Most of our work-PCs are connected with a centralised server. There is another set of network which doesn’t have a server. It is called peer-to-peer network or P2P. This report offers a peek into it

P2P | Internet | computers

Khalid Anzar  | 
New Delhi 

It may come as a surprise to many that the was built as a decentralised network of and devices for free dissemination of information.

Over the time, the web was taken over by the big tech companies. They not just dictate the type of content allowed on the web but also control a major chunk of web traffic now.

However, there are some networking protocols that enable decentralised system for transfer of information. One among them is peer-to-peer networking, commonly called a network.

Peer-to-peer is a network of distributed architecture. Meaning, there is no central server or client but multiple devices and forming a network to share and exchange information.

Therefore, each device in a network is equal to the others with no additional privileges, and there is no primary device in the network.

In this networking type, the connected devices are called peers and each peer is both a client and a server. Therefore, each device on the network can download and upload the data simultaneously and does not require a central unit to enable data transfer because every resource available in a network is shared among connected devices.

The P2P network has its advantages and disadvantages. Before we get to them, let’s first understand how the resource transfer is done on P2P network.

In a P2P network, both download and upload of information are performed differently than how it is done in a centralised structure.

In a centralised set-up, data, resources, or any other asset are uploaded on a server, which is a central hub for other connected devices to download the information.

In the P2P network, there is no central server but all connected devices act as both server and client.

Therefore, when you download the file using a peer-to-peer network, it comes in parts from other peers connected to the same network that have the same file or a part of it.

Simultaneously, the downloaded parts of the same file are seeded through your computer to other peers in the download queue.

This type of networking is not reliable for storing data. The lack of a central server makes the data vulnerable to extinction. Besides, this type of networking is prone to cyber-attacks because it is difficult to secure the complete network as each device is independent.

But this networking type has its advantages too, most of which stem from the decentralise structure. The P2P network uses resources more efficiently than a conventional network, and it is less susceptible to systemic failure.

Closing down a P2P network is difficult because there is no central server here. The P2P networks are highly scalable and does not require the kind of investment one need for setting up dedicated servers to disseminate information. This type of network is most suited for file-sharing, especially large files.

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First Published: Wed, February 16 2022. 08:45 IST

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