Solving the p2p dilemma
P2p is swamping some broadband networks, says Sandvine Inc, a new Canadian company
KaZaA, Morpheus and the like ignore logical ISP network topologies,
resulting in ad hoc connects with P2P clients on other networks and a
tendency to push data traffic 'off net,' which in turn drives up Net transit
costs and undermines profits, says Sandvine.
How serious is the problem? "Recent studies suggest that file sharing
activity accounts for up to 60% of the traffic on any given service provider
network," it states in its industry White Paper, The impact of file
sharing on service provider networks.
"P2P has ... emerged as the dominant component of bandwidth used by
residential Internet subscribers. The evolution from Napster to KaZaA,
Gnutella, Morpheus and others has dramatically increased the amount of data
transferred across service provider networks.
"Many home PCs are now being used as P2P data servers twenty-four hours a
day, seven days a week. It is always 'prime time' to be downloading
somewhere in the world."
There are three basic styles of P2P file sharing, Sandvine's paper
* One-to-One, typically a transfer of files from PC to PC
* One-to-Many (as used by Napster) which allows a single host to
communicate and share files with multiple nodes. Examples include mail
servers connected to multiple mail clients and HTTP servers communicating
* Many-to-Many, as per Gnutella protocol clients.
That's hardly news. Nor is the statement that the enormous popularity of
file sharing and the breadth of competing protocols makes blocking P2P
traffic a practical impossibility.
"Service providers have begun to experiment with tiered pricing based on
monthly bandwidth consumption, or capping the amount of bandwidth available
to P2P applications, but these approaches can easily be positioned as
punitive by Internet lobby groups and competitors, generating
dissatisfaction amongst subscribers and potentially aggravating customer
churn," says the company, founded only last September.
But Sandvine - based in Waterloo, Ontario, home to one of Canada's
premier high-tech universities - thinks its Peer-To-Peer Policy Management
hardware and software bundle will cut bandwidth costs by "logically
rearranging" p2p network topology.
"This patent-pending approach analyzes P2P searches and ensures that each
is redirected to hosts on a lower-cost path before attempting to reach hosts
on a higher-cost path," Sandvine promises.
With full support for both the FastTrack and Gnutella protocols,
Sandvine's P2PPM approach, "helps service providers take control of file
sharing traffic and corral it within the proprietary network," says Dave
Caputo, founder, president and CEO.
Sandvine grew out of another Waterloo tech startup called PixStream, the
company's Mark De Wolf told p2pnet.net, adding, "Two of PixStream's
founders, Marc Morin and Brad Siim, joined forces with other members of the
PS executive team to found
Sandvine ... after selling PixStream to Cisco for approximately (CDN) $500
PixStream developed hardware and software to distribute and manage
digital video across broadband networks. Mark says the original idea was to
help service providers offer video services to businesses and consumers. "As
it turned out, that fit into Cisco's broad strategic plans to accelerate the
delivery of broadcast-quality video over broadband networks," he adds.
(NOTE:This next bit is for Canadians only. If you're from anywhere
else, please don't read it ; )
There's an increasing tendency for Canadian start-ups to head south as
soon as they've developed anything significant. Is that going to happen to
NO WAY! - says Mark: "Sandvine will definitely remain Canadian and true
to it's Waterloo roots. There's a mix of lifestyle benefits and access to
expertise here (thanks to U of W) that would be hard to replicate anywhere