Routers, storage servers to integrate BitTorrent

Three network device manufacturers have announced plans to integrate native BitTorrent functionality into their routers, network-attached storage (NAS), and media servers. The move stems from a collaborative effort between BitTorrent and Asus, Planex, and QNAP that will result in the following devices gaining native support for the BitTorrent file distribution protocol:

  • ASUS WL-700gE Wireless Storage Router
  • ASUS WL-500gP Router
  • ASUS WL-500gW Router
  • Planex BRC-W14VG-BT Router
  • Planex BRC-14VG-BT Router
  • Planex BRC-W14V-BT Router
  • Planex BLW-HPMM-U Router
  • Planex BLW-HPMM-G Router
  • QNAP TS101 NAS Server
  • QNAP TS-201 NAS Server

The devices will feature a built-in BitTorrent client and download manager, allowing users to schedule and download files without needing to use a standard PC. As this report on Yahoo News points out, integrating BitTorrent into a storage or media server with an integrated hard drive will let users download large files overnight without having to leave their PC on. BitTorrent also sees the initiative as a means to push its protocol in the business sector, where it believes BitTorrent is an efficient and secure way to distribute legitimate content between users.

Comments closed
    • apsog33
    • 13 years ago

    sweet! zombie routers….

    • nonegatives
    • 13 years ago

    This may make bittorment decent for files that are not as popular. Having more seeds and sources online 24/7 instead of shutting down will be a big help. 1-2k downloads taking a week+ to finish does not sound efficient to me.

      • dragmor
      • 13 years ago

      This better come turned off by default. I would hate to plug a router into someone that is paying for a 200mb a month plan and see them get charged 15c/mb because the router comes with a default torrent or automatically downloads new firmware via bit torrent.

    • Flying Fox
    • 13 years ago

    No! Can’t turn off those folding nodes!

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    The less software running on routers facing the net the better.

    A NAS, maybe I can see it, but a router doesn’t, shouldn’t have something that is assured to be insecure at one point or another.

    The protocol is new, there will be flaws found, eventually, and exploitedg{<.<}g

      • Vertigo
      • 13 years ago

      I hate to tell you this, but there isn’t really any difference between running bittorrent on a router and allowing it to pass through the router and run on your PC. Either way, if the software has flaws, you’re going to get owned.

        • d2brothe
        • 13 years ago

        Add to that the point that if someone powned your router, thats one thing, if they hack into your PC and access all your files thats quite another (I’m of course assuming here, you have some measure of protection between your router and your home PC, even if it is only a windows network password)

    • ioport
    • 13 years ago

    Those devices need to implement PeerGuardian.

      • stmok
      • 13 years ago

      Devices like the ASUS products don’t use Windows, they use an embedded version of Linux (especially the ones mentioned in this news article). So you can’t put PeerGuardian on them. This version of Linux was developed by Broadcom. (as they make the processors and produce reference designs that are in these routers). Companies like Linksys and ASUS modify the reference design to suit their needs. (add their own GUI, design and produce their own external casing, etc).

      To get ipfiltering (in terms of blocking via blacklist), you have to cross-compile a solution called “MoBlock” (which is now part of PeerGuardian Project). The developer is pretty helpful if you run into any trouble. He is looking for WRT54G/GS/GL users to test his ipfiltering code. Since these ASUS products use essentially the same Linux base (and same processors, etc), you shouldn’t have too much of an issue…If you know what you’re doing!

      The problem with these solutions (especially the ASUS ones being mentioned), is that their firmware or software side just plain sucks. Its buggy and will give inept or “non-geek” computer users a hard time.

      My Uncle has the WL-500gP (P = Premium) model. Compared to my Linksys WRT54G v3.1, it has 32MB vs 16MB, and a CPU that runs at 266Mhz vs 216Mhz. (So you can do more with the ASUS one).

      We were able to download a DVD-sized Linux distro (CentOS 4.4) with it, but the interface for the BitTorrent part (from your PC to router) was a kludge. And for some reason, its “Windows Only”. (It wouldn’t be too hard to write your own Python app such that you can access the BitTorrent client on any OS).

      The official ASUS firmware is pretty buggy, and shouldn’t be released into a consumer product. (I notice two major issues)

      (1) Issues with Intel wireless cards. Its a known problem and you’ll experience it by the lower than usual wireless performance.

      (2) There is also security problem which allows ANYONE to login to the ftp part of the router! Thereby putting warez, porn, backdoors onto your USB storage device. (I highly suspect that ASUS doesn’t have much experience in the Linux dept…Especially setting up a server).

      The only good thing about this router is that its well-built (hardware) and that ASUS has complied with the GPL. (release the source code for the firmware).

      Routers like these are much more suitable for Linux enthusiasts or tinkers, because you’ll get annoyed with the official ASUS firmware pretty quickly. (If you have the skills you’ll build a custom one and properly test it yourself…Very likely do a much better job than ASUS!)

      From a security standpoint, I wouldn’t install unnecessary services on a router/firewall. Putting a BitTorrent client in there is asking for trouble. In effect, the more services you put on it, the more likely of possible holes. A firewall should be minimalistic and hardened…(A large part of comprises are because of misconfiguring the firewall or server, or not updating it to address security issues).

      On the other hand, if you have a very good idea of what you’re doing, you can make this work quite well. There are such BitTorrent clients that can be installed on PCs which are designated for firewalls/routers. They are often much more able than rushed commercial solutions.

    • kvndoom
    • 13 years ago

    Lawsuits, lawsuits, lawsuits… yummy…

    It’s a nice idea, but will be open for horrifying amounts of abuse.

    [cough] Pirate Bay [/cough]

    • ssway
    • 13 years ago

    “eeeeeerrrrrggghhh!!” – the sound of the net crumpling under the extreme traffic loads 3 months from now.

      • steelcity_ballin
      • 13 years ago

      ITS A SERIES OF TUBES! ITS NOT A TRUCK!

    • evermore
    • 13 years ago

    BitTorrent client in a router…but you don’t need a PC connected for it to work, according to the press release? Do they include a USB connector for external drive or what (since I doubt they could afford to put enough flash or even DRAM in it)? And does that drive then become a share on the network or do you have to move it to your computer to see the content? Or does it actually require a PC with a shared drive or a SAN running? In fact the press release says you don’t even need a PC to connect to the Internet and schedule your downloads!

    y[

      • Decelerate
      • 13 years ago

      Recent routers have intergrated HDDs or connectors for HDD/Flash storage, mostly to store media for access on many PCs without the need of wasting one PC’s bandwidth to act as server.

      It’s a rather nice little piece of news, though I wonder when I’ll jump on the bandwagon.

    • SpotTheCat
    • 13 years ago

    Once again, bittorrent is great for anime where the sites that like to release them don’t have the bandwidth to support it. They can have a tracker though and seed with everything they have.

    got bittorrent. go huge download overhead!

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