Windows 10 to support peer-to-peer downloading of apps and updates

Windows 10 logoWe're still waiting for a public update to the Windows 10 technical preview, but candidate builds are continuing to leak from Redmond.

Last week we saw that build 10031 had made the Start menu translucent. This week, build 10036 has leaked. Perhaps its most interesting new feature? It'll support peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading of both apps and operating system updates.

Peer-to-peer downloads will be optional, and if enabled they will support two modes: systems will be able to either retrieve updates from other machines on the same local network, or from both the local network and PCs on the Internet.

With Windows moving to a model that sees Microsoft releasing more updates more often, this is a natural addition. While not a problem faced by enterprise deployments, having multiple Windows systems in the home tends to make updating rather bandwidth hungry. Every machine on a network needs to download updates itself, and with major updates sometimes weighing in at several gigabytes, this can waste a lot of time and, for those on metered connections, burn through the precious bandwidth allowance.

Enterprises have been able to avoid this wastage through WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), which downloads the updates once to a local update server. Machines then use this as the source of their patches.

It's not immediately clear what technology is used for the peer-to-peer patching. Windows has included its own P2P API since Windows XP Service Pack 1, but this API appears to be used by little or no software. In 2013, Microsoft bought Pando Networks, a company developing BitTorrent-like P2P software that included dedicated servers and smart bandwidth throttling. This would feel like a natural fit for Windows patch distribution.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, OSes, Windows 10

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