• P2P Stands for Peer to Peer
• A network of personal computers, each of which acts as both
client and sever, so that each can exchange files and email
directly with every other computer on the network.
• Each computer can access any of the others, although access
can be restricted to those files that a computer's user chooses
to make available.
• P2P networking has generated tremendous interest
worldwide among both Internet surfers and computer
networking professionals. P2P software systems like Kazaa
and Napster rank amongst the most popular software
applications ever. Numerous businesses and Web sites have
promoted "peer to peer" technology as the future of Internet
• Computers in a peer to peer network are typically
situated physically near to each other and run similar
networking protocols and software. Before home
networking became popular, only small businesses
and schools built peer to peer networks.
• Most home computer networks today are peer to peer
networks. Residential users configure their computers in peer
workgroups to allow sharing of files, printers and other
resources equally among all of the devices.
• Both wired and wireless home networks qualify as peer to
• When most people hear the term "P2P", they think not of traditional peer
networks, but rather peer to peer file sharing over the Internet. P2P file
sharing systems have become the single most popular class of Internet
applications in this decade.
• A P2P network implements search and data transfer protocols above the
Internet Protocol (IP). To access a P2P network, users simply download
and install a suitable P2P client application.
• Numerous P2P networks and P2P software applications exist. Some P2P
applications work only with one P2P network, while others operate crossnetwork. Likewise, some P2P networks support only one application, while
others support multiple applications.
• You can configure computers in peer to peer workgroups to
allow sharing of files, printers and other resources across all
of the devices. Peer networks allow data to be shared easily in
both directions, whether for downloads to your computer or
uploads from your computer.
• On the Internet, peer to peer networks handle a very high
volume of file sharing traffic by distributing the load across
• Essentially P2P Networks are a great way to connect and send
resources to people in an easy way.
• Unfortunately sometimes these information-sharing systems have been
used to engage in illegal activity. Some of the most common crimes
associated with Peer-to-Peer networks are the following:
• Copyright Infringement: It is a violation of federal law to distribute
copyrighted music, movies, software, games, and other works without
authorization. There are important national economic consequences
associated with such theft.
• Computer Hacking: Peer-to-Peer networks also have been abused by
hackers. Because these systems potentially expose your computer and
files to millions of other users on the network, they also expose your
computer to viruses. Also, if Peer-to-Peer software is not properly
configured, you may be unknowingly opening up the contents of your
entire hard drive for others to see and download your private information.
• In the years ahead, expect the concept of P2P to
continue evolving. The networking industry will
introduce a wider range of peer to peer
applications that should compete for attention
with traditional desktop and client / server
systems. P2P protocol standards will be adopted
to a greater extent. Finally, the ramifications of
free P2P application information sharing on
copyright and intellectual property law will slowly
be settled through the process of public debate.