How Peer to Peer File Sharing Work?


You might have download music, videos, movies, and pictures, maybe you have exchanged with your friends, family, and co-workers. This type of exchange is known as P2P file sharing. P2P allows users to exchange files from one’s computer to other users’ computers, or vice versa. In a technical term, a peer to peer network allows computer hardware and software to communicate without the need of a server. An innovation of peer to peer sharing has revolutionized how files are distributed over the internet; Now it’s an ordinary habit for many internet users, to download files and exchange with one another. And yet many people don’t know the concept and the history of P2P sharing.

History of P2P

Napster is well known as a P2P file sharing application. In 1990, Napster was first created for those users who had difficulty in searching and downloading audio and video files. Napster is a combination of a search engine and file application that allowed users to download and share files with each other.

In the following years, the file-sharing world was nurtured by the applications like Gnutella, Kazaa, Bit-Torrent, Peer to peer video streaming, distributed social media network and client/server model. In P2P early days, services like Napster, Kazaa connected users illegally sharing music files. Today, Bit-Torrent is the primary method of illegal and legitimate P2P sharing. These P2P sharing communities are under constant threat of civil lawsuits, but millions of people still use their services every day.

The topic of P2P has received more attention when mobile technology and internet technology have been booming among young people. More recently, P2P applications have also got the attention of academicians and industrialist in term of motivation and ethical consideration.

How does P2P sharing work?

Suppose you want to download a file, you simply get yourself connected to P2P network, through the client. In the next step, the client will search for the other computer known as seeds. Once the client has established the connection to one other node in the system, it can begin downloading data. The important thing in this process, the file hosted by the seed are fragmented into small part around 1 MB.

This is very time consuming give and take process. So, overcome this issue, the P2P client searches for different seed for every different fragment it has to download from the network, or one seed may be able to provide multiple fragments. These speedups download compare to downloading from a single user. When the copy has been uploaded by the seeder to other nodes, the seeder may leave the network.

However, for successful ongoing sharing of data, at least one complete copy must remain available across the nodes in the network. So, when it comes to file sharing, the larger a peer to peer network is, the faster it is. Having the same file stored in many of the p2p networks means that when someone needs to download it, the file is downloaded from many locations simultaneously.

How peer to peer technology is different from other file-sharing technologies?

Client/server model VS Peer to Peer technology

Several years ago, peer to peer was not in existence, so people use client-server technology to transfer information. But, the biggest challenge in this technology was that the client didn’t know clearly on which server the data they wanted was resting on. This client was then later to be directed to another server which is technology inaugurated by the search engine Google and Yahoo which do searching for the server.

It is easy to set up, reliable if you don’t have many users, and something goes wrong you can easily fix it. Hence, the main difference between the client-server model and peer to peer model is that in the client-server model data is centralized, wherein peer to peer model each user has its own data and applications. In simple words, there is a specific server and specific client in the client-server model and there are client-server not distinguished; each node act as a client and server.

Cloud Computing VS Peer to peer Technology

Cloud computing vanished the need of buying of hardware and software which requires complex configuration and costly maintenance for building and deploying applications instead it delivers it as a service over the internet. In cloud computing we have distinguished pool resources, basically, it’s not just one server but a federation of several servers. For instance, Facebook estimated to have over 100,000 servers running their infrastructure, so Google as. But despite this every node can’t fail, they offer additional storage and computational advantages.

Cloud computing work on three principles such as SaaS, PaaS, and Iaas, which allow users to share resources, utilize software and access personal information from any computer that has internet access. Some of the essential cloud computing aspects that always raise the demand for cloud computing are less hardware cost because it requires only IT support, application easily transfers and easy to use.

Benefits of using Peer to Peer file sharing technology

  • Low Infrastructure and Bandwidth cost: As peer to peer doesn’t require any server model. Because individual workstations are used to access the files. And much easier to set up than a client-server network- no need of specialist require.
  • Easy to setup: system on the network is simple to set up and can make troubleshooting easier. Along with that, failure doesn’t affect all computers.
  • Cost effective: only normal computers required, there is no need to purchase an expensive server.
  • Reliable: p2p is more reliable as a central dependency is eliminated. Failure of one peer doesn’t affect the functionality of other peers. In case of a client-server network, if the server goes. Down the whole network gets affected. In peer networking, if one computer gets failed, it would not disrupt any other part of the network. It just means that those files aren’t available to other users at that time.

Final Takeaway

As you have seen in this guide, details regarding peer to peer network technology. Now you know what is peer to peer sharing technology and why it is widely used.

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