-server interaction for a mail message consists of exchanging a single pair of UDP/IP datagrams of about 100 bytes. That is often less than the several pairs of UDP/IP datagrams required for a single DNS query. SMTP servers make DNS queries to check the envelope Mail_From value and often several more. As with the Domain Name System, DCC servers should be placed near active clients to reduce the DCC network costs. DCC servers exchange or flood reports of checksums, but only the checksums of bulk mail. Since most mail is not bulk and only representative checksums of bulk mail need to be exchanged, flooding checksums among DCC servers involves a manageable amount of data.

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It's really sad the open-source guys haven't embraced torrent technology; whenever I've found a project with a torrent release (usually that would be stuff large enough to warrant the "complication" of p2p vs. a simple download, like a linux or bsd iso image), either the tracker has been down, or I have gotten really lame speeds (as opposed to some of the university http servers that host the distros and can easily reach 2mbyte/sec).

The people involved in distribution should really get together, I'm sure they could save a considerable amount of bandwidth and system load if a considerable amount of them set up torrent servers instead of the traditional ftp and http for their ISOs. Would also make distribution to the sites very easy & automated, if set up properly.

I wonder if the Trend Watch takes encrypted (SSL/TLS, torrent protocol-encryption, and SSH tunneled) traffic into account... I have a feeling that things like encrypted FXP between scene topsites has slipped out of this trend. And even if it doesn't quite live up to the combined trickle of all the p2p "end-users", it ought to amount to something :)

No wonder that whole net neutrality debate started.


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