Several Internet providers in India have found a clever way to reduce the load BitTorrent transfers put on their network, while pleasing their torrenting subscribers at the same time. They’ve teamed up with Torbox.net which offers a fully fledged torrent search engine that connects users to ‘local’ peers to guarantee maximum download speeds.
From a networking perspective most Internet providers are generally not very happy with BitTorrent users.
These users place a heavy load on the network and can reduce the performance experienced by other subscribers. In addition, the huge amount of data transferred outside the ISPs’ own networks is also very costly.
Some ISPs are trying to alleviate the problem by throttling or otherwise meddling with BitTorrent traffic, but there is a more customer-friendly solution.
Instead of working against their torrenting subscribers, various Internet providers in India have found a win-win solution. They help users to download content faster by linking them to local peers in their own network.
ISPs such as Alliance Broadband, Excitel, Syscon Infoway and True Broadband, have been offering accelerated torrents for a while. Some have had their own custom ‘caching’ setups but increasingly they are teaming up with the torrent search engineTorbox.
While not well-known in the rest of the world, Torbox is a blessing for many Indians who are lucky enough to have an ISP that works with the site.
Through Torbox they can download torrents at speeds much higher than their regular Internet connection allows. This is possible because Torbox links them to peers in the local network, which means that the traffic is free for the ISP.
Most people who visit Torbox will see a notice that their ISP doesn’t have a peering agreement. However, for those who have a supporting ISP the torrent site returns search results ordering torrents based on the proximity of downloaders.
Torbox uses downloaders’ IP-addresses to determine who their ISP is and directs them to torrents with peers on the same network.
“It’s a highly sophisticated IP technology based on network proximity,” Torbox explains, adding that every ISP is welcome to sign a peering agreement.
“Then based on your IP address TorBox can estimate how well you are connected to peers who have the content in question. It’s quite a tough job but luckily it works,” they add.
The downloads themselves go through a regular torrent client and don’t use any special trackers. However, the torrent swarms often connect to dedicated “cache peers” as well, which serve bits and pieces to speed up the swarm.
Torbox itself doesn’t get involved in the traffic side, they only point people to the “peering” torrents. The actual peering is handled by other services, such as Extreme Peering, which is operated by Extreme Broadband Services (EBS).
“It all creates a very powerful user experience, so in fact just about 10-20% of all torrent traffic comes from the upstream and everything else is local,” Francess says.
As for the content, Torbox links to the torrents you would generally find on a torrent site. It even has a handy catalog page featuring some recent blockbusters and other popular videos. This page also advertises Strem.io as a service that can be used to stream video torrents directly.