Verizon: P4P Is a Vital Peer-to-Peer Application

NEW YORK - Internet service provider Verizon has decided to improve peer-to-peer software as an answer to increased transit costs.

Verizon is a founding member of the Distributed Computing Industry Association's P4P workgroup, whose researchers have been developing a new procedure for carrier-grade peer-to-peer file-transfer systems.

In a recent test, Verizon saw a considerable increase in download performance and a decrease in network jamming, ARS Technica reported.

P4P, or Proactive Network Provider Participation for P2P, decreases backbone traffic and network operation costs by enabling service providers to communicate network information to client P2P applications with improved performance.

Rather than peers being selected randomly, the P4P protocol chooses users that are close within the routing network, thus increasing routing effectiveness.

"Verizon observed download performance improvements of approximately 200 percent during tests conducted with Pando," Verizon Senior Technologist and P4P workgroup co-chair Doug Pasko told ARS Technica. "The performance boost can climb as high as 600 percent in some cases."

Verizon said P4P will enable broader commercial adoptions of P2P technology, which is becoming more mainstream through commercial content delivery.

In "P4P: Explicit Communications for Cooperative Control Between P2P and Network Providers," a paper published by the Distributed Computing Industry Association's P4P workgroup, researchers describe the benefits of P4P.

The report points out that traffic-shaping technologies that rely on deep packet inspection to throttle P2P are easily prevented by client applications that encrypt traffic and employ ports to avoid identification. Without the support of actual P2P services, the report says, no solution will succeed.

"It remains unclear whether in the long run traffic shaping can effectively control the bandwidth consumption of P2P applications and reduce providers' operational costs," the paper states. "By enabling explicit communication between P2P and the network, P4P can enable applications to use network status information to reduce backbone traffic and lower operation costs."

Verizon said the new application is intended for adoption by legal commercial services. However, the company has said it does not intend to police its network, despite the potential for piracy.