When you think of BitTorrent, you usually think of kids in peer-to-peer networks illegally sharing and downloading music and movies. Northwestern University's AquaLab is trying to change all that with an innovative new use for BitTorret - monitoring network health. Wired Campus: Researchers Create 'Neighborhood Watch' System to Detect Network Problems
researchers at Northwestern University set up a new system that borrows a page from brick-and-mortar neighborhood-watch programs to keep an eye out for network problems.Read about other projects at AquaLab here.
The researchers have asked users across the Internet to download a piece of software that looks for performance abnormalities on local networks and reports them back to a central repository. That allows an Internet-service company to look in on the system — called the Network Early Warning System, or NEWS — and detect any unusual concentrations of network-traffic problems that might indicate an area of the network that needs repair.
The system uses BitTorrent, a popular method for peer-to-peer file trading that many students use to trade music and movie files. The software tool is free, but requires users to first download a BitTorrent client called Vuze.