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I am using a website that works by installing a P2P plugin and it works only on ie. It is a video streaming website.

The media player shows

  • Upload: x KBps
  • Download: y kBps

The value of y keeps changing which is fine, and x stays 0, but once in a while x gets a value too. Why is that? I am not sharing anything from my computer! Is it something I should be worried about?

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3 Answers 3

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In general, if you install on your computer something that you do not already fully trust, then you should definitely be worried.

But in the specific case of peer to peer, an upstream load is completely normal, in fact even if you do not upload anything, your client would send control data (that is also true for most client-server protocols), so a low upstream number might not even indicate you are uploading anything.

As to live streams, due to buffering nothing is really live on the Internet, it is still feasible to offload some server load by using peer to peer technology for the buffered data.

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There was a Question on Superuser asking how to set up a torrent server.

(The answer was that there's no such thing as a torrent server.)

We're not talking about a torrent server here, but the principles of sharing by P2P software will still apply.

When people install P2P software on their computers, they share files between themselves with no server involved.

Each user starts by downloading a relatively small torrent file which specifies a shared file. The P2P software allows them to download pieces of the shared file from the other users, and importantly share the pieces they already have with further users (by uploading).

The longer you stay connected to the peers, the more pieces of the file you have, and ultimately, of course, you're going to stay connected until you have all of the file.

There is a potential to share all of the file specified in the torrent. If you have downloaded all the shared file, there's a good chance you will have uploaded the entire file to someone else.

That's why it's called sharing.

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P2P means Peer-to-Peer. That means, you upload to others (pieces of the video/stream), while you watch the video. (Thus, help lifting off load from the Server.)
That's why it keeps going up (when an other viewer connects), and stays 0 (when there is no need for you to upload).

If you don't want to upload, use a simple video website, not a p2p one. (Vimeo, Youtube, etc.)

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but it's live stream. so how could I be possibly uploading? I haven't even specified what folder(s) I am sharing. Can you explain further? –  TPR Jul 3 '11 at 11:20
    
you share what you are viewing, pieces of the "live" stream. –  akira Jul 3 '11 at 11:24
    
@Akira: +1 | Live is not always LIVE in 1:1 meaning. There is a bit of a delay, even in TV. It is called "Delayed live". Online, they may add even a bit more (let's say, 15 sec), so people can distribute and cache that amount. –  Shiki Jul 3 '11 at 11:55

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