“Microsoft ran into major bandwidth problems when they released the latest Beta of Windows 7 to the public. The company decided to delay the release while they added some more servers, citing “very heavy traffic”. If they had only used BitTorrent, this heavy traffic would have actually sped up distribution, instead of slowing it down.” – TorrentFreak.com (http://torrentfreak.com/windows-beta-7-rollout-fails-without-bittorrent-090110/)
TorrentFreak.com comments that if there were an official Windows 7 torrent from Microsoft, the bandwidth problem would have not occurred since the bandwidth usage would have been spread over P2P networks.
For those not familiar with P2P, it a file-sharing network that is decentralized so there is no single server or central location where files exist. They exist on each individual’s computer, so when they download a torrent file, their P2P software tells the “trackers” (Trackers are the individuals who have the file) that they are available to download.
You may have heard of some of the big names in the industry such as PirateBay.org. These sites can be very useful there are no actual files stored on PirateBay.org’s servers, just IPs of computers that have a particular file that is requested. This is the best-case scenario where if one tracker happens to go down, it doesn’t bring the whole network down and stop the flow of data.
Most of the P2P traffic tends to be “pirated” software or files. With the commercialization of several major sites like BitTorrent.com, major companies are now using it to lessen the strain on their servers. Linux Distros and EA both use BitTorrent to release the Warhammer Online Beta, and patches for other online games. Even NASA has used torrents to distribute high-quality images.
Thomas Edison’s recording device took a while to be embraced by the masses since they thought it was for “pirating” live music. Torrents and the P2P networks are a new technology that, once completely understood, can change the way we get huge amounts of data in the future.