P2P Networking – the fast way to connect
A Peer to Peer network (often shortened to P2P) is a connection process where two or more PCs connected to each other can share resources , peripherals as equals without the need of a central dedicated server.
It is a distributed application architecture that divides tasks / workloads among Peers. Peers refer to the workstations connected to the P2P network which are participants in the application and which are all equally able to perform any function necessary for the network. A computer connected to this network is called a node.
The reason for the popularity of a P2P network is that it can be set up anywhere- Homes, offices, online business etc. The only requirement is that all the participants of the network should be using the same or a compatible program, (client), to connect to each other.
The first P2P app was Napster, released in 1999.
In a P2P network each node is essentially a client as well as a server, thereby eliminating the need for special high performance machines to act as servers. Accessing files is basically governed by the user setting different sharing permissions on their own machines.
Due to the inherent characteristic of P2P networks it is the clients who are responsible for providing network resources such as bandwidth, system power, and storage. This feature is tremendously useful to original content distributors, because it reduces the setup as well as running costs very small.
Due to the decentralized nature of the network, if one peer ceases to function properly, it does not affect the whole network. As long as there is even one properly functioning PC, the network will be alive.
Also important to note is the lack of a system administrator or a central authority. This leads to a more efficient and stable network owing to lack of a full staff needed to ensure smooth running.
Just like any kind of file sharing system, users are vulnerable to malicious attacks from harmful content that may allow remote access to the user’s PC. This can even affect the whole network.
For one thing, sharing files with random strangers on the internet does call for some sort of caution. It is recommended that you at least have a firewall or an antivirus scanning each of your downloads to protect against potential backdoors and malware. Another way would be to just use trusted sources.
P2P networks represent one of the most important issues in the ongoing controversy of network neutrality. Internet Service Providers have been known to cut off P2P file sharing traffic on account of its high bandwidth usage.
But still we can expect this form of networking to only grow and grow more for its pros far outweigh its cons.
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