Editor’s Note: The NetEqualizer has always been able to thwart P2P behavior on a network. However, our new utility can now pinpoint an individual P2P user or gamer without any controversial layer-7 packet inspection. This is an extremely important step from a privacy point of view as we can actually spot P2P users without looking at any private data.
A couple of months ago, I was doing a basic health check on a customer’s heavily used residential network. In the process, I instructed the NetEqualizer to take a few live snapshots. I then used the network data to do some filtering with custom software scripts. Within just a few minutes, I was able to inform the administrator that eight users on his network were doing some heavy P2P, and one in particular looked to be hosting a gaming session. This was news to the customer, as his previous tools didn’t provide that kind of detail.
A few days later, I decided to formally write up my notes and techniques for monitoring a live system to share on the blog. But, as I got started, another lightbulb went on…in the end, many customers just want to know the basics — who is using P2P, hosting game servers, etc. They don’t always have the time to follow a manual diagnostic recipe.
So, with this in mind, instead of writing up the manual notes, I spent the next few weeks automating and testing an intelligent utility to provide this information. The utility is now available with NetEqualizer 5.0.
The utility provides:
- A list of users that are suspected of using P2P
- A list of users that are likely hosting gaming servers
- A confidence rating for each user (from high to low)
- The option of tracking users by IP and MAC address
The key to determining a user’s behavior is the analysis of the fluctuations in their connection counts and total number of connections. We take snapshots over a few seconds, and like a good detective, we’ve learned how to differentiate P2P use from gaming, Web browsing and even video. We can do this without using any deep packet inspection. It’s all based on human-factor heuristics and years of practice.
Enclosed is a screen shot of the new P2P Locator, available under our Reports & Graphing menu.
Contact us to learn more about the NetEqualizer P2P Locator Technology or NetEqualizer 5.0. For more information about ongoing changes and challenges with BitTorrent and P2P, see Ars Technica’s “BitTorrent Has New Plan to Shape Up P2P Behavior.”