Bittorrent Kills VoIP - Game Over Man!

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Tom Keating
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Bittorrent Kills VoIP - Game Over Man!

utorrent-gui.jpg An interesting article at the Register claims that a recent uTorrent decision to use UDP for P2P file transfers (instead of TCP) to get around ISP "traffic management" restrictions will cause a meltdown of the Internet. Poppycock you say?

It's worth pointing out that traditionally P2P sharing apps such as Bittorrent,  use TCP not UDP. So why would UDP cause VoIP apps to fail? Well for one huge reason, TCP allows for congestion control.

First, the article explains:
Gamers, VoIP and video conference users beware. The leading BitTorrent software authors have declared war on you - and any users wanting to wring high performance out of their networks... Upset about Bell Canada's system for allocating bandwidth fairly among internet users, the developers of the uTorrent P2P application have decided to make the UDP protocol the default transport protocol for file transfers.
The article then adds:
By most estimates, P2P accounts for close to half of internet traffic today. When this traffic is immune to congestion control [i.e. TCP], the remaining half will stumble along at roughly a quarter of the bandwidth it has available today: half the raw bandwidth, used with half efficiency, by 95% of internet users. Oops.
Yikes! Say goodbye to VoIP. No more Skype. No more fring, Gizmo5, Packet8, Vonage, SIP trunks, and all the rest of my beloved VoIP applications and services. May you rest in peace my good friends. [sniff] Now I'll have to change my blog to the "Gadgets Blog".

Game over man, game over!

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