P2P, or peer-to-peer, is the protocol currently used by many file sharing networks for moving large files over the internet. Now, a new protocol, P4P - aka Proactive network Provider Participation for P2P - is being introduced by Verizon. P4P's goal is to reduce backbone traffic and lower network operation costs. Will P4P bring us the bandwidth we've been waiting for?
Unlike P2P, which selects random peers to share with, when using P4P the peers are intelligently selected as the protocol utilizes network topology data to maximize the efficiency of routing between the peer-to-peer connections.
Verizon just tested P4P with Pando and received performance boosts of 200 percent on average and increases of up to 600 percent in some cases.
What's most remarkable about this story is that Verizon is looking towards working with P2P traffic instead of throttling it like Comcast has been doing lately.
At an upcoming conference in New York, Verizon will present their test results, which show that when an ISP cooperates with file-sharing, they can speed downloads an average of 60 percent.
"This test signifies a turning point in the history of peer-to-peer technology and ISPs," said Robert Levitan, chief executive of Pando Networks Inc. "It will definitely show ISPs that the problem is not peer-to-peer technology, the problem is how you deploy it. It is possible to deploy P2P to their advantage. The Internet is quickly transforming into a media distribution platform, and there are people who say: 'It will break. It's not built to move music and movies and games and software.' New technologies are needed, and this is one of those technologies."
The P4P protocol may even be ready by next month, when NBC begins offering HD downloads of popular TV shows via the Pando software.