Monday, June 20, 2005

Swarming Technology

Onion Networks: Swarming Technology: "A swarming download begins just like a normal client/server download where the first client connects directly to the server and starts receiving data. The similarities end here. Rather than sending out the entire file in a single response, the server breaks the file up into small pieces and begins sending some of those pieces to the first client. Meanwhile, a second client may begin its download process by also contacting the server. The server will also send the second client pieces of the file, but these pieces will be different than the ones being sent to the first client.

Simultaneously, the first client will begin sending some of its file pieces to the second client and likewise the second client will send some of its file pieces to the first client. As the network grows, the distinction between client and server blurs, with the network simply evolving into a grid of file transfer nodes all working together to accelerate the file transfer process.

This approach provides dramatic performance improvements and is highly reliable due to the massive redundancy of file sources in the network. At the same time, more of the bandwidth burden of the system is offloaded from the single server onto the rest of the network, allowing delivery of huge files to large audiences without a large amount of bandwidth at the origin server.

For a visual of the process, check out the the Swarming Simulation."

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