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Rarest First and Choke Algorithms Are Enough

Guillaume Urvoy-Keller
Pietro Michiardi
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The performance of peer-to-peer file replication comes from its piece and peer selection strategies. Two such strategies have been introduced by the BitTorrent protocol: the rarest first and choke algorithms. Whereas it is commonly admitted that BitTorrent performs well, recent studies have proposed the replacement of the rarest first and choke algorithms in order to improve efficiency and fairness. In this paper, we advocate that the replacement of the rarest first and choke algorithms cannot be justified in the context of peer-to-peer file replication in the Internet based on real experiments. We instrumented a BitTorrent client and ran experiments on real torrents with different characteristics. Our experimental evaluation is peer oriented, instead of tracker oriented, which allows us to get detailed information on all exchanged messages and protocol events. We go beyond the mere observation of the good efficiency of both algorithms. We show that the rarest first algorithm guarantees a diversity of the pieces among peers close to the ideal one. In particular, on our experiments, a replacement of the rarest first algorithm with a source or network coding solution cannot be justified. We also show that the choke algorithm in its latest version fosters reciprocation and is robust to free riders. In particular, the choke algorithm is fair and its replacement with a bit level tit-for-tat solution is not appropriate. Finally, we identify new areas of improvements for efficient peer-to-peer file replication protocols.
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Dates and versions

inria-00001111 , version 1 (13-02-2006)
inria-00001111 , version 2 (01-06-2006)
inria-00001111 , version 3 (06-09-2006)


  • HAL Id : inria-00001111 , version 1


Arnaud Legout, Guillaume Urvoy-Keller, Pietro Michiardi. Rarest First and Choke Algorithms Are Enough. [Research Report] 2006. ⟨inria-00001111v1⟩
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