I need to host lan torrents for a lanparty coming up.
June 17, 2009 2:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking at an efficient way to distribute large files to multiple computers over my lan, I need to know how to do this and whats involved. I was thinking that since I have a dedicated server in my home that hosting the files via private lan'd bit torrent would be the weapon of choice as the file transfer speed increases exponentially. My server is running a version of ubuntu so whatever software I will need must run in ubuntu. The clients downloading the files will probably be running windows boxes so Utorrent can be used and would be preferred. Are there any specific things that I need to turn on in Utorrent to do this via lan or will it essentially be seamless as long as the tracker is my server?

These file transfers need to go as quickly and as hassle free as physically possible. I need to be able to either access this tracker via http or ssh as it has no video card installed at this time. I can XDCMP into the box aswell as its on a lan its secure enough for what xdcmp is used for.

I have thought about running around with usb drives but I just installed gigabit lan cabling and hardware throughout my home so this would be MUCH faster if I could set this up once and essentially forget it. Also this dedicated server needs to host and track the torrent files.
posted by Chamunks to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Also the server needs to seed the original files.
posted by Chamunks at 2:43 AM on June 17, 2009

Best answer: Should be fine and speeds will be excellent if you have a lot of people sharing.

However, when you create the torrent remember to disable DHT, or trackerless torrenting or you might find your data being shared over the internet.
posted by puddpunk at 3:31 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

A slightly different take: maybe you want to try dropbox (getdropbox.com) or the new incarnation of what used to be windows foldershare.
posted by london302 at 3:56 AM on June 17, 2009

Best answer: A DC++ server would also be a good way to go about this. It allows in-program searching, downloading a file in parts from multiple sources, and each person to share their own files easily. I believe most larger lan parties use this program to distribute. This way you wouldn't have to set up a separate site listing the available torrents. I get 1-10MB/s on it in a large student housing with many users. Yours would probably be faster. So while it may not be able to seed while downloading, it's so fast, it really doesn't matter too much. (700MB in say, a minute)

Here is the link to the server software. I recommend the vanilla or Apex clients.

Other similar options are WASTE (no server setup, a distributed network instead, relying on exchange of public keys and a common network name), and Alliance (like waste, but with a more XP-like GUI and occasionally buggy)

All of these have a common chat area and private messaging for users, which is especially nice for lan parties and telling people what they need to do.
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:17 AM on June 17, 2009

Best answer: Oops, forgot your server is running linux. Both WASTE and Alliance have linux flavors, but the DC++ link wasn't for linux. Try OpenDC instead.
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:21 AM on June 17, 2009

Unless you LAN is huge, I'm not sure bittorrent would do the job well. Seems like too much overhead- wasn't it designed to reduce the upload requirements of the clients while increasing the speed of the downloads? On a LAN, this is probably redundant. Sounds like you just need a file server. Why not just install a Samba server? Windows clients will be able to hook up to it without installing any kind of client, and the speed is pretty good. That's what I use on my network- it takes a little bit of figuring out to get it running, but I'd imagine that any serving service will. The trick is to make sure the samba server has usernames and passwords that match the clients, and that the files you are sharing have the proper permissions. I use the "force user" "force group"in the smb.conf and then all the files will have the username you specify, and all the clients will authenticate as themselves, but be able to see all the objects- after that, it is seamless. If you are all linux, maybe something like NFS?

Another positive of doing it the windows way is that you can set up "offline files" for the clients, and whenever they are on the network, they will automatically sync up the files/directories that you specify. When the user needs the file, it will be on the PC ready to go.
posted by gjc at 6:04 AM on June 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I dont see how this would help on a gigabit LAN. The gigabit LAN will be your bottleneck in this scenario. Just having the clients copy the file via samba will work just as well. Torrents are just adding uneeded complexity here. Torrents only make sense in scenarios where the host cannot provide ample bandwidth for its clients. Your host and all your clients are all limited to whatever speed your gigabit setup and disk drive can deliver, depending on the switch and the cards it may not be more than 300 or 500mbps.

You may be thinking that the torrent will be faster because you can distribute your items, but each client needs to get the data through that gigabit bottleneck before it can seed. So when all is said and done, just doing a file copy should be just as fast. By fast I mean all 20 computers on your network have the completed file.

FWIW, Id consider something like rsync well before torrents.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2009

2nding rsync over torrents, but since it's on your private LAN, why not plain old FTP? Nice big chunks of data, no overhead for encryption, right tool for the job and all that.
posted by dirm at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2009

Why not use Unison?

I think torrents are a bit overly complicated for what you're trying to do...
posted by iamabot at 10:44 AM on June 17, 2009

I've had pretty good success with just firing up a webserver (nginx, apache, cherokee has a nice admin console too) and passing out links to it. Easier to distribute than a torrent file, it'll be about as fast as your disk/network and far less that can go wrong. There's likely a network size inflection point where bittorrent starts to outdo a single host's bandwidth but I don't know what it is.

For the absolute fastest you can possibly distribute a file over a network, UDP Multicast will fill up as many machines as you have network ports at the same time. I'm not aware of it working under windows or cygwin unfortunately.
posted by Skorgu at 1:34 PM on June 17, 2009

nthing that you don't want the overhead of BT when the bottleneck is your 128 MB/s network. (What's the backplane like on your router is more the question.)
posted by Brian Puccio at 2:25 PM on June 17, 2009

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