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Ares Introduces Firewall to Firewall Transfers
January 30, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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Ares Galaxy has come a long way since its introduction in December of 2002. Once a sheep in a heard of Gnutella clients, then sole developer Alberto Treves broke ranks and established a new P2P network named Ares Galaxy. Since then, Ares Galaxy has become a highly popular and respected P2P client. Its open source nature, availability of files, and lack commercialism has resulted in a population of at least several hundred thousand individuals.

Interestingly enough, Ares was one of three P2P clients at the time that broke away from Gnutella. The other two were FileNavigator and WinMX. History would ultimately favor Ares, as FileNavigator fell into obscurity and WinMX's parent company FrontCode Technologies was forced offline. Although resurrection efforts have placed WinMX on life-support, it's technologically inferior by today's P2P standards.

Like any P2P network, Ares Galaxy has maintained its fair share of problems. One in particular, the issue of connectivity, has plagued this network since mid 2003. Connectivity issues have slowly disintegrated, however. After years of continuous updates and restructuring, Alberto’s work has finally paid off as a singular philosophy is now guiding the network.

Ares was suspected of receiving a cease and desist letter from the RIAA, as were several other P2P developers on September 13, 2005. Considering Ares has the advantage of being based outside the United States, it took the bold move of opening it's source code. While this transition had been planned for several months, the well timed move proved symbolic.

Supplementing Ares’s role as a leading P2P client, yesterday marked the release of version 1.9.0. Although the release appears minor, it introduces a substantial feature – firewall to firewall (F2F) transfers. This helps alleviate the enormous inconvenience of being a firewalled college student, free hotspot user, or Star Bucks customer. As these firewalled broadband connections become more common, so do those P2P users looking to connect to the Ares Galaxy network. With the problem of a firewalled connection alleviated, thousands of otherwise disadvantaged Ares users can now participate on the network.

F2F transfers can occur when both firewalls are tricked into thinking their client initiated the transfer. A third party client is needed however, to initiate the dummy session. The third party will coordinate the transfer of packets until each client opens their firewall, allowing the transfer of files.

"Maybe 'firewall to firewall' isn't totally correct," Alberto explained to "It's more NAT to NAT. [The] newest Ares clients employ a technique called NAT Punching to directly communicate between each other by means of a 'connectionless' protocol (UDP) when a direct reliable (TCP) connection can't succeed (more info: here and here.) I had encouraging results from my tests with UDP NAT Punching, therefore I decided to implement it in Ares."

The recent addition of a DHT (Distributed Hash Table) has also enhanced the performance of the Ares Galaxy network, as distributing the file indexing load has broadened the client’s search horizon. With the addition of F2F transfers, ironically enough Ares is back on technological par with its Gnutella brethren.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
P2P Clients :: Ares Galaxy
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: Software

Ares Sourceforge Homepage.

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