Although the Usenet was originally conceived as a major knowledge archive for the exchange of messages, it has developed today into a popular download platform. This has been made possible by the so-called binary newsgroups. Unlike normal newsgroups, binary newsgroups also enable the publication of file attachments, the so-called binaries. These can then be downloaded by other users.
In contrast to peer-to-peer networks, for example, files are not shared directly between two users. There is also no general expectation that users will make files available themselves. The Usenet community is, therefore, fully accepting of users who only read messages or download files without posting anything themselves.
High-speed downloads from the Usenet
If files are exchanged between two computers, the download speed is always limited by the upload speed of the other computer. Because the upload speed of many Internet providers is very slow, it can often take a considerable amount of time to download larger files.
The decentralised structure of the Usenet makes it possible to achieve very high download speeds. Files are already stored on special Usenet servers. This special architecture enables users to take full advantage of their own broadband Internet connection and download data at unbelievably high speeds.
Users with a fast Internet connection can download an impressive 600 MB in just under 30 seconds, as this “download record video” proves.