Monday, March 24, 2008

TCP "Traffic Control"

A solution (ZDNet) has been proposed for taking care of the P2P bandwidth "problem." The solution has several problems, and operates on the assumption that P2P users are being "unfair" to other users. It blames P2P for the problems of applications like video streaming, gaming, and Skype. Skype and other VoIP applications, as well as most network games, rely on UDP, not TCP, for traffic, thus making P2P irrelevant as a way of "stealing" bandwidth from them. P2P filesharing uses the system the way it was designed for a specific purpose. The fact, at least in the United States, is that we are amazingly behind in broadband internet. Many other countries have tens or even hundreds of Mbps per home available. In the U.S. we have between one and five, generally delivered over media designed for analog signals such as telephone or cable TV. The United States needs fiber optic internet distributed to every home, not TCP bandwidth controls.