As ISPs choke file-sharing, users look elsewhere

As ISPs constrict file-sharing services such as Bittorrent, new data shows that users are moving to file-hosting Web sites to avoid the bandwidth lockdown.

As ISPs constrict file-sharing services such as BitTorrent, new data shows that users are moving to file-hosting Web sites to avoid slow downloads.

RapidShare and MegaUpload are among the most used file-hosting services. Together, the two sites account for 9 percent of all Internet traffic in the Middle East and 4 percent in Germany, according to iPoque, a company based in Leipzig, Germany, that specializes in traffic-management appliances for ISPs.

The percentages are significant since over the last year usage of file-sharing sites, which number in the dozens, has surged, said Klaus Mochalski, iPoque's CEO. The sites offer potentially faster download speeds for sharing files than peer-to-peer networks.

"These Web pages are tremendously popular," Mochalski said.

The services let users upload a file and then share a link, called a direct download link, in e-mails and Web forums for others to download the content. Most sites offer a free service with limits and subscriptions that allow more frequent downloads

IPoque published the data in its annual Internet Study 2007, which last year only covered P-to-P services, but now includes file-hosting services due to their popularity, Mochalski said.

iPoque's study look at data collected in August and September from ISPs and universities using its appliances in Australia, Eastern Europe, Germany, the Middle East and southern Europe.

The anonymous data consists of the Internet traffic patterns of about 1 million users. It provides a rare view into the composition of Internet traffic since ISPs tend to vigorously guard their data about their users due to privacy concerns.

The reason users are turning to file-hosting services is that many ISPs are restricting how fast people can download files through P-to-P services like eMule and BitTorrent. Although estimates vary by region, P-to-P traffic comprises between 50 percent and 90 percent of all Internet traffic, iPoque said.

The glut of movies, music and other content jamming the networks causes performance problems for other applications that need a certain amount of bandwidth in order to function properly, such as Skype's VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) application, Mochalski said.

Most ISPs are using traffic management technology, which can limit how much P-to-P traffic is allow to go through and prioritize other kinds of traffic. U.S. service provider Comcast came under fire in October after it acknowledged slowing down certain kinds of traffic. The company maintained it does not block specific kinds of traffic.

For smaller ISPs that must buy bandwidth from larger providers, traffic management has become a necessity to maintain service on their networks, Mochalski said.

"At certain ISPs, P-to-P hits 95 percent [of all traffic]," Mochalski said. "You can imagine how slow your network gets."

The music and film industry have been particularly sensitive to P-to-P file sharing and have continued a long-running legal battle to sue users who trade copyright files without authorization.

Both RapidShare and MegaUpload prohibit the uploading of copyright files without authorization from the copyright holder, and MegaUpload's terms and conditions says unauthorized files under copyright will be removed if the company is notified. MegaUpload is based on Hong Kong, and RapidShare's customers support line rings to Switzerland.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?