P2P or Person-to-Person is a type of network wherein the connection is based on different users. Instead of a regular server-client relationship for files, use of applications and other network related activities, the members of the P2P becomes the client and the server. While a member of the network is trying to access an application or download a file, the same member is a server wherein another member of network is trying to access the file. This trend will continue in the entire network.
The success of P2P is practically based on the number of active users. However, sharing workload through P2P is usually affected by users’ bandwidth. The users who are part of the P2P network group are usually linked online. P2P is often an option for those who cannot meet physically to boost their application’s performance or faster file sharing. Through online connectivity, multiple users would be able to boost the performance of their application while helping others improve their application.
But aside from the “Pure P2P” wherein users become part of the server, there exists a “Hybrid P2P” wherein the users are still part of the server but the entire network would require a server. This server though is not made to host the files or the application but only for the availability of information to its users.
Unique Features of P2P
Person to person networking is one of the most cost efficient practices for file sharing. Instead of putting up a massive server wherein it could easily cost thousands of dollars, users will share the workload which is also to their advantage.
Another advantage is the almost absolute protection against downtime. Pure and Hybrid P2P is not just based in one location. There are even P2P networks that have worldwide connectivity. For that reason, even if the whole country of users will go down or lose their connection, the rest of the world will still be able to access data through other sources in other countries.
Criticisms of P2P
Unfortunately, P2P has been under a lot of criticisms for many years. Today’s main use of P2P is through file sharing which has prompted the use of this type of networking for disputed purposes. Music, movies and applications could be easily shared in P2P network even if the user will not pay for downloaded files.
This is practically the disadvantage of P2P networks. Although its use is seen in different telephony applications, this type of network is often associated with illegal file sharing. Governments in different countries have even persecuted those who were found guilty in sharing files online.
Since control on shared files in P2P is almost impossible, user’s protection from different form of attacks is never assured. Anyone in the network could upload corrupt files and anyone who tries to download the file could be affected.
Hybrid P2P for Proper Clustering
Although pure P2P is a good way of ensuring file sharing, control through clustering is often a lot difficult. In pure P2P setting, one of the users will have to be the cluster manager which could become the single point of failure. Although P2P protects you from downtime, Pure P2P still has to rely on one of the nodes to ensure that clustering control is possible. Although there are P2P applications that will enable easy file sharing without downtime, Pure P2P might be constricted in terms of availability of information which makes it harder to know the shared files.
For that reason, Hybrid P2P has become the standard for P2P especially on file sharing. Through a server wherein data is controlled, additional features such as better access to information including the number of active users could be available for users.
Clustering through Hybrid P2P is even better since the presence of a server could control every data and might even be used to block or limit specific users. In a business setting, data control could be possible since there is a centralized application that could protect the users. The priority in data sharing could even be achieved with the help of a central server. P2P maybe associated with file sharing that have questionable purposes, proper business use of P2P could be cost efficient without experiencing a single point of failure in data sharing.