Peer to Peer Architecture: An Easy Guide In 5 Points (2021)

Ajay Ohri


If you don’t belong to a technological background then it would be difficult for you to understand the underlying principles of peer-to-peer architecture and its relevance in today’s modern world. This article on the same will help you get familiar with the concept and application of it.

In this article let us look at:

  1. What is Peer to Peer (P2P) Architecture?
  2. Types of Peer to Peer Network
  3. Why Use P2P Network Architecture?
  4. Applications of Peer to Peer Architecture
  5. Examples of Peer to Peer Network

1. What is Peer to Peer Architecture?

Peer to peer architecture is a type of computer networking architecture in which there is no division or distinction of abilities amidst the various workstations or nodes of a network. Every section has the exact same responsibilities and can perform the same set of actions. It is the modern-day contemporary of the classic client-server architecture in which there is a more hierarchical approach towards networking.

In P2P each computer can act as both the server and the client as the need demands. Although P2P has a wide array of applications, its most important one is the ability to distribute content efficiently. Things that facilitate on-demand delivery of content such as software publication and distribution, streaming and peer casting for multicasting streams, and content delivery networks, all come under this.

2. Types of Peer to Peer Network

  • Pure peer to peer network – it is also known as fully peer to peer network. Because of the absence of a centralized dedicated server, all peers in this network play exactly the same role. Example – GNUTELLS PROTOCOL.
  • Unstructured peer to peer networks – This type of P2P provides an easier way to connect the different devices of a network but due to lack of structure, it might be difficult for users to look for rare content although the churning rate (no of users joining and releasing the network) is higher.
  • Structures peer to peer networks – it might not be easy to set up this type of network but it gives an amazing platform to search for rare content.
  • Hybrid peer to peer network – these networks are typically P2P but behave like client-server networks in their approach with the presence of a centralized powerful device.

3. Why Use P2P Network Architecture?

  • Provides a safe usage of internet due to network security solutions 
  • Helps sorting out and safe handling of sensitive data and other applications 
  • Monitors your entire activity and actively looks and repairs malware

4. Applications of Peer to Peer Architecture

  • Easy file sharing 
  • Efficient instant messaging 
  • Smooth voice communication 
  • Secure search and communication network 
  • Used for peer casting for multi casting stream in content delivery 
  • High performance computing

5. Examples of Peer to Peer Network

  • Napster – it was introduced by Shawn fanning in 1999 and it was primarily used for file sharing on the internet and storing music on PCs at those time.
  • Bit Torrent – it is a communication protocol that is used for file sharing and distribution of data on the internet in a decentralized manner.
  • Skype – it was designed by Kazaa and is a VolP client. Users can make voice calls and send texts to each other but they must be registered on the app first.
  • Bitcoin – cryptographic protocol is used for peer to peer payment over the internet in the form of but currency.
  • Gnutella – used for file sharing on the internet
  • Kazaa – it was originally enabled with FastTrack protocol licensed by Joltid LTD and was in operation under Sharman Networks. Its main function is to transfer files such as those in the MP3 form as videos and texts on the net.
  • Limewire – it was used for free of cost file sharing in various operating systems like Windows, Linux, Mac Os, and Solaris.
  • Bearshare – it was introduced for Microsoft windows by Free Peers Inc. Later on a revised version called iMesh came out which was designed by is used for file sharing.
  • Morpheus – it was designed and distributed by Streamcast organization for file sharing and finding clients for Microsoft windows.
  • Dat – A controlled publishing platform 
  • JXTA –  a protocol designed for the java platform 
  • Open Garden – it is an application that lets devices share their internet access through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
  • Tradepal and M-commerce – Real-time marketplaces 
  • Syncthing – directory syncing app
  • FAROO – A peer to peer-based web search engine 
  • Jami – chat and SIP app
  • Dalesa – web cache for LANs which is based on multicasting 
  • I2P – overlay network uses for anonymous browsing of the internet 

Social Implication

One of the main issues with the P2P architecture is that users retrieve data from other nodes but do not contribute anything themselves. This takes away from the necessary cooperation that is essential for the smooth functioning of peer to peer architecture. This is called the ‘freeloader problem’.

This type of problem has such a deep impact on the network that it can even become the cause of its collapse. This issue arises when users become selfish and think of their own resources instead of the wellbeing of the entire community. Since peer to peer network places a lot of importance on security and anonymity, it can sometimes prove to be more of a bane than a boon. Cybercriminals find it easy to carry out threats that involve inappropriate and inhumane activities.

Political Implications

Peer to peer has been targeted continuously for its apparent involvement in sharing copyrighted content. Since there is no intermediate devices and transfer of data takes place directly from the server system to the client system or visa versa, one might assume that its easy to do it. Many multi faceted companies involved in making P2P applications have been on the legal radar for copyright issues.

Another controversy that peer to peer network has been a part of is network neutrality. Because of ongoing file transfers, P2P file sharing often uses a heavy bandwidth, thereby affecting the other traffic on the net. The high bandwidth solution as suggested by ISP is P2P caching where an ISP stores the most accessed part of the data so that’s it’s easy for the clients to look it up.


After reading this article we hope that you have a better understanding of peer to peer architecture and its various aspects of relevance in today’s emerging world.

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