What is Peer-to-Peer (P2P)?
P2P is one of the most common methods of internet file sharing. It is an online communications model designed with a networking framework wherein everyone within the same P2P program is connected to everybody else.
In the P2P design of internet sharing, each user can be a client and a server. That is, in P2P, one can download files while uploading his files at the same time. One of the beauties of P2P is that a client can download from several servers instead of the old-fashioned one-downloader-one-source type of download. With the latter download method, it may take some time both to look for a source and to download.
With P2P, on the other hand, there are several sources contributing to one client’s download. As such, the file one is trying to download will almost always be available and the download time is generally faster. Aside from these perks of using P2P, most of the torrent downloading websites are free of charge. Thus, P2P easily became one of the most popular methods for file sharing.
Many programs work using the P2P model. One such program is BitTorrent or torrent.
At some point in your “cyber life” you have surely used any of this file-sharing sites: Isohunt, thePirateBay, LimeWire, or FrostWire. What do these 4 have in common? They are examples of popular torrent websites and all of them work through the P2P mode of networking. As such, if you understand how the general P2P works, you will have a clear picture of how torrents work.
Again, torrents work by getting small bits of information of a file from many different users within the same torrent community. This is an ideal method of downloading because even though one server is down or a source’s connection is bad, one can still get the pieces of information from the other sources to complete his download.
What is nice about torrents is that its multi-server design allows large file sharing to occur easily and quickly. Because of this, sharing of big files such as movies or music is usually done using P2P. However, you should know that, in using torrents, it is encouraged that you share your files as well. Otherwise, you will be branded a “leech” and be penalized by the program.
Issues with using P2P
With all the hype that P2P is getting, some people are simply against it. For these people, P2P promotes piracy and copyright infringement. This may be true, as it allows unrecognized and unlicensed sharing of movies and music. Bills have already been passed all over the world to counter piracy acts and all of these, when and if passed, will affect torrent operations.
Despite this, one cannot deny that using P2P can be beneficial to some people. For instance, it can be used to share large files among officemates or work colleagues. As of now, no one verdict stands for P2P and its legality is relative to the country one is in.
P2P remains under scrutiny and is surrounded by a lot of controversy. However, there’s no denying that it makes life easier for users as it enables sharing of large files such as music and movies, among other things. Moreover, there’s no denying the fact that, unless authorities can take it out of the internet permanently, people will continue using this as it makes life convenient.
What do you think? Should P2P be allowed to continue operating? Let us know what is on your mind.