Washington, May 28 : Current Internet usage puts a great deal of strain on available bandwidth for transmitting data. And to solve this problem, researchers at Yale University have engineered a system to make the Internet work more efficiently, in which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software providers can work cooperatively to deliver data.
The percentage of Internet traffic due to download and upload of large blocks of information using P2P software has increased from less than 10 percent in 1998 to greater than 70 percent in many networks now. On the other hand, Web browsing now accounts for 20 percent and e-mail less than 5 percent of total Internet traffic, down from 60 and 10 percent respectively, in 1998.
The research team comprises of Professors Avi Silberschatz, Y. Richard Yang, and Ph.D. candidate Haiyong Xie in Yale's Department of Computer Science, and they are proposing an architecture called P4P, i.e. "provider portal for P2P applications."
The P4P will enable explicit and seamless communications between ISPs and P2P applications. Not only will it reduce the cost to ISPs, it will also improve the performance of P2P applications.
Silberschatz said that current P2P information exchange schemes are "network-oblivious" and use intricate protocols for tapping the bandwidth of participating users to help move data.
"The existing schemes are often both inefficient and costly - like dialing long-distance to call your neighbor, and both of you paying for the call," he said.
The researchers have contributed in a major way in this project, right from naming and analyzing the architecture, to testing and to implementation of some key components of the system.
"Right now the ISPs and P2P companies are dancing with the problem - but stepping on each other's toes. Our objective is to have an open architecture that any ISP and any P2P can participate in. Yale has facilitated this project behind the scenes and without direct financial interest through a working group called P4P that was formed in July 2007 to prompt collaboration on the project," said Yang.
"The P4P architecture extends the Internet architecture by providing servers, called iTrackers, to each ISP. The servers provide portals to the operation of ISP networks," said Silberschatz.
It is possible to operate the new P4P architecture in multiple modes. In a simple mode, the ISPs will reveal their network status so that P2P applications can avoid hot-spots. In another mode, P4P will operate much like a stock or commodities exchange - it will let markets and providers interact freely to create the most efficient information and cost flow, so costs of operation drop and access to individual sites is less likely to overload.
"While ISPs like AT and T, Comcast, Telephonica and Verizon and the P2P software companies like Pando each maintains its independence, the value of the P4P architecture is significant, as demonstrated in recent field tests," said Silberschatz.
For instance, in a field test conducted using the Pando software in March 2008, P4P reduced inter-ISP traffic by an average of 34 percent, and increased delivery speeds to end users by up to 235 percent across US networks and up to 898 percent across international networks.
The findings appear in a paper to be presented at ACM SIGCOMM 2008, a premier computer networking conference in August 2008 in Seattle.