Friday, March 27, 2009

Peer-to-Peer (P2P): Is there really a 'war' between ISPs and application providers?

There's an interesting discussion ongoing at IETFs' ALTO mailing list questioning whether there's really a war between the ISPs and application (i.e., P2P) providers. The reason for this discussion is a presentation at the IETF meeting and the relevant slides can be found here. The background is as follows: ISPs do not disclose topology information - there're many possible reasons why - which would be beneficial for P2P systems. On the other hand, P2P systems do not disclose information about their users - mainly for privacy reasons - which would ease the management of the P2P traffic at the level of the ISP:
"...while the ISPs have constraints about what they can disclose, the ISPs are still able to provide useful policy information to the P2P applications. P2P applications have concerns about the privacy of their users, but do want to cooperate with the ISP to optimize network traffic in a manner beneficial to ISPs." --from here.
Currently, there are two solutions to this problem available. (1) the oracle service developed by Deutsche Telekom Laboratories and (2) P4P developed at Yale University. The authors (Comcast/BitTorrent) of this email state that they have another solution or is that based on oracle service or P4P? However, I think that IETF is the right place to discuss this and I'm looking forward to an interesting discussion which will hopefully lead to a useful RFC.

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