What is a P2P Network and How Does it Work?
Basically, a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network is one that allows the sharing of resources between two or more computers without the involvement of a central computer also known as the server. Such a network is decentralized in nature and P2P is widely used for various applications because of its scalability, flexibility, and efficiency.
Unlike the client-server model, multiple computers are interconnected with each other and share the same set of permissions in a P2P network. The purpose of a P2P network may vary but is concretely designed to allow computers to share resources within the network. The resources shared within a P2P network include but are not limited to processor usage, disk storage, and network bandwidth. Every node in such a network acts as the server and client at the same time which enables extremely high scalability.
What are P2P Protocols?
A protocol is a set of rules that must be followed in order to achieve a particular objective.
There are numerous P2P file-sharing protocols like Gnutella, BitTorrent, eDonkey, etc.
Advantages of P2P Networks
There are several advantages of a P2P system, below are some of them.
- No Downtime: The biggest problem the client face in the traditional client-server model is downtime. But in a P2P network, if even a single node is shut down, other nodes will be still operating.
- Scalability: As mentioned above, a P2P model scales extremely efficiently.
- Speed: Downloading a file from a single source can be slow at times because of the load on the server. Whereas, in a P2P network, the same file is stored on many computers, making it an incredibly fast and smooth process.
Disadvantages and Challenges
There are still areas of improvement in these networks. Below are some challenges and problems faced within a P2P network.
- Virus spread is a notorious problem within such a network. Each node is equally responsible for ensuring that no viruses are introduced within the network. A virus can severely impact the performance & functioning of the entire network.
- Many times unwanted information is exposed through these networks since your IP address is automatically exposed to all the nodes within the server. You may want to use a VPN to avoid such a leak of information.