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Description of Protocol

Have you ever wondered how all of your friends are watching the latest movies right from their computers when they haven’t even hit the store shelves yet? More than likely they have utilized the BitTorrent protocol to download, manage and track all of their favorite programs from the comfort of their computer. It is a unique networking protocol that incorporates advanced network architecture that enables seamless and fast downloading of very large files. The BitTorrent network has made it possible for developers to distribute their games online instead of only in physical store locations, and it’s paved the way for movie distributors, music distributors and more to distribute their content online.

How BitTorrent Network Works

Unlike traditional downloading networks where thousands of people are probably downloading the same file from a single server, BitTorrent utilizes a system of seeds, peers and hosts to allow seamless sharing of information over the internet which greatly increases download speeds. Basically whenever you download a file using this protocol you are joining into a “swarm” of hosts which allows you to download and upload information from thousands of users at the same time.

BitTorrent allows information to be downloaded on networks that have smaller bandwidth limits or smaller storage limits. Using the protocol it’s possible for several basic home computers to replace the advanced and oftentimes prohibitively expensive server equipment that is usually necessary for the distribution of large media files.

Download Process

The network incorporates a wide array of advanced, yet easy-to-implement technology which allows for the distribution of a large number of files or large single files with ease. It all starts when somebody wishes to upload a particular file to a network which can then be later downloaded by peers. The user must create a torrent descriptor file which is distributed through conventional means such as web, through email or some other means. They then must host the .torrent file on any of the hundreds of torrent hosting websites. This file is now known as a seed.

Users who wish to download this file must use a type of BitTorrent client software which allows them to connect with and process these files. If a file is particularly large, it is divided into a number of smaller files called pieces. These pieces are downloaded individually and each time a piece is finished downloading, it can be optionally hosted by the person’s computer, granted they have a stable internet connection.

This process of seeds, leeches and peers is what makes the entire BitTorrent process tick. As files are downloaded by leechers they have the option of also hosting, or “seeding” the file or pieces on their computer. This allows their computer to act a small server from which they can host their own .torrent files or any torrent files they have downloaded in the past. This system is what makes the entire network so powerful and efficient, as there is always a constant supply of servers available for hosting files.