pCDN : Peer-to-peer delivery by CBC/Radio-Canada
One of the latest and last projects I was involved in at CBC/Radio-Canada was with the integration of pCDN, a pilot project that consists in contents delivery through peer-to-peer, and implemented on Bande à part's (aka the French CBC Radio 3) summer podcast feed. Here is the website that was launched this week by Bande à part: https://bandeapart.fm/pcdn/.
pCDN was developed by the Network Systems Lab at Simon Fraser University in the Vancouver area, along with CBC/Radio-Canada's Strategy & Planning based in Montreal. Here is a published paper written for the company's technology review by the main people involved in the project.
Bernard has told me that peer-to-peer delivery systems were already common in the USA. I remember using a system developed at CNN during the night of Obama's win. pCDN is just for progressive downloads, as far as I know.
The idea of using "BitTorrent"-like delivery helps alleviate traffic between users and contents delivery servers by redistributing it between users. It's a win-win situation for both the users and the big contents providers. It's potentially an alternative to today's pervasive, but costly, mirroring services such as Akamai.
It remains to see if it actually speeds up downloading. From an observer's point of view, it will become most noticeable when server-to-peer becomes a bottleneck. From a geek-user's point-of-view, I can't wait for when/if we extend the service to other potentially downloadable contents (full-length shows anyone?).
I'm on Linux (Ubuntu Jaunty) and tried pCDN on this platform. pCDN's source code is in Java, thus it's cross-platform. I downloaded this package and tried the links on the pCDN-specific podcast feed. Extract the archive (it's going to be a hidden folder named .cbc-pcdn) and in your terminal or otherwise, execute "launch.sh". This starts pCDN on your local computer and makes it "ready" to receive requests to download (and upload back), as you would for any P2P program like uTorrent or Transmission.
After starting pCDN, make sure to upgrade to the latest version (right-click the icon for "Mise à jour").
You will notice that the links in the podcast feed are all in the form of "localhost:54321/__SOME_HASH__.extension". When you click on them, they call pCDN and it is checked through the system whether this file is available among other connected peers. If not, it will download from some central "seed" server. Tadaa!
(The feed itself is a must-listen... It's music selected by Pascal Asselin, a electronic music artist better known as Quebec City's Millimetrik.)
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