Will BitTorrent bandwidth hogs destroy the Internet? We tend to think not, but a report in the Register predicting doom is getting plenty of attention. At issue: BitTorrent Inc. is changing the way its popular uTorrent P2P app transmits and receives files.
The alleged problem: The new transmission method uses a channel currently only employed by a handful of applications, like gaming and VoiP. With P2P traffic flooding that transmission line, users’ Skype calls or World of Warcraft sessions could get interrupted amidst the P2P noise, the Register supposes.
Hogwash, says BitTorrent. The company tells the Industry Standard it’s trying to implement a “performance neutral” change intended to reduce network congestion. (You can follow the technical debate in greater detail at Slashdot.)
So what will happen? Internet providers don’t have the option of blocking BitTorrent traffic: Comcast (CMCSA) tried that once and the FCC pressured them to stop. (And the incoming Obama administration seems even less disposed to Internet filtering/blocking than the current one.) That leaves another option: more download caps for bandwidth hogs, which Comcast has already rolled out, and other providers are testing.