We’ve recently been working hard on Firecoral – a browser-based, peer-to-peer content distribution network for web caching. I’ll be presenting a short talk on Firecoral at the 8th International Workshop on Peer-to-Peer Systems (IPTPS) on April 21st in Boston, MA.
Peer-to-peer content distribution has been inarguably successful for large file distribution (e.g. BitTorrent), but P2P services have been restricted to stand-alone applications, not transparently incorporated into Web browsing and seamlessly running over HTTP. CoralCDN has served as a web content distribution network for the past five years, but its deployment has been limited to PlanetLab and demand quickly outgrew capacity.
Firecoral’s goal is to scale web content distribution to end users by allowing mutually distrustful users to share their web browser caches, yet ensure the authenticity of content and enable users to preserve privacy by expressing flexible content sharing policies.
To achieve these goals, we have built a Firefox extension that uses subscription-based XPath queries to extract URLs from web sites and redirect them to a proxy server running inside the browser. For example, all external links from Slashdot are redirected to Firecoral. Once a URL is received by the proxy, a tracker is queried for other users caching the same URL, and the content is fetched from peers instead of the origin web server. We ensure data integrity with cryptographic signatures from a trusted service.
We will be releasing a beta version of Firecoral on our recently launched Firecoral website soon. For more details about Firecoral, please see our paper, Bringing P2P to the Web: Security and Privacy in the Firecoral Network.