Brief History Of Peer-To-Peer Network

P2P vs Client-Server

With the introduction of the cryptocurrencies, once again, the popularity of the peer-to-peer communication model has soared, beyond any doubt! The slave-based client-server system started to produce so many difficulties like dependency, an increase in costs per-resource unit, inability to withstand competition and so on that led to the acceptance of this decentralized P2P concept!

In the P2P concept, all are at work, and hence, the more the demand, still, better the output! Also, since the workload is shared, the operation cost is also under control! Thus, you have so many sweet things to say about this P2P communication model that has a long interesting history to care for too!


The early internet was, in fact, designed to work in accordance with the peer-to-peer concept, in where, the original ARPANET connected UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford Research Institute, and the University of Utah as equal participating peers, instead of in the typical client-server pattern! In those days, the most popular concept for file transfer was the FTP, as it allowed anonymous File Transfer! Although FTP and other popular applications like Telnet followed the client-server architectures, still, the hosts were allowed to act as servers to other hosts thus, supporting the emergence of symmetric usage patterns!


This network that was developed in1979 by the American graduate students was based on the Unix-to-Unix-copy protocol or the UUCP, in where a Unix machine can automatically dial to the other to exchange information and later, disconnect without any trouble. This process very much resembled the Bulletin Board System, which is nothing but the Forum concept of the current era!


Until before 1999, that was when Napster was introduced, the world still very much relied upon the client-server model, as the power of CPUs available to the common users was still minimum! Most of the file transfers that happened were over the land-line phones, using the FTP and USENET concept! Then, something happened in 1999 that brought the peer-to-peer concept back to power!

That something is nothing but the Napster application developed by Shawn Fanning!

He was still a freshman then at Northeastern University but, his application was everything like an expert’s finding! It was the era of MP3 and this Napster allowed the users to directly search and download the MP3 files from the local disks of the neighboring computers, without any problem! Naturally, Napster flourished with fan followers, growing more than a million in number! Unfortunately, if not for the lawsuit filed by the Metallica company, Napster could have become a successful play-based service!


The central indexing server concept of Napster was one of the main reasons for its failure, which was overcome in Gnutella, the then-popular file-sharing concept based on the query flooding model! With Freenet, the concept of anonymity much flourished, in where the users were allowed to connect to those intermediate computers that never questioned or cared about the contents being sought from them!


In this P2P model, the peers were allowed to connect to each other directly over a TCP port! But, at the same time, the central trackers were used to check the availability of files, coordinate the users, and so on!


All these times, the peer-to-peer concept was more utilized for the file-sharing facility, which changed with the introduction of the Bitcoins by Satoshi Nakamoto! Satoshi wanted to use the concept for a more futuristic purpose by fortifying each node with tamperproof transaction records that enhanced the security of the P2P system by multifold! Soon, many applications followed suit to transfer everything and anything of value over the P2P, without much ado!

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