GetRight and BitTorrent's DHT Network

GetRight® and BitTorrent™'s DHT Network

GetRight 6.1 and higher supports the BitTorrent™ DHT Network. (Distributed Hash Table Network).

To start, you likely are asking: What is BitTorrent's DHT Network?
The DHT Network is for sharing contact information, so people downloading the same file can discover each other.

It is like the Six Degrees of Separation idea, where if you go from a friend to a friend's friend to a friend's friend's friend, within six friend jumps, you can have a connection between any two people on Earth. (Or even more fun is Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, doing the same with actors in films.)

The DHT Network lets computers do that. Your computer would have a small number of friends ("peers"), and when it needs to find the people downloading the same Torrent™ file you are, it would start with its peers (friends), who would direct you peers that are closer to what you want, and those would direct you ever-closer to the one you want. After repeating the process a few times, you'll find the peer with the information you need.

What does this do for me?
A regular BitTorrent download has a central server computer that helps coordinate all the people downloading, helping them find each other, etc.

With the DHT Network, no central server computer is needed, people downloading Torrents all help each other track who is downloading the same file you are.

What information is sent when doing this?
The information that is sent:
  1. Your IP address (and port). This is required and lets other computers know where you are, and how they can contact you.
  2. A made up Unique ID number, which is unique for your computer, but has no personal details. It's a number that looks much like this: A9B2CE3737F8A847D8F1B5C595697FE50E1DFA9B. This number uniquely identifies you in the huge number of members in the DHT Network, and is required for the system to work.
  3. The ID for the Torrent you're downloading, which is the same sort of very-long number as the ID for your computer. This is required to find other people downloading a Torrent with the same ID. (You may see it called an Info Hash, BitTorrent's official name for this ID.)

In the GetRight configuration (the Downloads---BitTorrent---DHT Network page) should I turn it on all the time, or just when needed?
All the time means whenever GetRight is running, it will be part of the DHT Network. This does use a little amount of bandwidth and memory (in my testing, the highest I've seen was 3 KB per second, usually it has been less, more like 0.5 KB/sec or less.)
But that does mean if you connect to the Internet using a modem or have a very slow connection, you probably do not want this running all the time!

Just when needed will start the DHT Network in GetRight only when you start a download that uses it. After it is started, GetRight will keep the DHT Network running until GetRight is closed.
Once it starts the DHT Network, you will be helping other people find each other. Leaving it running until GetRight closes helps keep everyone finding the information they need (including helping You find the information next time!)

And you can of course also turn it off (on the same configuation page in GetRight) and never use it.

The choice is up to you--but you would want a DSL or Cable or other fast connection to have it running all the time.

Does this share files I am downloading or have downloaded?
  1. For files you have already downloaded, NO.
  2. For a regular HTTP or FTP download, NO.
  3. For files you are downloading that are a BitTorrent download that is using the DHT Network, it does share the ID for the file--so you can find where to get the file. But the file itself is not shared by the DHT Network (but can be shared by the BitTorrent part. More about that.)


Some thanks for help with this...
  • Bram Cohen for creating this whole BitTorrent protocol!
  • for posting details about the DHT Network protocol so I could add it to GetRight.
  • Petar Maymounkov and David Mazieres for the Kademlia protocol, which is used for the DHT Network.
  • Legal

    BitTorrent and Torrent are trademarks of BitTorrent, Inc.