ut_pex

Extension for Peer Discovery (PEX)

ut_pex

Node.js implementation of the ut_pex protocol, which is the most popular PEX (peer exchange) protocol used by bittorrent clients.

The purpose of this extension is to allow peers to exchange known peers directly with each other, thereby facilitating more efficient peer discovery and healthier swarms. The best description of the (nonstandardized) ut_pex protocol I could find is in section 2.1.4.3 of this paper.

Works in the browser with browserify! This module is used by WebTorrent.

npm install ut_pex

This package should be used with bittorrent-protocol, which supports a plugin-like system for extending the protocol with additional functionality.

Say you're already using bittorrent-protocol. Your code might look something like this:

var Protocol = require('bittorrent-protocol')
var net = require('net')
 
net.createServer(function (socket) {
  var wire = new Protocol()
  socket.pipe(wire).pipe(socket)
 
  // handle handshake 
  wire.on('handshake', function (infoHashpeerId) {
    wire.handshake(new Buffer('my info hash'), new Buffer('my peer id'))
  })
 
}).listen(6881)

To add support for PEX, simply modify your code like this:

var Protocol = require('bittorrent-protocol')
var net = require('net')
var ut_pex = require('ut_pex')
 
net.createServer(function (socket) {
  var wire = new Protocol()
  socket.pipe(wire).pipe(socket)
 
  // initialize the extension 
  wire.use(ut_pex())
 
  // all `ut_pex` functionality can now be accessed at wire.ut_pex 
 
  // (optional) start sending peer information to remote peer 
  wire.ut_pex.start()
 
  // 'peer' event will fire for every new peer sent by the remote peer 
  wire.ut_pex.on('peer', function (peer) {
    // got a peer 
    // probably add it to peer connections queue 
  })
 
  // handle handshake 
  wire.on('handshake', function (infoHashpeerId) {
    wire.handshake(new Buffer('my info hash'), new Buffer('my peer id'))
  })
 
}).listen(6881)

Start sending regular PEX updates to the remote peer. Use addPeer and dropPeer to control the content of PEX messages. PEX messages will be sent once every ~65 seconds.

wire.ut_pex.start()

Note that ut_pex may be used for one-way peer discovery without sending PEX updates to the remote peer, but this use case is discouraged because PEX, like bittorrent is more efficient through altruism.

Stop sending PEX updates to the remote peer.

wire.ut_pex.stop()

Stops sending updates to the remote peer and resets internal state of peers seen.

wire.ut_pex.reset()

Adds a peer to the locally discovered peer list to send with the next PEX message.

wire.ut_pex.addPeer('127.0.0.1:6889')

Adds a peer to the locally dropped peer list to send with the next PEX message.

wire.ut_pex.dropPeer('127.0.0.1:6889')

Fired for every new peer received from PEX.

wire.ut_pex.on('peer', function (peer) {
  var parts = peer.split(':')
  var ip = parts[0]
  var port = parts[1]
  // ... 
})

Note: the event will not fire if the peer does not support ut_pex or if they don't respond.

Fired for every peer dropped from the swarm notified via PEX.

wire.ut_pex.on('dropped', function (peer) {
  var parts = peer.split(':')
  var ip = parts[0]
  var port = parts[1]
  // ... 
})

Note: the event will not fire if the peer does not support ut_pex or if they don't respond.

(prioritized highest to lowest)

  • basic discovery
  • basic advertisement
  • basic unit tests
  • better unit tests
  • peer flag support
  • destroy wire if peer sends PEX messages too frequently
  • ipv6 support

MIT. Copyright (c) Travis Fischer