Peer to Peer Network

KS3 Computer Science

11-14 Years Old

48 modules covering EVERY Computer Science topic needed for KS3 level.

GCSE Computer Science

14-16 Years Old

45 modules covering EVERY Computer Science topic needed for GCSE level.

A-Level Computer Science

16-18 Years Old

66 modules covering EVERY Computer Science topic needed for A-Level.

GCSE Networking Resources (14-16 years)

  • An editable PowerPoint lesson presentation
  • Editable revision handouts
  • A glossary which covers the key terminologies of the module
  • Topic mindmaps for visualising the key concepts
  • Printable flashcards to help students engage active recall and confidence-based repetition
  • A quiz with accompanying answer key to test knowledge and understanding of the module

A-Level Network Topologies (16-18 years)

  • An editable PowerPoint lesson presentation
  • Editable revision handouts
  • A glossary which covers the key terminologies of the module
  • Topic mindmaps for visualising the key concepts
  • Printable flashcards to help students engage active recall and confidence-based repetition
  • A quiz with accompanying answer key to test knowledge and understanding of the module

Computer networking is a prevalent technique and a great application of information technology used for various purposes. Computer networking aims to connect multiple computers or devices to share resources and data. Employing networking helps to use a reduced number of hardware like printers, scanners, etc., for multiple systems. Moreover, computer networking helps create and process data on individuals’ devices and save and secure that specific data on a unique system. 

Peer to Peer Network Image 1
Figure 1: Difference b/w Server & Peer to Peer-Based Networking

In peer-to-peer networking, the term “peer” represents a single computer or device linked with other systems via the internet. The short form of peer-to-peer networking is P2P, where no need for a central system (server) is required. P2P enables the connected system to share any data or files on any other device using the network. In P2P, every system can act as a server and a client, depending on the role. Fig. 1 clearly illustrates the difference between server-based networking and peer-to-peer based networking.

P2P History:

USENET, which was founded in 1979, seems to be the predecessor to P2P networks. It was a platform that required messages/news to be posted, read, and shared by clients. Like current online communities, this was a network structure.  USENET replicated all the servers placed on the network with the same communication. Likewise, all the services open to them are spread and used through P2P networks.

The next major trend in P2P development was when Napster was brought into existence in 1999. Napster was a program for file sharing that was utilized to share and stream music through individuals. It was typically copyrighted and therefore unlawful to download the music posted on Napster. That did not deter individuals from having it. While Napster was the one who brought P2P into the spotlight, because of all the material that was inappropriately spread on it, Napster eventually suffered and was closed by the authorities. Nowadays, P2P, both lawfully and illegally, becomes among the most common applications for exchanging data online.

P2P Connection Methods:

For connecting the peers in peer to peer networking, there exist three methods.

  1. Universal Serial Bus (USB)
  2. Copper Wires
  3. Protocols

Here USB is used to connect a couple of computers for sharing the data. However, for more systems, copper wires are an effective medium for transferring the data. However, the purpose of protocols is to connect and control various patterns of devices linked with the internet. 

Purpose of P2P:

Peer to peer is an efficient approach for transferring data using the internet. It has various applications that include,

  1. P2P networking allows the transfer of data security. Protection protocols are active and move the data without any interruption.
  2. It is easy to control various applications and precious data using P2P networking.
  3. Strict monitoring is carried out, focusing the entire network consecutively to keep the environment malware free.
  4. To set up the network, invest in a high-quality P2P application that is highly robust to virtual attacks.

P2P Working:

The entire aim of P2P networks is to exchange resources and collectively support systems and machines function, deliver specific facilities, or conduct specific tasks. Peer to Peer is employed to exchange all sorts of computational services, like computer capacity, network bandwidth, or disc storage capacity, as previously discussed. The most popular usage method for peer-to-peer networks, though, is the exchange of internet data. P2P networks are suitable for file sharing since they enable data to be received and files transmitted concurrently by the computers attached to them.

When a client needs to download a file or an application using the internet, the client opens the browser’s related website. In such a case, the website acts as a server, whereas the website’s operator is a client. This framework works like a one-way road where data is brought from point 1 (the website source) to point 2 (clients’ device).

However, in the P2P networking case, if the clients require to download a similar type of data, then the pattern will be quite different. Here, a virtual network will be established based on the P2P application installed on the PC. When the user will give a command for downloading the file, the same will be received in bits using different devices connected to the network that already contains that file. Here, it can be considered a two-way road where data is converted into different small chunks of data arriving from the user’s device but will be released after dispatching the requests.

P2P Architecture:

Peer-to-peer (P2P) infrastructure is often applied over the infrastructure of data networking since any machine and other peers have equivalent capability and obligations in this structure as well, and several systems are devoted to server anthers in this framework. For small region areas such as a residence and limited office environment, P2P layout is significantly appropriate since any machine serves as an autonomous workbench in this network and can store all data to its hard drive.

P2P framework is built to use a single software application where each portion of the program executes certain activities as both client and server and the same responsibilities and capabilities.

P2P Types:

We will now discuss the major types of peer to peer networking.

1. Pure P2P Network:

Using this kind of P2P network, not a dedicated server, is considered, where each peer in the network plays an equal role. The type of networking is also known as a Fully P2P network. E.g., Gnutella Protocol, which can search and discover files over the network. 

2. Unstructured P2P Networks:

An unstructured P2P network facilitates the users with an easy connection with other devices. In this kind of P2P network, all systems play their role, but clients suffer to find the rare content as there is a lack of structure. The churn rate of such networking is too high; however, users are still joining and releasing this type of network.

3. Structured P2P Network:

Unlike an unstructured P2P network, the structured network is difficult to set up. However, this network facilitates the users with efficient access to search the rare content residing on the network. The churn rate of such kind of networking is minimal.

4. Hybrid P2P Network:

The functionality of a hybrid P2P network is like a client-server network. In this type of networking, a centralized peer is defined that accomplishes various activities as servers perform. It retains all information on the connected system and replies to the requests asking for that specific information. The centralized system has optimum knowledge of which resources can be shared and which resources are free.

P2P Applications:

1. Delivering the Content:

In peer to peer networking, the users make a trade-off by the phenomenon of “give and take”. as more people continue to consume content, the content-serving ability of P2P networks will potentially expand; that facility is not available in a client-server architecture. This attribute is an efficient benefit of employing P2P networks since the initial content seller allows the configuration and operating expenses are very modest.

2. Sharing the Files:

There exist various kinds of file-sharing networks related to peer-to-peer networking technologies, that includes.

  • Gnutella
  • G2
  • eDonkey

Such a popular kind of technology is used to deliver the content. Used to optimize the performance by providing valuable services, the most valid service is cache improvement. Moreover, through file-sharing networks, various games, applications, and software can be published and distributed.

3. Copyright infringements:

Without utilizing an intermediary node, P2P networking requires data sharing from one individual to another. In various court disputes, mostly in the US, businesses producing P2P software have been implicated in copyright legislation issues.

4. Multimedia Broadcasting:

In order to deliver audio and video to the users, certain patented multimedia programs use a P2P network coupled with streaming servers. Furthermore, world top class Universities initiated a project named LionShare that includes MIT, State University, and Simon Fraser University for better delivery of education at the doorstep. They developed to promote the global exchange of files between educational institutions.

5. Energy Trading:

Enterprises like Power Ledger and Bovlabs utilize P2P for energy trading.

6. Cryptocurrencies:

The advanced versions of currencies that include Peercoin, Bitcoin, Ether utilize P2P technologies for the stated cryptocurrencies. 

P2P Examples:

1. Napster:

In 1999, an American college student named Shawn Fanning invented the concept of Napster. The purpose of this application was to transfer or share the files using the internet. Moreover, its use was to store the musical files on the connected device. However, in 2001 Napster was shut down.

2. Bit Torrent:

The application is useful to work in a decentralized pattern over the internet. The purpose of this protocol is to share the files, data distribution using peer to peer framework. This protocol significantly helps to share the large files, mostly videos that include TV Serials, TV Shows, Movies, Software, Books, Songs, and plenty of digital stuff.

3. Skype:

Skype is also a peer-to-peer protocol developed by the same firm that designed the Kazaa. Both users may use it to enable voice calls and submit messages to one another, but they must stay on the Skype application.

4. Bitcoin:

Bitcoin is a kind of advanced cryptocurrency that uses a P2P payment network. It employs a cryptographic protocol that assists the clients to send and receive the currency (Bitcoin).

5. Gnutella:

It is a well-known protocol used for sharing files employing the internet. This application is also based on peer to peer networking that sends and receives the files over the internet.

6. Kazaa:

The Kazaa protocol was introduced by Sharman networks that retain a FastTrack protocol. This is a P2P file-sharing application. The basic aim of this application was to transfer MP3 files; however, it can share video and text files and the assistance of the internet. 

7. LimeWire:

This is an application that facilitates the user to transfer the files free of cost. It uses peer to peer file sharing protocol. Moreover, it helps users of different OS like Windows, Linux, Solaris, etc. It uses integrated protocols of Gnutella and BitTorrent. 

8. Morpheus:

This is specifically designated for MS Windows that was developed by StreamCast firm. It can also be employed for sharing the files using peer to peer technology.

P2P Characteristics:

Peer to Peer networks is based on a few characteristics that are discussed below.

  1. The devices of P2P need to utilize and create all resources because as clients expand the number of nodes, such network’s data distribution capability would be increased.
  2. Since all peer-to-peer network devices execute functions like clients and servers, it is tougher to build stronger security for each node.
  3. It retains the ability to work with advanced version OS like MS Windows and Mac.
  4. It has greater scalability and efficiency.
  5. No central repository is required to manage the files and data.

P2P Advantages:

We will now discuss the main advantages related to peer to peer networking.

  1. No specific Operating system is required for P2P networking.
  2. There is no need for a costly server and its maintenance as all the peers in the P2P networking have equal sharing of resources.
  3. There is no requirement of a well-trained or well-skilled personnel to operate P2P networking because all the clients have their permission for sharing any file over the network employing the internet.
  4. The networking protocol does not require a specific administrator for the management of the whole network.
  5. The P2P network contains an easy configuration, so vast networking knowledge is not required.
  6. The form of networking is much secure and protective.
  7. The approach is much flexible because new peers can be added and configured in the network.
  8. Adding more clients to the network does not affect network performance; therefore, we can define a scalable pattern of networking.
  9. Clients have provision to access any kind of file at any time as a file library is available.
  10. The retrieval process in the peer to peer networking is not very complex. For instance, if a user is downloading a file and gets halted due to certain reasons that include loss of data connection, slower internet speed, system powering off, the P2P network helps to resume the download right from the point where it was interrupted.

P2P Disadvantages:

Now we will highlight a few limitations of the P2P network.

  1. P2P is a decentralized approach; therefore, it is complex for the administrator to take care of the entire network. The whole network is a challenge for a single person.
  2. Systems can be operated anytime.
  3. For file archiving, there is no existence of a central medium that can store the data.
  4. Performance can move towards downfall as all the users access all the systems.
  5. As the central computer or server does not exist in this approach; therefore, data backup is challenging as the data will be saved on various systems. 
  6. All the systems in the network contain their data and perform data processing on their own, but any malware or virus can easily be penetrated in such a network by breaching the security.
  7. Plenty of copyrighted content includes movies, TV serials, applications, software, and books shared in P2P technology in the torrents without permission.
  8. Users have the authority to access any type of file from another computer without any permission.
  9. For getting the usable files from P2P networks, specific software must access or download these files, e.g., torrent.
  10. In the network, users cannot get a preview of the file after fully downloading the file.
  11. Internet rate may fluctuate when uploading and downloading activities are performed simultaneously.
  12. Peer to peer networks has provision for sharing the data on any others’ system without any sort of permission.

Summary and Facts:

What does “Peer” illustrate in the term Peer-to-Peer networking?

In peer-to-peer networking, the term “peer” represents a single computer or device linked with other systems via the internet.

What does Peer to Peer (P2P) networking mean?

P2P enables the connected system to share any data or files on any other device using the network. In P2P, every system can act as a server and a client, depending on the role.

Which approach points to the history of P2P networking?

USENET, which was founded in 1979, seems to be the predecessor to P2P networks. It was a platform that required messages/news to be posted, read, and shared by clients.

In 1999 a P2P networking application was established. Define its role?

Napster was brought to existence in 1999. Napster was a program for file sharing that was utilized to share and stream music through individuals. It was typically copyrighted and therefore unlawful to download the music posted on Napster. Got blocked in 2001.

Write down the peer to peer connection methods?

For connecting the peers in peer to peer networking, there exist three methods.

  1. Universal Serial Bus (USB)
  2. Copper Wires
  3. Protocols

Write down the purpose of P2P networking?

  1. Secure data transferring
  2. Data movement without any interruption.
  3. It is easy to control various applications.
  4. Environment malware-free.
  5. Highly robust to virtual attacks.

What services do P2P deliver?

Peer to Peer is employed to exchange all sorts of computational services, like computer capacity, network bandwidth, or disc storage capacity, as previously discussed. The most popular usage method for peer-to-peer networks, though, is the exchange of internet data.

Write down the types of P2P networking?

  1. Pure P2P Network
  2. Unstructured P2P Networks
  3. Structured P2P Network
  4. Hybrid P2P Network

Write down the applications of P2P networking?

  1. Delivering the Content
  1. Sharing the Files
  2. Copyright infringements
  3. Multimedia Broadcasting
  4. Energy Trading
  5. Cryptocurrencies

Enlist a few examples that consider P2P networking for their working?

  1. Napster
  2. Bit Torrent
  3. Skype
  4. Bitcoin
  5. Gnutella
  6. Kazaa
  7. LimeWire
  8. Morpheus

Write down the characteristics of P2P networking?

  1. The devices of P2P need to utilize and create all resources.
  2. It is complex to build stronger security for each node.
  3. Work with advanced version OS like MS Windows and Mac.
  4. Higher scalability and efficiency.
  5. No need for a central repository.

Highlight the major advantages of P2P networking?

  1. No need for a specific OS
  2. There is no need for a costly server.
  3. There is no need for well-trained staff for network management.
  4. No requirement for a specific administrator.
  5. Contains an easy configuration
  6. Protective.
  7. Flexible
  8. Scalable
  9. All the time availability.
  10. The retrieval process is not very complex.

Highlight the disadvantages of P2P networking?

  1. Decentralized approach
  2. Anytime operation
  3. No existence of a central medium for data storage.
  4. Performance can move towards downfall as all the users access all the systems.
  5. Data backup is a challenging task as the data will be saved on various systems.
  6. Malware or virus can easily be penetrated in such a network by breaching the security.
  7. Plenty of copyrighted content is shared in torrents without any permission.
  8. Users can access any type of file from another computer without any permission.
  9. Specific software is required to access or download files, e.g., torrent.
  10. No preview of the file till fully downloaded.
  11. Fluctuation in internet rate by simultaneously upload & download.
  12. Give provision to share the data on any others’ system without any sort of permission.

References:

  1. https://www.tutorialspoint.com/computer_fundamentals/computer_networking.htm
  2. http://digitalthinkerhelp.com/what-is-peer-to-peer-p2p-network-with-architecture-types-examples/
  3. https://en.bitcoinwiki.org/upload/en/images/5/56/Peer-to-peer.png
  4. https://networkencyclopedia.com/peer-to-peer-network-p2p/#index
  5. https://www.digitalcitizen.life/what-is-p2p-peer-to-peer/
  6. http://digitalthinkerhelp.com/advantages-disadvantages-characteristics-of-peer-to-peer-p2p-network/