Also commonly known as uTP is a variant or BitTorrent protocol family. It is based on open UDP, which is recently been adopted by BitTorrent for the purpose of using trackers for downloading purpose. The TCP or Transmission Control Protocol is known for its tendency to eat-up a lot of bandwidth, crippling networks many times. This is why peer to peer file sharers are moving towards UDP based systems, which Micro Transfer Protocol is a part of. The advantage of using uTP is that it controls the problem of latency in torrents downloads and also the congestion issues over the internet, which as discussed above is a major issue with TCP based system. This one is quite reliable and ascertains delivery in an ordered fashion.

This technology was established to slow down, or in other words control the transmission of data packets when a user is downloading a file using the peer to peer method. It comes in action when there is interference due to other applications. For example, if a data packet is to transfer between the web browser and the network, this thing determines if there is need to reduce the traffic between the peer to peer protocol sharing and network or not. This way the networks is not weighed down, a disadvantage, pretty much visible with TCP based systems.

Development of uTP

Internet2, which is non-profit networking consortium based in USA is credited with the research on MTP. It was used by Plicto for the first time as a background transfer protocol. In 2006, it was acquired by BitTorrent for its p2p services and aimed to develop it further for better use. It was introduced in one of the BitTorrent client, famously known as uTorrent. The reason of the micro torrent was partly because of this protocol. Later on, it was published under a license by MIT and was separated from uTorrent in a library called libutp. After that, it was released with many different p2p sharing software for example, it was released with Vuze in the version 4.5, and with Ktorrent 4.0, which was the first free available client for torrent based download.

Two-part Operation

The operation of this protocol is based on two parts. First is the uTP framing, where the protocol uses the UDP based datagrams to save the data. However, it uses its own framing scheme to store it. The functionality of uTP’s scheme pretty much the same as TCP. The framing scheme used by this is not considered to be optimal, but it’s still considered to be better than TCP and other inefficient protocol. Next part of the operation is the congestion control, which is done using a complex algorithm, called LEDBAT or as Low Extra Delay Background Transport. The aim of this operation is, as mentioned above, is to reduce the effect of latency by increasing the limited bandwidth of the network, a feature that is missing in Transmission Control Protocol.