Despite the growing availability of legal services, unauthorized file-sharing continues to generate thousands of petabytes of traffic each month.
This massive network use has caused concern among many Internet providers over the years, some of which decided to throttle BitTorrent transfers. Interestingly, AT&T believes the problem can also be dealt with in a more positive way.
A new patent awarded to the Intellectual Property division of the Texas-based ISP describes a ‘fast lane’ for BitTorrent and other P2P traffic.
Titled “System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment,” one of the patent’s main goals is to speed up P2P transfers while reducing network costs.
While acknowledging the benefits of file-sharing networks, the ISP notes that they can take up a lot of resources.
“P2P networks can be useful for sharing content files containing audio, video, or other data in digital format. It is estimated that P2P file sharing, such as BitTorrent, represents greater than 20% of all broadband traffic on the Internet,” AT&T writes.
To limit the impact on its network resources, AT&T proposes several technologies to serve content locally. This can be done by prioritizing local traffic and caching files from its own servers.
“The local peer server may provide the content to peers within the same subnet more efficiently than can a peer in another subnet,” the patent reads.
“As such, providing the content on the local peer server can reduce network usage and decrease the time required for the peer to download the content.”