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Are Peer To Peer File Sharing Networks Dead?

2399 words - 10 pages

Peer to Peer file sharing networks established in the late 1990s with the introduction of Napster and evolved with networks and applications such as Limewire, eMule and BitTorrents accounted for roughly 27% to 55% of all Internet traffic in their peak times.
Other technologies have now been introduced which started to see P2P Network traffic decline, dropping from 3.5% to 0.6% of total internet traffic. Or reported by the University of Michigan peer-to-peer network traffic has gone from 4 percent of all Internet traffic to about half a percent in recent years.
The Apple iTunes store with a catalogue of over 12 million songs, 55,000 TV episodes and 8,500 movies amongst 50 million ...view middle of the document...

There is little evidence to support that peer to peer file sharing networks are about to evolve into something else.

1. Introduction
This essay will investigate the topic of “Are peer to peer file sharing networks (like BitTorrent, eMule etc.) dead or are they about to evolve into something else?”
The middle to late nineteen nineties saw the internet become economically available in average households. With the internet evolving, technologies leveraging from internet users around the world were being introduced that provided an easy mechanism to share multimedia files such as music and videos. In 1999 Napster was born and this was the mainstream introduction to Peer to Peer file sharing networks. Throughout the new millennium peer to peer network traffic started to increase with the introduction of other applications, such as Limewire and eMule for example. It didn’t take long for peer to peer traffic network traffic to grow so large with the introduction of BitTorrent technology that in February 2009 it was estimated that it accounted for roughly 27% to 55% of all Internet traffic (depending on geographical location) (Schulze, H & Mochalski, K 2009).
The essay will first look at what a peer to peer file sharing network is, then flow into other forms of file sharing and download methods available. As well as giving the reader an understanding of the technologies in question this essay will investigate the statistics of the relevant technology’s and explore if peer to peer file sharing is becoming something of the past or evolving into something else.

2. Discussion
A Peer to Peer file sharing network from here on forward in the essay will be referred to as ‘P2P Network’. A P2P Network is a computer network where clients are connected to each other via a common software program and a computer network, most commonly the internet.
“Files can be shared directly between systems on the network without the need of a central server. In other words, each computer on a P2P network becomes a file server as well as a client.” (P2P (Peer To Peer) Definition 2011, p.1) Upon connecting to a network, the P2P network software “allows you to search for files on other people's computers. Meanwhile, other users on the network can search for files on your computer, but typically only within a single folder that you have designated to share.” (P2P (Peer To Peer) Definition 2011, p.1) Although there are many different P2P networks and applications available, some of the most popular software programs include Napster, Limewire, BitTorrent, and eMule.
While P2P Networks ruled internet traffic and file sharing mechanisms in the new millennium, recently evidence has shown that there has been a decline in P2P Network traffic, as shown in Figure 1. The image shows the traffic monitored on the following ports 6346, 6882, 6881, 4662 which are the most commonly ports used by P2P File Sharing Applications and Networks.

Figure 1 (Arbor Networks 2009)

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