Peer-to-Peer Work in the IETF: ALTO

Invited talk, Internet Society’s Internet ON event, December 8, 2010 (San Francisco, CA)

This presentation looks at peer-to-peer work in the IETF, with a focus on ALTO, the application level transport optimization protocol. ALTO represents the embodiment of what can happen when different communities work together towards a common goal. In the case of ALTO, formerly antagonistic players came together. In particular, Internet service providers, who were known to block or impair peer-to-peer traffic, got together with peer-to-peer network developers, who were known to consume a disproportionate share of network capacity, often without respect for the principles of end-to-end congestion control. By working together and in conjunction with other experts, users, operators, and interested parties, ALTO is offering the promise of a better experience for users, which is the goal of peer-to-peer developers, while at the same time reducing operators’ infrastructure and transit costs.

After introducing ALTO, this session describes how ALTO works, what open issues remain, and what session participants can do to contribute to the work on ALTO and other peer-to-peer protocols.