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Uploaders could be rewarded with speed boosts

According to a university study
Thu Jul 07 2011, 17:50

THE TRIBLER PROJECT at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands has proposed a "Superior Seeding Standard" for the Bittorrent protocol using Sharing Ratio Enforcement that will reward frequent filesharers.

Under the proposed standard, even users who are trying to help but don't have high bandwidth available will receive faster download speeds.

Unlike current Bittorrent standards, users with low bandwidth but still uploading files will be rewarded for helping out by seeding files to other users. Even though some users cannot seed quickly due to bandwidth constraints, they'll still be given perks that others won't have.

Hopefully being given faster download speeds and incentives will convince Tribler users to seed files, thus ensuring a healthier online filesharing community.

Current 'tit-for-tat' Bittorrent standards can provide fast downloads, but users no longer have a high incentive to continue sharing completed files. However, building on the foundation of ratio-enforcement file sharing - similar to what private Bittorrent groups already do - Tribler rewards users for continued contribution, not based on upload speed capabilities alone.

The new Superior Seeding Standard has been proposed by researchers involved in the Tribler project, though trying to have the standard adopted might prove difficult. If uTorrent and other popular Bittorrent clients do not adopt the new Tribler standard, however, users might be willing to adopt it using their favourite clients.

The uTorrent and rival Bittorrent client projects are less willing to adopt rival technologies, especially while listening to feedback from their own users. Meanwhile, some users are skeptical of Tribler's long-term PC efforts, with developers previously discussing a focus on smart TVs.

During their research, the Tribler team discovered that offering seeding rewards to most loyal users continually uploading material has been successful. Users responsible for uploading files that are harder to locate, for example, will have priority downloads as they share information.

Researchers will promote their "Fast Download but Eternal Seeding: The Reward and Punishment of Sharing Ratio Enforcement" research paper at conferences later this year. Torrentfreak has published the white paper highlighting this new file-sharing approach, though it's loaded with technical details and funny looking formulas.

The new standard is decentralized and offers a glimpse into continued research to make Bittorrent an even more appealing filesharing option. However, some Bittorrent filesharers have complained about such a large amount of work being dedicated to a project that very well might not be used by other clients any time soon.

It will take years of tweaking and modifications, and it's possible that similar standards will be released before Tribler can benefit.

On the bright side, copyright groups will be hard-pressed to try to combat this EU-funded research by Delft University researchers. Even with increased crackdowns against so-called 'piracy', a new protocol might be closely monitored by copyright groups trying to suppress filesharing altogether. However, it's more likely that the copyright cartels will ignore new Bittorrent standards as they instead focus on pressuring ISPs to police filesharing subscribers. µ


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