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BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 Represent nearly all P2P Traffic
October 2, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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If BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 were suddenly wiped off the face of the Earth, very little of file-sharing would remain – at least according to ipoque's 2007 P2P study. Ipoque is a European based Internet bandwidth management firm, similar in many ways to Sandvine. In their 2007 P2P study, P2P technology continues to be the overwhelming Internet protocol – in terms of bandwidth volume. Its strong growth continued in 2007, however, the rate was not as vigorous as in 2006.

The study’s most useful information was gathered at several ISP points in Germany and the Middle East, where despite some major cultural differences, it seems the basic file desires were very similar. In Germany, P2P traffic was more prolific than all other internet traffic combined and represented nearly 70% of all traffic, while in the Middle East, P2P traffic was more modest but still totaled 49% of all traffic.

Ipoque found that BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 were used to fulfill the same basic needs – large movie and TV files. However, the study found that people used eDonkey2000 more often for smaller files, typically in the pursuit of single MP3 files or eBooks. BitTorrent was used more often for large movie files, but the differences weren’t staggering. There were some fluctuations in taste depending on the region, but the vast use of both protocols is for TV shows, movies, and to a lesser but still important extent, music.

For example, in Germany, over 45% of all files transferred on eDonkey2000 were music files. In the Middle East, 21% of all files were music files. Conversely, since movie and TV show files are much larger, the calculation of data-volume heavily favors movies and TV shows, as only 13.6% and 6.5% (Germany and the Middle East) of eDonkey2000’s volume is music. The proportions for music were similar, but smaller, in BitTorrent.

As we stated earlier, if neither BitTorrent of eDonkey2000 existed, there wouldn’t be much of a P2P community. This seems to be a constant throughout the world, however, there were some minor regional differences. Globally, according to ipoque, the largest networks are BitTorrent, eDonkey2000, DirectConnect, and Gnutella.

BitTorrent reigned supreme in nearly every market sampled, with the exception of southern Europe. There, nearly 57% of all P2P use was eDonkey2000, while BitTorrent was used by about 40% of the P2P populace. Whatever advantage eDonkey2000 might have had in Germany has eroded, as BitTorrent now represents over 66% of all P2P use. Interestingly, DirectConnect is still very popular in Eastern Europe, and represents over 28% of all P2P activity.

If you’re a Gnutella fan, it seems this network has seen better days. Compared to the significance of BitTorrent and eDonkey2000, Gnutella barely makes a blip on the P2P radar, as it symbolizes less than 10% of P2P activity in all markets. Gnutella seems to have some life remaining in Australia, where nearly 9% of all P2P use is under this protocol. Gnutella is virtually non-existent in Eastern Europe, and comprises less than 2% of all P2P activity. But like music activity on BitTorrent and eDonkey2000, these numbers could be deceptive as music files are much smaller than videos – and Gnutella is almost a music-only community.

Encrypted P2P traffic was also measured in the study. Although difficult to detect for others, ipoque claims their technology is able to decipher such traffic. Go ipoque.

Ipoque found that the penetration of encrypted P2P traffic was rather low, as the markets studied found that between 13% and 20% of P2P communications is encrypted. Since this value wasn’t gauged in 2006, it’s difficult to know what the trend is. With ISP bandwidth management becoming more of a focused issue, 2008’s study should shed some light on whether encryption is a widespread answer to bandwidth throttling, or whether such ISP practices only affect a small population.

If ipoque’s claim that P2P’s growth has been tempered is accurate, the explanation for this lies in Direct Download Link sites such as MegaUpload and RapidShare. These sites might be pulling some traffic away from BitTorrent and eDonkey2000 because they allow for direct and usually very fast download speeds – no waiting, no uploading, and no hassles. MegaUpload and RapidShare were found to consume nearly 8% of internet traffic at a German University – and that’s no small accomplishment.

“The amount of P2P has increased proportionally with the overall Internet traffic. P2P has still grown, but different from last year, it did not outperform the overall traffic growth. Instead, some file sharers are turning to alternative services such as DDL instead,” the study reads.

While P2P’s growth may have been stymied because of direct download link sites, their weaknesses have already been exposed. A recent German court ruling found that RapidShare wasn’t doing enough to prevent copyright infringement. The court ruled that RapidShare must take a proactive approach to prevent copyrighted material from being uploaded, as task that is scoffed at by the BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. Whether this is the beginning of a trend or a brief statistical anomaly is yet to be determined - however preliminary data viewed by Ars Technica indicates explosive growth in this field.

And by the way, it turns out that The Pirate Bay is indeed the world’s largest tracker, followed by Demoniond, TorrentBox, and TorrentLeech and Spanish Tracker.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: BitTorrent Community
eDonkey2000 :: ed2k Community

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