Definition: A peer-to-peer (P2P) network is an information technology (IT) infrastructure that connects and shares resources between two or more computer systems without the need for a separate server or server software. A P2P network can be set up by physically connecting computers into a linked system or by constructing a virtual network.
A Peer-to-Peer Network explained
A peer-to-peer (P2P) network is a collection of computers, each of which serves as equal peer nodes for file sharing within the group. Instead of a centralized server acting as a shared drive, each computer functions as the server for the files stored on it. When establishing a P2P network via the Internet, a central server can be used to index files, or a distributed network can be established where file sharing is distributed among all users in the network who are storing a certain file.
What is Peer-to-Peer in Blockchain?
In a blockchain network, ‘peers’ are nodes or computers that are equally powerful and execute the same functions. Blockchain is a P2P network that acts as a decentralized ledger for one or more digital assets, which refers to a decentralized peer-to-peer system where each computer keeps a complete copy of the ledger and verifies its authenticity with other nodes to guarantee the data is accurate.
When P2P networks are established over the internet, the size of the network and the files available allow huge amounts of data to be shared.
Peer-to-peer network architecture is a type of network in which there is no segregation of operations among various sections. Every node performs the same task and set of operations where each device serves the purpose of both the server and the client. Under this model, the response of network architecture established over the computer networking ecosystem is such that each workstation is responsible for equal tasks but fewer devices are connected to the main server.
Peer-to-Peer networks can be classified into two major categories:
- Unstructured networks - an unstructured peer-to-peer network is in which the network's links are established at random. Such networks are simple to construct since any new peer can join and contribute to the network by duplicating the existing links of another section and then forming and distributing its own links.
- Structured networks - each peer is allowed to manage a specified section of the network's content. These networks assign a certain value to each content and peer in the network, which is then followed by a common protocol that determines which section is responsible for which part of the content. As a result, whenever someone contacts a peer to search for content, the network uses the common protocol to identify the section responsible for data transfer and direct the search query to the responsible peer.
For the purpose of blockchain, a P2P network is based on the concept of decentralization. When a peer-to-peer network is established on a blockchain, the network contributes to the maintenance of a complete replica of the records, assuring data accuracy. Blocks and the information within them must be verified by the peer-to-peer network before new blocks can be created. As a result, when a P2P network is combined with blockchain technology, a network performs phenomenally.
Peer-to-peer technology is how Bitcoin operates: no administrator is required to maintain track of user transactions on the network. Instead, the peers in the network cooperate to handle deals and manage the currency.