STRUCTURE 08: Anagran Founder Lawrence Roberts Fights P2P

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Dr. Lawrence G. Roberts, AnagranLawrence Roberts, the founder of Anagran and a chief architect of the foundations of the Internet, has a mission: help control P2P file-sharing traffic, which makes up a massive 80 percent of Internet traffic, he says. “There are a lot of inequities in the current Internet system. . . . P2P isn’t the most efficient way to do things”

But as companies like his help us start to control the situation, Roberts says we should see the P2P hogs dying down over the next few years. That will allow for other services to have a better response time, and normal traffic will have more growth over 2 to 3 years.

It’s not only unfair, it’s very inefficient and inexpensive. A cheaper way for the world is to have clouds deliver video bandwidth.

Until then, unfairness exists in the Internet, says Roberts. “Five percent of users receive 80 percent of capacity,” and “1000 broadband users typically share 180 Mbps.”

Anagran traffic chart

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Kevin Walsh

Huh?

No doubt Dr. Roberts is far smarter than I could ever hope to be. Heck, all by himself, evidently, he started the internet while I was still in the second grade.

But nevertheless there are two aspects of his narrative here that strike me as odd.

The first is the statement that “80% of the traffic on the internet is P2P.” What does that mean? 80% at a particular point? At a particular time? Or 80% of all internet traffic on the planet over an extended period of time? If it’s the later, how is that measured?

Rule #1 in avoiding hyperbole: always be suspicious of broad statements of this sort. Maybe the internet really was doubling in size every 100 days back in the late 1990s but if we’d all have been a little more skeptical maybe the train wreck of the early part of this decade wouldn’t have occurred.

Second, and I’ve heard this a lot recently, “x percent of users are consuming y percent of bandwidth” where x is a small number and y is a big number. This immediately strikes people as unfair. It seems to imply that x percent of the users should consume x percent of the bandwidth. But few systems, other than the old USSR, really work that way (and even the USSR didn’t).

Light Reading’s Phil Harvey came up with a useful parallel to help put this “problem” in perspective. A small minority of people check out a majority of library books. Should we institute reader throttling to correct this inequity?

whoopie

????? the entire point of p2p systems like bt is to spread the load of media traffic

just give it up anagran man, if the riaa couldn’t shut down bt, neither can you

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