What is P2P (Peer to Peer)? Detailed explanation from mechanism to application example

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P2P is an abbreviation of “Peer-to-Peer”. It is a communication technology or software that allows an unspecified number of terminals (smartphones, etc.) to directly share data files with each other without going through a server.

“Peer” means “a terminal that shares information on an equal footing”, and a terminal connected to a network is sometimes called a “node.” Then, by using the P2P technology, a network node is each other connected, referred to as P2P network.

In conventional communication technology, a client accesses a computer (server) that stores information and requests the information to share the information with other clients. This communication technology is called “client/server system” because the terminal that requests information is called “client”.

The difference between P2P technology and conventional communication technology will be explained later.

There are 3 types of P2P

There are several types of P2P, and there are respective communication methods. We will explain each communication method in comparison with the P2P mechanism explained earlier.

■Pure P2P

The technology called pure P2P has the same mechanism as the conventional P2P technology. We are building a P2P network in which only clients connect to each other and share information.

■ Hybrid P2P

This technology refers to networks that use servers for P2P networks. Unlike the client-server type, clients exchange information with each other.

The server used in this technology stores data about the client.

■ Super node type P2P

In super node type P2P, some nodes with excellent processing capability and stable communication lines are selected from the network, manage the information of the connected nodes, and share and manage with other super nodes. By doing so, the load is distributed.

 What are the advantages of P2P? What is better?

Next, I will introduce three advantages of using P2P technology.

① Distributed management of data

P2P technology is a feature that manages data distribution. By performing distributed management, the load on the terminals can also be distributed.

② Realization of zero downtime

Many websites employ client/server systems. Due to the concentration of access, the line may become heavy, the processing speed may drop and the server may go down, making it impossible to access the site. In this way, the state where you cannot access the site due to server down is called “downtime”.

Since the load is distributed in the P2P technology, the line is lighter than the client/server system, the processing speed is faster, and “zero downtime” that does not bring down the server can be realized.

③ Easy to secure anonymity

Also, with P2P technology, data is distributed over the network, making it difficult to keep track of all node information and making it easier to secure anonymity. You can protect the privacy of P2P network users and use the Internet with peace of mind.

With the P2P type, the load can be distributed on the network by managing the data in a distributed manner, so the processing speed is fast and zero downtime can be achieved. With the data distribution type, the load can be reduced and anonymity can be secured, but it is difficult to know where the data is.

Compared to the client/server type, the P2P type tends to emphasize speed over safety. The clear difference between the P2P type and the client/server type is the ease of data management and the speed of processing.

What is your relationship with blockchain?

P2P technology is also related to blockchain technology. Regarding the remittance of Bitcoin described earlier, the information that the miner calculated the hash value and recorded in the block is shared with all nodes through the P2P network, so anyone can check the transaction history. Use bitcoin online software to maximize potential gains.

However, there is no mechanism to guarantee the legitimacy of transactions only with P2P technology. Therefore, the blockchain has a function to judge the longer one of the blocks where transaction history is recorded as a correct record, and the validity of the record is guaranteed.

For more details on blockchain, please read this article because it is explained in an easy-to-understand manner.

So far, I have explained the P2P mechanism and examples of its use.