Bit Torrent is the dominent P2P protocol for dowloading files these days after the fall in the number of users for Kazaa(FastTrack) and eDonkey2000 network. These days you can find almost anything that you are looking for via BitTorrent ranging from software, movies, TV shows, animes, music albums and to documents of different kinds. But not all of the stuff that is available for download is legal, so caution must be taken by the users to download only the stuff that is indeed legal. A number of really good BitTorrent clients are available for Windows. They include uTorrent, Azureus, BitComet, BitTornado and numerous others that are not in active development now. Integrated clients are also available for Firefox as an extension such as FoxTorrent. Many popular file downloaders such as Flashget also integrate the BitTorrent protocol support now.
An important parameter in the selection of a BitTorrent client is the maximum downloading speed it can achieve. It may depend upon a number of other parameters as well, such as your Internet connection speed, number of seeds and leechers available for the file you are downloading via BitTorrent, if an open port is available for incoming connections and the upload rate you have set from your client and many others. But assuming all other parameters being equal, your BitTorrent client may still be able to make a significant difference on how fast or slow you will be downloading files. Generally speaking three major specialized BitTorrent clients Azureus, uTorrent and BitComet provide high achievable download speeds. But still an individual user might have a better experience with one of the clients compared to the others.
Now add another promising addition to this list of BitTorrent clients called BitTyrant. It is based on a project from the students of the University of Washington and they have also published a paper on this that you can get here. This is actually a modification to the original Azureus 2.5 client. During their testing they have found that some downloads can be completed in up to one third of the time of the existing Azureus implementation while an average improvement of 70% can be achieved! So you may ask how this improvement in downloading speed can be achieved. This is possible simply by optimizing the uploading from your client to reward users that uploading more data to you rather than to equally distribute your upload bandwidth among all the clients that are using your upload bandwidth. If you want to know in more precise terms then in their own words:
BitTyrant differs from existing clients in its selection of which peers to unchoke and send rates to unchoked peers. Suppose your upload capacity is 50 KBps. If you’ve unchoked 5 peers, existing clients will send each peer 10 KBps, independent of the rate each is sending to you. In contrast, BitTyrant will rank all peers by their receive / sent ratios, preferentially unchoking those peers with high ratios. For example, a peer sending data to you at 20 KBps and receiving data from you at 10 KBps will have a ratio of 2, and would be unchoked before unchoking someone uploading at 10 KBps (ratio 1). Further, BitTyrant dynamically adjusts its send rate, giving more data to peers that can and do upload quickly and reducing send rates to others.
As it is based on Azureus 2.5 and uses Java, so it is truly portable and can be run on Windows,Linux, Mac or any other platform that supports JVM. Source code is also available on the project homepage.
I have tested it by downloading some torrent files and compared its performance with uTorrent that I am currently using for my BitTorrent needs but I was not able to find a noticeable difference. Please note that! this may be because I am using a slower DSL connection (256 kbps) that is already used to the maximum capacity by other clients. Users on faster connections are likely to take a better advantage of its optimizations.
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