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I read in places that BitTorrent is either not very good on a LAN, or brings no benefit.

It seems that for file sharing though, it could be in theory a good way of things in a corporate environment ?

  1. Is it really inappropriate for LANs ?
  2. It would have be private of course: no way should any data leave the corporate n/w.
  3. Would we need a 'tracker' server to publish things ?

Thanks,

John

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 19 '09 at 16:28

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It's great because you can then load it up on your portable player of choice and watch your TV shows on the ride home from work. –  random Oct 19 '09 at 16:28
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@runDown That's just a benefit of having a the files published on your LAN. the distribution method is irrelevant there. –  Colin Pickard Oct 19 '09 at 16:31
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The obvious way to keep it private is through use of firewalls and not publishing the tracker outside of your office. Trackers themselves do need to be published, as I remember.

The basic problem that BitTorrent is solving is how to get thousands of people to efficiently download at high speed from a point source on the Internet. The bottleneck in this situation is the connection from the server to the Internet; after that, the packets go in all different directions on different connections. In an office LAN, the equivalent connection is going to be the Ethernet cable from the server to the switch, and the easiest way to reduce that as a bottleneck is to use gigabit Ethernet, not to use a complicated software solution. It's also possible that the bottleneck is the switch itself that is routing the packets; in a case like this, the speed of distribution will entirely depend on the switch, and BitTorrent will actually slow things down (on a local and global basis) by adding overhead to the file transfers.

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There are two benefits of bittorrent:

  • Files are distributed and therefore less likely to go away.
  • Fast file transfer thanks to many people serving a file.

In a LAN the connection is usually the limiting speed factor, not the server.

The benefit of distributed files is often not needed because there is usually a reliable server.

Bittorrent is quite bad for the network because it opens up many connections and can block other people from using the internet.

I'd not use it for file distribution in a LAN.

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BitTorrent is great for distributing files where you don't need a big server (farm) hosting the file, as clients also become servers and as the popularity of the file grows, so does the capacity for distributing the file. This is where the brilliance of BT lies, and why it is a very good for low/no-budget operations to distribute data to a large "audience". Robustness is also a factor.

For LAN these conditions are not at all present, and you are better off with traditional technologies.

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