What is a peer-peer network

  • In peer-peer networks, there is no concept of dedicated client or server machines.
  • All participants can perform the functionality of both client and server.

A typical peer-peer network message exchange is given below:

Message Exchange in a peer to peer network

  • When a node (say Node1) requires a service (for e.g. a file), the node acts as a client and sends a service request to a peer machine (say Node2). The Node2 machine in this case acts as a server and responds back with the contents of the file.
  • The roles can typically be reversed on a need basis. In case Node2 requires a file from Node1, Node2 would act as a client and send a service request to Node1. Node1 would act as a server in this case and respond back with the contents of the file as response to Node2.
  • Therefore, in the case of peer-peer networks, there is no strict hierarchy of client and server nodes. The nodes can act as both a client and a server.
  • Example peer-peer network applications :  Content (file/audio/video) sharing between computers, mail servers (can act as both sender and receiver of mails). 

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