Modeling, simulations, and experiments to balance performance and fairness in P2P file-sharing systems



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Kansas State University


In this dissertation, we investigate research gaps still existing in P2P file-sharing systems: the necessity of fairness maintenance during the content information publishing/retrieving process, and the stranger policies on P2P fairness.

First, through a wide range of measurements in the KAD network, we present the impact of a poorly designed incentive fairness policy on the performance of looking up content information. The KAD network, designed to help peers publish and retrieve sharing information, adopts a distributed hash table (DHT) technology and combines itself into the aMule/eMule P2P file-sharing network. We develop a distributed measurement framework that employs multiple test nodes running on the PlanetLab testbed. During the measurements, the routing tables of around 20,000 peers are crawled and analyzed. More than 3,000,000 pieces of source location information from the publishing tables of multiple peers are retrieved and contacted. Based on these measurements, we show that the routing table is well maintained, while the maintenance policy for the source-location-information publishing table is not well designed. Both the current maintenance schedule for the publishing table and the poor incentive policy on publishing peers eventually result in the low availability of the publishing table, which accordingly cause low lookup performance of the KAD network. Moreover, we propose three possible solutions to address these issues: the self-maintenance scheme with short period renewal interval, the chunk-based publishing/retrieving scheme, and the fairness scheme.

Second, using both numerical analyses and agent-based simulations, we evaluate the impact of different stranger policies on system performance and fairness. We explore that the extremely restricting stranger policy brings the best fairness at a cost of performance degradation. The varying tendency of performance and fairness under different stranger policies are not consistent. A trade-off exists between controlling free-riding and maintaining system performance. Thus, P2P designers are required to tackle strangers carefully according to their individual design goals. We also show that BitTorrent prefers to maintain fairness with an extremely restricting stranger policy, while aMule/eMule’s fully rewarding stranger policy promotes free-riders’ benefit.



P2P file-sharing system, Distributed hash table, Performance, Fairness

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Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Major Professor

Don M. Gruenbacher; Caterina M. Scoglio