Easier setup in µTorrent 2.0 and Measurement Lab collaboration

January 25, 2010

With the release of µTorrent 2.0 Beta, there has been a lot of great coverage and discussion of µTP and what it means to be “network friendly”.  This is an important change to the BitTorrent landscape and will surely be the subject of more discussion and debate, but there are some other features in 2.0 that are worth highlighting.  One of these is the improvements to the setup guide and our first collaboration with Measurement Lab.

While BitTorrent is a relatively mature technology with a sizable global user-base, we have to admit, the learning curve can be steep for some users.  One of the reasons for this is the fact that µTorrent is one of the most powerful network applications a user is ever likely to install, and even the simplest home network is often difficult to set-up and manage.  Configuring your µTorrent client to match your network is an important step that will make for a better user experience.

In µTorrent 2.0 Beta we have sought to streamline this operation by automating the configuration process in the setup guide.  With just a click or two, users can now test their internet connection speed, see how their router handles connections, and then optimize their client to their own network.  We think these features will simplify the experience for new users and make it easier for everyone to get the best results from µTorrent.

To accurately configure µTorrent for optimal performance, it’s helpful to know the bandwidth available to the client.  Traditionally, we have expected users to go to another site to perform a test, understand the results and translate them to the client’s configuration settings.  With µTorrent 2.0 we have integrated the speed testing into the setup guide.  To do this we have partnered with Measurement Lab, which provides the testing tools and infrastructure.

Measurement Lab Collaboration

Founded by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, Google, Inc. and academic network researchers, Measurement Lab (M-Lab) is an open, distributed server platform for researchers to deploy active network measurement tools to measure real-world broadband connectivity.  M-Lab’s goal to “advance network research and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections,” is one we at BitTorrent would like to support.

Our speed test relies on the Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT) servers hosted at M-Lab sites around the world.  The non-personally identifiable data generated by these tests (data collection info here) will be made available to researchers through M-Lab under a Creative Commons Zero license.  Given µTorrent’s substantial user-base, we are hopeful that this data will stimulate new research into the state of the Internet and support the public debate with unbiased measurement data.

M-Lab is supporting important research into how our Internet is actually performing and informing the debate on how this shared resource should be managed.  We plan introduce more M-Labs tools to users in the near future with the hope that empowering users with data about their broadband services will lead to more informed policy debate and better consumer experiences.  In the meantime, we invite you to learn a little more about your broadband connection by exploring some of the other tools at www.measurementlab.net.

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