The face of file-sharing is a viscous landscape under constant change. Networks come and go, developers appear and disappear. One of the most significant changes was the arrival of the BitTorrent protocol, which revolutionized the file-sharing community. It's efficient transfer protocol allowed for large files to easily exchange between millions of peers.
Within a year, the ISP network solution firm CacheLogic had concluded that BitTorrent had become the dominant P2P network in terms of bandwidth consumption. On average, ISPs were witnessing 60% of their bandwidth consumed by BitTorrent, while others saw an astounding 90%.
A new study by CacheLogic reveals some very interesting developments in the P2P world. While BitTorrent remains a powerhouse network, its days as the reigning king of video distribution are no more. Taking its place in this category is veteran file-sharing community eDonkey2000.
CacheLogic notes several reasons for this transition. Over the course of the last half-year, BitTorrent has begun a slow transition towards legitimacy. This transition was punctuated by Bram Cohen's recent negotiations with the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America.) Both Bram and the MPAA are attempting to negotiate an agreement in which Hollywood movies could be distributed using this protocol.
For the study, which was conducted on July 16-17, 2005, CacheLogic probed several ISPs backbone networks throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The network solution firm studied the four dominant networks: eDonkey2000, BitTorrent, Gnutella and FastTrack.
Their first conclusion of the study found was video files by volume were the most popular type of file traded. The trading of files represents 61.44% of all files. Coming in second is "other" at 27.22%, while audio files consumes 11.34%. "Other" file formats were identified as CD images, compressed files, executables or other images.
Keep in mind this study was conducted by volume
, and not by number of files traded. Video files consume much greater bandwidth than audio, therefore it would appear that video files are more common than audio. In reality, there are actually more audio files by number being traded, however due to their relatively small size, only in appearance do audio files appear diminutive.
Out of the 11.34% of audio files traded, 64.89% remain MP3 files, 22.81% are Microsoft format (WMA, etc), and a surprisingly substantial 12.30% are Ogg Vorbis files. CacheLogic notes more of these files are found BitTorrent, and appear more popular in Asia. Also notable was the finding that Gnutella is the most popular network for trading audio files. By volume, 69.55% of all files transferred on this network are audio files – the greatest percentage of any network.
Now, what's going on with BitTorrent…CacheLogic observed there is a steady decline in the volume of video files being traded on this network. However, there is an increase in the types of "other" file formats being distributed. This is happening because BitTorrent is being used increasingly as a legitimate distribution platform. CacheLogic found that game demos, authorized software and software updates are widely distributed on this network. BitTorrent, already known as more of an advanced network, was found to contain a "high level of less common file extensions."
In all, 46.77% of all files transmitted on this network are video files, while "other" file types consume 42.18%. Audio files only take up 11.05%.
Conversely, video files represent 68.53% of the total volume of media transmitted over the eDonkey2000 network. 25.42% are "other" file types, while 6.06% are music files by volume.
Although BitTorrent may still consume the most bandwidth out of all P2P networks (although this was not concluded in the study), it is no longer the network of choice for video distribution. eDonkey2000 has remained one of the few constants of the file-sharing world, weathering various copyright infringement crackdowns and other upheavals. It has survived the fall of Napster, the fall of FastTrack and the taming of BitTorrent.