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BitTorrent, P2P Criticized by Internet Founder
June 26, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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Bloggers from Structure 08, a technology industry trade show hosted in San Francisco, reported on another intriguing assessment of P2P technology’ impact on the internet. Lawrence Roberts, one of the founders of the modern internet, chided P2P technology for the bandwidth it consumes. Interestingly, Roberts also heads the bandwidth management firm Anagran, which, like its competitors such as Sandvine, attempts to give network managers the tools they need to equally distribute bandwidth.

Unlike Sandvine, however, Roberts gave a much more stark assessment of P2P's overall bandwidth utilization. According to WareWare and Gigaom, Anagran calculated that P2P technology consumed a stunning 80% of all bandwidth. That calculation is almost double of Sandvine's most recent study, which found that 44% of all traffic was consumed by P2P. only one week's time we have two very different studies on file-sharing's impact. Is it as manageable as 44%, or as outrageous as 80%? It seems just about everyone has their own numbers, their own justifications, and their own methods for collecting file-sharing numbers. Slyck once collected such information years back, however the decentralization and scattering of file-sharing networks made this practice virtually untenable.

Roberts wasn’t addressing the copyright implications of file-sharing networks, as Webware reported that, "Illegal or legal is not the issue at all." Instead, Roberts found it more of a “fairness” issue. According to Roberts, only 5% of the internet population is consuming a massive 80% of its resources. That leaves only 20% for the remaining 95% of the population.

If you believe that P2P technology is sucking up 80% of the internet’s bandwidth, you may also believe that company’s like Anagran will conquer the file-sharing bandwidth dilemma. Those covering Structure 08 reported on Roberts’ optimism, as he felt that within a few years the problem may be contained. But we’ve all heard that before.

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