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Summary:

Is Netflix going to add P2P technology to its streaming service? A new job offer suggests that the company is at least looking into the possibility.

netflix isp index
photo: Netflix

Well, this is interesting: Ars Technica has found a Netflix job listing for a senior software engineer “with a special focus in peer-to-peer networks.” Part of the job responsibilities include “research and architecture of large scale peer to peer network technology as applicable to Netflix streaming” as well as “liaise with internal client and toolkit teams to integrate P2P as an additional delivery mechanism.”

Netflix isn’t currently using P2P for content delivery, but the company’s CEO Reed Hastings floated it as a possibility last month in an effort to scare ISPs straight. At the time, I took a detailed look at how using P2P would work for Netflix, and came to the conclusion that the company isn’t likely to do this any time soon:

“Yes, it would be possible, and yes, it would save the company some money. But with the large number of Netflix users and the wide variety of devices they use to watch Netflix, P2P would also bring up a whole range of new problems.”

Does the job offer change my mind? Not necessarily. A company like Netflix is continuously evaluating technologies which it may or may not ever implement. Still, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Netflix is debating these possibilities internally.

  1. Jeff Kibuule Friday, April 25, 2014

    Caching commonly watched content closer to the edge makes pretty good sense, especially as intra-ISP traffic means far fewer hops it you are basically streaming content from your neighbor down the street.

    I wonder if Netflix won’t just come up with a hardware solution that involves buying a caching server to install in your home that you can a) request content be downloaded to it for faster access and b) stream that content to other users in chunks to improve performance.

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    1. Jeff,

      Netflix already does this. Check out Netflix OpenConnect

      https://www.netflix.com/openconnect

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  2. They might go after live events at some point and be looking at multicast, hybrid and even P2P for that.
    P2P could also be a redundancy i guess, or the only way to survive in Obama’s US – odd legacy for Obama isn’t it? The NSA “kills the internet” and now the FCC arrives with the final nail….

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    1. The problem with an answer like yours it’s just plain one sided political nonsense, but that’s what a anonymous internet does..
      Allows for idiots to speak their minds without any repercussions.

      Or has it.

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  3. fulloutpullinghairout Saturday, April 26, 2014

    20 minutes after Netflix officially announces this new P2P delivery option, Comcast will amend their customer usage policy preventing the operation of peer to peer server software. The related ports will be blocked.

    This will be done, ostensibly, in the name of customer security or some other such bulls**t.

    Come on google fiber.

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