Tests of new protocols for routing peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic indicate that phenomenal increases in network efficiency – and lower costs – are possible in cable and other networks with the use of P4P techniques.

P4P – which stands for Proactive network Provider Participation for P2P – aims to develop protocols for more intelligent peer choosing. The basic goal is to minimize the number of hops required for the transfers by choosing the most local peers first.

The results of the test, published by Pando Networks, show increased delivery speeds by up to 235 percent across U.S. cable networks, and up to 898 percent across international broadband networks.

For example, across U.S. cable carriers, Pando increased the percentage of data routed internally across their networks from 2.2 percent to 43.4 percent of all downloads, the company said. This optimization reduced inter-ISP data transfers by an average of 34 percent (up to 43.8 percent in the U.S. and 75.1 percent internationally), demonstrating that network awareness provides significant network efficiencies for all ISPs.

These initial results, Pando said, represent the complete test that was conducted globally and features data collected from more than 3,000 ISPs worldwide, including AT&T, Bell Canada, Bezeq International, BT, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, Orange, Sasktel, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Time Warner, Tiscali and Verizon.

The protocols and specifications are being shared within the P4P Working Group (P4PWG), which is open to all ISPs and P2P technology providers and is sponsored by the Distributed Computing Industry Assoication (DCIA).

"These newly released test results demonstrate the applicability of P4P to cable ISP infrastructures," said Tony Werner, Comcast's CTO. "The initial results are promising, and we look forward to continuing our mutual efforts with P2P companies distributing legitimate content in order to improve the efficiency of their applications on our network."

The results also show Pando's ability to use P4P and Pando Network Aware technology to route data internally across the broadband networks, instead of pulling data from external sources that put more strain on the networks.

Pando Networks is a provider of managed P2P content delivery services. The company co-chairs (with Verizon) the P4PWG.

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