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Dtella:General FAQ

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I need help with dtella! Where can I find information?

Go here for some troubleshooting questions: FAQ
Go here for some common problems and solutions: Common Problems

What is Dtella?

Dtella is a decentralized DC++ hub. (ie each node, peer, acts as a small segment of the hub).

How is Dtella better than DCgate?

  1. It's decentralized, and therefore much more difficult to shut down the network.
  2. While DCgate simply translates between the DC and IRC protocols, Dtella forms an advanced P2P mesh network, and does not rely on IRC, or any other kind of server.
  3. All the control packets stay on campus, so there's slightly less lag when connecting and chatting.
  4. Interactive console lets you change options on-the-fly, without editing any config files.
  5. Stateful architecture allows you to reconnect your DC client without re-downloading the user list.
  6. More adaptable for use at other Universities.

If it's decentralized, then how can a new node "discover" the network?

We store a record in DNS which contains an encrypted list of some random peers. Once Dtella finds a single peer, it can search from neighbor to neighbor to locate everyone on the network. Dtella also stores a local cache of recent peers on your computer for future connections. If, somehow, both of these methods fail, the !addpeer command can be used to manually tell your node about an existing peer.

It doesn't need IRC? But I like IRC!

Dtella has a "bridge node" which connects to both Dtella and IRC, seamlessly copying the user lists and chat back and forth. So, nerds and off-campus people can still connect to the IRC server to chat with everyone. Kicking and banning can also be done from IRC, through the use of RSA-signed control messages.

Hey, that bridge node sounds an awful lot like a centralized server...

Well, that's partially true, because all the IRC chat gets relayed through a single point. But, when the bridge isn't on the network, the chat, private messages, topic, search, and file transfers will continue to work as usual, albeit without any administrative control. Also, the bandwidth used by the bridge node is orders of magnitude less than DCgate's central IRC server.

Does Dtella work off campus?

No, every Dtella node will only accept and forward traffic from on-campus IP addresses. But, you can still connect to the IRC server to chat from anywhere.

What about routers? Do I still need to forward ports?

Yes, Dtella uses one UDP port for all of its P2P communication, and you'll have to tell your router about it in order to get online. Your DC client also still needs a TCP port for file transfers. However, Dtella automatically routes all your search results through its own UDP port, so once you get onto the network, searches should always work, even in passive mode.

How do you pronounce Dtella?

Dtella is properly pronounced: "dee-tell-uh"

Where'd the name Dtella come from?

It's a rough contraction of DC + Gnutella. Note, however, that the Dtella software was not derived from Gnutella; there are just some similarities in the structure of the network.

This sounds a whole lot like piracy, is it?

As with any P2P program, the possibility for illegal use exists but Dtella itself is not illegal. It is the user's responsibility to control what is shared and downloaded. See the article over here for more information.

When I try to connect it tells me "Connection refused by target machine" What's wrong?

Dtella is not running, you must open Dtella before attempting to connect.

Does this count against my 6.5 GB limit on Resnet?

No, the 6.5 GB limit for Resnet traffic only applies to traffic to and from campus. Since this is all local campus traffic, it doesn't affect this limit.

Transfers run slowly and use lots of CPU; why is this?

In the advanced settings there's an option for "Enable Safe and Compressed Transfers". You need to uncheck this option and restart your DC client.

I can connect to some users, but not others. What's wrong?

It's possible they may be blocking you due to the amount you're sharing. While the network wide minimum share is 5GB, some users may have individual requirements. Also check that your TCP port is forwarded correctly.

What are slots, and why is it telling me a user has no slots available?

Available slots refers to the number of people that are allowed to download from a user at any given time. If a user doesn't have any available slots this simply means there is already as many people as allowed downloading from them.
One way of getting around this problem is by using the "search for alternatives" option. This is done by right clicking on the file you want, and clicking on the option "search for alternatives". By using this alternative, loads are better spread across the network and you will get your file faster as you do not have to wait for a slot to open up and you may get better speeds. This feature is used most efficiently if you also compare the "slots open" from different users after you have searched for alternatives. Ideally, you will want to start the transfer from the user with the most number of slots open, as that normally indicates that they will have the largest amount of free bandwidth for you.
Searching for alternatives is done through comparing the TTH root, this counters the renaming of files by other users. So even though the results you get may have different names, they are all still the same file so you do not have to worry about getting something different.
Avoid queuing up for large transfers during peak hours, such as in the evening when everyone else seems to want to get files for their evening. This results in you hogging bandwidth and a slot selfishly for several hours getting files you will not use that evening, while others may be forced to wait for a single file they want at that moment.

Why do I get an error saying DC++ is unable to open TCP/TLS port?

TLS is an experimental feature of DC++ so even if you see TLS related error messages they don't keep DC++ from working well. If you really don't want to see the error again, click on File-Settings-Connection Settings and delete the text from the box next to TLS Port.

Why can't I download or search for anything?

There is a problem with your port forwarding. See here for details.