New Software Allows ISPs and P2P Users to Get Along Without Getting Too Cozy

Northwestern University researchers have developed Ono, software that eases the strain that peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing services place on Internet service providers (ISPs). Ono allows users to efficiently identify nearby P2P users and requires no cooperation or trust between ISPs and P2P users. Ono, the Hawaiian word for delicious, is open source and does not require the deployment of additional infrastructure. When ISPs configure their networks correctly, Ono can improve transfer speeds by as much as 207 percent on average, the researchers say. Ph.D. student David Choffnes, who developed Ono with professor Fabian E. Bustamante, says Ono relies on a clever trick based on observations of Internet companies to find nearby computers. Content-distribution networks (CDN), which offload data traffic from Web sites onto their proprietary networks, power some of the most popular Web sites in the world, enabling higher performance for Web clients by sending them to a server close to them. Using the key assumption that the two computers sent to the same CDN server are near to each other, Ono can identify P2P users close to each other.
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