What is P2P?


Quide by the team kript.io
If using the Internet daily, it's unlikely that you haven't heard of a peer-to-peer network. So what exactly is p2p and how does it differ from a traditional centralized network? Let's dig deeper.
P2P (peer-to-peer) is a decentralized network where files can be shared directly between computers connected to each other via the Internet without any central servers. Each computer on the p2p network becomes a file server itself and is called a peer. All peers are equally privileged participants of the p2p network. They are both suppliers and consumers of resources.

To join the p2p network computers should have the Internet connection and a special p2p software. If your computer is connected to the p2p network, you can look for files on other computers in the network in the particular folders designated for sharing.

The P2P concept was popularized by file sharing systems at the end of the 20th century. The most famous example of the p2p network is Torrent. File sharing in Torrent network is organized with special programs called torrent clients (BitTorrent, uTorrent, etc.) that automatize exchange process between the peers.
P2P vs Centralized Network
The main difference between a centralized network and a p2p network concerns a data backup, recovery, and availability of files.

In the centralized network the availability of files is controlled by the system administrators.
While in the p2p network only the community of users is responsible for deciding what files are accessible for sharing. Once the file is removed from the central server, there is no way to download it anymore. Meanwhile, to make the file unavailable for download in the p2p it needs to be deleted from all the computers in the network.
The main disadvantage of the centralized network is that users have no right to decide which files to remain and which ones to remove. As for the drawback of the p2p, it brings a vast number of disliked files since if the file is stored in only one computer, it will be available in the network anyway.
Types of P2P Networks
There are structured and unstructured p2p networks. The structured networks organize overlay, ensuring efficient search for files. As examples, you can look for Torrent, Kad network, and Storm botnet.
Meantime, the unstructured networks are created by nodes that randomly form connections to each other. Search for Gnutella, Gossip, and Kazaa to get a more clear idea of the systems
There is also one more type of the network called hybrid models. A hybrid model is a combination of the p2p and the client-server networks. The hybrid models usually have a central server to help peers find each other in the chain.

Today, the p2p networks are the most widespread methods to share files for Internet users all around the world. And there are many different p2p networks that provide people with a convenient way of decentralized interaction.

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