Bittorrent Protocol

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Index

Introduction 1

BitTorrent and Other approaches2

Working of BitTorrent 7

Terminology 10

Architecture of BitTorrent11

Vulnerabilities of BitTorrent21

Conclusion24

1. Introduction

2.1 Overview

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used to distribute large amounts of data. BitTorrent is one of the most common protocols for transferring large files. Its main usage is for the transfer of large sized files. It makes transfer of such files easier by implementing a different approach. A user can obtain multiple files simultaneously without any considerable loss of the transfer rate. It is said to be a lot better than the conventional file transfer methods because of a different principle that is followed by this protocol. It also evens out the way a file is shared by allowing a user not just to obtain it but also to share it with others. This is what has made a big difference between this and the conventional file transfer methods. It makes a user to share the file he is obtaining so that the other users who are trying to obtain the same file would find it easier and also in turn making these users to involve themselves in the file sharing process. Thus the larger the number of users the more is the demand and more easily a file can be transferred between them. BitTorrent protocol has been built on a technology which makes it possible to distribute large amounts of data without the need of a high capacity server, and expensive bandwidth. This is the most striking feature of this file transfer protocol. The transferring of files will never depend on a single source which is supposed the original copy of the file but instead the load will be distributed across a number of such sources. Here not just the sources are responsible for file transfer but also the clients or users who want to obtain the file are involved in this process. This makes the load get distributed evenly across the users and thus making the main source partially free from this process which will reduce the network traffic imposed on it. Because of this, BitTorrent has become one of the most popular file transfer mechanisms in today’s world. Though the mechanism itself is not as simple as an ordinary file transfer protocol, it has gained its popularity because of the sharing policy that it imposes on its users. This fact is quite obvious, since the recent surveys made by various organizations show that 35% of the overall internet traffic is because of BitTorrent. This shows that the amount of files that are being transferred and shared by users through BitTorrent is very huge.

2.2 History

BitTorrent was created by a programmer named Bram Cohen. After inventing this new technology he said, "I decided I finally wanted to work on a project that people would actually use, would actually work and would actually be fun". Before this was invented, there were other techniques for file sharing but they were not utilizing the bandwidth effectively. The bandwidth had become a bottleneck in such methods. Even other peer to peer file sharing systems like Napster and Kazaa had the capability of sharing files by making the users involve in the sharing process, but they required only a subset of users to share the files not all. This meant that most of the users can simply download the files without being needed to upload. So this again put a lot of network load on the original sources and on small number of users. This led to inefficient usage of bandwidth of the remaining users. This was the main intention behind Cohen’s invention, i.e., to make the maximum utilization of all the users’ bandwidth who are involved in the sharing of files. By doing so, every person who wants to download a file had to contribute towards the uploading process also. This new and novel concept of Cohen gave birth to a new peer to peer file sharing protocol called BitTorrent. Cohen...
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