Much like the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, peer-to-peer technologies can’t get no respect. Despite its obvious technological advantages, P2P has become a proverbial four-letter word. The technology seems to be tainted by its past, thanks to formerly popular applications such as Kazaa and Napster — which is really a shame, because researchers are doing some amazing work, especially in the field of P2P video streaming.
For example, take this new open-source P2P software from Uruguay called the GoalBit. Janko Roettgers over on NewTeeVee reports that GoalBit combines BitTorrent-like technologies with Kazaa-style “super-peers,” which allow data streams to get quickly distributed to computers with faster connections and then eventually to those of us with slower speeds. These super-peers can, in fact, be run by media companies themselves.
With video streaming becoming one of the primary activities on the web, it is clear that P2P will play a major role in the future because of our ever-escalating bandwidth needs. GoalBit is one of many P2P streaming applications. Its competitors include PPLive, which boasts 30 million active users per month; PPStream; and P2P Next, a European project funded with 14 million euros ($20.4 million) from the European Union. P2P Next is developing a set-top box version of SwarmPlayer, a streaming client it showed off in 2008.