Video Labs: P2P Next Community CDN for Video Distribution

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As Wikimedia and the community embark on campaigns and programs to increase video contribution and usage on the site, we are starting to see video usage on Wikimedia sites grow and we hope for it to grow a great deal more. One potential problem with increased video usage on the Wikimedia sites is that video is many times more costly to distribute than text and images that make up Wikipedia articles today. Eventually bandwidth costs could saturate the foundation budget or leave less resources for other projects and programs. For this reason it is important to start exploring and experimenting with future content distribution platforms and partnerships.
The P2P-Next consortium is an EU-funded project exploring the future of Internet video distribution. Their aims are to dramatically reduce the costs of video distribution through community CDNs and P2P technology. They recently presented at Gdansk Wikimania 2010, and today I am happy to invite the Wikimedia community to try out their latest experimental efforts to greatly reduce video distribution costs. Swarmplayer V2.0 is being released today for Firefox (an Internet Explorer plugin is in testing). The Swamplayer enables visitors to easily share their upload bandwidth to help distribute video. The add-on works with the Kaltura HTML5 library ( aka mwEmbed ) and, to enable visitors to help offset distribute costs of any Ogg Theora video embed in any web page.

Image (1) next15.png for post 3834
Swarmplayer next design overview, learn more on

We have enabled this for Wikimedia video via the multimedia beta. Once you installed the add-on any video you view on Wikimedia sites with the multimedia beta enabled will be transparently streamed via bittorrent. The add-on includes simple tools to configure how much bandwidth you use to upload. Even if you upload nothing, using the add-on helps distribute load by playing the video from the P2P network and the local cache on subsequent views. The Swarmplayer has clever performance tuning which downloads high priority pieces over http while getting low priority bits of the video from the bittorrent swarm. This ensures a smooth playback experience while maximizing use of the P2P network. You can learn more about the technology on the Swam player add-on site
The P2P Next Team from Delft University of Technology will be presenting the P2P-Next project at the Open Video Conference on October 2nd.
Michael Dale, Open Source Video Collaboration Technology

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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This is very cool stuff! Is there a way you can see how much you uploaded?

In effect, the supplier of the torrent is donating their bandwidth (and associated costs) to the WMF.

Is there a list of .torrent files available via Swarmplayer? I think some people wouldn’t mind downloading them and seeding them manually via their existing BitTorrent client to help out viewers using Swarmplayer. I’d definitely like to help out in this way.
Ideally, the list would be prioritized by which files need the most seeding, but any list would be nice.

We have here a wonderful chance to collaborate with the Mozilla Foundation for the implementation in Firefox of the Metalink protocol (also for the bittorrent protocol):
This would be a really long term initiative, but IMO one of the most elegant solution.

Its really too bad we have companies like Rogers and Bell Canada throttling bit torrent traffic. This is the majority of all of Ontario and more that will not be able to participate even though they want to..
Its a damn shame these companies would rather thwart innovation than help and encourage it.

@Denver: It’s using and from my looking at the source code, it doesn’t allow listing the torrents. One option would be to try to get torrents for all videos on Wiki(p|m)edia, but that would actually create the torrents.

Paul Chabot :
Its really too bad we have companies like Rogers and Bell Canada throttling bit torrent traffic.

I used to work at Bell Canada and to tell you i just think that in order to permit this we would just need to modify the entity “torrent” for another entity (i.e. “community file sharing”) because the word “torrent” is associated with “illegal” and would give bad press to those large corporations. Here’s a good forum post about Bell Customers and Throttling :

Amazing site! More power!

It is Power! The downside is that you can not see how much you uploaded at first glance. It is not obvious. I guess. But thank you for letting us all know.

Hi! im trying to setup a wiki at and i can’t seem to understand a few things (ahemmm! a lot of things)
but i’m concern most about changing the link of the logo at the upper left corner.
Can any body help me?

Hi Michael,
have you considered using MirrorBrain? It’s a torrent and metalink generator, and download redirector, scalable and it supports fallback HTTP seeds. It tries to combine the best of P2P world and mirror-based CDNs, for example by adding just those HTTP seeds that are close to the client by geolocation. It can also integrate with commercial CDNs.
Don’t know if it would fit your bill. If not, there still might be knowledge and code we could share.
If you’d like to take a closer look, I’d be thrilled in helping with that.
Peter, developer

I wish there was a plugin for Google Chrome!