Peer to peer network, often referred to as the P2P network is one of the most integral parts in the way that we store data. the peer network is also one of the main components of Blockchain technology. To get a full glimpse of what peer to peer network refers to, we need first to understand what a network is. A network in computing refers to a bunch of computers connected to each other. Computers don’t just mean PC; a computer can be a phone, PCs printer, and even supercomputers. Apart from just being a bunch of computers, they also need a way to communicate with each other. Communication through computers can be through cables, Wi-Fi, and even satellites. Different parts make up the entire computer network.
Cables and Wi-Fi are the most used ways that most computers in a network can communicate. To transmit data between many computers, you are going to need Wi-Fi or a copper cable. So, why are people connecting a bunch of computers? The answer is simple. To be able to share data. Data can mean a bunch of different things. It can be documents, pictures, or videos that you can send or access from one computer to another in a computer network. The widely used type of network is the centralized client-server model.
A single entity like one company usually operates this server. The server handles all tasks and requests on a network. The server also stores all the information exchange happening in the network. There is one disadvantage of a centralized client-server model. All the data in the server can be easily stolen by hacking one server. The computer user pretty much has no control over how their information is controlled or even exploited in that manner.
About of Peer Network:
The development of blockchain network models is different from traditional client-server networks. There is no central point of storage and, therefore, no governing party. All the information in the network is continuously recorded and transferred through participants on the network. The participants then store identical copies of the network’s information. These participants are known as nodes or peers.
A peer network is a distributed network that stores and transfers data without a central server. Blockchain technology is built on top of P2P network. Since peer to peer networks have no central point of storage, the information on a network is less vulnerable to be hacked. When information is less likely to be exploited or even lost is what makes peer network a lifesaver. This is a significant improvement on traditional centralized models and the future of information storage.
Peer to peer network sharing started to become popular during the 1990s through the early networks like Napster. Napster pioneered peer to peer file sharing. The software mainly focused on sharing digital audio files encoded in an mp3 format. Over the years, many peers to peer networks have developed. Softwares such as uTorrent, eMule, BitTorrent, Gnutella, which is the first-ever decentralized peer to peer sharing network. However, not all the peer to peer networks are pure peer to peer. Some of the software are just hybrids and use central servers for some functions like search.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A PEER TO PEER NETWORK.
One of the significant characteristics of a P2P network is that the computers in a P2P network run the same networking protocols and software. The devices are set up mainly around one another. Either in an office or at home. However, some of the peer networks use the internet are therefore available from any point in the world.
The other characteristic of the peer to peer network is the fact that it is most common in small area networks. They are pretty much easy to configure; that is why they are mostly available at home. They can connect either wirelessly or even wired.
WHERE IS P2P NETWORK APPLIED?
P2P network is applied in various ways in our modern technology. The most common form or application of peer to peer network is in content delivery. Content can easily be transfer from one person to another quickly, and the content will continue to increase. As more users begin to use a site that is a peer to peer, they are required to share content. This is a primary advantage of using peer to peer network since it reduces the cost of setup for the small content distributers.
Peer to peer network is also used in energy trading companies such as Power Ledger. Energy trading refers to buying and selling of energy like crude oil. The energy trading platform is a blockchain-based cryptocurrency trading platform that allows decentralized selling and buying of renewable energy. These platforms employ P2P networks to trade.
Another application of peer to peer is in multimedia. Different multimedia applications use peer to peer networks to enable clients to stream audio and video. Some multimedia applications like Peercastingallows multicasting streams for audio or video on the internet.
HOW PEER TO PEER NETWORK IS CRUCIAL IN KEEPING DATA SAFE.
With the rise of the internet, there are billions of people that access the internet, and not everyone has good intentions. Your online data can be at risk if you are not storing it safely and securely. The use of centralized client servers can be put you at risk of several online attacks from hackers who can quickly get your data. When using social media sites, you pretty much don’t own any of the photos that you post there. The company that you upload the images to owns the pictures and can use them whatever way they want. Using a P2P network can help you be able to keep your data online safe. The nodes share resources amongst each other without the use of a centralized administrative system, which is a plus.
P2P NETWORKS IN BLOCKCHAIN.
Peer to peer network is the critical component in the blockchain. Blockchain is a chain of blocks that contain information. The technique is intended to timestamp digital documents to make them impossible for one to backdate them. The blockchain became widely known through Bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency. Blockchains have some interesting properties. Once the information is recorded inside a blockchain, it becomes difficult to change it. This is made possible by the use of a P2P network that makes it hard to tamper with the block.
ADVANTAGES OF A PEER TO PEER NETWORK.
- EASY TO SET UP.
The main advantage of a P2P network is the fact it’s easy to set up. Compared to other servers, setting up this network is easy and cheap. You will require at least two computers and a network adapter for each computer. You will then add the network adapter and also add the protocol stack. Once all this is added, you can then configure your network quickly, and once configured; you can now be able to share resources with other computers or even be able to transfer files to other computers. The ease of setting up a P2P network is one of the main advantages of the network.
DOES NOT REQUIRE A DEDICATED SERVER COMPUTER.
P2P network does not require one to use a dedicated server computer. A dedicated server computer is a massive computer in a network that is only reserved for serving the needs of the network. A computer can be mainly be used to manage communications between all the computers. This can be an expensive venture for someone who wants to set up a network with little cash quickly. For a peer to peer network, you can use the same computer both as a network server and also a workstation too. You don’t have to incur lots of cash just to set up a dedicated system. Also, the nodes act as servers as well.
- YOU CAN ACCESS FILES ON ANY COMPUTER EASILY.
The other advantage of peer to peer network is the fact that you can easily access files on any computer that is connected to the network. Unlike other servers that if it fails, it will be hard to recover data in a P2P network you can. You don’t have to stress up that all your documents will be lost if your computer breaks down. You will continue to work fine with the other connected computers.
- LESS EXPENSIVE.
To set up a peer to peer network, you will need to have two or just a less number of computers in the network. Setting up other networks often require robust servers, and that can be a real expensive venture for some. All you need is computers and adapters to be able to create a network that serves you well. So, if you are interested in setting up a network, you will now be just set up a peer to peer network that is less costly.
DISADVANTAGES OF PEER TO PEER NETWORK.
- NOT TOTALLY SECURE.
P2P networks’ main disadvantage is that security is not substantial. Someone can easily access your documents and files, and that can lead to exploitation. The security in peer to peer network is only secure as whatever security is in place on each computer. Compared to a client-server network, this is a disadvantage as the client-server network can be more secure since you don’t access the dedicated server computer easily.
- EASY REMOTE ACCESS CAN CAUSE COMPROMISED SYSTEMS.
When one can just easily access data or files in a P2P network can lead to compromising the systems that have been set up in place. Remote access can cause someone with bad intentions to easily steal your information or data and make this security hole can make the system easy and prone to attack.
- YOU NEED TO BACKUP ON EACH COMPUTER.
The other disadvantage is that in peer to peer network, you will need to backup your data on each computer available. If your network has many computers connected, it can be a real tedious task to backup. Compared to client servers backing up data is simple as you do it on one computer only. This is a significant drawback, and if you don’t backup information, you can lose it, and it isn’t easy to recover.
ACCESS OF DATA IS NOT CONTROLLED.
Since there is no server in peer to peer network, accessing data is not controlled easily. Lack of control on this access is significant issues in security as one can now easily access private data that can be a security issue. Networks with complex servers are stable, and hence accessing data is in a controlled manner and, therefore, secure.
- REQUIRES ONE TO USE SEPARATE PASSWORDS.
Since there is more than one computer in a network, one would need to use separate passwords on each computer. If there are so many computers now in the network can be a tedious process to set up passwords. Many unmanaged passwords can sometimes be forgotten or easily lost, and this can be a compromise in the network.
- LESS SCALABILITY.
The scalability in peer to peer network can be a problem when users keep sharing so much load. If there is a central host and he can’t add more resources, then that means that the service will break down or eventually slow down.
In conclusion, having a P2P network can have its advantage and disadvantage at the same time. If one wants to create his home network easily, then this type of network is the one to go for. P2P network is ideal for systems that are don’t require a high level of security. The network setup is useful to connect only a small number of computers in a network. It is a secure system, but you wouldn’t want to use peer to peer network in an area where there is crucial or sensitive data being shared. It is ideal for home setups where you just want to share and receive information fast.