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What Is A Torrent and How Does It Work?

Jan 29, 2008
Have you ever heard of a BitTorrent? Torrents are a form of person to person, peer to peer, or p2p file sharing. This has a large following among those interested in sharing audio-visual files such as Movies and TV shows. The original and official BitTorrent client tends to monopolize a connection so that other internet business cannot be carried during downloading though this has been resolved in an alternative free version

BitTorrent is different from other forms of P2P file sharing. With normal systems such as the Gnutella system, you will typically download a complete file from one source. In some cases the software allows you to download the one file from a number of contributing sources, thus speeding up the process. With BitTorrent, on the other hand, you download different bits of the file from a number of different sources (each file is split into about 1,000 pieces). This not only speeds up the transfer of large files around the network, but also allows you to upload a file at the same time as you are downloading it.

Some guy names Brian Dessent likened it to a book like so: A group of people around a table each have different pages of a book. They want to get the whole book, they let each other know what pages they have and what they require. Eventually the pages are passed around till a whole copy is obtained. If there are any pages missing, someone is available with the whole book (called a 'seed') who can supply what is missing to complete the book

Bram Cohen is the brainchild behind BitTorrent, which is therefore different to any other kind of P2P network. It works differently to other systems in its search facility: it has none! Users must first carry out a web search to find the file they require. There are, however, several BitTorrent search engines on the web such as Nabtor and TorrentSpy.

In addition to simultaneous downloading from multiples sources which is common with most of the modern P2P applications, eDonkey2000 also allows sharing of file segments where the file size is larger than 9.8M. As with BitTorrent, this allows you to upload a file while you are still downloading it so that the more popular files can be very rapidly distributed round the network. The problem with this is that sometimes the whole file cannot be found, and you are left with part of the file which you must complete at later date. This cannot happen with traditional P2P systems such as Gnutella (e.g. Limewire and Bearshare).
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To learn more about torrents and speeding them up, please visit Micro Torrent Download
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