[BitTorrent] BT repeater?

smilindog2000 bill at viasic.com
Wed Dec 8 06:53:32 EST 2004


BT suffers from a basic problem: down-loaders of big files typically
leave the torrent after downloading.  This leads to an average
upload/download ratio of at around 1/1.  Since most of us upload much
slower than we download, this is bad.

I think more of us would be willing to leave our BT clients running
with lots of torrents open, except that:

- It uses too much disk space to remain in lots of torrents
- It is difficult joining and managing lots of torrents

For example, I just upgraded to Linux FC3, and downloaded 2.3G of
data.  I burned the DVD, and had to remove the data to save disk
space.  I might be willing to donate upload time to another torrent
with smaller files, but which one?  I cannot simply look at a list of
web links and predict the torrent that would benifit the most.

I think both of these problems can be solved.  In particular, I think
that a modified client could do the job without modifying the BT protocol.

In effect, I'm suggesting writing a BT repeater in a multi-cast
system.  Of course, IPv6 already does this, but that might not become
real for many years.

Here's how I imagine the modified client working:

- The client would automatically download all .torrent files from a
list of user-supplied .torrent file servers.
- The client would examine the various torrents to find ones that
needed additional bandwidth.
- The client would enter the torrent(s) that need it's bandwidth the most.
- To limit space on the hard-drive, only a user-specified sized cache
would be used for writing pieces of files.  A typical cache might be
from a few MB to a few hundred MB.
- The client requests a set of least-available file pieces from it's
torrents, but only enough to fill up the cache.
- The client downloads these pieces, and then servers them up to its
- When a file piece is no longer in demand, the client deletes it, and
downloads a new piece that is in demand.
- When a torrent no longer needs the repeater function, the client
leaves it, and joins the torrent that needs it the most.
- When the user of the client requests a file download, the repeater
function gets suspended until the requested file is fully downloaded.

What do you think?

Bill Cox

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