Unveiling BitTyrant: when the devil is not so black as he is painted

Carra, Damiano; Neglia, Giovanni; Michiardi, Pietro
Technical Report RR-08-209

This work focuses on BitTyrant, a strategic client that has been recently proposed as an alternative to BitTorrent. BitTyrant tries to determine the exact amount of contribution necessary to maximize its download rate by dynamically adapting and shaping the upload rate allocated to its neighbors. In this paper we analyze in details the various mechanisms used by BitTyrant and precisely identify their contribution to the increased performance of the client. Our findings indicate that the performance gain is due to the increased number of connections established by a BitTyrant client, rather than for its subtle uplink allocation algorithm; surprisingly, BitTyrant reveals to be altruistic and particularly efficient in disseminating the content, especially during the initial phase of the distribution process. The apparent gain of a single BitTyrant client, however, disappears in the case of a widespread adoption: our results indicate a severe loss of efficiency that we analyzed in details. In contrast, a widespread adoption of the latest version of the mainline BitTorrent client would provide increased benefit for all peers. 

Data Science
Eurecom Ref:
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