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UTP protocol: what it is, how it works and its importance in P2P networks

What is the uTP protocol

The uTP protocol is the acronym for Micro Transport Protocol. It works over UDP and acts as an alternative to TCP. It is used by the BitTorrent application, which is used to download files through P2P. It is also known as the uTorrent transport protocol.

It is basically a transport protocol whose differential point is that it uses unidirectional delay measures for its congestion controller. Keep in mind that an obvious problem that happens to many users is that when using BitTorrent the connection stops working correctly. It gets congested and it becomes difficult or even impossible to navigate normally, download other files, etc. Of course, it also depends on the connection we have.

This protocol was created to avoid this problem. Allows users to use Bittorrent without the need for the connection to be interrupted, since they can continue to use the bandwidth that remains free as normal. For example, they can continue to use the cloud, the browser or any program that connects to the network.

Why does this problem that we indicate occurs? BitTorrent uses multiple TCP connections. What this does is that it competes better against other programs and services when it comes to using the available bandwidth. It basically causes the rest to not be able to use it normally. This occurs because by having more TCP connections, it will have a greater part of the bandwidth as it is distributed proportionally to the connections.

The uTP protocol avoids limiting the program

One option was simply limit bandwidth usage BitTorrent program. For example, we could limit it to 50 or 75% and we always guaranteed a part for the rest of the devices and connections that we have to use, without problems.

But of course, this also creates problems. The user may not know exactly the limits of their connection, what percentage to apply, etc. You may not really get an upgrade and it might even cause BitTorrent to not work as it should.

This problem is solved by uTP protocol. What exactly does it do? It uses the bandwidth completely when there is no other application or service that needs to use it and reduces it even to the maximum if there is any other connection that needs to use the network bandwidth.

In this way we can use BitTorrent and make the most of its operation, but at the same time we are not interrupting the connection and leaving other devices without the Internet or even our own computer if we are going to use another program to access the Internet, such as simply browsing web pages.

In an ideal scenario, BitTorrent will use 100% of the available connection when there is no competition that needs to use the bandwidth and, in the opposite case, other services and devices will be able to use 100% of the bandwidth when necessary and automatically the downloader app will stop using it.

So what uTP does is use the TCP-based congestion control. uTorrent will not saturate the network, even though we do not have a connection limit assigned. A protocol that will allow downloading by this means and at the same time keep the connection in good condition.

Differences between P2P, torrent and direct downloads

Tips to improve BitTorrent download

We have explained what the uTP protocol is and how it works. Now, can we do something so that BitTorrent downloads go better and not have problems? We are going to give some interesting tips for it. It can especially be useful for those who have a limited connection.

Always use up-to-date programs

The first thing is to always have the programs updated correctly. This will allow us to make the most of resources, have all the news and make them work as well as possible. Very important both when talking about the BitTorrent program as well as the operating system itself or any other tool that we use.

This will also help us avoid security problems, as vulnerabilities sometimes appear that can be used by hackers to put our computers at risk. By installing the latest patches and updates we can avoid this problem.

Download the application from official sites

It is also important to focus on the program that we are going to use. There are different applications and although they all have the same end goal, not all of them will work the same. It is important to use one that is lightweight, runs smoothly, and works properly.

In addition, it is essential that we always download it from official and reliable sites. We must avoid third-party pages, since we could be installing a program that has been maliciously modified or that does not work properly.

Configure security programs

This is important. If we want BitTorrent to work well, it is essential set up well if we have an antivirus or firewall installed. For example, the firewall could be limiting the application’s connection and causing problems when downloading files. Also the antivirus, such as Windows Defender, Avast, Bitdefender or any other that we have, could be wrongly configured and be blocking certain applications.

Therefore, checking well that there is no security program interfering with BitTorrent is a good idea. We can always create rules in the Windows firewall so that it does not act on this application and thus make it work normally.

In short, the uTP protocol is very important today for BitTorrent connections. It avoids problems with connectivity by consuming all the bandwidth and thus being able to continue using other programs or devices connected to the network. In addition, we have also explained some tips to make the downloads work well and not have problems with speed.

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