What is peer-to-peer?
Peer-to-peer (better known as P2P sharing) is an advanced networking system that is way different from the client-server model.
What is the client-server model? Well, any damn website is the best example of a client-server model. We, as visitors, are the clients who request the server to show the webpage. So it basically is a one-to-one correspondence. The client requests a page and the server obliges. The same logic applies for sharing a file. If you want to download a software, say ‘Google talk’, you go to the Google page and download it. If your friend wants it too, he too goes to the same site. Thus the same server doles out downloads to whoever requests it.
A server is basically a computer that is online 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Suppose I create a software and I want to share with friends. The software I create will be on my PC. So do I have to keep it connected to the net all day? My telephone bills would definitely set new records month after month!!
Fear not, here’s where P2P comes in handy. It works differently from the client server model. It works on the basic principle that when someone other than me downloads the entire software, he too becomes a server. So if a third person wants to download it too, he downloads parts of it from both us. Then, he too becomes a server thus, as many people it reduces precious bandwidth consumption for each of the peers involved. Thus the file can be easily shared ‘Peer-to-Peer’.
While the concept seems all rosy, the history of P2P sharing hasn’t been so. It has lead to various piracy issues in the past. I mean who’s stopping me from sharing a copyrighted file? Piracy protectors have a hard time with P2P.
But then comes the big question:
To Peer or not To Peer??
While P2P can be a boon for budding software developers (people like us, maybe), it can be a pain in the ‘you know what’ for creators of authentic material like the entertainment industry, software companies etc. So it all boils down to one’s own discretion.
You could find whatever you want whenever you want. Afterall if you need a particular file, someone in the World Wide Web must have it! You’ll never miss out on that sound track you heard in the rickshaw today, any movie, documentary, project… whatever, whenever!
You need a P2P software for it. Not a big problem though.
The popular ones are:
Shereaza (www.shareaza.com) to name a few.
So is the P2P concept still a budding concept. Definitely not! It’s been there since as early as the 1970s! But then it hasn’t gained momentum in our part of the world. A little awareness would do us good.
So P2P anyone?