FastTrack architecture overview
Since the protocol is a company secret, where a license needs to be obtained through the company Sherman Networks, only minor details have been available, meaning that the architecture described could have been changed recently. Nevertheless this section contains a description of the architecture used by FastTrack clients, even though it might be outdated, since it provides a useful insight on how protocols can be designed.
The FastTrack protocol classifies some nodes as super nodes. These nodes act as directory servers for other clients and are elected without centralized control. It is certainly possible that more roles exist. There is probably some kind of aggregation between the super nodes as well, but this has not been proven. Attempts at cracking the FastTrack protocol have been made but has failed to break the encryption.
Some FastTrack clients also uses a reputation system which encourages users to share files and allow uploads. For example, KaZaA Lite users reputation are reflected by their participation level, which is a number that is well encapsulated by encryption. A user starts at participation level 10 and can get a participation level between 0 and 1000. A high participation level means that the client has been connected for long periods of time and allowed many users to benefit from it. User with higher participation level are favored in queuing policies and should receive better quality of service (QOS).
FastTrack runs on top of both UDP and TCP. Clients receive fewer packets per minute compared to Gnutella clients. FastTrack does not maintain TCP connections for longer periods of time, unless it is a download or upload. A basic study of the traffic caused by FastTrack clients is presented in chapter 6. FastTrack uses a simplified version of HTTP to perform the actual downloads. This makes it possible for users to bypass the regulations set by the client on the maximum number of simultaneous downloads. Earlier versions of FastTrack clients even allowed a user to download files from itself using a web browser and thereby fooling the reputation system to believe that the client had contributed a lot to the network.