The following is a Plus Edition article, written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.I doubt if many Internet users will care whether or not some company's file server gets overloaded or not. Typically, that is a concern only of those responsible for purchasing and maintaining the servers. However, if you, the average Internet user, understand the reason for using a special method of downloading files, you will then know why you may be asked to use "special software" to retrieve the file(s).
Downloading files using any of the traditional file transfer protocols can be costly for companies and frustrating for users. Downloading files using traditional methods places a big load on the file server that hosts the file(s). Whenever a company releases new software on its file servers, thousands of people may try to download the files simultaneously. If the files are large, such as an entire CD or DVD disk, the load is overpowering.
For instance, if Ancestry.com issues a new release of FamilyTree Maker (as happened recently), or if Apple or Microsoft release a new software update for their operating systems, tens of thousands of customers will try to download the new files immediately. That can be disastrous for the companies that have to buy all the file servers and the high-speed Internet connections required to handle the load for only a few days.
NOTE: I do have to say that Ancestry.com, Microsoft, and Apple seem to have done a good job of handling such loads. However, I am sure those companies spent millions of dollars building the data centers and stocking them with servers, routers, and multiple fiber optic connections to multiple Internet backbones. Smaller companies cannot afford that sort of investment.Luckily, one programming genius invented a method of spreading the load to participating servers and even to in-home computers of the customers who are downloading the files. The result is faster downloads for you and me and much lower expenses for the companies who distribute the files.
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